TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Nov 99 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Viewpoint

by Chris Espinosa, Manager, Components & Scripting, Apple Computer, Inc.

15 years in the computer business is a long time. According to Moore's Law, in 15 years, chip densities double 10 times, giving us a thousandfold increase in computing power. When this magazine was first published in 1984, 10 megabytes was a good size hard disk; the leading software applications were Lotus 1-2-3, WordStar, and dBase III; an ANSI standards committee had just been formed to standardize the C programming language; and Microsoft's total yearly revenue was under $100 million dollars, and its stock wasn't publicly traded.

Nowadays 10 Megabytes is a decent application memory partition; the leading software applications are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Internet Explorer; the programming community has had a brief flirtation with Objective-C, a fling with visual Rapid Application Development environments, then settled down with C and C++, with a little Java and Perl to make things interesting. And Microsoft is bigger than AT&T, GM, and U. S. Steel combined - but, then again, Yahoo! is bigger than GM and U. S. Steel.

One thing I like in all this change, though, is the way that MacTech continues to open new topics to the Macintosh programming community. Keeping up with any changing technology is hard, and there are several that I've just given up trying to follow. I could once wire up digital logic circuits, but that was when there were four NAND gates on one chip. A machine-language I/O loop for the Apple II was simple, but an interrupt-time handler for FireWire or USB is a lot harder. But I can look at recent issues of MacTech and learn something I didn't know how to do before, about 3D graphics or WebObjects or PDF plug-ins. This is basic knowledge that I might not normally go and seek out, but once I know about it I may be able to apply it in something I'm doing down the road.

The Getting Started section of MacTech has always impressed me. Anybody coming into the Mac programming world has to go through a trial by fire: just knowing how to write in C is just enough to get you into deep trouble. Without understanding how the Mac launches processes and allocates memory, without basic MacsBug skills, and without the little details (like what those Finder flag bits actually do) that we all take for granted, a new programmer could get incredibly frustrated. It's great that MacTech brings this knowledge out and keeps it fresh to help bring new people into the Macintosh programming community.

And more than most other magazines, MacTech has been about community. The MacTech sponsored Developer Central sections at MacWorld Expo are social events. It's great to see my favorite hundred people from the Mac development world year after year, with great new demos and products to make the developer's life easier. These people wear two hats. Like most developers, they live and die by the quality of development tools on the Mac. But they're the ones who create the tools, so there's an interdependence that transcends the normal commercial competition among vendors. MacTech, through its technical content and ads, Developer Central, the MacDev-1 mailing list, and the large MacTech web site, gives this community a place to meet, exchange ideas, and reach developers.

With the explosion of the Internet in the past five years MacTech has broadened its coverage from just the Mac world to topics like CGIs, server-side includes, and XML. It's also ventured out into many possible "next big things" like Palm OS programming, and the BeOS. I think this is one of the reasons that MacTech is still around after 15 years. Not to imply that Mac might go away (though eventually everything does, and we were far too close for comfort just 3 years ago), but an organization that weds itself to one platform lives and dies by that platform. MacTech readers found themselves in this pickle several times, but MacTech drove on. Without jumping on every new bandwagon to come around, MacTech has delivered to us a good survey of interesting things that might be big and have some relevance to the Mac programmer. That some of these crashed and burned is just part of life's rich pageant. But, for each demised language or operating system, there's another that we should have paid attention to. Who could have told us in 1991 that we had better pay attention to Mach and NeXTStep because in five years it would be the future of the Macintosh?

As to what future that is, it's hard for me to say. First, I don't know, and second, if I did know and told you, they'd fire me. But I can point out some reasonable conclusions. Steve Jobs is in firm control of Apple and has turned it from a billion-dollar-hemorrhage to a hot products company that's quintupled its stock price. This has been done mostly on the hardware side, with solid progress on Mac OS 8, 8.5, 8.6, and now 9. But don't expect Steve to rest. The same passion for elegant design and powerful simplicity that has gone into the iMac and iBook is now being applied to the Mac OS. This isn't easy - software doesn't tend to get 2x faster and smaller every generation like hardware does - and there will be some favorite technologies left behind, like SCSI, ADB, and LocalTalk. But the result should be a modern (finally!), competitive operating system that brings forward years of Macintosh experience but leaves behind years of accumulated workarounds.

And, MacTech will be there to cover it. (After all, they've covered A/UX, NeXTStep, Pink/Taligent/CommonPoint, AIX, Copland and the BeOS...) I look forward to Getting Started stories that cover the basics of Mac OS X software, interesting in-depth articles on topics like the Quartz graphics system, hints and tips on how to live with gdb, and a lot of interesting synergies between Mac OS X's Mach-based roots and the UNIX-based world of the Web.

Congratulations MacTech, on 15 years of reading pleasure, and here's to many, many more.

 
AAPL
$101.63
Apple Inc.
-0.03
MSFT
$46.24
Microsoft Corpora
-0.46
GOOG
$573.10
Google Inc.
-2.52

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OS X Yosemite 10.10 DP8 - Developer Prev...
Note: This is a Developer Preview. You must be a registered Apple Mac Developer to download this update. You can also sign up for the free OS X Beta Program to download and preview public beta... Read more
FotoMagico 4.5 - Powerful slideshow crea...
FotoMagico lets you create professional slideshows from your photos and music with just a few, simple mouse clicks. It sports a very clean and intuitive yet powerful user interface. High image... Read more
Screenshot Path 1.2.1 - Change the defau...
Screenshot Path lets you change the folder where OS X saves screenshots. Screenshots are saved by default to the user’s desktop. This is handy for the occasional screenshot but those looking to take... Read more
Fantastical 1.3.16 - Create calendar eve...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event details... Read more
GIMP 2.8.14 - Powerful, free image editi...
GIMP is a multi-platform photo manipulation tool. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GIMP is suitable for a variety of image manipulation tasks, including photo retouching,... Read more
HoudahSpot 3.9.3 - Advanced front-end fo...
HoudahSpot is an advanced file search tool built upon MacOS X Spotlight. Spotlight unleashed Create detailed queries to locate the exact file you need Narrow down searches. Zero in on files Save... Read more
djay 4.2.3 - Transform your Mac into a f...
djay transforms your Mac into a full-fledged DJ system, allowing you to mix your iTunes music library on a hyper-realistic turntable interface. Perform live, record mixes on-the-go, or enable... Read more
iDefrag 2.2.8 - Disk defragmentation and...
iDefrag helps defragment and optimize your disk for improved performance. Features include: Supports HFS and HFS+ (Mac OS Extended). Supports case sensitive and journaled filesystems. Supports... Read more
Bookends 12.2.3 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Access the power of Bookends directly from Mellel, Nisus Writer Pro, or MS Word (... Read more
Copy 1.47.0410 - Cloud storage and file...
Note: You must first sign up to use Copy (get a 5GB sign-up bonus through our 'Download' link above). Copy lets you sync, protect, and share. Everywhere. Want to bring some files home? No problem!... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The Sleeping Prince Review
The Sleeping Prince Review By Jennifer Allen on September 15th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RESTRICTIVE KINGDOM SAVINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Sleeping Prince looks and feels great to play, but its lack of peril and... | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Terra Battle
In some way or another, most Japanese RPGs owe something to Final Fantasy. But with Terra Battle, the now-common mix of Western medieval fantasy with Eastern anime aesthetic feels earned. After all, its developer, Mistwalker, was founded by the... | Read more »
Five Nights at Freddy’s Review
Five Nights at Freddy’s Review By Rob Thomas on September 15th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FIVE FRIGHTS AT FREDDY'SUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Can you survive five nights as the new night watchman of Freddy Fazbear’s... | Read more »
Phantom Rift Review
Phantom Rift Review By Nadia Oxford on September 15th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FRIENDLY PHANTOMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Despite a snag here and there, Phantom Rift is a well-crafted and imaginative adventure RPG.   | Read more »
Phantom Rift – Tips, Tricks, Strategies,...
Hello, Wanderers: | Read more »
Meet the Newest Character for Temple Run...
Meet the Newest Character for Temple Run 2, from National Geographic Kids’ Action-Adventure Book Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 15th, 2014 [ | Read more »
Battle Riders Review
Battle Riders Review By Jordan Minor on September 15th, 2014 Our Rating: :: UNTWISTED METALUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad BattleRiders has cool car combat, but it could be crazier.   | Read more »
Rapture - World Conquest (Games)
Rapture - World Conquest 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The End is coming! Bombard the globe with devastating miracles and decimate the enemy civilizations. Guide your... | Read more »
Toonia Jelly: Music Review
Toonia Jelly: Music Review By Amy Solomon on September 15th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CUTE MUSICAL EXPLORATIONUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Toonia Jelly: Music is a charming exploratory app for young children with a... | Read more »
CounterSpy Review
CounterSpy Review By Lee Hamlet on September 15th, 2014 Our Rating: :: AN EXCELLENT PORTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Shaken or stirred, CounterSpy is simply the best stealth action game to sneak its way onto the App... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

10% off iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Otterbox cases
Get 10% off on popular Otterbox iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases at MacMall through September 19th. Use code OTTERBOX10 to see the discount. Read more
15-inch MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 o...
Amazon has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP including free shipping: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1899.99 save $100 - 15″ 2.5GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $2374... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698, $101 o...
Abt has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698 including free shipping. Their price is $101 off MSRP. Read more
More To Making A Larger iPad Than Expanded Sc...
CNET’s Ross Rubin has posted a thoughtful analysis of prospects for a larger display iPad Pro, noting that Microsoft and Samsung currently have the large-display touchscreen tablet category to... Read more
SwiftKey Keyboard Finally Coming To iPhone An...
At the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, Swiftkey unveiled the first details about SwiftKey Keyboard for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch. SwiftKey’s philosophy is that you should be able to... Read more
Save $75 on the 16GB iPad mini with Retina Di...
Best Buy has the 16GB iPad mini with Retina Display on sale for $324.99 on their online store for a limited time. Their price is $75 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this mini.... Read more
21-inch 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979, $120 of...
B&H Photo has the new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 21-inch 1.4GHz iMa...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 21″ 1.4GHz iMacs for $929 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $170 off the cost of new models,... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
Adorama has the 13″ 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1379 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more
Macally iPhone 6 Cases
Macally has introduced a Line of Snap-On Shell Cases, Frame Bumper Cases and a Rugged Protective Case for iPhone 6 with 4.7inch Screen, such as the SNAP case in a variety of brilliant metallic... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.