TweetFollow Us on Twitter

May 00 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 16 (2000)
Issue Number: 5
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Viewpoint

By Jordan Dea-Mattson

Apple's best kept secret...

It isn't AppleScript!

For many years, Apple's best kept secret was AppleScript. An incredibly powerful feature of Mac OS that was, when it was marketed at all, marketed by stealth. But now the mantel of "best kept secret" has been passed and the focus of Apple's stealth marketing activities has shifted to a new product.

And the winner is...

WebObjects! Yes, that's right. The current focus of Apple's stealth marketing activities is WebObjects, a web application server for Windows NT, Solaris, HP/UX, and Mac OS X Server.

Originally developed by NeXT in the early 90s and based on many of the same technologies that underlay Apple's Mac OS X and Cocoa, WebObjects is the oldest and most mature application server on the market. Before there was Netscape Application Server, Visual InterDev, SilverStream, HAHTsite, or Tango, there was WebObjects.

Now on version 4.5, WebObjects' maturity shows in the cleanliness and quality of its architecture, as well as in the performance, scalability, and reliability it delivers.

The Performance Leader

When building web-based applications responsiveness and performance are critical. As Jakob Nielsen reminds us again and again in his AlertBox web columns (see Links of Interest below for the URL), the longer that people have to wait for a page to be delivered, the greater the chance that they will "bail out" and you will lose a customer.

As Nielsen's is fond of observing in his writings, in most non-Web settings, if someone has waited more than 10 seconds without a response, they will bail out and go somewhere else. Unfortunately, web users are use to quite a bit of abuse in the form of unresponsive systems, and they will usually wait 15 seconds before bailing out.

What does this mean for you? Well, on the negative side, it means that for the best user interaction and acceptance you need to get your page up there in 10 seconds or less. On the positive side, the faster you get your page displayed, the more you will stand out from the crowd. And as many sites have learned, strong and positive word of mouth often trumps millions misspent on stupid SuperBowl ads.

On the performance front, WebObjects wins heads down. In a study benchmarking the performance of a number of commercial application servers - including Netscape Application Server, HAHTsite, Silverstream, Visual InterDev, PowerJ Enterprise, Tango, and, of course, WebObjects - conducted by the research firm TechMetrix Research, WebObjects beat the competition across the board.

Pretty much across the board, WebObjects beat its nearest competitors by a factor of 4, and always delivered - even under the heaviest loads - the sub-10 second responsiveness that customers demand.

But don't believe me; check out the data for yourself. Go to the TechMetrix Research web site and check out the Application Server Performance Results for 1 to 10 simultaneous users and for 25 to 250 simultaneous users (see Links of Interest below for the URLs).

Scale Baby, Scale!

Hand-in-hand with performance, scalability is of equal importance to the success of any mission critical web site. If your system can't easily scale from 100 hits an hour to 10 million hits an hour, then you are setting yourself up for a whole lot of hurting in the future.

First, as the TechMetrix performance benchmarks we discussed above show, WebObjects nicely scales when servicing from 1 to 250 highly demanding simultaneous users. On there own, these benchmarks are excellent. But they really standout, when we compare them to the other application servers in TechMetrix's study. When compared side-by-side, it is clear that WebObjects handily blows away the competition not just in performance, but also in scalability.

So, WebObjects scales well when running on a single machine. But how does it perform when you need to distribute your load over 10s or even 100s of systems? How easy is it to build a mission critical web application that can easily be distributed across multiple machines?

The short answer is quite easily. The long answer, is that WebObjects - like the restof the frameworks, including Cocoa, originally developed by NeXT - is based on a distributed objects (DO) layer. This layer allows you to easily take a WebObjects application and scale it from 1 to 2 to 10 to 100 servers, allowing you to grow your infrastructure to meet customer demand.

Always reliable

How many times have you found a web site or web application that intrigued you, but when you tried to use it didn't work or broke down at some critical point? And how quickly did you walk away from that web site? The lesson learned here is, it doesn't matter how feature packed and interesting, or fast your web application is, or how well it scales, if it doesn't run smoothly and reliably, customers will dump you and go somewhere else in a New York minute.

Once again, WebObjects delivers the goods. Unlike half of the application servers that TechMetrix studied, WebObjects successfully performed under all workloads. This coupled with it excellent performance and scalability clearly show that WebObjects is able to deliver the goods under all conditions.

Beyond Hygiene

Performance, scalability, and reliability are basic "hygiene". Without them, you don't have a chance of competing, but they don't make for a compelling tool.

So, how does WebObjects move beyond hygiene? Based on the same object-oriented foundations as OpenStep and Cocoa, WebObjects, is a highly productive development environment. If you are impressed by the developer productivity delivered by OpenStep or Cocoa, you already know the developer productivity delivered by WebObjects. If you don't then you owe it to yourself to experience it.

WebObjects also includes a powerful collection of classes, Enterprise Objects Framework (EOF), that gives WebObjects' applications easy access to new and legacy databases. For example, the EOF features of WebObjects allowed the IS folks in the office of the Secretary of Defense to build an application that tied together numerous legacy systems - many running on older mainframes - into a single application with a clean and unified user interface. When building its Personal Wealth application, Standard & Poors ran into similar issues when trying to interface with existing databases from various vendors. Again, EOF allowed Standard & Poors to build a single application that presented a clean and unified human interface to users. In fact, much of the power of WebObjects comes from EOF. Without it, WebObjects would not be as powerful a tool as it is.

If it is so good, why isn't everyone using it?

Given what you have learned about WebObjects, you are probably asking yourself, "If it is so good, what isn't everyone using it?"

The answer in part, is Apple doesn't advertise WebObjects. But if we think that Apple should advertise WebObjects, we have to ask ourselves, what would be the impact? How would an ad for WebObjects from Apple be received by the average reader of The Industry Standard or PC Week? Probably with a high degree of skepticism. Given Apple's track record in the enterprise, it probably doesn't make a lot of sense for Apple to throw dollars into advertising for WebObjects. Rather, they need to focus on making sure that the decision-makers considering a project know about WebObjects and its power.

So, how do we get WebObjects in front of decision-makers with creditability? First, we need to have powerful success stories to which we can point. With over 3,000 mission critical applications already built using WebObjects from many high profile companies, Apple has a rich field of candidates for success stories. And Apple has done an excellent job of collecting WebObjects success stories from this field. If you are interested you can find them at Apple's WebObjects web site (see Links of Interest below for the URL).

WebObjects, like other application servers, is going to be sold one-on-one. Be it by Apple sales reps or Apple partners, the sales of WebObjects will happen in one on one settings. It is when someone, armed with the success stories that Apple is producing, can talk to someone looking to build a web application, that the sales of WebObjects will happen. Advertising won't drive it in any meaningful way. So, maybe Apple's stealth marketing makes sense. If advertising isn't going to drive sales, why waste the money? Maybe Apple isn't as dense as many of us thought!

Want to learn more?

If reading about the power and advantages of WebObjects above has you interested in learning more, there are a lot of resources available to you.

First and foremost, you can start off by reading Sam Krishna and Patrick Taylor's first article in their series on developing with WebObjects, "Everyone meet WebObjects. WebObjects meet everyone." starting on page <EDITOR PLEASE ENTER> in this issue. If you are serious about learning more about or using WebObjects, make sure you read their entire series as it unfolds over the course of the next year.

Surprisingly enough, Apple has a large amount of material available for you on their web site. If you are looking to explore things from top to bottom, then check out the Apple WebObjects home page (see Links of Interest below for the URL). If you are looking for a balanced, third-party perspective on WebObjects check out the IDC WebObjects White Paper posted on Apple's web site (see Links Mentioned below for the URL).

Links of Interest

 
AAPL
$102.25
Apple Inc.
+0.12
MSFT
$44.88
Microsoft Corpora
+0.01
GOOG
$569.20
Google Inc.
-1.80

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Cloud 3.0.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.1.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
SlingPlayer Plugin 3.3.20.505 - Browser...
SlingPlayer is the screen interface software that works hand-in-hand with the hardware inside the Slingbox to make your TV viewing experience just like that at home. It features an array of... Read more
Get Lyrical 3.8 - Auto-magically adds ly...
Get Lyrical auto-magically add lyrics to songs in iTunes. You can choose either a selection of tracks, or the current track. Or turn on "Active Tagging" to get lyrics for songs as you play them.... Read more
Viber 4.2.2 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device,... Read more
Cocktail 7.6 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
LaunchBar 6.1 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
BBEdit 10.5.12 - Powerful text and HTML...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Microsoft Office 2011 14.4.4 - Popular p...
Microsoft Office 2011 helps you create professional documents and presentations. And since Office for Mac 2011 is compatible with Office for Windows, you can work on documents with virtually anyone... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Hyperlapse Review
Hyperlapse Review By Jennifer Allen on August 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SPEEDY VIDEO SNAPSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Want to make a great time-lapse video quickly? Hyperlapse is perfect for that.   | Read more »
Back To Bed Review
Back To Bed Review By Jennifer Allen on August 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STYLISH BUT LIMITEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It looks gorgeous, but Back to Bed is actually a fairly simple and uneventful puzzle game.   | Read more »
New Cars, New Locations, and a New Seaso...
New Cars, New Locations, and a New Season in Asphalt 8: Airborne Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Award Winning Children’s Book Bedtime fo...
Bedtime for Sarah Sullivan is a children’s storybook that emphasizes the importance of going to bed, dreams, and those magical moments right before being tucked in. Now Kelly Paniagua, author of the award-winning children’s book, is planning to... | Read more »
Happy Cube Death Arena Review
Happy Cube Death Arena Review By Jordan Minor on August 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CUBEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Happy Cube Death Arena is adorably violent, but very, very shallow.   | Read more »
8bit Doves, the New Game from Icebreaker...
8bit Doves, the New Game from Icebreaker Developers Nitrome, is Now Available – and in Four Colours Posted by Ellis Spice on August 28th, 2014 [ | Read more »
Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace Review
Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace Review By Nadia Oxford on August 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DINO-MYTEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace combines space combat and weird humor into a fun game... | Read more »
Draw Stuff, Win Prizes. Glorkian Warrior...
Draw Stuff, Win Prizes. | Read more »
Lots of iOS Games Have Been Deeply Disco...
Labor Day is fast approaching, and so are the sales. Lots of sales, by the look of it. This list is already pretty sizable, and we haven’t even made it to the weekend yet. Naturally that means you can expect there to be plenty more price drops and... | Read more »
Letter Pix Review
Letter Pix Review By Jennifer Allen on August 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FLAWED WORDPLAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Create words to clear the board and guess a photo underlay correctly in this fun but flawed word... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $60 with Apple refurbished iPod to...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 5th generation iPod touches available starting at $149. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Many, but not all... Read more
12-Inch MacBook Air Coming in 4Q14 or 2015 –...
Digitimes’ Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report that according to Taiwan-based upstream supply chain insiders, Apple plans to launch a thinner MacBook model either at year end 2014 or in 2015, and that... Read more
Sapphire Screen “Most Wanted” iPhone 6 New Fe...
According to the ‘uSell.com iPhone Most Wanted Survey’ — a representative survey of 1,000 U.S. smartphone users conducted by used iPhone marketplace uSell.com — close to half of all smartphone users... Read more
The iPad’s Real Competitive Challenger (Not S...
It’s been my contention for some time that the iPad is suffering from something of an identity crisis, and I suspect that may be a factor in slackening sales this year. Apple can’t seem to decide... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1379 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more
Life Inventory iOS Apps – Learn to Know Thyse...
James Hollender’s Life Inventory apps s are now on sale with 20% off thru Labor Day, 09/01/2014. This is a great opportunity to get started on that Moral Inventory you’ve been putting off doing for... Read more
Pocket Watch, LLC. Reveals Cloud Server For P...
Beaumont, Texas based Pocket Watch, LLC. has announced the availability of its new ActivePrint Cloud Server Powered by Raspberry Pi. With this small standalone box almost any USB printer or available... Read more
902it Simplifies Area Code Changes For Nova S...
The east coast Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are phasing in 10 digit telephone dialing, to be fully in place by November, in order to accommodate a second area code to... Read more
Boomerang iPad Stand Mounts Your iPad Anywher...
Boomerang, a Mountable Stand with Multiple Viewing Angles, is now available for iPad Air. Boomerang combines several functions that aim to expand your iPad’s potential in one, elegant product. The... Read more
Retina MacBook Pros available starting at $10...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... 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
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.