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

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

A Better Finder Rename 10.00b1 - File, p...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
CrossOver 14.1.6 - Run Windows apps on y...
CrossOver can get your Windows productivity applications and PC games up and running on your Mac quickly and easily. CrossOver runs the Windows software that you need on Mac at home, in the office,... Read more
Printopia 2.1.14 - Share Mac printers wi...
Run Printopia on your Mac to share its printers to any capable iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Printopia will also add virtual printers, allowing you to save print-outs to your Mac and send to apps.... Read more
Google Drive 1.24 - File backup and shar...
Google Drive is a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you're working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé, or... Read more
Chromium 45.0.2454.85 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 45.0.2454.85: Note: Does not contain the "... Read more
OmniFocus 2.2.5 - GTD task manager with...
OmniFocus helps you manage your tasks the way that you want, freeing you to focus your attention on the things that matter to you most. Capturing tasks and ideas is always a keyboard shortcut away in... Read more
iFFmpeg 5.7.1 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a graphical front-end for FFmpeg, a command-line tool used to convert multimedia files between formats. The command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does... Read more
VOX 2.6 - Music player that supports man...
VOX is a beautiful music player that supports many filetypes. The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all... Read more
Box Sync 4.0.6567 - Online synchronizati...
Box Sync gives you a hard-drive in the Cloud for online storage. Note: You must first sign up to use Box. What if the files you need are on your laptop -- but you're on the road with your iPhone? No... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.4 - Easy-to-use b...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more

Huzzah! Farming Simulator 16 Supports Cl...
As though it weren't difficult enough to resist the siren call of Farming Simulator 16, now it's been updated with cloud saves - so you can jump between devices without missing any of that precious crop-harvesting time. [Read more] | Read more »
Don't Starve: Pocket Edition Finall...
I've made no effort to hide my enjoyment of Don't Starve: Pocket Edition, but I will admit I was a tiny bit disappointed that it was only available for the iPad. Well nuts to that, because Klei Entertainment has made it universal! [Read more] | Read more »
Goat Simulator Wasn't Enough? Then...
If you just didn't get enough goat in Goat Simulator - or if you've been wanting to play a simulated MMO as a microwave - then you're in luck! Goat Simulator MMO Simulator is out now, and it's a game about simulated goats in simulated MMOs. Plus... | Read more »
You Can Play Madfinger Games' Unkil...
Madfinger Games - probably best known for the Dead Trigger series - has officially launched their newest zombie shooter (that isn't called Dead Trigger), named Unkilled. [Read more] | Read more »
KORG iELECTRIBE for iPhone (Music)
KORG iELECTRIBE for iPhone 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: ** 50% OFF Special Launch Sale - For a Limited Time **The ELECTRIBE reborn in an even smaller form A full-fledged... | Read more »
Toca Life: City Just Got a Bunch of New...
Toca Life: City is Toca Boca's most popular app (number 1 in 47 different countries, apparently), and it's just had an update that adds a bunch of new content. [Read more] | Read more »
My Country 3D is More About Cities than...
My Country 3D is an upcoming city builder from Game Insight that looks pretty decent - although the name seems a tad out of whack for a city builder. Ah well, it is what it is. [Read more] | Read more »
I am Bread (Games)
I am Bread 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ‘I am Bread’ is the latest quirky adventure from the creators of 'Surgeon Simulator', Bossa Studios. This isn't the best thing... | Read more »
Rock(s) Rider - HD Edition (Games)
Rock(s) Rider - HD Edition 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: *** PLEASE NOTE: Compatible with iPhone 4s, iPad 2, iPad mini, iPod touch (5th generation) or newer *** Do you... | Read more »
Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville (Games)
Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It's been a few years since the zombpocalypse turned the world's cities into graveyards and sent the few... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Near-Office Input Functionality Virtually Any...
Today Logitech introduced the Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard and the Logitech M535 Bluetooth Mouse, giving users the freedom to work on any device, most anywhere. According to... Read more
College Student Deals: Additional $100 off Ma...
Take an additional $100 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through September 4, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take... Read more
2.8GHz Mac mini available for $988, includes...
Adorama has the 2.8GHz Mac mini available for $988, $11 off MSRP, including a free copy of Apple’s 3-Year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ... Read more
Will You Buy An iPad Pro? – The ‘Book Mystiqu...
It looks like we may not have to wait much longer to see what finally materializes as a new, larger-panel iPad (Pro/Plus?) Usually reliable Apple product prognosticator KGI Securities analyst Ming-... Read more
eFileCabinet Announces SMB Document Managemen...
Electronic document management (EDM) eFileCabinet, Inc., a hosted solutions provider for small to medium businesses, has announced that its SecureDrawer and eFileCabinet Online services will be... Read more
WaterField Designs Unveils American-Made, All...
San Francisco’s WaterField Designs today unveiled their all-leather Cozmo 2.0 — an elegant attach laptop bag with carefully-designed features to suit any business environment. The Cozmo 2.0 is... Read more
Apple’s 2015 Back to School promotion: Free B...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
128GB MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP,...
B&H Photo has 11″ & 13″ MacBook Airs with 128GB SSDs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air: $799.99, $100 off MSRP... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679, save $...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Customer Support P...
Job Description: Customer Support Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the Read more
*Apple* Desktop Analyst - KDS Staffing (Unit...
…field and consistent professional recruiting achievement. Job Description: Title: Apple Desktop AnalystPosition Type: Full-time PermanentLocation: White Plains, NYHot Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Repair Techn...
Simply Mac is the greatest premier retailer of Apple products expertise in North America. We're looking for dedicated individuals to provide personalized service and Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the greatest premier retailer of Apple products expertise in North America. We're looking for dedicated individuals to provide personalized service and Read more
*Apple* Desktop Analyst - KDS Staffing (Unit...
…field and consistent professional recruiting achievement. Job Description: Title: Apple Desktop AnalystPosition Type: Full-time PermanentLocation: White Plains, NYHot Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.