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
$111.78
Apple Inc.
-0.87
MSFT
$47.66
Microsoft Corpora
+0.14
GOOG
$516.35
Google Inc.
+5.25

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

LibreOffice 4.3.5.2 - 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
CleanApp 5.0.0 Beta 5 - Application dein...
CleanApp is an application deinstaller and archiver.... Your hard drive gets fuller day by day, but do you know why? CleanApp 5 provides you with insights how to reclaim disk space. There are... Read more
Monolingual 1.6.2 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
NetShade 6.1 - Browse privately using an...
NetShade is an Internet security tool that conceals your IP address on the web. NetShade routes your Web connection through either a public anonymous proxy server, or one of NetShade's own dedicated... Read more
calibre 2.13 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Mellel 3.3.7 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
ScreenFlow 5.0.1 - Create screen recordi...
Save 10% with the exclusive MacUpdate coupon code: AFMacUpdate10 Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your... Read more
Simon 4.0 - Monitor changes and crashes...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
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
ExpanDrive 4.2.1 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Make your own Tribez Figures (and More)...
Make your own Tribez Figures (and More) with Toyze Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness...
The holiday season is in full-swing, which means a whole lot of iOS apps and games are going on sale. A bunch already have, in fact. Naturally this means we’re putting together a hand-picked list of the best discounts and sales we can find in order... | Read more »
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode f...
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode for Angry Birds Epic Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minec...
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their...
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their New Game: Tempo Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] WarChest Ltd and Splash Damage Ltd are teaming up again to work | Read more »
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary...
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary with a Bunch of Free Games Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] BulkyPix has | Read more »
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking F...
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking Fever’s new sushi-themed update Posted by Simon Reed on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Lithuanian developer Nordcurrent has yet again updated its restaurant simulat | Read more »
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to C...
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to Celebrate 20 Million Downloads Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Desti...
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Destiny, and Beyond – AppSpy Takes a Look at AAA Companion Apps Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] These day | Read more »
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Fre...
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Free for the Holidays Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Kodak Returns to CES With New Consumer Produ...
Former photography colossus Kodak is returning to CES for the first time in three years where the Kodak booth (#21818 South Hall 1) will showcase a wide range of innovative, imaging-related products... Read more
Invaluable Launches New Eponymously -Named A...
Invaluable, the world’s largest online live auction marketplace, hhas announced the official launch of the Invaluable app for iPad, now available for download in the iTunes App Store. Invaluable... Read more
IDC Reveals Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Appli...
International Data Corporation (IDC) last week hosted the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Applications and Solutions 2015 Predictions Web conference. The session provided organizations... Read more
Hello Vino Wine App Launches “Safe Ride Home”...
Hello Vino has announced addition of a new “Get a Safe Ride Home” feature in its Food & Drink app with a direct connection to Uber, the technology platform that connects users with rides. The... Read more
DEVON-technologies Releases DEVONthink To Go...
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho based DEVON-technologies, LLC has updated DEVONthink To Go, its mobile companion to DEVONthink, to version 1.5. The update includes an iOS 8 extension, compatibility with the... Read more
The Apple Store offering free next-day shippi...
The Apple Store is now offering free next-day shipping on all in stock items if ordered before 12/23/14 at 10:00am PT. Local store pickup is also available within an hour of ordering for any in stock... Read more
It’s 1992 Again At Sony Pictures, Except For...
Techcrunch’s John Biggs interviewed a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) employee, who quite understandably wished to remain anonymous, regarding post-hack conditions in SPE’s L.A office, explaining “... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Pros for...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Airs for...
B&H Photo has 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, for a limited time, for the Thanksgiving/Christmas Holiday shopping season. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: iMacs for up to $...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software: - 21″ 1.4GHz... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Store Leader Program (US) - Apple, I...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on experience, Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and 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...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.