TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Jul 00 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 16 (2000)
Issue Number: 7
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Viewpoint

by Jordan Dea-Mattson

A NeXT Victory? First Exposure

In 1989, shortly before Steve Jobs & NeXT launched the first NeXT Cube, Apple was presented with at least one of these brand, spanking new systems for the purposes of determining if any Apple intellectual property had been "misappropriated" in the process of its creation.

This strange turn of events came about due to the litigation, and its settlement, which followed Steve Jobs in 1985 as he left Apple and founded NeXT. In order to settle a lawsuit against Jobs, Apple demanded access to his new baby in advance of its introduction for purposes of evaluation. The outcome of the evaluation was that none of Apple's intellectual property had been misappropriated by NeXT. Steve Jobs and his new baby were "clean".

This exchange between Apple and its now prodigal founder had an interesting side effect: it gave me my first exposure to a NeXT system and the software it ran. I got to play with a NeXT cube as a user, and even did a little bit of development using very early versions of ProjectBuilder, InterfaceBuilder, and the AppKit. It was enough of an exposure to show me the greatness of this new platform.

I, along with many of my co-workers, was extremely impressed with the power, flexibility, elegance, and ease of development with the NeXTStep frameworks. A number of us, including myself, were very concerned that NeXT was going to "eat our lunch" if we didn't do something.

No Lasting Effect

Based on our, and other's concerns, task forces were launched and people came forward with proposals and prototypes. At its peak, Apple probably had two to three times as many folks focused on the "NeXT Menace", as were employed in the entire NeXT engineering organization.

While some good came out of all this effort — for example, the AppleScript had its genesis in this effort — in terms of core software development things stayed pretty much the same. Apple made tweaks here and there to MPW. Think, and then Symantec, made very minor changes to Think C. And Metrowerks burst onto the scene and made a lasting impression, not by changing how people developed software, but by turning out a fast turnaround C/C++ compiler for the PowerPC. Bottom line, in the realm of software development things were static.

It Wasn't Just Tools

But tools weren't the only thing that stagnated on the Mac platform. In fact the entire platform stagnated. Sure, Apple moved to the PowerPC, and delivered Mac OS 7 and then 8, but things essentially stayed the same. Yes, here and there things got a little better, but no big strides forward were taken. Apple, but again and again new initiatives withered on the vine after a 1.0 was released. It was a very frustrating time to be an Apple employee, Mac user or Mac developer.

Lunch Not Eaten

The amazing thing during this time was that NeXT didn't eat Apple's lunch. Yes, they took some key customers and markets away from the Macintosh and Windows camps, but they didn't eat anybody's lunch. It was sad to watch, but a product which greatly eased the work of developing software went essentially nowhere.

If you think about it, it was shocking. A shift in how software was developed — the move from procedural and static object oriented languages to dynamic object oriented languages like Java — which delivered 5 to 10 fold improvements in productivity was delayed for years.

In essence, untold millions of developer hours were poured down a rat hole, while NeXT's contributions sat on the sidelines, only seeing duty in a few specialized applications and narrow niches.

A Reunion

Fast forward now to a Friday evening in December of 1996 just prior to — as Apple always politically correctly put it — the "Winter Holiday". Numerous members of the press and Apple's executive staff are gathered in "Town Hall", the largest meeting room on the Apple Campus, for a "big announcement". We all know what was announced that evening: the acquisition of NeXT Software by Apple Computer, Inc.

For me it was the beginning of a reunion with a software development platform that had caught my eye years previously. And like meeting an old love once again, it rekindled strong passions in me. A passion to see this great development platform — be it called NeXTStep, OpenStep, WebObjects, Yellow Box, or Cocoa — freed from its obscurity.

The Right Distribution

With this passion burning strongly, I started to ask myself, "Why did NeXT fail?" Why didn't a significantly better way of developing software make major inroads? There are a number of reasons, but the biggest was lack of distribution. For many reasons, first because it was only on NeXT cubes and later because of pricing, NeXTStep, and later OpenStep, had little discernable market penetration.

And this is a problem that NeXTStep no longer faces! One way of looking at Mac OS X — in addition to it being the long overdue overhaul of the Macintosh operating system — is that it is stealth distribution channel for NeXTStep. A way of getting this great development platform onto millions upon millions of PCs.

Making the Move

I am sure that about now, you are all saying, "Ok, this is very interesting, but what does this have to do with Mac developers?"

Ok, let me tell you what it has to do with you: you know have the opportunity to develop for the best personal computer around using the best and most productive development platform available. This might seem an exaggeration, but trust me it isn't.

The launch of Mac OS X in early 2001 is going to provide a market opportunity for new products and companies. An opportunity next to which the launch of the Power Macintosh in 1994 pales. This coupled with the ease and productivity provided by Cocoa is too good of a chance to pass up.

So, what are you waiting for?


*The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author, and not necessarily that of MacTech Magazine.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Cocktail 8.3.1 - General maintenance and...
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
QuarkXPress 11.0.0.0 - Desktop publishin...
With QuarkXPress, you can communicate in all the ways you need to -- and always look professional -- in print and digital media, all in a single tool. Features include: Easy to Use -- QuarkXPress is... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.50 - File, phot...
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
PDFpenPro 7.1.1 - Advanced PDF toolkit f...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Create fillable forms and tables of content... Read more
Garmin Express 4.0.18.0 - Manage your Ga...
Garmin Express is your essential tool for managing your Garmin devices. Update maps, golf courses and device software. You can even register your device. Update maps Update software Register your... Read more
jAlbum Pro 12.6.4 - Organize your digita...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more
jAlbum 12.6.4 - Create custom photo gall...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.16 - Connec...
With Microsoft Remote Desktop, you can connect to a remote PC and your work resources from almost anywhere. Experience the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client designed to help... Read more
Spotify 1.0.4.90. - Stream music, create...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
djay Pro 1.1 - Transform your Mac into a...
djay Pro provides a complete toolkit for performing DJs. Its unique modern interface is built around a sophisticated integration with iTunes and Spotify, giving you instant access to millions of... Read more

Create Your Perfect Vacation Day With Ma...
The Make My Day app, by Lonely Planet, gives you access to a new series of mobile guidebooks that focus on some of the worlds most famous cities. [Read more] | Read more »
Jelly Reef (Games)
Jelly Reef 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: You are the ocean. Touch the sea with your fingers and guide jellyfish through a roguelike underwater world. | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: April 20-24, 2015
The Apps of April How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many... | Read more »
The Dynamic Duo of Tile and Your Apple W...
If you often lose things like your wallet, keys, purse, or pants, Tile could be your new best friend. [Read more] | Read more »
Desktop Dungeons: Enhanced Edition is Co...
Desktop Dungeons, the puzzle roguelike game, is adventuring onto your mobile devices soon, giving you all the excitement of Desktop Dungeons wherever you go. [Read more] | Read more »
Now You Can Control ProCamera 8 With You...
ProCamera 8 + HDR, the photo, video, and editing app by Cocologics, recently updated to add Apple Watch controls and a few other fun functions. [Read more] | Read more »
Discover Your Reflexes With Minimalist G...
Discover O, BYOF Studios, may look simple at first with its' color matching premise and swipe controls, but as you speed up the task becomes more daunting. [Read more] | Read more »
Here's Another Roundup of Notable A...
Now that the Apple Watch is publically available (kind of), even more apps and games have been popping up for it. Some of them are updates to existing software, others are brand new. The main thing is that they're all for the Apple Watch, and if you... | Read more »
Use Batting Average and the Apple Watch...
Batting Average, by Pixolini, is designed to help you manage your statistics. Every time you go to bat, you can use your Apple Watch to track  your swings, strikes, and hits. [Read more] | Read more »
Celebrate Studio Pango's 3rd Annive...
It is time to party, Pangoland pals! Studio Pango is celebrating their 3rd birthday and their gift to you is a new update to Pangoland. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Sale! New 11-inch 128GB MacBook Air for $799,...
Best Buy has the new 2015 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $799.99. That’s $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this new model from any reseller. Choose free home shipping... Read more
Final day for Best Buy’s 4 Day Sale: Up to $3...
Best Buy has the new 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $799.99 through April 27th. That’s $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this new model from any reseller. Choose... Read more
College Student Deals: Additional $50 off Mac...
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through May 9, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage of... Read more
Save up to $300 on a new Mac, $30 on an iPad,...
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
Zoho Business Apps for Apple Watch Put Select...
Pleasanton, California based Zoho has launched Zoho Business Apps for Apple Watch, a line of apps that extends Zoho business applications to let users perform select functions from an Apple Watch.... Read more
Universal Stylus Initiative Launched to Creat...
OEMs, stylus and touch controller manufacturers have announced the launch of Universal Stylus Initiative (USI), a new organization formed to develop and promote an industry specification for an... Read more
Amazon Shopping App for Apple Watch
With the new Amazon shopping app for Apple Watch, Amazon customers with one of the wearable devices can simply tap the app on the watch to purchase items in seconds, or save an idea for later. The... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3719.99... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available for...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for $100 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $199, $100... Read more
Intel Compute Stick: A New Mini-Computing For...
The Intel Compute Stick, a new pocket-sized computer based on a quad-core Intel Atom processor running Windows 8.1 with Bing, is available now through Intel Authorized Dealers across much of the... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Support Technician IV - Jack Henry a...
Job Description Jack Henry & Associates is seeking an Apple Support Technician. This position while acting independently, ensures the proper day-to-day control of Read more
*Apple* iOS Specialist - TCML (United States...
AppleiOS Specialist Senior Apple /iOS Administrator/Engineer responsible for configuration and distribution of desktop, laptop and mobile devices to State Employees Read more
*Apple* Client Systems Solution Specialist -...
…drive revenue and profit in assigned sales segment and/or region specific to the Apple brand and product sets. This person will work directly with CDW Account Managers 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* Support Technician IV - Jack Henry a...
Job Description Jack Henry & Associates is seeking an Apple Support Technician. This position while acting independently, ensures the proper day-to-day control of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.