TweetFollow Us on Twitter

July 01 Network Management

Volume Number: 17 (2001)
Issue Number: 07
Column Tag: Network Management

WWDC 2001

by John C. Welch

A peek inside the Apple

Welcome to the Show

The 2001 Apple World Wide Developer Conference is finished, and for those of us who were there, it was quite the whirlwind of activity and information. Like any other WWDC, this is the best chance for developers and technical people on the Mac to get a look inside the OS and the hardware, and to talk to the folks who make both. What was different about this session was the focus. No longer were the sessions about things that were about to ship, things that hadn't happened yet. No great charts about proposed shipping schedules. This was about the present, not the future, and it was almost all about Mac OS X.

When I say almost, I mean that discounting feedback forums, there were perhaps a handful of sessions that didn't explicitly talk about Mac OS X. It was a refreshing change of pace too. No ‘maybe', ‘will', or ‘may'. Just ‘are' and ‘has'. So, from that point of view, there were no earth shattering surprises. Which is just as well, as the last thing a programmer, or an IS manager wants to hear is ‘surprise'. That's not to say the conference was dull as dirt, but that you could pretty much anticipate what you were going to be seeing. My only real regret was that I had to miss all of Friday's sessions, and that I couldn't temporarily duplicate myself.

The Keynote

As all of you have seen and heard by now, the WWDC 2001 keynote was less of a revelatory one, and more of a lecture. Steve said it point blank, if you don't have your applications running native in Mac OS X, then your customers will find applications that are. This was not exactly taken well by some, but then again, harsh news rarely is. Now, some say Steve may have gone overboard with the finger shaking on this point, but maybe not. There are some folks, namely Adobe that have not only barely released a Carbon product, (Acrobat Reader is the best they can do?), but have been completely silent on even a vague schedule for when we can expect anything else. I understand about things like Acrobat and Photoshop that need scanner support, but things like GoLive and Illustrator should be almost done, or if Macromedia is any example, at least one of them should be done by now. But the point was made. The time is now to get product out there into the hands of the folks who write the checks, or someone else will come along and take your money. Apple understands painfully well how fickle loyalty can be in the computer market.

Not all was lecture and doom and gloom though. Jobs announced that the next version of Mac OS X Server was shipping, now sporting the Aqua interface, and taking its place as the server version of Apple's OS family. This version is also the product that marries the best of both the previous Mac OS X Server, and AppleShareIP. The other announcement was that as of May 21st, all Apple computers will ship with both Mac OS X, and Mac OS 9.1 installed, although Mac OS 9.1 will be the default boot OS.

This decision has been greeted by a curious range of emotions, ranging from those who think it is a complete mistake, to those who thing that it's an excellent idea. For myself, I'm somewhere in the middle. I think that Mac OS X still needs a lot of work in areas that haven't received as much press as the popular, yet somewhat inconsequential CD - burning/DVD Playback. Things like the fact that if you put your PowerBook to sleep without an external monitor or keyboard, when you wake it up, it doesn't recognize those things until you reboot, or that PC Card support is still ridiculously spotty. The lack of AppleScript support in the OS seems to not get a notice either.

Still, I think that Apple needed to do this. It allows Mac OS X to truly be a shipping OS, and it says that Apple has enough confidence in the OS as it stands to really put it out in the world. By making the default boot OS Mac OS 9.1, it also allows the period between the WWDC and MacWorld Expo New York, to be a transitional one, giving folks time to get used to the fact that Mac OS X really is the future, and that it really is going to be the shipping OS for Apple. If Apple can get Mac OS X updated enough by July for MacWorld, then making it the default OS for all Macs shipping after that event will not be as traumatic, or new.

A third keynote announcement was that WebObjects 5, now 100% Java was shipping. While of more interest to commerce, and large database web site developers, it still has implications for all technical users, developer or other. This is Apple saying that Java is not only a peer language with Objective C, but that it is the only language for Apple's biggest application server. It is, for Apple, a commitment to Java as a language and a platform for getting work done, that in its own way, rivals the Java commitment of such companies as IBM. It's also an example of Apple ‘eating its own dog food'. They have been saying since the first introduction of Mac OS X, that the OS will be one of, if not the premiere Java platform. By making WebObjects a Java - only environment, they are betting a huge part of Mac OS X on their ability to pull that off. Having played with some various Java applications that either ran terribly, or not at all in Mac OS 9.X, I don't think it's going to be hard to pull off.

The final announcement was that Apple would no longer be shipping CRT monitors. This was not a real surprise, although the 17" LCD display that Steve introduced was greeted with great enthusiasm. Apple has been heading towards LCDs faster than any other computer company, and by elminating all external CRT monitors, (leaving the iMac as the sole CRT product in the lineup), Apple has managed to simplify their inventory a bit. This also will save them some overhead on shipping, as a 21" CRT is neither light, nor cheap to ship.

There were of course, some product demos, such as Adobe Premiere, showing off some of its new features, and how making a movie under Mac OS X means you don't have to kill virtual memory, or networking. When it gets around to shipping, it should be a neat product. Micromat's Drive 10 utility was demonstrated, showing, for the most part, that even a utility can have an elegant, functional interface. There was a really nice demonstration of the native release of Macromedia's Freehand 10. The demo was run by Macromedia's Vice President of Marketing, Tom Hale. He announced that Mac OS X had allowed them to get performance improvements of up to 50% in some operations. The demo also made Job's point about getting the Mac OS X native versions out there, especially to Adobe. Unlike Photoshop, which is still the dominant player in it's space, Illustrator and Freehand have always been close competitors, with Illustrator's main advantage being the close integration it has with Adobe's other products. But between Freehand 10, and the upcoming native version of Canvas 8, Adobe could see Illustrator's market share drop if they can't have it shipping by July. Dominique Goupil, of FileMaker Inc. also ran through a dog and pony show of the newly carbonized FileMaker Pro 5.5. Although a database will get more than most application types from the plumbing in Mac OS X, they added a very neat feature, namely new support for PDF files. By integrating the native PDF support in Mac OS X with the QuickTime capabilities of FileMaker Pro, you can now ‘play' PDF files in a FileMaker database as though they were QuickTime movies. Considering that PDF is now the de facto standard for document exchange and archiving, this ability gives FileMaker quite a feather in its bonnet. The final demo was of Tony Hawk's skateboarding game. It's a neat game, but still seems to resemble Quake with a skateboard. The only thought this left me with is that ever since the rise of Quake, Tomb Raider, and Myth, most computer games seem to be variants on those basic archetypes. Hopefully, this will change soon.

The Meat of the Week

WWDC is hard to talk about sometimes because there is just so much information to handle. Even accepting that I just can't be in all the sessions I want to be in, there is still enough to make one's brain hurt.

Almost all the sessions were packed almost to capacity. No one, it seems, can get enough information on Mac OS X, and Apple was dishing it out in quantity. Some sessions had enough information, that the Q and A periods were held out in the hallways. The only session I was at that wasn't jammed full was the Tech Docs Feedback forum. This was particularly amusing to me, as one of the most consistent complaints about Apple is in this very area, yet the attendance doesn't reflect this. In any case, this was, as were the rest of the sessions, well worth the time taken. The tech docs folks not only were able to show where they had made progress on issues raised in the past, but also had a clear roadmap of where they were going. They said all the right things, but not just pro forma. There was a definite ring of sincerity to what they were saying, and the fact that they could point to definite improvements helped a lot here as well. Many issues surrounding non-developer technical documentation are being handled in what looks like the correct manner, that is, by handing that area over to the iServices folks, who are also in charge of certification and technical training on Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server. Although it may seem odd to praise a ‘passing of the buck' as it were, the fact is, by ensuring that the proper groups are handling the different documentation areas, we, as the users of this documentation, get a better product that is more focused on our needs.

Another perennial capacity forum is the ‘Meet the VPs' feedback forum. This is where attendees get a chance to be in the same room as the folks who head up the major groups at Apple, and talk to them directly. Comparing this year to sessions in past, the responsiveness is getting better each year, and the folks who came in from NeXT seem to be ‘getting' the Mac more each year. Concerns about AppleScript were acknowledged, and for the first time, the NeXT folks were just as emphatic that AppleScript will be receiving the attention it needs to be the same tool as it is in Mac OS 9. This is important to many developers and technical people, as there have been, and still are fears that the NeXT folks don't ‘get' the Mac, and don't want to get the Mac. By having those people take the lead in correcting this, a lot of fears can be calmed down. There are feedback forums at the WWDC for almost every area of the Mac OS, and they are almost all well attended. As one of the forum panel folks told me after a particularly emotional session, Apple values the good and the bad feedback, especially the passionate feedback. Developers only get passionate about an OS they care about, not one they are about to dump. So Apple realizes that they cannot afford to ignore, or not listen to a developer that gets a little carried away in the heat of the moment.

The technical sessions I attended were all well done, and well thought out. The information was presented in an interesting fashion, and considering how dry API explanations can be, the fact that these folks make it interesting shows the amount of care put into the WWDC by Apple. One of the amusing things for me was watching the student and open source developers realize that when Apple says it doesn't discuss unannounced products, it isn't kidding. Although this may seem to be an oxymoron for a developers conference, there's some sense there. Things are always changing, patches are always being released, etc. If Apple spends large amounts of time on what may happen in the future, they aren't spending time talking about what developers need to know for what is shipping now. While finding out tidbits about new sparklies on the horizon is cool, given the choice between talking about soon and now, I'll take now.

This focus was a good thing, especially considering the sheer volume of information presented. Many of the sessions included excellent advice on optimizing application performance, specific code examples, etc. Even better, since all of this information was about shipping products, it was all stuff that we can use here and now, not at some unspecified point in the future, and it might change. When Apple said, this is the API to use for this functionality, and here's where all the details are, it was nice to know that it wasn't all going to change overnight. Which is what we have all needed on Mac OS X for a while now. Reliable, accurate, detailed information. Is Apple 100% of where they need to be for now? No, but they are much closer than they were last year. Progress always beats stagnation, especially when talking about documentation.

Conclusion

I know that I'm not going into excruciating detail about session content, etc. But then, all of what was said at the conference is available from Apple online, or via email. What is different, and what cannot be replicated in any article is the value one gets from bouncing ideas off of Apple engineers, and other developers. You have to be there for that. If you are in a position where you need technical information on the Mac and the Mac OS, then you need to be at the WWDC. It's a lot of work, and a lot of fun.


John Welch jwelch@completemac.com is Training Specialist for Complete Mac Seminars, the leading MacOS instructional company. He has over fifteen years of experience at making computers work. His specialties are figuring out ways to make the Mac do what nobody thinks it can, and helping other folks learn how to do those things for themselves.

 
AAPL
$97.67
Apple Inc.
+2.95
MSFT
$45.38
Microsoft Corpora
+0.55
GOOG
$597.41
Google Inc.
+2.67

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Firefox 31.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox for Mac offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals... Read more
Little Snitch 3.3.3 - Alerts you to outg...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activityAs soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
Thunderbird 31.0 - Email client from Moz...
As of July 2012, Thunderbird has transitioned to a new governance model, with new features being developed by the broader free software and open source community, and security fixes and improvements... Read more
Together 3.2 - Store and organize all of...
Together helps you organize your Mac, giving you the ability to store, edit and preview your files in a single clean, uncluttered interface. Smart storage. With simple drag-and-drop functionality,... Read more
Cyberduck 4.5 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Airmail 1.4 - Powerful, minimal email cl...
Airmail is a powerful, minimal mail client.It was designed to retain the same experience with a single or multiple accounts and provide a quick, modern and easy-to-use user experience. Airmail... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.1.12 - Monitor and co...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.37 - 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
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.9 - Fo...
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. This update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected and fixes a rare issue... Read more
FileZilla 3.9.0.1 - Fast and reliable FT...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.Version 3.9.0.1: MSW: Fix installation issue with locked DLLs... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Stronghold 3: The Campaigns Review
Stronghold 3: The Campaigns Review By Jennifer Allen on July 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: DULL STRATEGIZINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad A cumbersome strategy game, Stronghold 3: The Campaigns has a few too many issues to... | Read more »
Table Tennis Touch on Sale for a Limited...
Table Tennis Touch on Sale for a Limited Time Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Secret Files Tunguska Review
Secret Files Tunguska Review By Jennifer Allen on July 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: CONSPIRACY-LITTERED ADVENTURINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Offering traditional adventuring with no fear of in-app purchases, Secret... | Read more »
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat L...
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat Learning Library Sale Posted by Ellis Spice on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dragon Raiders Review
Dragon Raiders Review By Nadia Oxford on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: RUN, DRAGON, RUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dragon Raiders is rough and scaly in some parts, but overall it’s an enjoyable level-based running... | Read more »
MyTaskList Review
MyTaskList Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: EFFECTIVE IF PLAINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s not the most stylish of task management apps, but MyTaskList has all the features you could... | Read more »
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRICKY FLYINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A tough game of careful thrusting and navigation, FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines... | Read more »
MTN Review
MTN Review By Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADORABLE, SERENE, AND AMUSINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad MTN is an adorable, talking pet mountain that is less game and more zen garden.   | Read more »
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available o...
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available on the App Store Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Bio Inc. Review
Bio Inc. Review By Nadia Oxford on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SICKENING - IN A COMPELLING WAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Bio Inc is about orchestrating the medical destruction of a single person. If that doesn’... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

MacBook Airs on sale starting at $799, free s...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple 27″ Thunderbolt Display (refurbished) a...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ Thunderbolt Displays available for $799 including free shipping. That’s $200 off the cost of new models. Read more
WaterField Designs Unveils Cycling Ride Pouch...
High end computer case and bag maker WaterField Designs of San Francisco now enters the cycling market with the introduction of the Cycling Ride Pouch – an upscale toolkit with a scratch-free iPhone... Read more
Kingston Digital Ships Large Capacity Near 1T...
Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc.,has announced its latest addition to the SSDNow V300 series, the V310. The Kingston SSDNow V310 solid-state... Read more
Apple’s Fiscal Third Quarter Results; Record...
Apple has announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 third quarter ended June 28, 2014, racking up quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per... Read more
15-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Retina on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1829 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $170 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 2.5GHz Mac... Read more
Twelve South HiRise For MacBook – Height-Adju...
If you use your MacBook as a workhorse desktop substitute, as many of us do, a laptop stand combined with an external keyboard and pointing device are pretty much obligatory if you want to avoid... Read more
Why The Mac Was Not Included In The Apple/IBM...
TUAW’s Yoni Heisler cites Fredrick Paul of Network World whoi blogged last week that the Mac’s conspicuous absence from Apple and IBM’s landmark partnership agreement represents a huge squandered... Read more
Save $100 on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, plu...
Adorama has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: - 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB MacBook Pro with Retina Display: $1199 - 13″ 2.... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full 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
Sr *Apple* Engineer - IT - Requisition #: -...
For more information about TIAA-CREF, visit our website . The Apple Engineer will provide engineering and third-level incident support for 300- 500 MacOS desktop/laptop Read more
*Apple* Systems Administrator - DISH (United...
…satellite service provider, and Dish is currently looking for an experienced Apple /Mac Systems Administrator. Apple systems administrator will be responsible for Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.