The MacTech Spotlight: Marcus S. Zarra, Owner, Zarra Studios, LLC
Volume Number: 24 (2008)
Issue Number: 02
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight
The MacTech Spotlight: Marcus S. Zarra
Owner, Zarra Studios, LLC
What do you do?
I am the primary developer for Zarra Studios. Zarra Studios develops two software titles in house, seSales (Simply Elegant Sales) a Point of Sale system for OS X and iWeb Buddy, a post processor for Apple's iWeb 2008.
I am also working with Jon Trainer of Outer Level to develop Bull Frog 2 one of the first Leopard-only video games.
Lastly, Zarra Studios develops software for other companies such as Twinsparc, Acrocat, and several others.
How long have you been doing what you do?
I have been doing consulting work since 1996 and formed Zarra Studios in 2005 to proceed the launch of seSales. Prior to 1996 I was developing software for Law Firms in Phoenix, Arizona.
Your first computer:
The first computer I ever worked with was a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1. I learned BASIC on the TRS-80 and then learned Assembly on an Apple IIe.
Are you Mac-only, or a multi-platform person?
As of 2002 I have been using Macs exclusively. Prior to that I have used just about every operating system available.
What attracts you to working on the Mac?
The elegance of the platform and the attention to detail are what initially brought me back to Apple. However it was the design of Cocoa and Objective-C that made me want to develop for the platform. Prior to that I had been using OS X to develop Java applications.
There simply is no other language I would rather be working in nor any other platform I would rather be writing for. Apple has really nailed it, from the developer's point of view, when it comes to ease of development and design.
What's the coolest thing about the Mac?
From a business point of view, I would have to say the shareware market. I once heard it referred to as the Wild West during the Gold Rush. I would have to say that is a fairly accurate description. On no other platform can an independent software vendor have such an incredible opportunity to make a difference.
If I could change one thing about Apple/OS X, I'd:
I have very few complaints with OS X. Probably my biggest complaint is the fact that the consumer level applications provided by Apple do not send out very many distributed notifications nor are they very scriptable. For example, iWeb does not allow you to watch when it has finished publishing a site. Another example would be that iTunes does not allow you to set or look at the settings of Air Tunes speakers. It would really help developers if we had greater access to these consumer applications to extend them.
What's the coolest tech thing you've done using OS X?
The coolest thing I have done for OS X is unfortunately under NDA. I can say that it involves Bonjour, Distributed Objects and iTunes. Beyond that I unfortunately cannot release until the application has been completed.
In the late 1990's I wrote a crossword puzzle applet in Java for Timothy Parker and Universal Press Syndicate. That applet, unbeknownst to me at the time, changed the way that crossword puzzles would be played on the internet forever. Up until it was retired a few years ago, it was the most played applet and crossword puzzle application in the world.
Where can we see a sample of your work?
Most of my current work can be downloaded from my website at http://www.zarrastudios.com. In addition, there are links on my website to work I have done for other companies.
The next way I'm going to impact IT/OS X/the Mac universe is:
With iWeb Buddy. Once it is released it is going to allow more people to utilize iWeb to write their blogs and run their websites in ways that are not currently possible.