From the Editor, July 2009
Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 07
Column Tag: Editorial
From the Editor, July 2009
We're all now mostly rested from WWDC 2009 and back with another information-packed issue. For some reason, the week of WWDC always turns out to be much more hectic than I think it will be. There's the public opening keynote, and the ensuing discussions, of course. But then sessions start up, and meetings with Apple Engineers, and dinners with co-workers and friends, and communication with people who didn't attend the conference (family, co-workers, etc.), and on and on.
Interestingly, for a conference as old as WWDC, it's still being shaped, or coming of age. This year was nearly dominated by iPhone development. 65% of WWDC attendees were new (it was their first time attending the conference). That's astounding. Interestingly, the session attendance bore this out: most any 'beginner' or 'introduction to...' session was filled to capacity. The Apple universe is once again in a period of growth. What a great time to be wrapped up technologically with Apple products.
Despite the heavy iPhone influence, there was still plenty to dig into. Of course, since iPhone development is Objective-C based, there's a lot of overlap between iPhone and Mac OS X development, and many sessions reflected that. The IT tracks seem to be getting the squeeze, but as I've mentioned many times in the past, there are many "developer" topics that are ideal for IT people. If you consider yourself an IT person and want to push yourself, you should be paying attention to many of these topics, such as scripting and the Cocoa API.
Of course, there are also the Labs, where you can interact directly with Apple Engineers. The Labs were larger this year and took up more of the dining are on the ground floor. This is a fantastic opportunity to show an Apple Engineer - someone who can really do something - a problem that you're having or a reproducible bug.
Perhaps it's because I didn't attend too many iPhone sessions, but the conference once again felt personal to me, and a little exclusive. We'll have to see where Apple takes all of this as the show is now selling out entirely. Adding capacity takes away from one of the main draws of the show: time with an Apple Engineer. The interaction between all of the various disciplines is too valuable to break into separate shows. But something has to give at some point, one would imagine.
MacTech in June - handed out to attendees in line for the keynote at WWDC - was the largest issue in a while. Up top, however, I promised an information-packed issue. So, how do we follow up from last month?
First, we start with an article that fits the mold of what I've been describing perfectly: Greg Neagle covers Scripting Opportunities for System Administrators. Possibly the best thing about OS X is the addition of common scripting languages like bash, Python, Perl and Ruby.
This month's Mac in the Shell also covers a topic on the scripting front: text parsing in Python. Specifically, pulling text out of e-mail messages.
A topic of interest to everyone is Demystifying PKI. Security should be a top concern in any technology effort. Public Key Infrastructure is the prevalent way to protect data in transit and verify identity.
Criss Myers returns with an article covering JAMF Software's Casper, specifically for imaging. Casper has become an increasingly important tool in many Sys Admin's toolboxes. It is very good at what it does and contains a broad range of utility. Let Criss demonstrate how using Casper can make a Sys Admin's job easier.
This month features a very special Road to Code. Dave Dribin interviews Brad Cox, the co-inventor of Objective-C. It's really interesting to hear about the origins of the language (that is now used to develop for every Macintosh and iPhone on Earth) and to see what he's doing now.
Microsoft's Sharepoint is a really incredible document storage and workflow server. OS X clients have long been second-class citizens when working in a Sharepoint environment. Well, I can't say that we're seeing feature parity with Windows here, but, the recently released Service Pack 2 for Office 2008 brings dramatic improvement to the Sharepoint experience from a Mac.
Hopefully, you've soaked in all of the material from WWDC and have some great new ideas. Let us know how you've been inspired: correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next month!