This is a really great Apple Developer News — it succinctly sums up WWDC,
so we’re redistributing here.

— —
— A P P L E D E V E L O P E R N E W S —
— From the staff of Apple Directions —
— —
— #56 Supplement May 13, 1997 —

Most of the items in this e-mail can be found at Apple’s Developer World
site, with live links to referenced web sites:


For subscription/cancellation information, see the end of this message.

The WWDC ’97 Keynote: A Personal Account

by Gregg Williams
Apple Developer Relations
Apple Computer

Tuesday, May 13, 1997

If there was anything different about the 1997 Apple Worldwide Developers
Conference, I couldn’t tell it. The usual assortment of developers were
milling about before the Opening Keynote session, the presentation stage
was, if anything, even more opulent than usual, and Hall 1 of the San Jose
Convention Center was almost filled to capacity. It was an excellent
turnout that countered the dire predictions of a troubled and
under-attended WWDC.

I think I will remember it as the day that I realized that Apple was back
on its way to greatness, once again.

I sat through the Opening Keynote with some knowledge of what was going to
be said. But seeing it said in one place, with demos of upcoming operating
systems running flawlessly, I began to see things as they must have
appeared to the rest of the audience: a strategy that was coherent,
sensible, and deliverable. As Apple Chairman and CEO Dr. Gilbert Amelio
said during his part of the presentation, “The strategy is sound, the code
[that the strategy depends on] is real.”

### Major Statements ###

Apple has a bad habit of announcing things under its breath, the end
result being that not everybody hears what Apple has announced or they’re
unsure as to whether something was “really” announced. To ensure that this
doesn’t happen here, below is a list of things I picked up from the
Opening Keynote that I think most developers will find to be BIG NEWS. The
speakers were Dr. Amelio, John Rubenstein (senior vice president of
hardware development), and Avadis (Avie) Tevanian Jr. (senior vice
president of software engineering). If this isn’t official enough, I don’t
know what is.

* Apple’s Dual OS strategy. Apple is pursuing a dual OS strategy that
includes both the Mac OS and the new operating system based on Apple and
NeXT technology, code-named Rhapsody. Rhapsody is not meant to be a
replacement for the Mac OS. According to Avie Tevanian, “The Mac OS is so
important to moving our business forward. We have no plans for Rhapsody to
replace the Mac OS anytime soon.”

* New life for the Mac OS. Apple promised yearly major releases of the Mac
OS: Mac OS 8 (Tempo) this July (and it’s on schedule), Allegro (mid-1998),
Sonata (mid-1999), and–this was new to me as well–an unnamed release for
mid-2000. “The Mac OS will continue for years to come,” Dr. Amelio said,
“and customers can migrate to Rhapsody at their own speed.” Apple
announced that the Mac OS engineering team was fully staffed and would
continue to improve the Mac OS, increasing its performance and stability
and improving the OS in ways that would add value for customers *without*
depending on developer adoption of new technologies.

* Rhapsody for Intel. Yes, yes, yes–Apple executives have mentioned this
before, but talking about it at WWDC as part of a larger strategy should
make it official in everybody’s eyes: There *will* be a version of the
Rhapsody operating system that will run on Intel Pentium computers. It
won’t have the Blue Box (which allows the PowerPC processor-based version
of Rhapsody to run Mac OS software), but it’ll be identical otherwise.
Recompile your Rhapsody application and it’ll run on Intel computers that
are running this operating system.

* Apple’s Yellow Box strategy. Most of the innovation in Rhapsody will
come from what Apple has code-named the “Yellow Box.” The Yellow Box is
based on the OpenStep operating system that Apple acquired from NeXT
Software, but it also contains key Apple technologies, including the
QuickTime Media Layer (QuickTime, QuickTime VR, and QuickDraw 3D) and

Perhaps the biggest announcement of the day (and of the entire conference)
is that the Yellow Box is not just the “engine” within Rhapsody, but
rather a development platform–implemented as a set of APIs (application
programming interfaces)–that allows you to write one set of source code
and, by recompiling for each platform, reach *five* separate platforms.
The five platforms are:

– the Rhapsody (for PowerPC) operating system
– the Rhapsody for Intel operating system
– Mac OS
– Windows 95/Windows NT (one recompilation reaches both platforms)

Support for Rhapsody, Windows 95, and Windows NT will be out as soon as
Rhapsody comes out. (Support for these three platforms is based on
technologies that NeXT has been shipping as commercial products, so this
part of Apple’s strategy is more than an unimplemented intention.) Nothing
was said about exactly when Rhapsody for Intel will come out. Yellow Box
for Mac OS functionality is due in mid-1998 with the release of Allegro.

Because the technology that allows a Yellow Box application to run on top
of Windows 95 or Windows NT is based on licensed technology, there has
been a fear that you would have to pay a royalty for each copy of an
application that uses this technology. One big piece of news that came out
during the Opening Keynote is that Apple would make this technology
available to you through a no-fee license–meaning that you can deploy
your Yellow Box application on Windows 95 and Windows NT without it
costing you a cent extra.

Apple’s announcement of the Yellow Box strategy makes Apple’s position
stronger than ever. Some developers said they needed a single development
solution that would cover both the Mac OS and Rhapsody platforms–now they
have it. Others said they needed a single development solution that is
cross-platform between the Windows world and the Apple world–now they
have that, too.

In short, the Yellow Box strategy removes many of the objections that
developers have had about developing for the computers that Apple and its
licensees sell.

* Java. Sun’s Java environment is a component of the Yellow Box, meaning
that it is also part of the five platforms mentioned above and that Java
programs can run, unmodified, on any of them.

In addition, Apple is making it possible for Java programs to access the
Yellow Box APIs. Think of what this means: You still have a Java program
that, *without* recompilation, will run on the five platforms mentioned
above–and they have access to a far more sophisticated set of routines
(the Yellow Box API) than is available to a plain-vanilla Java program.
Such a solution gives you the best of both worlds–the portability of Java
and the extra power and flexibility of a full-featured development

### Final Thoughts ###

*Whew!* That was just the Opening Keynote session. Afterwards, I attended
Mac OS and Rhapsody technical sessions that gave more details on Apple’s
OS strategy, as well as details on some other important topics–most
notably, Apple’s emphasis on Internet support in its operating systems,
and the WebObjects technology for producing dynamically-created web pages.

I’ll mention briefly the Opening Keynote demos, which included:

– a demo of Mac OS 8 (Tempo)
– a demo of the Blue Box (which showed the current beta version of
Mac OS 8 running within Rhapsody)
– the current (pre-Developer Release) version of Rhapsody, running
on a PowerPC processor-based Macintosh
– a Java program that displayed a rotating QuickDraw 3D object (by
calling QuickDraw 3D through the Yellow Box)

Also, I have to mention an unsolicited comment that one developer, Stephen
David Beck, from Louisiana State University, made at lunch: “I was
impressed not just by the demos but by the implications of those
demos–namely, that Rhapsody is farther along than I expected.”

I think he–and the majority of developers at WWDC today–was seeing what
I see: namely, an Apple that has its act together, that has articulated a
promising new direction, and that has shown concrete evidence that it will
be able to deliver what it promised. And that’s a good place to start
one’s climb back to greatness, once again.

————— About This E-mail —————

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