TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Toolmaker Advice
Volume 9
Number 11
Column Tag Inside Information

Advice for the Toolmaker

Keeping pace with an ever-changing industry

By Chris Espinosa, Apple Computer, Inc., MacTech Magazine Regular Contributing Author

I’ve been working with development tools for personal computers for almost eighteen years now. The first development system I used on a personal computer was Microsoft BASIC on a hand-built IMSAI machine in the summer of 1976. (Don’t tell Bill Gates where I got the BASIC papertape). Since then, I’ve worked with the Apple I and Apple II monitor and BASIC systems; the Apple II and Apple III Pascal systems; the Lisa Workshop, with the original Lisa Toolkit (predecessor of MacApp); the Macintosh Development System, A/UX, MPW, HyperCard, and AppleScript.

That’s a lot of systems to work with, and luckily, I didn’t have to master more than one or two at a time. But now I’m working with the development of a number of new tools, as well as the evolution of Apple’s current ones: future versions of AppleScript, HyperCard, and Macintosh Common Lisp; the evolution of MacApp into Bedrock; the cross-pollination of MPW and Symantec C; the OpenDoc initiative; the tools of Apple’s collaboration with IBM, including Kaleida’s ScriptX and Taligent’s object-based system; as well as new developments coming out of Apple’s advanced technology group (like SK8) and other Apple divisions (like the Newton Toolkit and the Apple Media Kit). That’s as many new tools - simultaneously - as I’ve worked with in my life. And like everyone else, I have to keep an eye on other tools, like Visual BASIC and Visual C++, PowerBuilder, AppWare, and on and on.

So I think I have a feeling for how complicated it is for software developers to follow the tools business. For me it’s a full time job just to follow what’s happening and why. A developer has to not only do the same legwork, but actually bet money and resources on those tools. These days, making a bet on which tool to use could be as important as making a bet on what product to develop or which platforms to support.

All tools developers, including Apple, face a fundamental dilemma. On the one hand, software developers know that there’s too much complexity and inefficiency in their current tools, and want something better. On the other hand, changing development tools and methodologies is a big expense and a big risk - especially for companies with large amounts of current code to maintain.

What’s worse is that there are new opportunities - mobile computing, PDAs, digital multimedia, etc. - that tempt developers to take a different risk to get in at the beginning of another huge industry. Normally, you’d think that people would minimize risk, and pick one or the other. But it’s possible that the winners in the next five years will be the ones who take both risks - who adopt new tools to create products in new categories.

In talking to developers I notice that the ones that are most aggressive about adopting object technologies also seem to be the ones that are the most visionary about the new development opportunities. At first I thought that this was simply the early-adopter phenomenon; that they’re just being aggressive across the board. But the more time I spent with them, the more I understood that these organizations were adopting object technology almost defensively, as an explicit strategy to be able to take advantage of the new opportunities. And it makes sense. A developer with a three- or four-year-old application that’s competing version by version in the marketplace isn’t about to spend a year retooling the application using object technologies, losing a year of the feature and performance improvements that the installed base wants (and the competition is providing). Sometimes the only groups who can afford to spend the time to do it right are the ones who don’t have competition, who don’t have an installed base, but who intend to break in to a brand-new business.

The lesson for toolmakers, then, is that there may not be much value in helping people write traditional applications better and faster. Though the authors of those traditional applications certainly could use the improvement in efficiency, the competitive environment doesn’t allow them to take the time to retool. These developers will only adopt new tools that let them take their current code base with them. New tools that require a developer to start from scratch shouldn’t focus on creating the traditional, single-platform, monolithic application; those toolmakers should look to the developing industries of component applications, content authoring, PDAs, and cross-platform or client/server solutions to find an audience for the new tools.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Tor Browser 11.5.8 - Anonymize Web brows...
Using Tor Browser you can protect yourself against tracking, surveillance, and censorship. Tor was originally designed, implemented, and deployed as a third-generation onion-routing project of the U.... Read more
Alarm Clock Pro 15.0 - $19.95 (91% off)
Alarm Clock Pro isn't just an ordinary alarm clock. Use it to wake you up in the morning, send and compose e-mails, remind you of appointments, randomize the iTunes selection, control an internet... Read more
Google Chrome 107.0.5304.121 - Modern an...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
calibre 6.9.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Safari Technology Preview 16.4 - The new...
Safari Technology Preview contains the most recent additions and improvements to WebKit and the latest advances in Safari web technologies. And once installed, you will receive notifications of... Read more
FileZilla 3.62.2 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. The FileZilla Client not only supports FTP, but also FTP over TLS... Read more
djay Pro 4.0.13 - Transform your Mac int...
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
Opera 93.0.4585.21 - High-performance We...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
AppCleaner 3.6.6 - Uninstall your apps e...
AppCleaner allows you to uninstall your apps easily. It searches the files created by the applications and you can delete them quickly. Supports macOS Ventura. Fixed an issue causing failed updates... Read more
QuickBooks 21.0.7.1248 - Financial manag...
QuickBooks helps you manage your business easily and efficiently. Organize your finances all in one place, track money going in and out of your business, and spot areas where you can save. Built for... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

‘Top Hunter Roddy & Cathy’ Review –...
The NEOGEO is generally characterized by, with only a few notable exceptions, fighting games and Metal Slug. Within a couple of years of its launch, the vast majority of the output on the console seemed to be mining (quite successfully) a few... | Read more »
SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring...
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 28th, 2022. In today’s article, we’ve got a pair of reviews to check out. Full reviews of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and The Oregon Trail are waiting for you to read. There’... | Read more »
‘OPUS: Echo of Starsong’ Interview: Port...
With OPUS: Echo of Starsong ($8.99) having finally launched on iOS after hitting PC and consoles, I had a chance to talk to Scott Chen who is the co-founder and executive producer of Sigono. In our chat, I touched on topics like game subscription... | Read more »
Best iPhone Game Updates: ‘Rush Rally 3’...
Hello everyone, and welcome to the week! It’s time once again for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven days. As November breaths its last, the holiday season is right around the corner. That means we should start seeing more... | Read more »
‘Total Football’ is an Arcade-Style Socc...
GALA SPORTS recently launched its brand new soccer title, Total Football, and, true to its name, it is a pure arcade-style soccer game in the same vein as FIFA Mobile and PES Mobile. It also features official licensing from FIFPro and Manchester... | Read more »
Genshin Impact will recieve two new char...
HoYoverse has announced that Genshin Impacts version 3.3 will be arriving on December 7th. Titled All Senses Clear, All Existence Void, the update will bring two powerful new characters and a brand new card-based minigame. [Read more] | Read more »
‘Wreckfest’ Mobile Compared With Console...
HandyGames’ mobile version of Bugbear’s demolition derby-style racer Wreckfest ($9.99) released on iOS and Android recently, and we featured it as our Game of the Week. | Read more »
Black Friday Deals Here – The TouchArcad...
After taking a couple of weeks off we return on this glorious Black Friday with another episode of The TouchArcade Show. We get into a big discussion about virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google, and their place in the greater smarthome... | Read more »
TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Station 1...
I’m a big fan of Glitch Games and their unique brand of point-and-click adventure/escape room/puzzle games, and while they’re a tiny outfit and there’d typically be a couple years gap in-between their new releases, they were always worth the wait.... | Read more »
SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Super Lone Survi...
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for November 25th, 2022. Today we look at the remaining releases for the week, and I’ll be honest with you: it’s not a great assortment. Still, there are at least a couple of things... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Cyber Monday: 24″ Apple M1 iMacs for $150 off...
Amazon has Apple’s 24″ M1 iMacs on Black Friday sale for $150 off MSRP. Their prices are currently the lowest available for new iMacs among the Apple retailers we track: – 24″ M1 iMacs (8-Core CPU/7-... Read more
Cyber Monday Sale: 25% off Apple MagSafe acce...
Apple retailers are offering MagSafe accessories for up to 25% off MSRP for Cyber Monday. Here are the best deals available, currently from Verizon and Amazon: (1) Verizon has Apple MagSafe Chargers... Read more
Cyber Monday Sale: Apple AirPods for up to $1...
Looking for Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max this Cyber Monday? Look no further than our Apple AirPods Price Tracker. We track prices from 20+ Apple retailers and update the tracker... Read more
Final day for Apple’s Black Friday/Cyber Mond...
CYBER MONDAY Apple’s four day Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2022 event is now live and will run from November 25, 2022 to November 28, 2022 (ends today!). Receive a free $100-$250 Apple Gift Card with... Read more
Cyber Monday: Apple 13″ M2 MacBook Airs for $...
Apple retailers have posted their Cyber Monday prices on 13″ MacBook Airs. Take up to $200 off MSRP on M2-powered Airs with these sales with prices starting at only $1049. Free shipping is available... Read more
The best Cyber Monday iPhone sale? This $500...
If you switch to Xfinity Mobile and open a new line of service, they will take $500 off the price of a new iPhone, no trade-in required. This is the best no trade-in Cyber Monday Apple iPhone 14 deal... Read more
Cyber Monday Sale: Apple 16″ MacBook Pros for...
Amazon is offering $500 off MSRP discounts on Apple 16″ MacBook Pros with M1 Pro CPUs as part of their Cyber Monday sale. Their prices are the lowest available for these models from any Apple... Read more
Cyber Monday Sale: Apple 14″ MacBook Pros for...
Amazon is offering $300-$500 off MSRP discounts on Apple 14-inch MacBook Pros with M1 Pro CPUs as part of their Cyber Monday sale. Their prices are the lowest available for these models from any... Read more
Cyber Monday Sale: Apple Watch Ultra for $60...
Amazon has Apple Watch Ultra models (Alpine Loop, Trail Loop, and Opean Bans) on sale for $60 off MSRP as part of their Cyber Monday sale, each including free shipping, reducing the price for an... Read more
Cyber Monday MacBook Sale: 13″ M1 Apple MacBo...
Amazon has Apple 13″ M1 MacBook Airs back on sale for $200 off MSRP, starting at only $799, for Cyber Monday 2022. Their prices are the lowest available for new MacBooks this Cyber Monday. Stock may... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Electronic Repair Technician - PlanI...
…a highly motivated individual to join our Production Department as an Apple Electronic Repair Technician. The computer repair technician will diagnose, assemble, Read more
Product Manager II - *Apple* - DISH (United...
…you will be doing We seek an ambitious, data-driven thinker to assist the Apple Product Development team as our new Retail Wireless division continues to grow and Read more
Staff Engineer 5G Protocol, *Apple* - DISH...
…metrics. Essential Functions and Responsibilities for a Staff Engineer 5G protocol( Apple ) Knowledge of 5G and 4G/LTE protocols and system architectures Experience Read more
Cashier - *Apple* Blossom Mall - JCPenney (...
Cashier - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Blossom Mall Read more
Omnichannel Associate - *Apple* Blossom Mal...
Omnichannel Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.