TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Jul 96 Crabbs Apple
Volume Number:12
Issue Number:7
Column Tag:Crabb’s Apple

Too Many Cups of Java

By Don Crabb

In less than a year, Sun Microsystems’ Java WWW programming language has gone from “What’s that?” to “It will change your life.” Companies have been falling all over each other trying to figure out what Java is, how to use it, how to exploit it, how to build products with it. The action’s been hot in both the Windows world and in Mac OS land. My question is this: where does the hype end and the reality begin?

For Mac language vendors, the answer is obvious: the reality is that they must have their own version of Java to feed the Mac development community and keep those developers in line with their mainstream C/C++ environments. Besides the problematic SunSoft Java WorkShop 1.0 (problematic for Mac developers, that is, because it runs only on Solaris 2.4 [or later], Microsoft Windows95, and Windows NT 3.51 [or later]), this has already given rise to Natural Intelligence’s Roaster, Symantec’s Café, and Metrowerks’ CodeWarrior Java (thank you, Metrowerks, for not choosing a cutesy name!), and others that will certainly make their presence felt in 1996 - including, maybe, an Apple Java as part of a forthcoming ETO release.

And, as popular as Java-for-the-Mac releases have become, books that purport to teach you Java or some aspect of Java programming have proliferated at an astounding rate. You can walk into any decent bookstore these days and find a Java Programming section all to itself. (By the way, if you are looking for top-quality Java books, consider those published by O’Reilly Books; they’re the top titles.)

I don’t have a quarrel with the book publishers or tool vendors; it is their job, after all, to provide us with the means to an end. It’s the end that I’m not all that clear on.

What, really, is Java going to do for the moribund Macintosh market? Will it give us the means to create insanely great applications that we couldn’t create without it? Will it create new markets for our products that did not exist before? Will it convince customers to buy Macs instead of Wintel? Or will it do none of these things?

Creating Java Applets

The creation of Java applets has consumed much of the WWW content work for many professional Web publishers for the last six months. And with the availability of Netscape Navigator 2.X for the Mac, Mac folk have a browser that can actually use these applets as they were meant. But has that capability really helped the Mac?

I don’t think so. The reason is simple: given the very shaky state of Apple these days, anything that does not contribute to the corporate bottom line (and thus, indirectly, to our individual bottom lines) is a waste of time and money. So far, the general availability of Java on the Mac has not contributed a dime in direct Mac sales. It’s made money for tool vendors and book publishers, but it’s not made a dent in Apple’s financial woes. And it’s not likely to make much of a dent, either, unless Apple can figure a way to stake out some aspect of Java that is uniquely Mac (even if it takes marketing conceits to do it).

So far, that has not happened, and Apple has no announced plans to remedy it. Java has not yet been componentized by Apple to fit its OpenDoc SOM architecture. It has not yet been incorporated into any scheme with Cyberdog. Apple hasn’t even mentioned it in the same breath as Copland. Given the latter’s continued story of delay, you might think that, if Apple figured Java would be a big part of their Internet strategy, they would announce that Java support would be built into Copland. Even lip service on this issue would be welcomed.

So far, Apple’s only told us that it will incorporate Java into the Mac OS, Newton and other technologies. Chief Scientist Larry Tesler said at the recent Internet World conference that the company would make Java “widely available in its products”, such as: the Mac OS; Cyberdog, the company’s suite of Internet OpenDoc parts; its Internet servers; the Newton OS; and Apple’s “media-authoring technologies”. But exactly what that means (will it be the full componentization that’s needed?) is quite unclear, as are its Mac OS plans.

Creating New Markets

I have no doubts that Java will somehow create new markets, just as the Internet and WWW are doing in a more global sense. What I have great doubts about, however, is how any of these emerging markets will help out Apple, the Mac OS, and Macintosh. Given that the current number-one Web browser (Netscape) has become an afterthought on the Mac, and that other WWW publishing, management, and content-creation tools are never going to see Mac versions, the prognosis for Java on the Mac is not swimmingly positive - especially at doing anything to help create new markets for Mac.

This could change given the right moves by Apple, by an Apple-Sun-Netscape merger or technology agreement, or because of increased pressure by Microsoft forcing their foes together to rally around Java as an anti-Microsoft WWW discriminator.

In their order above, I’d rate those possibilties as moderately likely, moderately unlikely, and nearly impossible.

Slipping Customers the Convincer

Well, this category is pretty much a no-brainer. Java already runs in many forms on Windows platforms (remember, even the SunSoft Java WorkShop 1.0 runs on Windows95 and NT, but not the MacOS). In fact, it’s led the way over Mac implementations of the language and over Java-enabled applications on the Mac. So as a Mac vs. Wintel differentiater, Java ain’t it.

But that does not mean that Apple could not (with a hell of a lot of development and marketing work, and maybe a partnership or two) produce a compelling Java-on-the-Mac strategy that would be an inducement to go Mac - especially if that strategy revolved around Apple as the vendor of choice for the intranet. Given the Mac OS-based client/server products that already play nice on the Web (good stuff like 4th Dimension, Tango/Butler, and others), Apple could make a Java-based intranet strategy fly. But it would mean serious support for existing tools vendors and a serious commitment to developing real Java-based intranet solutions for MacOS customers.

Crabb’s Bottom Line

The question I asked at the top of this column, “What, really, is Java going to do for the moribund Macintosh market?”, still remains unanswered. And after slicing and dicing that question into its components, I find the answer just as elusive.

The reason is because the one unknown in all of this is also the most important player - Apple. As I am writing this, Apple still has yet to articulate an Internet strategy. Supposedly CEO Gil Amelio will have told us what that is at WWDC ’96 in May. But unless that strategy is a pretty darn bold one that includes some serious commitments (that means people, time, and real money) towards redefining Java as an Apple-centric technology driving Apple-branded solutions, I don’t think Java’s going to mean all that much to Mac developers.

I fervently hope I am wrong, however, and that Apple does try to gain control of the Java bandwagon to meet its and its developers’ needs. To date, however, that effort has been pathetic, in the extreme.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Skype 8.52.0.138 - Voice-over-internet p...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
Bookends 13.2.6 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
BusyContacts 1.4.0 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
Chromium 77.0.3865.75 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 77.0.3865.75: A list of changes is available... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 7.5.5 - Catalog your di...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast Finder-like intuitive look and feel Super-fast search algorithm Can compress catalog data for... Read more
Alfred 4.0.4 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 10.45 - File, pho...
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
iFinance 4.5.11 - Comprehensively manage...
iFinance allows you to keep track of your income and spending -- from your lunchbreak coffee to your new car -- in the most convenient and fastest way. Clearly arranged transaction lists of all your... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 7.11.3 - Create diagrams...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
BBEdit 12.6.7 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special...
Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special Delivery is a terrifying new nightmare from developer Illumix. Last week, FNAF fans were sent into a frenzy by a short teaser for what we now know to be Special Delivery. Those in the comments were quick to... | Read more »
Rush Rally 3's new live events are...
Last week, Rush Rally 3 got updated with live events, and it’s one of the best things to happen to racing games on mobile. Prior to this update, the game already had multiplayer, but live events are more convenient in the sense that it’s somewhat... | Read more »
Why your free-to-play racer sucks
It’s been this way for a while now, but playing Hot Wheels Infinite Loop really highlights a big issue with free-to-play mobile racing games: They suck. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying going for realism, cart racing, or arcade nonsense, they’re... | Read more »
Steam Link Spotlight - The Banner Saga 3
Steam Link Spotlight is a new feature where we take a look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry talked about Terry Cavanaugh’s incredible Dicey Dungeons. Read about how it’s a great mobile experience... | Read more »
PSA: GRIS has some issues
You may or may not have seen that Devolver Digital just released GRIS on the App Store, but we wanted to do a quick public service announcement to say that you might not want to hop on buying it just yet. The puzzle platformer has come to small... | Read more »
Explore the world around you in new matc...
Got a hankering for a fresh-feeling Match-3 puzzle game that offers a unique twist? You might find exactly what you’re looking for with What a Wonderful World, a new spin on the classic mobile genre which merges entertaining puzzles with global... | Read more »
Combo Quest (Games)
Combo Quest 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Combo Quest is an epic, time tap role-playing adventure. In this unique masterpiece, you are a knight on a heroic quest to retrieve... | Read more »
Hero Emblems (Games)
Hero Emblems 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** 25% OFF for a limited time to celebrate the release ** ** Note for iPhone 6 user: If it doesn't run fullscreen on your device... | Read more »
Puzzle Blitz (Games)
Puzzle Blitz 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Puzzle Blitz is a frantic puzzle solving race against the clock! Solve as many puzzles as you can, before time runs out! You have... | Read more »
Sky Patrol (Games)
Sky Patrol 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: 'Strategic Twist On The Classic Shooter Genre' - Indie Game Mag... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save $150-$250 on 10.2″ WiFi + Cellular iPads...
Verizon is offering $150-$250 discounts on Apple’s new 10.2″ WiFi + Cellular iPad with service. Buy the iPad itself and save $150. Save $250 on the purchase of an iPad along with an iPhone. The fine... Read more
Apple continues to offer 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1019. An standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, outer cases are new... Read more
Apple restocks 2018 MacBook Airs, Certified R...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2018 13″ MacBook Airs starting at only $849. Each MacBook features a new outer case, comes with a standard Apple one-year warranty, and is shipped free. The... Read more
Sunday Sale! 2019 27″ 5K 6-Core iMacs for $20...
B&H Photo has the new 2019 27″ 5K 6-Core iMacs on stock today and on sale for up to $250 off Apple’s MSRP. Overnight shipping is free to many locations in the US. These are the same iMacs sold by... Read more
Weekend Sale! 2019 13″ MacBook Airs for $200...
Amazon has new 2019 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $200 off Apple’s MSRP, with prices starting at $899, each including free shipping. Be sure to select Amazon as the seller during checkout, rather than... Read more
2019 15″ MacBook Pros now on sale for $350-$4...
B&H Photo has Apple’s 2019 15″ 6-Core and 8-Core MacBook Pros on sale today for $350-$400 off MSRP, starting at $2049, with free overnight shipping available to many addresses in the US: – 2019... Read more
Buy one Apple Watch Series 5 at Verizon, get...
Buy one Apple Watch Series 5 at Verizon, and get a second Watch for 50% off. Plus save $10 on your first month of service. The fine print: “Buy Apple Watch, get another up to 50% off on us. Plus $10... Read more
Sprint offers 64GB iPhone 11 for free to new...
Sprint will include the 64GB iPhone 11 for free for new customers with an eligible trade-in in of the iPhone 7 or newer through September 19, 2019. The fine print: “iPhone 11 64GB $0/mo. iPhone 11... Read more
Verizon offers new iPhone 11 models for up to...
Verizon is offering Apple’s new iPhone 11 models for $500 off MSRP to new customers with an eligible trade-in (see list below). Discount is applied via monthly bill credits over 24 months. Verizon is... Read more
AT&T offers free $300 reward card + free...
AT&T Wireless will include a second free 64GB iPhone 11 with the purchase of one eligible iPhone at full price. They will also include a free $300 rewards card. The fine print: “Buy an elig.... Read more

Jobs Board

Student Employment (Blue *Apple* Cafe) Spri...
Student Employment (Blue Apple Cafe) Spring 2019 Penn State University Campus/Location: Penn State Brandywine Campus City: Media, PA Date Announced: 12/20/2018 Date Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**732359BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 000171-Winchester Road-Store **Job Description:** Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**732324BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 000013-Fargo-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**732455BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Location Number:** 000449-Auburn Hills-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**732490BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 000449-Auburn Hills-Store **Job Description:** At Best Buy, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.