Saturday, March 24, 2007

NeXT videos & WebObjects



I found these two videos, the first one showing Steve Jobs demo NeXTstep 2.0, the NeXTCube 040 + Dimension, the slab, DBKit, in 1990.. it's always surprising to see how far ahead NeXT was, or reversely, how slowly did we progress on the software side, while the hardware we have now is insanely more powerful...



The second one shows again Steve Jobs, five years later. NeXT stations didn't sell, their state-of-the-art factory closed, they stopped producing hardware, and reconverted as a software only company. The tone of the talk seems to reflect those disappointment, with Steve trying to be excited about Distributed OLE and Portable Distributed Object (PDO), but you can feel it's not really anymore about changing the world... and yet, when analysing the state of the WWW and its future, Steve is absolutely dead on, and he then goes on to demo a beta version of WebObjects, which in the end will save the company (until it took over Apple). WebObjects was an absolutely amazing tech, and still is. The move to a J2EE implementation instead of the ObjC implementation, the availability of other solutions, and its curious downplay by Apple (while they use it for their store, they aren't exactly pushing it on the market, although they dramatically cut the price from hundred thousands of dollars to $500, to finally make it free). WebObjects had a huge impact on current "web application servers", many of them openly inspired by it. My preferred one is Seaside, a fantastic Smalltalk framework... for a great example of what you can do with Seaside, try dabbledb :-)

Note that there's two free software implementations of WebObjects in Objective-C, GNUstepWeb and NGObjWeb (part of SOPE, the web application framework used by Opengroupware.org).

1 comment:

martial.boniou@ifrance.com said...

Bravo Nicolas pour les videos. Je ne connaissais pas la première. C'est toujours bon de se rappeler l'avance des frameworks NeXT sur les autres. C'est très juste aussi de mentionner Seaside et son parallèlisme avec WO. D'ailleurs, j'aimerais avoir plus de temps pour finir la construction d'un site sur NeXTstep, GNUstep et smalltalk en tant que hobbyiste: il sera entièrement en Seaside. J'ai fait un capture d'écran: http://hondana.net/Resources/Images/hondanaGrab.jpg . Note que la scrollbar à gauche (là où elle aurait toujours du rester) est fonctionnelle sur tous les navigateurs (100% Javascript et Ajax free). Le moteur que j'utilise est le CMS Pier de Lukas Renggli (actuel développeur de Seaside): http://lukas-renggli.ch.
S'il y a des tutoriaux de GNUstep offline, je serais content de les accueillir. Longue vie à GNUstep.