Skip to content

Platform Futures

On Windows, many developers seem to want to run as fast as possible away from Microsoft Visual C++ and embrace Microsoft’s C# and .NET platform for new development. Most Windows developers that I’ve seen seem downright enthusiastic about these technologies. It’s disconcerting; I’m not used to seeing Windows developers (or users) be enthusiastic about their platform.

On the Mac, many developers are trying to hold onto C++ and Carbon for as long as they can, even for new development. A new Mac developer on the Carbon list actually said he wished Apple had a C++ framework that used MFC-like “message maps” for Mac OS X-only Carbon development “to make it easier to build software fast!” (Paraphrased.) And Metrowerks is spending money & time building a next-generation C++ PowerPlant framework for Mac OS X-only Carbon development! And some developers keep on Apple’s case to try and maintain feature parity between Carbon and Cocoa.

Fortunately, Apple isn’t giving in to them as much as they might think. For instance, WebKit has a Carbon wrapper, but it’s just a wrapper; WebView is really a Cocoa framework and if you want to extend it you’re going to have to use Cocoa. The Cocoa Controller layer is only really possible to do with a rich dynamic runtime; it’ll never make it to Carbon. You can only build screen savers using Cocoa and Objective-C. You can only build preference panes using Cocoa and Objective-C. Virtually all new applications coming out of Apple are built using Cocoa and Objective-C.

(Keynote, SoundTrack, LiveType, iCal, iPhoto, iSync, iChat AV, Safari… Final Cut and Logic don’t count, since they ware originally developed for the traditional Mac OS and thus aren’t new. Neither does Shake, since it was originally developed for Irix and X11 — though it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see it rearchitected as a Cocoa application in the next couple of years.)

The future of development on Windows is C# and .NET. This has been clear since Microsoft first released .NET, and it’s especially clear in light of the latest PDC and Longhorn.

The future of development on the Mac is Objective-C and Cocoa. This has been clear ever since Apple bought NeXT, and it’s especially clear in light of the latest WWDC and Panther.

Deal with it.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *