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Apple Development Support Really Is BAD

"Apple has spent decades making life miserable for their developers." -- Joel

I am a Mac developer and want to say AMEN TO THAT JOEL!!!

Apple are such bastards in this regard. They must sit around for hours trying to figure how to ream developers in the most sadistic way possible.

Apple - 2.5% of the market share!
OK, as a hardware vendor they are comparable to gateway in size and can stay in business.

But the situation is DIFFERENT for the poor deluded dipsh*ts such as myself who develop for this miserable pathetic platform.

The other 97.5% of the market is THIRTY-NINE TIMES BIGGER.

What it really boils down to is you have to sell a $100 program for $3900 to justify its development, or you have to  have 39 times fewer competitors and the same % of customers in order to recoup your development expenses *IF* (big if) your cost of development is the same.

But its not.

I have developed for both platforms and I will say witnhout a doubt that Microsoft's developer tools are not only better than Apple's but at least 10 times and perhaps 50 times better.

An application that takes a year to write on the Mac I can write on the PC in 5 weeks.

Apple's documentation is among the worst I have seen. Inaccurate and they refuse to document their bugs. This is a huge difference. I hate asses like Jobs who coverup their problems with denials and acting like they are perfect. MS does not act like they are perfect. They document their bugs and provide workarounds in a nice easily accesible database which they provide at a nominal cost.

I hate Apple and I love Bill Gates.

There. I said it.

anonymous this time
Friday, August 30, 2002

I agree with you. I am a WebObjects developer and their documentation sucks.

Mike S.
Friday, August 30, 2002

"Apple has spent decades making life miserable for their developers. Every new OS for almost 20 years required tweaks and changes to application code. If you got too successful, Apple competed against you"


As I read this, I thought to myself, "You sure you don't mean Microsoft, instead of Apple?" 

As a windows developer, MS is a constant source of frustration for me.  OTOH, my problems occur because I code on the 'fringe' of the API -- trying to get it to do things that aren't, shall we say ... straightforward.

If Apple's really worse, I feel sorry for you guys. 

Sven Galli
Friday, August 30, 2002

Apple could make life so much easier if they released their desktop as opensource. It would probably get ported to Linux and various BSDs in a matter of weeks and all of a sudden it would be commercially sound not only to develop for Linux, but also for Mac.
But yeah, I know. They wont.

Eric DeBois
Friday, August 30, 2002

I've been writing Macintosh software for over a decade, and I haven't found it anywhere near as bad an experience as when I've done Windows stuff.  I find your statement that you could do in 5 weeks with Microsoft's crappy tools what would take you a year on the Macintosh completely laughable -- it's obvious you're either talking about a very specialized project where Microsoft has already written everything for you, or that you're not nearly so experienced as you claim.

Apple has been shipping free developer tools for years.  In the Mac OS 8 days, you could download MPW - the development environment that Apple used internally to develop the operating system.  (Of course, most developers paid a couple hundred dollars and got Metrowerks CodeWarrior because it was so much better and came with the PowerPlant framework.)  Nowadays, you can download Apple's suite of Mac OS X developer tools for free, and the Cocoa framework is the best framework for developing desktop applications on the market.

I talk about Cocoa development on my weblog at http://www.livejournal.com/users/chanson ; recently, I've been talking about how I'm rewriting portions of the Entperrise Objects Framework to make Cocoa development even easier and faster:

  http://www.livejournal.com/talkpost.bml?journal=chanson&itemid=23674
  http://www.livejournal.com/talkpost.bml?journal=chanson&itemid=26551
  http://www.livejournal.com/talkpost.bml?journal=chanson&itemid=26759
  http://www.livejournal.com/talkpost.bml?journal=chanson&itemid=26984
 

Chris Hanson
Friday, August 30, 2002

"it's obvious you're either talking about a very specialized project where Microsoft has already written everything for you, or that you're not nearly so experienced as you claim"

Well it's neither -- I've got over 25 years experience. I guess next you'll claim I'm incompetant.

anon
Friday, August 30, 2002

"Apple has been shipping free developer tools for years"

I am aware of this and it does not factor into my argument. (Although I don't agree they actually 'ship' them, but rather make them available online.) If you want them to actually send you stuff, you do have to pay for it.

MS also gives away free developer tools and sometimes they even ship them free. I got a set of MS .NET development tools from them in the mail free last year -- I suppose they saw me listed in some Apple developer list and wanted to make sure I was hip to the MS Way which is to Make the Developer Happy or at least don't shaft him in an obvious manner.

anon
Friday, August 30, 2002

I learned to program on the Mac (bought an SE new for about $3K) and I loved it. My first job as a Software Engineer was Mac development. But I finally moved to Windows in 1995 after years of lies from Apple... OpenDoc, Cyberdog, KeyChain, Copeland, and so on. I found an enormous universe of technologies, sample code, magazines, online resources, third-party components, etc. It was like reliving the enjoyment of learning to program all over again.

Also anon
Friday, August 30, 2002

To tell the truth, when I was still actively programming, programming on the Mac was much easier than Windows based programming. I speak from using BASIC, Pascal, C/C++, Java, Visual Basic, Visual C++, and Visual J++, and even Borland's C++Builder/J++Builder/Delphi. The crux of it was that as far as I was concerned, in any program I ever wrote, I either wrote every single line of code, or I used a standard template library (C/C++ and Java). Now, I will admit to being inexperienced by comparison to most people since I spent a total of 6 years programming, starting in 8th grade. But most of that time was self taught. That time also includes a stint at a web site company setting up a SQL server in 97. I was not hired to be a programmer for them, as I did not know the language. However, in 3 weeks, I was one of the programmers on the project despite the fact that I lacked the knowledge to code even a single line. I became a programmer because of my grasp of the algorithms and methods to accomplish data managment. In my time as a programmer, I found the Mac infinitely easier to work with, simply because I did not have to worry about the code I wrote being subverted and distorted by the system. I also have to point out that of all of the methods (read IDEs and programming environments) I have used to program, the easiest and most powerful tools I have used are Codewarrior in combination with the Apple dev tools, or a text editor with a freeware compiler (djG++ and gcc).

Anyone who thinks programming for Windows is much easier, is either blind to the sheer f***ery of the Windows environment, as I have found out to my great discomfort. One notable incident regarded mouse events. I wrote code to basically tell the program to display a location for a mouse click on the window. While the code worked properly on Windows 98, the same code was non-functional on any subsequent Windows environment.

Any real programmer either codes it by his own labor, or, when using external code, risks problems from unknown interactions. However, when I wrote the code for the mouse events, I had written the same program on the Mac, with no problems, and I had written a version for 3 programming languages (Pascal, C/C++, Java), each version working properly on the Mac. However on Windows, the Pascal version, (properly translated to the OS) worked fine for all versions of Windows even  as the other versions did not.

I found out that the reason for my problems was the difference in how Windows and MacOS interact with programs. Windows is like a console system, and any external (non-system) code is run through the system to perform the tasks. The Mac does the same thing, with one crucial difference. The Mac uses standardized libraries and methods. Windows does not. Hell, Windows even changes some very important libraries constantly (directx, activex).

Masterlode
Saturday, August 31, 2002

"Any real programmer either codes it by his own labor, or, when using external code, risks problems from unknown interactions. "

You had me till that line : )

Robin Debreuil
Saturday, August 31, 2002

How can I get a free copy of Microsoft developer tools? I am an independant developer interested in writing software that runs on Windows, and I can't afford Visual Studio.

Charles Miller
Saturday, August 31, 2002

(Just to qualify my previous post)

At this exact moment, I'm writing software using the (free) Mac OS X development tools. Earlier today, I wrote software using the (free and open source) Eclipse Java development environment. In fact, the only platform I've ever owned but _not_ developed for, is Windows, because the only free developer tools I can get for it are the cygwin stuff.

Joel has some great insights, but he has a tendency to twist reality to suit his theories. In "Fire and Motion", Microsoft's constantly switching targets are an advantage. In his latest missive, Apple is the company with constantly shifting targets, and Microsoft benefit from being solid as a rock.

It's true that Apple's shifting targets have hurt developers. I went to a tech-talk on Tuesday where one member of the audience cornered the evangelist with "I was an OpenDoc developer. Why should I believe you're going to keep supporting Java?" Howerver, Microsoft's dominance hasn't anything to do with it playing this particular game any better -- just ask a VB programmer who has to retrain for VB.NET.

Charles Miller
Saturday, August 31, 2002

the .net sdk is free. It includes the compilers, docs, and the entire framework.  Maybe you should do a bit more research before commiting your carreer next time. He he, just kidding ; ).

Robin Debreuil
Saturday, August 31, 2002

Ah, nifty. For some reason I thought the VS tools were the only ones available.

I had a bad experience a year or two ago when a product I was writing needed about twelve lines of C++ code to join two systems together, and my employer had to go out and buy Visual C++ in order to make everything compile. If I was wrong then as well, I guess I should apologise to my boss. :)

Charles Miller
Saturday, August 31, 2002

Borland also has made Delphi and C++ Builder available as free downloads. They're Personal editions though, meaning that you can't use them to produce commercial software.

Frederik Slijkerman
Saturday, August 31, 2002

I have been developing on Mac OS X using the Cocoa framework for the past year and I don't think that Apple's developer support is as bad as people make it out to be. Apple does provide free development tools available for download, you can also pick up a copy at an Apple Store. Their documentation has improved vastly over the past year, at least their docs for Cocoa. There used to be a lot of "Description Forthcoming"s in the docs, but now that has all but disappeared. There is also a helpful community of Cocoa developers (including many NeXT veterans and Apple engineers) to answer questions on Apple's developer mailing lists.

Overall, I am satisfied with the level of support Apple provides to its developers, at least its Cocoa developers. I haven't reallly done Carbon or Classic development can't speak for developers using those APIs.


"I have developed for both platforms and I will say witnhout a doubt that Microsoft's developer tools are not only better than Apple's but at least 10 times and perhaps 50 times better."

I haven't used VS.Net yet, so I can't comment on that, but I personally think Apple provides a pretty good set of dev tools with ProjectBuilder and InterfaceBuilder. YMMV.


"An application that takes a year to write on the Mac I can write on the PC in 5 weeks."

It looks like you are trying to start a flame war.


"Apple's documentation is among the worst I have seen. Inaccurate and they refuse to document their bugs. This is a huge difference. I hate asses like Jobs who coverup their problems with denials and acting like they are perfect. MS does not act like they are perfect. They document their bugs and provide workarounds in a nice easily accesible database which they provide at a nominal cost."

An easily accessible bug database would definitely be a good thing for Apple to have. Usually I just search or post to Apple's developer mailing lists to verify bugs. I have seen on more than one occassion an Apple engineer confirm a bug.


"I hate Apple and I love Bill Gates.

There. I said it."

Umm, OK buddy.

a mac developer
Saturday, August 31, 2002

But the situation is DIFFERENT for the poor deluded dipsh*ts such as myself who develop for this miserable pathetic platform.
The other 97.5% of the market is THIRTY-NINE TIMES BIGGER.
anonymous this time

technically true but you have presented the facts in a way that somehow misses an obvious truth.
What % of the apple market do I have to sell my software to in order to make a decent profit?
....its *very* small. 
Although comparing the market % of apple vs microsoft is an interesting exercise, the fact is both markets are easily big enough to support developers.
I live in New Zealand, the entire country contains around 3.5-4 million people, rather less than the total number of apple users. 
Yet it still manages to support companies selling products in industries where the overheads are a lot higher, and the profit margin per sale is a lot smaller.
The plain truth is that any developer who cannot make a good living developing software for the macos platform is incompetent, lazy or just plain not trying very hard.




"it's obvious you're either talking about a very specialized project where Microsoft has already written everything for you, or that you're not nearly so experienced as you claim"

Well it's neither -- I've got over 25 years experience. I guess next you'll claim I'm incompetant.
anon

This idea fascinates me, what exactly do you have 25 years experience in?

I work and communicate with both mac and windows programmers, the primary platform that I develop for is the macos, but I also do cross-platform versions of things where the client believes this is necessary (which happens fairly often ;(
One thing I have noticed is that, as a rule, mac programmers love developing for the mac, and love using their computers.  Windows developers, OTOH, tend to intensely dislike the windows platform.  Their main justification for staying with it is either the size of the market, or the fact that all their experience lies there.  (Both of which are perfectly good reasons of  course :)

<g> Personally I came to terms a while back with the fact that computers, regardless of platform, just dont work.  The whole things a con and frankly we'd all be better off using an abacus.
...but until someone invents a computer that actually works, Im sticking with apple, its the closest thing Ive seen.

luddite
Sunday, September 01, 2002

Remember THINK Pascal? I used to love that! Great environment ahead of its time. Remember Inside Mac, back when it was I, II and III? I realy loved the Mac SE and the Mac IIcx (hope I have this right. I mean the one that looked like the II cut in half). A IIcx with the Apple portrait display ... man ... that was a developers dream!
From there, things went downhill fast in the Apple universe. Meanwhile the gnomes at Microsoft kept up the grunt work and by 95, they really closed the gap. That incredible lead we had ever since 84 was all gone. Instead of kicking butts and urging the Mac elves to start pumping the pedales again, people just went into denial and the whole of the Apple universe became a sort of lala-land, where everyone pretended it was still 1984.
That is why Microsoft always wins people: they just keep on pumping those pedals, and never delude themselves that they are so much bigger and better they can afford to take a breather.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, September 02, 2002

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