Design Element
Comment on "Apple Rails Article Has Subtle Message"
by Igor Clark — Mar 02
If we're talking about WO & Rails, shouldn't the comparison being made be between ActiveRecord etc and EOF, rather than ActiveRecord and CoreData?


WebObjects is a great piece of software, but Rails has momentum and visibility. Apple is probably better off overall for highlighting Mac OS X's role in this framework then trying to swim upstream with WebObjects.

I'm not sure if I agree with this, on a couple of points.

Firstly, something's momentum and visibility is not a reason to swim with it per se. If that were the case, Apple would have given up years ago.

Secondly, I'm sure people will point to JBoss on OS X Server, WO5.3, integration with CoreData in XCode etc, but personally I'm really not sure that Apple cares that much about making WO a development success in its own right, certainly not a commercial one, for a couple of reasons.

WO is used within Apple to turn out applications like the Apple Store, iTunes Music Store, and .mac. Compared to a lot of other application server systems, the development tools, having as they do (and has rightly been pointed out here) the NS heritage, are leaps and bounds ahead of anything else out there; the whole application development metaphor has been much more believably ported to a web environment than in any other toolkit of system I've seen; the rules/D2W system is extremely powerful and flexible. Thus, WO gives Apple a nice competitive advantage in deploying this sort of application, all of which is geared around shifting hardware, which is pretty much always the bottom line with Apple.

I don't think they're particularly interested in making WO a JSP-killer or a PHP-killer or a Rails-killer or Rails-ally. It's a neat piece of software that they use to do neat things with; it can also be used by other people to do neat things with, so they give the space-age (although admittedly often buggy) development tools away with OS X client licenses so they can sell desktops and notebooks to developers who like WO and recognise its capabilities; they give the deployment tools (the WO application server, JBoss, etc) away with OS X server licenses so that people can feel happy and warm about having a rackful of nice XServes with web app servers.

Don't get me wrong, by that argument Apple would love to see WO succeed as it would drive more hardware sales - my point is really that although Apple make some clever and sometimes beautiful software, its bottom line is and always has been shifting hardware, and the software is there to support that. It's not there to drive Web standards, Web application development, Open Source, or any of the rest of it - Apple uses these, or subsets of these which suit it (viz. Darwin/BSD/Mach) to serve its own ends. Which it does, successfully.

Rails certainly has a leg up in that WebObjects hosting isn't as available or as cheap as Rails, and hosting WebObjects requires a license while Rails is free. I think Apple should release WebObjects for free and also offer cheap, minimal WebObjects hosting as part of the .Mac service.

Well, you do need a license, which comes free with OS X server, but you can then deploy it within any J2EE servlet container, which are not ubiquitous, but getting there. I suspect that's as close as you'll get to free; as I've said, it's all about driving users - developers, admins, business units, whoever - to Apple hardware.
Back to "Apple Rails Article Has Subtle Message"
Design Element

Copyright © Scott Stevenson 2004-2015