As if to emphasise the new relationship between the two companies, Microsoft staff were among the first New Zealanders to see Apple's future OS, Rhapsody.
Within 48 hours of a copy of Rhapsody DR1 landing, Apple New Zealand's technology evangelist John Holley had given a demonstration at Microsoft — even though Microsoft has not officially announced its intention to develop for Rhapsody.
Among the features already operational in Rhapsody's Unix-based "Yellow Box" are its drag-and-drop development tools, and Holley was able to assemble a basic word processor in a couple of minutes using the tools.
Rhapsody's virtues as a development environment — part of its OpenStep heritage — may prove critical to its future, and that of Apple in the long term. Holley regards Apple's agreement with Computer Associates to integrate CA's Jasmine object database and multimedia authoring environment (set for release next month) with Rhapsody's Yellow Box as particularly important.
Once the integration is completed, corporate developers will be able to use Rhapsody to construct Jasmine applications able to be deployed on a variety of computing platforms, including MacOS, Win95, NT and Unix, as well as Rhapsody. Both Jasmine and Yellow Box also support Java applications using standard libraries.
On the other hand, Holley hopes existing MacOS developers will be attracted by the ability to use Rhapsody's MacOS "Blue Box" as their home environment while they work with the new OS — at least until Rhapsody's user interface is complete.
The Blue Box, which is stored as an application in Rhapsody, "boots" with disarming speed and appears to run about as fast as MacOS 8 does natively. It can run as an entire desktop or as a window within Rhapsody. Copying and pasting between OSes will be enabled in a future release.
Resellers have also been treated to a demonstration, and Holley expects to be giving demos of new Rhapsody releases "every couple of months" through to the scheduled premiere release early next year and beyond.