Apple Computer has announced it will enable developers to use Java to write to its Next OpenStep-based "Yellow Box" APIs, thus creating native applications that eventually will be able to run cross-platform on Rhapsody, MacOS, and Rhapsody for Intel.
Developers and analysts have praised Rhapsody's Java enhancements and its backward compatibility to MacOS. Prior to the Java integration, developers had to use Objective-C to write native Yellow Box applications.
"It gives developers more flexibility. There's no question that developers aren't ecstatic in dealing with Objective-C, but I don't know if [Java] makes or breaks it for them," says Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies in San Jose, California.
Michael Hopkins, a software engineer at Symantec, in Cupertino, California, says the Java integration definitely creates a better development environment.
"It makes it a lot more compelling to more people," Hopkins says. He also saysd this strategy protects a company's investment.
"If [Rhapsody] falls through, the programmers will still know Java," Hopkins says..
Eric Chu, Sun's product marketing manager for the Java Development Kit, said Java integration lets Apple tap a larger developer base, as compared to Objective-C.
In addition to its support of Sun's 100% Pure Java initiative to ensure cross-platform compliance, Apple joined Sun in pledging to help evolve the Java Foundation Classes, which will define the look and feel of Java applications.
The Yellow Box development environment also includes the WebObjects framework, which will provide an HTML interface to its objects to enable dynamic Web-based applications.
Apple also said it will not ship Exponential Technology microprocessors within the next year, because it found no advantage in switching from the IBM and Motorola-crafted G3 processors.
Meanwhile, QuickTime Interactive (QTI), a new product for enabling multimedia creation regardless of an initial authoring tool, is scheduled to be available early in 1998, according to Peter Hoddie, a QuickTime architect at Apple.
With QTI, developers also won't have to develop a specific player for their media and can use HyperCard 3.0 to script and edit QuickTime movies.
"QuickTime Interactive is the most aggressive thing we've tried in a while," Hoddie says.
Although Apple has prototypes of QuickTime working within Java, Hoddie said they "don't want to ship one just to say we did it. We want it to be useful."
QuickTime 3.0 for Macintosh and Windows is slated to ship this quarter.