apple has to port yellowbox to win32 and linux


Developers starting a new project could benefit very much if apple would provide the yellowbox for wintel. That way we could write immediately using cocoa or java and come out with minimal porting issues on both OS X , Wintel and linux. This was the intention of apple for Rhapsody (win32 only, not linux). Now things have changed...No more cross platform compatibility! I fear that because of this, objectice C and cocoa will never evolve to a mainstream programming language like C++ or java.
Both customers and developers are paying the price for this decision. My question is: WHY ?


yellowbox is a term that dates from the time that macOS X was called "Raphsody" - this is already a few years back now. The yellowbox was an evolution of the MacOS toolbox (a set of API's). It was planned to implement the yellowbox under windows as a set of dll's and system services. Once installed, source code written for the yellowbox could easily be recompiled for each platform where the yellowbox is present. A big plus for software developers! The modern name for the yellowbox is cocoa. At present, new software can be written using the carbon API's or cocoa API. Cocoa is the new incarnation of the yellowbox, but apple is no longer providing support for cocoa on the wintel platform. From a technical standpoint, cocoa is very attractive since it takes a lot less code lines to get the job done, however, cocoa only runs under MacOS X, not windows and not even macoS 9. This is a big disadvantage.


Yellowbox is (was) a port of the OpenStep API, not the mac toolbox. (As an aside, the mac toolbox on Windows would be QT on Windows, which basically includes all the mac calls. QT does not use Win32 native.)


I, too, used to be a strong proponent of porting Yellowbox to windows et al. However, I have heard some arguments that have made me think a bit, and now I don't really know how to feel.

The argument that yellowbox for windows would bring new and otherwise unported windows apps to the mac seems good on the surface. However, as wonderful and easy as cocoa is, many Windows programmers are not likely to learn an new API (even an easy one) just to be able to port to the mac for free. Programmers have a lot invested in understanding their APIs.

Mac programmers, however, have a strong reason to learn cocoa. If there was a yellowbox for windows, most cool, new OS X programs (by definition, cool OS X programs are the cocoa ones, I think...) would easily port their apps to windows. Having cool software for the mac only is seriously in Apple's advantage, so not releasing yellowbox for windows might be the result of a hard look at cost to Apple versus benefit to developers.

I do agree that cocoa and obj-c need to be respected more as serious environments, but perhaps porting them to windows would be worse than getting no respect... I'm befuddled, honestly.


(McD -- thanks for the point. When I say 'yellowbox' above, I mean a new, cocoa version of the old openstep idea.)


Originally posted by zpincus
Having cool software for the mac only is seriously in Apple's advantage, so not releasing yellowbox for windows might be the result of a hard look at cost to Apple versus benefit to developers.

I think this is what it boils down to. The cross-platform capability of OpenStep/YellowBox is NeXT's old party line, not Apple's. In a confused state after the NeXT buyout, Apple continued the NeXT party line and talked about turning Apple into more of a software company. That didn't happen and Apple is still making most of its money from hardware, so everything they can do to attract, and keep, people on their hardware is to their advantage. Not making Cocoa available on Windows is to Apple's advantage.

Don't get me wrong, I bought a NeXT cube in 1990 and have made my living writing Objective-C exclusively since 1992. It would be great if Apple ported Cocoa to Win32 AND made it easy to license AND made it easy to bundle with your own software. Do I think it'll happen? No. NeXT never got that far and they NEEDED to.

I bought a Powerbook G3 last month, my first Mac since the SE/30 I sold to buy the NeXT. 1024x768 is the lowest resolution I have used in 10 years. Apple needs all the help they can get attracting people to their hardware.