Web frameworks may offer Apple an opportunity

by Jeremiah Foster

Some pretty serious developers have jumped on the RoR (ruby on rails) bandwagon recently. Ruby comes from Japan and has a strong connection with Apple and its hardware. RoR may present Apple an opportunity to get involved in web development which might help create demand for some of their server products.

Ruby seems to be easier to install on a Mac, to some degree this is because the debian package system, apt-get, has a very specific rule set which ruby's package system does not play nicely with. I suspect RoR is probably easy to install under Windows but I doubt serious web developers use the IIS platform, it certainly has been losing market share over the last few years. When installing ruby on a Ubuntu machine, I had to dig a little to find out that a bunch of other packages were required to get the full ruby experience. Namely packages like libzlib and libyaml. This was not the case on my Apple laptop, rails took no time at all to install.

Now it may be that the rails developers develop on a Mac. Or that ruby's package system, ruby-gems, is built with a Mac, so naturally the install bugs on the Mac are worked out first. In any case, it is exciting to see the community developing something so influential on the Apple platform. User base and developer community are crucial things if you want to be a successful software company and it appears that Apple has now the breadth and depth required for community-driven innovation.

Apple needs to cultivate this movement, if it is one, so that it remains viable. The community needs to have greater access to the software distribution system from Apple, there ought to be a way to package software for the OS X platform and submit it to Apple for inclusion via internet download or CD. Apple would be putting its money where its open source mouth is and provide a whole new source of free software for Apple users in one fell swoop.

The web framework movement is a way for Apple to leverage its openness and superior platform, let's hope that Apple sees it as such and supports it.

What do you think?


2005-12-14 23:30:42
Web Frameworks: Apple & Ruby?

Apple needs to move WebObjects back to Cocoa and Objective-C before focusing on extending effort into duplicating and most certainly offering a weaker set of web frameworks than what they can do, with very little effort, by extending a set of WOF Frameworks with interface bindings to several of the most sensible languages that currently are all the rage for building non-enterprise, n-tier:n < 3 systems for the industries federal to consumer which show the most promise in web frameworks ranked by demand.

Perhaps the WOCatalog set of Frameworks can be scaled and offered as a series of pluggable solutions offered by Apple at a sensible price that reflects the most current trends. For those unfamiliiar with WOCatalog it was a product that almost was and eventually was haulted. Back when you could sell such for $120k it would have been a solid purchase, but today we want to have $12k stack of frameworks combined sold to a much broader markets. Let's see once Carbon is toast and Cocoa takes its rightful place just exactly what Apple plans to do with this young market.

2005-12-16 04:02:54
Web Frameworks: Apple & Ruby?
I largely agree, Apple should extend WebObjects, but that seems unlikely. They are distracted by the switch to Intel. Incorporating community-driven frameworks would be in tandem with Apple's own software, not an exclusive replacement.

The market is young, as you say, as is the technology, but it offers developers a way to leverage the Mac software with communtiy software which could potentially build a robust platform. Imagine a new generation of iDisk, .Mac, AJAXish apps that are easy to build and run. That would be an entirely new software model allowing programmers a true "right once, run anywhere" capability.

2005-12-21 03:19:32
Web Frameworks: Apple & Ruby?
I disagree. RoR users are not WO users. They are a different market. RoR is small - medium business and hosting is easily found. But WO is enterprise-only. It's Java-based (ie a corporate language) with little, cost-effective hosting available for small-medium business.

Apple needs to address both markets. RoR and small-medium business has the greater growth so Apple should focus more on it.

It's possible that anything done to improve WO is just too little, too late to generate reasonable use outside of Apple.