Welcome to Stone's Throw - an online insight and commentary on Apple's newest OS, currently codenamed "Rhapsody", from a software developer's point of view.

For over a decade, I have been eating and breathing Rhapsody, formerly known as "OpenStep", and before that as "NEXTSTEP" and spelled a bunch of different ways:"NeXTSTEP", "NextStep", etc...
Stone Design has produced some of the foremost productivity applications for the NeXT computer, and now has a killer drawing and web design app, Create(tm), ready for Rhapsody.

Today, I'd like to introduce how powerful object oriented operating systems like Rhapsody can turn "regular users" into programmers, thus blurring the line between power user/programmer and producer/consumer. Because this is what happened to me... and it all started with the Macintosh - I bought my first Mac in '86 and realized I enjoyed playing with computers more than the design and building of
solar adobes that I had been occupied with for my first decade out of Architecture school.

And it was HyperCard which gave me my first inkling of the awesome power and thrill of user programming in an object-like setting. However, XCMD's and XFCN's were almost impossible for a novice to write, and HyperCard's slow interpretation speeds as well as lack of object design, revealed the limitations in this programming environment. But I owe a debt of gratitude to the HyperTalk masters - I received my first "Object Satori" from this gracious, English-like language.

And indeed, it's those crystalline moments where you understand completely how simple, elegant and powerful the object oriented design model is that can make a decade slip by in a hurry. When I saw my first black cube in March of 1989, I drooled and couldn't rest until I had one in my hands! Here at last was the promise of end user programming in a compiled environment.

In the grand old days of programming, the BYTE heads ruled - those amazing dudes who could cram the most data into the smallest amount of memory, writing in assembly and poking and pushing here and there. With the development of higher and higher level languages and more complete tool kits, the audience for programming greatly increased. OO design has certainly aided this revolution - now you can build applications by "assembling" components right off the "shelf".

So its my belief that Rhapsody will continue this trend of turning professionals from many areas into competent object programmers, thus allowing each expert to apply their domain to the software task at hand. The beautifully designed Foundation Kit and Application Kit allow almost anyone to use the power of Rhapsody without having to know "How" its done. If you have access to the Rhapsody Developer Release, I recommend you play with the many example applications. A quick and easy exercise is to build your own word processor in just 8 lines of code!

Next week, we'll unravel the codenames and ponder the significance of Yellow Box in a WINTEL dominated world. Please send your
comments and cravings!