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(c) 1999 Andrew C. Stone. All rights reserved.

I can finally remove the virtual gag from my mouth and once again freely discuss the merits and miracle of Mac OS X Server. The wait was long and arduous, but you'll soon agree that it was well worth it. And now, the much abused Apple employees who have been mutely following the mailing lists and newsgroups so steadfastly deserve a collective apology!

Yes, the Apple folks have been listening, and yes they actually told us the truth. And yes, they've kept their jobs because they've kept their mouths shut about the details. Because Stone Design has a
suite of web content design tools which fit the current marketing spin for Mac OS X Server, we were extremely fortunate to be included on the very short list of third party developers with access to prerelease versions of OSX Server. So I have had an opportunity to live and breathe this revolutionary new OS in exchange for remaining totally silent.

In real estate, I've heard it said that there are only 3 things that matter - Location, Location and Location. The corollary in successful software must be Pricing, Pricing, and Pricing. Apple is truly a collection of thinking, feeling and proacting beings - unlike the normal the bureaucratic mold so typical of corporate hierarchies. When Apple announced that the price would be $1000, you whined. They listened, and now you'll be able to get Mac OS X Server AND the Yellow Box and WebObjects developer tools for half that cost - that's an incredible bargain, even if you're only using the new OS to have a rock solid server. They are thinking different -and it's going to pay off big as a whole new generation of developers get their hands on these productive tools. The range of new features and capabilities will be covered in other articles on Stepwise and at Apple, but I'd like to mention a few things that have got me psyched.

The Yellow frameworks - featuring the AppKit and the FoundationKit - have continued to mature into the foremost cross platform development environment for object programmers today. My applications are getting smaller and smaller as Apple rolls more and more functionality into their core frameworks. The Scripting framework now lets you make your app Apple Scriptable. Definitely check out Mike Ferris' Sketch Application (/System/Developer/Examples/AppKit/Sketch) to learn about the right way to architect an application to utilize the native power of the Yellow Box, using the Model-View-Controller pattern.

Fred Sanchez, who heads up the BSD side of the Core OS Group (as well as wearing other hats), personally took an interest in fixing many of the little annoyances that have been plaguing NeXTSTEP/OpenStep users for years. For sysadmins, the biggest difference that matters is that a default install is fully secure, with the capability of making it totally airtight with the addition of the immutable flags. With the
chflags schg command, only a boot into single user will allow modification of files. With the prevalence of "kiddie scripts" which allow anyone without a clue to break into almost any system, the new emphasis on security is a welcome one. See man chflags for more info on making files immutable.

Network administration is a snap with the lovely user interface of NetworkManager, a very intuitive replacement for the unwieldy NetInfoManager of yore (the new NetInfoManager has a total work over as well, and is much improved). And you can take your pick among provided shells: the classic C shell, bash, tcsh, sh and zsh. Mac users will definitely appreciate the hard work that's gone into making easy the life of the network administrator.We have Steve Ko, Grant Baillie, Flip Dibner and Michael Brouwer to thank for a lot of the new and great sysadmin tools.

MailViewer keeps getting better and better. If you are like me, you spend half your life dealing with Email and now it's getting to be quite joyful. Features like "Show Source" and built in indexing and searching are truly useful. Paul Marcos has given a lot of attention to the details, and his efforts are representative of all the members of the OSX Server team who have created something that is a must have for anyone who needs a robust server and has dreams of writing the next killer app! And as a bonus, you can use all of our apps - so order your copy of Mac OS X Server today.