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WebObjects curiously absent from WWDC 2005 agenda

post #1 of 30
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Apple overnight posted to its World Wide Developers Conference Web site information on nearly 90 conference sessions set to take place at the annual Macintosh developers conference this June. The event is slated to host over 140 conference sessions in total, but its unclear if the company will publicly post details of the other 50 sessions due to confidentiality concerns. After reviewing the session lists, a couple of tipsters note the conspicuous absence of sessions covering Apple's WebObjects technology. In fact, there is no mention of WebObjects at all. Historically, the WWDC offered at least one session devoted to the Web technology, which makes it easy to quickly develop and deploy Java server applications on Mac OS X. The fate of WebObjects has been in question for some time now. The last known update to the technology came over a year ago, with the last major update dating back even further. Apple currently uses the technology to power its online store and the iTunes Music Store, implying that it will likely live-on in some form. Sources had previously predicted that Apple would introduce version 5.3 of WebObjects alongside the release of Tiger, but recent supporting evidence is lacking. One of the 50 sessions Apple has yet to announce will likely hold the key to the future of WebObjects.
post #2 of 30
Webobjects looks suspiciously dead. Long live Core Data!
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post #3 of 30
Remember the one day that WebObjects went from being a $50,000 "solution" to a $499 shrink-wrapped product?

(My prices may be off. But at one point the price dropped like a stone).
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post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by johnq
Remember the one day that WebObjects went from being a $50,000 "solution" to a $499 shrink-wrapped product?

(My prices may be off. But at one point the price dropped like a stone).

I think the price dropped to $699.
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post #5 of 30
Web Objects is just another technology that Apple had no idea on how to market or use, and have basically let die. No meetings at WWDC come as no surprise to me (although the fact they had some last year do)
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by Louzer
Web Objects is just another technology that Apple had no idea on how to market or use, and have basically let die. No meetings at WWDC come as no surprise to me (although the fact they had some last year do)

too much good open source java application servers these days (Jboss, etc). The days of propeitary content management systems (like Vignette) and application servers is drawing to a close.

even though webobjects supports tons of standards it appears proprietary.
post #7 of 30
There's also the fact that with CoreData (aka EOFLite) making its way into the mainstream API stable, a lot of the Enterprise pull of WO is now in the everyday OS release. (Not as scalable, no, but easier and cheaper to deploy for most businesses that would be interested in it.)

I wouldn't be shocked to see a new WO based on CoreData-esque technology, to be honest. Of course, I wouldn't be shocked to see it dropped either.
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post #8 of 30
This has been going on too long....we know there have been internal updates, along with some pretty big changes as well. Things that haven't been released to anyone outside the mothership, but are using on a daily basis internally.

Basically, its a decision on whether or not to bring it back into the fold, or leave it out there and throw some $ behind it, and they're really not focused on so much dev technology anymore; that was a NextStep thing anyways, part of the deal to bring Jobs back on board.

I think either something fantastically new, or jack squat. Another set of mild updates will only push more folks away.
post #9 of 30
As I understood it, NeXT stayed on life support thanks to WebObjects and EOF back in the day. It let NeXT live on as a software company long enough to be bought out by Apple, who thought NeXT's connections to the corporate world, particularly financial companies, would help make them more viable in enterprise. Jobs learned how to be an opportunist while at NeXT, and took this attitude to Apple, and other markets obviously have opened up while this. IBM's WebSphere and the other enterprise heavy hitters climbed on the middleware bandwagon. Apple focused on making OpenStep into Rhapsody and OS X, and lost their foothold in this space both through neglect and competition.

I would imagine that what makes up WebObjects could be moved into Apple's other enterprise hardware and software solutions. As time goes on, the expectations of what comes iwth the OS increases. Maybe selling it as a distinct "thing" is outmoded.
post #10 of 30
Looking at the WWDC 2005 website they do mention Webobjects:



Quote:

Something for everyone.
*Snip*
Cocoa_ Mac OS X Server_ Tiger_ Xcode_ Application Integration_ Carbon_ User Experience_ .Mac Integration_ WebObjects_ I/O Kit_ Xdesign_ UNIX_

http://developer.apple.com/wwdc/
post #11 of 30
I don't understand this lack of interest on Apples' part either. WO was very popular and respected. The market was expanding.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by deestar
xDesign

http://developer.apple.com/wwdc/

Couldn't find any reference to this xDesign. anyone have an idea of what is it/might be?

-uD
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by Kickaha
There's also the fact that with CoreData (aka EOFLite) making its way into the mainstream API stable, a lot of the Enterprise pull of WO is now in the everyday OS release. (Not as scalable, no, but easier and cheaper to deploy for most businesses that would be interested in it.)

I wouldn't be shocked to see a new WO based on CoreData-esque technology, to be honest. Of course, I wouldn't be shocked to see it dropped either.

Great point, Kickaha. I think Apple will beef up CoreData for Tiger Server and base a new WebObjects release around that. The Apple cloak of secrecy is what prevents us from knowing that (or if) this is the case.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by udecker
Couldn't find any reference to this xDesign. anyone have an idea of what is it/might be?

-uD

My guess: Xcode 2.0's live diagramming tools + CoreData.
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post #15 of 30
Maybe they've decided to release WebObjects 6 as a Pure Cocoa/ObjC like it used to be, when it was the leader and not the follower?
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by mdriftmeyer
Maybe they've decided to release WebObjects 6 as a Pure Cocoa/ObjC like it used to be, when it was the leader and not the follower?

So, is the thinking that the x86 version (is there still such a thing?) is gone? I haven't kept up on this.
post #17 of 30
IMHO:

- CoreData is just the "marketing name" for the old WO 4.5 EOF layer with some hardcoded functionality e.g. XML/SQLLite EOAdaptors.

- XDesign is just the "marketing name" for the new class diagrammatic features thats part of XCode.

- WebObjects will NOT be based on CoreData. Not now. Not ever. It is a pure Java framework and there is not a single reason for why it shouldn't stay that way. It provides LESS functionality over the existing EOF/JDBC layer.

- The reason for lack of dedicated sessions is because they have had exactly the same content for every WWDC since WO 5 came out. I have two sets of the WWDC DVDs and almost nothing new was covered, except for Web Services. Apple has more important sessions that need the lecture rooms.

- WebObjects is pretty much fine the way it is. There is only a few areas where it is lacking and the main one is tools. Everyone serious is using Eclipse so this isnt much of an issue. The other is only for serious WO developers e.g. built in EO change management across multiple instances. Every other issue has been fixed by Project Wonder.

- WebObjects runs fine on multiple platforms. This is a GOOD THING. I have WO apps that need big-iron servers that Apple doesn't make. I can run the same app on OSX Server, Windows Server 2003, Solaris, Linux, BSD. You can also deploy WebObjects apps to multiple application servers e.g. Tomcat/JBoss.

- WebObjects is not going away so long as so many of the web applications that Apple uses are based on it e.g. .Mac services, iTMS.
post #18 of 30
naden: You are way off base on the relationship of EOF and CoreData. They have similarities, but also structural differences. The biggest one would be that CoreData has no concept of EditingContexts, and thus can only be used by a single process at a time. It is totally unsuited for client-server apps (small web apps are another ball of wax).

If you want a good look at the ideas behind CoreData, take a look at QuickLite, in fact the author says that CoreData is written on top of QuickLite.

I agree with you that WO should remain Java, and that this is a huge win for scalability and portability. I am not sure that we have enough information about WWDC to start drawing conclusions, and I still have hopes that WO will get updated in the near future (I especially hope for more DTJavaClient stuff).

I too guessed that XDesign is the code diagraming tools in XCode, and it will be interesting to find out.
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by Karl Kuehn
naden: You are way off base on the relationship of EOF and CoreData. They have similarities, but also structural differences. The biggest one would be that CoreData has no concept of EditingContexts, and thus can only be used by a single process at a time. It is totally unsuited for client-server apps (small web apps are another ball of wax).

CoreData does have editing contexts like EOF. They've just been renamed to managed object contexts.
post #20 of 30
Since I used to have to support WOF at NeXT and Apple Enterprise, let me just say that WOF is not just a PURE JAVA WebApplication environment.

It has two version.

My wish is that when they hired Bill Bumgarner and other ObjC gurus who are WOF veterans that they will get serious about reinvigorating the ObjC version of WOF that stopped when some poor decisions were made to jump on the Java bandwagon that virtually eliminated its market advantages.

Now that Apple has almost switched over to Cocoa it won't surprise me WOF gets returned to Cocoa/ObjC.

I left Apple because they couldn't make up their minds in the Enterprise space and I seven years later they are just now getting around to it, in a serious manner.

Up until Tiger that effort is sad, considering NeXT was always able in the Enterprise Markets.
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by mdriftmeyer
It has two version.

It used to have two versions. WO 4.5 is not available for purchase and is not currently supported. Going back to WO 4.5 is the equivalent of telling everyone to go back to using Classic.

Quote:
when some poor decisions were made to jump on the Java bandwagon that virtually eliminated its market advantages.

Poor decision ? Don't think so, it was the best decision Apple made. Java is dominant for enterprise-class web applications and nothing Apple does will change that. If WO had continued on its Obj-C only path, it would have slowly died away.

The fact remains that enterprises would NOT be willing to buy Apple servers just to run a web application. Especially if the enterprise is doing a large scale deployment. Where is the 4, 16, 64, etc processor XServes ?

Where is the Obj-C equivalent of: Apache/Jakarta, Objectweb, Java-Source, IBM DeveloperWorks, Java SourceForge

Quote:
Now that Apple has almost switched over to Cocoa it won't surprise me WOF gets returned to Cocoa/ObjC.

Why would it ? What benefit would we get with Cocoa/Obj-C that Java doesn't have ? You just lose the benefit of the massive number of Java libraries that you wouldn't be able to use and further alienate Apple from what the rest of the industry are doing. There is a reason Coldfusion is now running on Java.

The fact is, web applications are fast becoming a three horse race: Java, .Net, PHP.

Quote:
I left Apple because they couldn't make up their minds in the Enterprise space and I seven years later they are just now getting around to it, in a serious manner.

The fact is, the enterprise space don't take Apple seriously and with good reason. Apple does not make enterprise class servers. Apple does not provide enterprise class support. Its current success in the enterprise is to do with its UNIX underpinnings, NOT because of Cocoa/Obj-C.

EOF for Cocoa/Obj-C is a completely different matter OTOH.
post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by mdriftmeyer
Since I used to have to support WOF at NeXT and Apple Enterprise, let me just say that WOF is not just a PURE JAVA WebApplication environment.

It has two version.

My wish is that when they hired Bill Bumgarner and other ObjC gurus who are WOF veterans that they will get serious about reinvigorating the ObjC version of WOF that stopped when some poor decisions were made to jump on the Java bandwagon that virtually eliminated its market advantages.

Now that Apple has almost switched over to Cocoa it won't surprise me WOF gets returned to Cocoa/ObjC.

I left Apple because they couldn't make up their minds in the Enterprise space and I seven years later they are just now getting around to it, in a serious manner.

Up until Tiger that effort is sad, considering NeXT was always able in the Enterprise Markets.

It may not matter anyway, since Apple considers Java to also be part of Cocoa as well as Objective-C.
post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by wrldwzrd89
It may not matter anyway, since Apple considers Java to also be part of Cocoa as well as Objective-C.

Yeh but the minute you tie to to Cocoa, you tie it to the XServe for deployment. Not necessarily a bad thing, but that just means another reason not to go with WebObjects and instead pick Cayenne/Tapestry (which is very, very close).
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by naden
Yeh but the minute you tie to to Cocoa, you tie it to the XServe for deployment. Not necessarily a bad thing, but that just means another reason not to go with WebObjects and instead pick Cayenne/Tapestry (which is very, very close).

However, keep in mind that a Java application is only truly "tied to Cocoa" when it uses Apple's Cocoa-specific Java extensions. If WebObjects doesn't use these extensions, it will behave like any other Java application; yet, according to Apple's classification, it still falls under the Cocoa umbrella. I find that interesting.
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by wrldwzrd89
However, keep in mind that a Java application is only truly "tied to Cocoa" when it uses Apple's Cocoa-specific Java extensions. If WebObjects doesn't use these extensions, it will behave like any other Java application; yet, according to Apple's classification, it still falls under the Cocoa umbrella. I find that interesting.

Ok.. we are spitting hairs here... WebObjects does heavily use the Foundation Libraries, which are a part of Cocoa. When you deploy WebObjects it takes a copy of the relevant part of Foundation with it, so you still get the cross-platform nature. So both arguments are true... you are using "Cocoa" (a small part of it anyways), but there is no platform lock in in this case.

Now You can technically go outside that section my manually including other FrameWorks, but that is pretty obviously not portable.

And I too think that moving to Java was a saving grace.
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by Karl Kuehn
Ok.. we are spitting hairs here... WebObjects does heavily use the Foundation Libraries, which are a part of Cocoa. When you deploy WebObjects it takes a copy of the relevant part of Foundation with it, so you still get the cross-platform nature. So both arguments are true... you are using "Cocoa" (a small part of it anyways), but there is no platform lock in in this case.

Now You can technically go outside that section my manually including other FrameWorks, but that is pretty obviously not portable.

And I too think that moving to Java was a saving grace.

Actually, WebObjects' foundation libraries were separated from Cocoa's in version 5 and now reside at com.webobjects.foundation. These two libraries are not compatible and I believe this indicates that Apple plans to move WO even furter from Cocoa, if anything. (apart from the fact that cocoa-java is something that deserves to die a horrible, horrible death, IMHO ). Some of us dared believe that this separation meant the possibility of an open source WebObjects, but I doubt that will be the case.

I'd rather not discuss CoreData, NDA, blah blah, but I assure you, it's not a replacement for EOF.

At least, I believe that "returning" to Obj-C now would be a major strategic error, since many companies rely on the java compatibility, besides, java is (unfortunately) the de facto standard in this industry, making it essential for a product of this type.
If WebObjects was still a $25k or $50k product, it might be an entirely different story, but that is just not the case and I doubt it ever will be.
post #27 of 30
It was just posted on OmniGroup's WebObjects list that there are now sessions posted for WebObjects at WWDC... nothing exciting or revealing, but it does keep the status quo. So the thinking behind this thread was all a tempest in a teakettle.

PS... this does not in any way exclude a WO update... it just provides no evidence for one.
post #28 of 30
Thanks for the update.

One WWDC 2005 session description now says:

___
WebObjects Overview
Enterprise IT
WebObjects is Apple's Java-based web application development
platform. Learn about new features and get a glimpse at product
directions in upcoming releases of WebObjects.
____

So I guess they at least show a minor update running on 10.4 & Java 1.5 (what was rumored as WO 5.3) and possibly have an outlook for the next major release...
post #29 of 30
I think CoreData and WO will remain separate.

CoreData will work well for Obj-C desktop apps. While WO is cross-platform and 100% Java-based.

It would make sense to add some features of CoreData to WebObject's EOF. For example, it would be nice to have a binary or XML store. Although most people will use MySQL, OpenBase, ORACLE, etc.

WO should be updated to Java 1.5, Tiger and Xcode 2.0 which I'm sure will happen sooner or later.

It would be nice to see support for XHTML in WebObjects and its tools such as WebObjects Builder and support for cascading stylesheets.

I think WO's build system should be based on ant. To make it easier for those using other platforms and IDEs such as Eclipse.

I'd like to see a native Interface Builder for Java. Instead of translating Cocoa objects to Java. I'm amazed that in all these years there isn't something like Interface Builder for Java.
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally posted by jabba
Thanks for the update.

So I guess they at least show a minor update running on 10.4 & Java 1.5 (what was rumored as WO 5.3) and possibly have an outlook for the next major release...

While the text does really sound like that is the case, some people on the WO list have already pointed out that this is exactly the same text as was used for last years sessions with the same name... and there was nothing new there...

We can still hope...
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