Originally Posted by AppleInsider
In order to deliver the original Mac at a much lower price point than the Lisa, its more expensive older sister, Apple reduced the amount of memory it used, forcing the Mac to drop the Lisa's multitasking support. Because the Mac System Software could only run one application at a time, the Finder would shutdown whenever another application was launched, and then restart when that application was quit. [
Whether it was Apple's intention or just a happy (and significant) supervention, the limitations of the hardware and expandability forced the Mac programming community in the direction that resulted in the hallmark Macintosh user experience consistency.
The early 80s were a VERY different time for software developers. First of all, there weren't really individual "developers". There weren't many "software engineers". There WERE a lot of "programmers". This may sound like a rhetorical distinction, but it's not. In today's parlance, a programmer writes code. An engineer happily uses worthwhile frameworks instead of reinventing and a developer (e.g., Dan Schimpf of MacJournal.app fame) is an engineer who also helms a product in multiple aspects.
When Apple introduced a toolbox, it was a new idea for the mainstream. I even remember someone in the *LATE* 80s who insisted on writing his own mouse drivers for his DOS machine, even though the mouse *shipped* with them and whatever graphical apps that existed for DOS machines mostly just worked. Why would he do this? Because "real programmers write their own code".
In the early 80s, I remember this being a much more prevalent attitude. But programming a machine that had only 128K of RAM, you literally didn't have room for your own window library, mouse library, text library, drawing library, etc. Even Apple had to work some magic to make things work with the memory available (any of you remember Handle's?).
But there WAS 64K of library routines in ROMs. All the original "Managers" were in those ROMs and those who would write Mac applications were forced to rely on those to make usable applications. That constraint, along with the User Interface Guidelines book, are exactly why Macintosh apps from the very beginning, with very few exceptions, were so consistent in look and in feel. Compare MacWrite, MacPaint, MacDraw and even Excel and Word (for Mac) in 1985-6 with Lotus 1-2-3's text menuing (modal) and WordPerfect's endlessly nested modal "screens" that were activated by overloaded F-Keys and WordStar's screen-real-estate-hogging guides and you know what I'm getting at.
Off-topic, but it'd be well-remembered that the initial limitations of a new platform can be a best friend to a longer-term upside (ahem, iPhone, ahem).