WebObjects, a little more

In 1996, Steve jobs formed another computer platform, the potential of which exceeded the total capacity of all other computer platforms, and this potential was obvious, but no one had enough imagination to imagine his true power. If not Pixar, and if not Apple, it is easy to guess, what would be the story “in the style of NeXT”.

I knew that WebObjects is a technology (product?), played an important role in the history of mankind. Before I was interested in the reality (since WebObjects 4.5), it was a very (unique) powerful and effective tool of transformation of reality, but I even could not imagine how important was the role of the WebObjects in the appearance of web applications. About it already it was not customary to mention…

Have WebObjects, NeXT and Steve jobs was a fantastic opportunity to change the world, but he chose Pixar. Between “sold” and “betrayed” the difference of only one letter. Very often it is simply synonymous but each of his “failed projects” and demanded a full commitment, and he made a choice. We will never know if it was easy.

The sequel, start here.

The misadventures of a magic wand

Suggested NeXT for 429 million dollars (1996), more than decent money for a company earning 3-4 million dollars a year. Over a hundred and fifty employees, and the potential that the then Apple just couldn’t use it. The Apple days were numbered, she was dying and doomed.

Almost certainly, if Apple went under the hammer, someone would have bought ex-NeXT, already for ridiculous money, and WebObjects would have continued. Wishing there was more than enough. While WebObjects “put on pause”. Everything had to happen very quickly.

Pause costly WebObjects. The pause was tightened, and the reality of a new computer platform, which was supposed to be the world wide web, with the light hand of Steve suddenly became obvious to too many people – and this opportunity was used by others. The demand for tools for creating web applications was as a stream of hot air and burnt fuel emitted from the nozzle of a jet engine.

And tools for creating web applications (even if not the most) could not appear. The world went the other way.

Burst dot-com boom, hundreds of startups have created a web app, has launched an online business and, a few months earned millions, or even tens of millions of dollars. Of course, they didn’t use WebObjects. Expensive. Nor the NeXT, nor the jobs, nor WebObjects nobody remembered to escape once, it is necessary to make so far.

Apple survived. Steve has agreed to be the “Advisor” to Gil Amelio in order to walk through the corridors was not a stranger to his company, to feel its spirit, to see and remember what very soon will be gone. You know, Yes, and I’ll talk about this at another time. WebObjects back to Steve jobs…

Who now had nothing to do. The pause lasted for several years.

What is WebObjects

This technology could exist in our day, if not for the circumstances.

But not happened, and with a probability of 99.999% you don’t need, urgency and bleeding from the nose, study it for practical purposes. For several years she was the best, but it never got around she was the target of two or three people constantly look for the guidance for other tasks.

WebObjects is objects and a set of tools to transform these objects in the web application.

In fact, it’s the same OPENSTEP, only the role of the user interface in WebObjects played the HTML page. In WebObjects, too, things like “whales” and frameworks – Foundation Kit, EOF, WOF and others. The basis of WebObjects was the NeXT developments that the company has created over the 10 years of its existence.

EOF unified access to data in databases. From the point of view of objects that implement the business logic of the application, the external data must have existed as objects EOF – from the complexities and inhomogeneities of the external world, the business logic has been isolated.

Actually, the data could be stored in databases of different types on different platforms and even thousands of miles apart from each other.

WOF (WebObjects Framework) isolated the business logic from the peculiarities and complexities of the web interface.

In the mid-90s SOLID rules have not yet been formulated – and OPENSTEP, and its web-based version of the meticulously follow these rules. With the same result, which is achieved by a competent skilled work these days.

A set of WebObjects tools really facilitates the development of applications for the most difficult computer platforms in the world, to the global web.

In the product there were a few prototypes of web applications and services. The application was “alive”, they were to build and run – they generate the web pages on the fly included in the generated page images from the standard set. The only thing they did – they did not perform any useful work.

The prototype, which much of the work has already been done, and it is made by experienced engineers trained in the product, allowed the developer all his time to spend on solving its specific tasks.

Or her. They say that women programmers like Guinea pigs, they, too, have no relation neither the sea, nor to pigs. This joke is funny but doesn’t reflect reality. Some of the most badass programmers I was lucky to know personally, was, among other things, insanely pretty girls.

The professional version of WebObjects and the enterprise edition allowed us to configure objects of built-in classes and supporting structures of the prototypes, if necessary.


In 1995 and 1996, Steve never mentioned WebScript, an interpreted variant of the Objective-C Language for scripting.

Users of the basic version of WebObjects can’t use “real” programming languages when converting prototypes and standardized datasets in web application. For this it was necessary to purchase at least the professional version for $ 3,000 (excluding value added tax, different in different States).

That was enough to create simple web applications fairly quickly (but not within two or three days, as promised Steve). Using D OLE, a web application could be written Visual Basic or JavaScript without knowing Objective-C.

Somehow, for the NeXT almost shy about this language. In vain! The habit he really looks weird, but… Programmers are a special caste. They are destined to get into such impassable jungle, which normal user do not dream in a nightmare. And all, even those who at first spat and wings fundamentals of the universe in a few weeks, changed the temper justice with mercy. Well, almost everything. People are different after all. Some love it from Visual Basic!

But let us not start a flame-war. Objective-C, gradually, takes the title role in operating systems of Apple. I met Swift in arms, for fear of bilingualism and the loss of certainty in the documentation. But, in almost all respects, Swift is better.

By the way, the free version of WebObjects, in addition to access to create classes and make changes to reference objects prototypes lacked the support D OLE. But I didn’t see any WebObjects developer, used the basic version.

I do not know what the role of a scripting language for WebObjects approached VB or JS, but almost all of the tasks of a scripting language in WebObjects was somehow connected with the environment objects, built-in or homemade. WebScript could. It could even create a “category”, that is, to add to the definition of the classes whose source code is unavailable, the native methods.

Method added by a category, it becomes available not only in objects of the class to which the category belongs, but in the objects of all its subclasses.

Objective-C and WebScript, with a few patches of Java (only on NT) was the perfect WebObjects development tools, but…

To be continued… after a short break. Apple and NeXT will be one and the same company. Before that you need to remember about another company…

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