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Apple Leopard Talks Roaming The US, but what’s the point?

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Programming | Posted on 07-11-2006

It seems Apple has started to reach out more to its developers by putting together what they are calling “Leopard Tech Talks“. A lot of you may be surprised by me posting something about Apple since I write .Net code during work hours but I am a customer of theirs (1 iPod, 2 Notebooks, 1 Airport). However, I still play with an enormous amount of technologies from all walks of life (Microsoft, Apple, Open Source, Linux, etc). I’m a geek, live with it. đŸ™‚ I started writing this post to say, cool, Apple is finally reaching out to the developer community. Then reality set in and went, wait, they are doing what for who? I would LOVE to go to this and give ’em my $.02 about their platform (the good and the bad). The closest talk near me is Atlanta but I have friends who are closer to the talks than me. Maybe they’ll go for me and tell them just how bad their development environment for Enterprise application developers is on their platform. Beyond Apple having a lot of “look at me developers” (the guys that write one off cool plugins) and “small dev shops” (that fill the gap where Apple left off) can anyone point to a single Enterprise using all Apple technology? Ummmm, no. The reason is Apple doesn’t care about the Enterprise. They care about selling more iTunes, iPods and dual core Powerbooks to the Left Wing Open Source club (of which I am a founding member). Yes I like using Macs at home, but honestly, that doesn’t pay the bills. When I go to work, I need several things to get my job done, of which Apple provides zero infrastructure. Sure I can listen to iTunes while coding on their iPod and dual boot their Powerbook into Windows but what does that really buy me other than, “hey, watch this, this is cool, haha”. Here is a list of things I need to develop in an Enterprise that Apple is missing the boat on:

  1. Update-to-date Language – Sorry Apple, but I don’t call Objective-C an update-to-date language. I read the first several pages on why you chose the language on your developer site and honestly, the reason you chose it is because it did objects, big whipty doo. Get a life. Why not at least something newer? You sorta embrace Java but yet you don’t. I don’t get it.
  2. IDE – Yes, I need an IDE to write applications with. While Xcode is what you tout as the end all be all IDE, it is lacking in a lot of areas (just search the internet, there has been plenty said already on this topic of Visual Studio vs XCode so I’m not going to repeat it).
  3. No MSDN – One day Apple will wake up and realize that what Microsoft has started that is called MSDN blows away ANYTHING they have (I thought Apple was user friendly?). The MSDN documentation, samples, downloads, tutorials and more make it extremely easy to find what you need. There is always communication from MSFT to the developers. Here is what is coming in version X.X. Apple you are so secretive you don’t even tell your employees what is coming next! How is a business suppose to plan? How is a developer suppose to ready his applications on the next release? The big factor of MSDN is subscribers can download almost all of the Microsoft platform and run it on up to 10 computers. All of the tools to develop with are there at your finger tips.
  4. Lack of community – While I may not be able to solve all my developing problems on the .Net platform by staring at intellisense, there are communities where I can derive help from ( newsgroups, msdn.microsoft.com, MS sponsored forums, etc.). Apple, where is yours?
  5. No Biztalk – Sorry but you don’t have anything anywhere close to a Biztalk for routing messages and having different systems talk to one another. Oh, sorry, I forgot you sell hardware, I’ll move on (then why are you having this developer thing then?)
  6. Web Services – Ever try to write a web service in Objective C or XCode? Good luck with that.
  7. Database – Where is your enterprise database? I can get SQL Server from Microsoft and you know what, it is pretty damn good. What cha got for me? How about: null.
  8. Exchange – While I am at work I have a question. How will I send and receive messages while scheduling meetings, tasks, and todos? Are you going to force me into using qmail as an MTA? Fair enough then. Next question, how do I schedule meetings with my co-workers, with iCal? Are you kidding me?
  9. Portal – I tried to install your non-existent portal so co-workers could find internal information but failed.

Honestly I could keep going but it is Monday Night during November and that means Monday Night Football so I am not going to bother. I think you get my tone. These are the reasons Apple hasn’t cracked the Enterprise and the reasons why it will not. I hear people say things like, “Well, why don’t you use Apple for everything?” or “I think we should use all Macs.”. The bottom line is WTF are they thinking? Beyond this person spilling their personal feelings for which “hardware” they think a company should buy, they feel that buy using Apple products in the Enterprise it will make everyone’s lives magically easier. To these people I say, thank God, you aren’t the decision maker(s) in corporate America. And, if you are, there is this place called http://www.dice.com and http://www.monster.com to look for jobs online. The bottom line is this. I wouldn’t mind developing for the Apple platform being a developer, the problem is A) only a hand full of people have them at work, B) I’m not keen on learning on unmanaged language like Objective-C and C) they are missing some important pieces surrounding their platform for the Enterprise. Until those things are resolved I’ll buy an occassional product from you Apple if it fits my “iLife” but that is about it.

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