The O’Reilly Network’s
Mac DevCenter, Simson Garfinkel and Michael Mahoney have posted the first in a two-part series called
Steve Jobs and the History of Cocoa, Part One.
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“Some of the most innovative goodies in OS X are actually mature, stable technologies that have been painstakingly developed over the past 15 years by Apple, NeXT Computer (which Apple acquired in December 1996), and the open source community as a whole,” noted the authors.
Calling Mac OS X’s resident programming language, Cocoa, “better suited to creating graphical user interfaces,” the authors said that “most people find programming in C++ a chore,” but most Objective-C programmers enjoy the Cocoa experience.
There’s a learning curve, they explained, since Cocoa utilizes an object-oriented model from start to finish — a very different environment than most programmers are accustomed to. This is no new fad, they say — in fact, the framework for Cocoa was laid by NeXT Computer more than a decade ago.
To explain what’s led up to this point, Garfinkel and Mahoney go back to the roots of Apple Computer itself. The authors described Apple’s start as a personal computer maker back in the 70’s, and briefly trace the history of the company through Jobs’ ouster by John Sculley in the mid-80s, following the release of the Macintosh.
This led to Jobs’ founding of NeXT Computer, which from the start based its operating system on already proven UNIX underpinnings, paired with Display PostScript, Objective-C and a hardware platform that eschewed floppies for magneto-optical drives. That company’s success and failures are documented in quick succession, as well.