When it comes to sorting out the puzzle of third-party support for Mac OS X, developers of software plug-ins hold key pieces of the picture, Daniel Drew Turner reports in an
Besides making sure their software “plays well” with Apple’s new operating system, developers have to deal with compatibility issues affecting “popular — and often mission-critical — third-party plug-ins,” he writes. However, there’s a bit of problem; applications tuned for Mac OS X’s Carbon application programming interfaces (APIs) don’t support non-Carbonized plug-ins.
Software makers told eWEEK that the plug-in issue won’t significantly impede the migration to Mac OS X, but said that the need to coordinate application and plug-in development is crucial to Mac heavyweights’ Mac OS X success, Turner writes.
While many developers of apps and plug-ins are working to Carbonize their products, the incompatibility between Carbonized applications and pre-Carbon plug-ins arises from dependencies on system functions discarded when Apple carved Carbon out of the previous Mac OS Toolkit, Leonard Rosenthol, director of software development at Appligent, told eWEEK.
Ted Alspach, group product manager for illustration products at Adobe, said that dealing with Carbon and non-Carbon plug-ins is a “minor” issue. “It’s the tweaking, getting things such as dialog boxes to look good [in Mac OS X’s Aqua interface]” that has been the most time-consuming, he told eWEEK.
Should users need a specific non-Carbonized plug-in it will be possible to load the Carbonized Illustrator application in Mac OS X’s Classic environment, which provides backward compatibility with Mac OS 9-vintage software, Alspach said.
However, the situation is different for Web browsers, said Jimmy Grewal, program manager for the Mac version of Internet Explorer. The plug-in situation is “not that black-and-white,” Grewal said. Compatibility depends on what the plug-in was designed to do and to what set of APIs it was written.
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