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Yellow Box

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Apple's New Development Platform: Code-Named "Yellow Box"

Object-oriented development for Rhapsody, the Mac OS, and Windows


Software developers are looking for a "21st-century approach" that will enhance the quality of their products, improve their efficiency, and lead to greater customer satisfaction for years to come. What are the best ways for you to succeed in the fast-paced-and increasingly web-based-technology marketplace of today while simultaneously preparing for future changes?

  • Develop "best of breed" applications.
  • Deliver solutions across multiple platforms.
  • Shorten the development cycle.
  • Bring the benefits of Java to mainstream applications.

Apple and our third-party partners are now bringing to market the application development platform and associated tools you need to accomplish those goals.

The 21st-Century Development Solution

Resulting from the union of Apple Computer and NeXT Software, the advanced development platform code-named the "Yellow Box" is a set of object-oriented frameworks that are accessible through a consistent and well-designed set of APIs based on the integration of OPENSTEP, Apple technologies, and Java. This platform will give you easy access to state-of-the-art technologies

from these two industry innovators. It will also embrace-and expand-Java technology, with capabilities designed to bring Java to mainstream applications.

The Yellow Box will serve as the basis for Apple's upcoming modern operating system, code-named Rhapsody. Versions of Rhapsody are being developed for PowerPC and Pentium processor-based computers.

Not only will this extraordinarily efficient platform enable you to create robust, media-rich applications for the Rhapsody environment, it will also streamline initial development and let you deploy a single application on various computer platforms simply by recompiling the code. In addition to Rhapsody, the Yellow Box platform will be available for the Windows 95, Windows NT, and Mac OS operating systems.

Wide-Ranging Market Opportunities

Today's demanding computer users want better applications. Specifically, they are looking for:

  • Applications that are robust and media rich.
  • Applications that can deliver new functionality swiftly to respond to rapidly changing needs.
  • Applications that can run on a wide range of hardware, from portables to desktop computers to servers.

The Yellow Box development platform was designed to address all of these concerns, making it ideal for developing applications for:

  • Content creators in publishing and multimedia
  • The higher education community
  • Corporate users
  • Users in Internet/intranet environments
  • Scientific and engineering

Meeting the Needs of Developers

The Yellow Box platform offers a working environment as superior as the applications it can produce. Apple's feature list for this new application development platform echoes developers' desires to be able to:

  • Create "best of breed" applications. Once again, Apple is providing developers with the tools to produce a new generation of software. The Yellow Box platform will offer unmatched resources for creating outstanding applications programs that use the most advanced user interface, multimedia, Internet, and other technologies to create unique user experiences.
  • Develop in the programming language of their choice. With the Yellow Box, developers can program in C, C++, Objective-C, or Java. There will also be support for scripting.
  • Streamline the development cycle. This platform streamlines application development by providing a number of high-quality prebuilt software components, backed by a visual, object-oriented approach to programming that speeds the creation of additional reusable software components.
  • Deliver global solutions across platforms. The Yellow Box development platform radically transforms the process of deploying an application across platforms. It allows developers to create applications for Rhapsody, the Mac OS, and Windows simultaneously-without compromising either application quality or user experience. Developers will be able to write a base version of their program using the platform's advanced APIs, then create additional versions through a simple recompile process. The platform's Unicode support and internationalization designed into the application classes enable developers to maintain one code base and deploy their products quickly anywhere in the world.
  • Realize the full potential of Java. The Yellow Box development platform will support the creation of "100% Pure Java" applications, as well as providing libraries that complement and extend its capabilities. Developers will be able to create sophisticated applications by calling the Yellow Box APIs in Java and deploy them in any environment that supports the Yellow Box. These features may well place the Yellow Box in a class of its own as an ideal platform for development in Java.
  • Deliver Internet-ready applications. By providing seamless access to databases and WebObjects frameworks to create outstanding Internet and intranet client/server solutions, the Yellow Box extends Apple's already substantial Internet support. In addition, software will be available for integrating its applications with high-end database management systems.

The Yellow Box meets the needs of a full spectrum of developers, and is being optimized for the following groups:

  • Independent software vendors (ISVs). The platform offers a comprehensive set of prebuilt, tested objects, such as text and printing, that speed application development while simultaneously improving the quality of the finished product. They also make it easier to customize and modify applications. A plug-in architecture allows developers or third-party vendors to quickly create add-ons to an application. Localization is very easy, since text can be modified independently from the code of the application itself, and the same source code can be used on different platforms, allowing ISVs to sell their applications to a wider range of customers with little additional effort.
  • Value-added resellers (VARs) and system integrators. Comprehensive services included in all Yellow Box implementations will make it easy for VARs to develop and customize vertical applications. Support for interactive development and prototyping allows integrators to more easily get feedback from customers in order to better meet their requirements. Customers can deploy the finished applications on any of the leading desktop computer platforms without further effort from the VAR or system integrator. Internet capabilities will also permit deployment on the World Wide Web.
  • Web developers. The Yellow Box includes the WebObjects framework, which provides an HTML interface to its objects. This enables developers to easily create dynamic web-based applications. Integrated multimedia technologies support the development of state-of-the-art web pages. There are even built-in database integration services. Developers can create small stand-alone web applications, web-hosted services, web-enabled desktop applications, and extensions to WebObjects. Using Apple's WebObjects software, dynamic web sites developed with the Yellow Box can be deployed on Rhapsody, Windows NT, Solaris, and HP-UX servers.
  • Corporate developers. Technologies provided in the Yellow Box will allow corporate developers to create enterprise-class applications. The platform supports transparent distribution for client/server multitier applications, integration with relational database and legacy applications, and full Java capabilities. In addition, the Yellow Box architecture allows developers to improve productivity by reusing pieces of software-a necessity for quickly adapting to changes in the business environment.

Yellow Box Architecture

Designed to help developers meet current challenges as well as prepare for future ones, the Yellow Box development platform unites Apple's strengths in multimedia and graphics with the power and robustness of NeXT's proven object-oriented technologies-providing a consistent and powerful set of APIs that address the following areas:

  • Multimedia. To support the creation of media-rich applications, the development platform integrates Apple's QuickTime Media Layer (QTML), which consists of these technologies:
    - QuickTime, the industry-standard architecture for creating, manipulating, playing, and storing multimedia files.
    -QuickDraw 3D, which supports the creation and rendering of real-time, workstation-class three-dimensional graphics.
    -QuickTime VR, a virtual-reality tool that provides an interactive user experience of both panoramas and objects.
  • For the first time, the QTML technologies will be accessible through object-oriented APIs.

  • Graphics. The platform will adopt the PostScript imaging model, which provides WYSIWYG functionality across devices and operating systems. In addition, the platform will provide advanced typographic and international language support from QuickDraw GX, as well as support for Apple's ColorSync color-matching technology and Interceptor for direct screen access.
  • Database support. The platform will incorporate NeXT's Enterprise Objects Framework (EOF) functionality to provide persistent storage through a process of mapping objects to tables. Access to Oracle, Sybase, Informix, ODBC-compliant, and other powerful databases will be available through add-on products.
  • Java libraries. Developers will also be able to run "100% Pure Java" applications using the standard libraries that run on any Java Virtual Machine. In addition, Apple intends to provide support for the design of the Java Foundation Classes (JFC) to make it a fully functional framework and have it integrate smoothly with the rest of Apple's platform.
  • Prebuilt application objects. These objects provide out-of-the-box, ready-to-use functionality that significantly reduces the effort required to develop an application. The AppKit framework provides sophisticated user-interface functionality that recreates the look and feel of the native operating system on which the application is running. Also included is support for interapplication services, scripting, localization, and sophisticated text handling and imaging. The Foundation framework provides functionality common to all applications that insulates them from the specifics of the operating system and offers services such as memory management, internationalization, multithreading support, and file system operations.
  • Distributed computing. The platform will furnish high-level APIs for transparently developing distributed applications, freeing developers from the necessity of writing low-level network operations. Support for CORBA/IIOP (including an object request broker) will make it easy for developers to create robust, flexible applications that work across heterogeneous networks.
  • Microsoft Windows support. Microsoft Windows versions of Yellow Box applications will be able to take advantage of native Windows functionality such as Win32 calls and OLE/COM. Developers can transparently make their applications message OLE-enabled applications such as Microsoft Word. Applications developed on this platform can also leverage ActiveX controls within the Windows environment. This will allow the development of first-class Windows applications that integrate seamlessly with any other Windows applications.
  • Internet functionality. The development platform includes APIs for Internet-based mail, messaging, directories, and security services. It will also utilize Apple's WebObjects framework to support the creation of innately "web-enabled" applications, reinforcing Apple's existing strengths in Internet publishing.
  • Languages. Developers using the Yellow Box platform will have a great deal of flexibility in choosing a programming language, because it provides C, C++, Objective-C, scripting language, and Java support.
  • Component architecture. Thanks to the platform's built-in component architecture, developers can create applications by assembling reusable components. The component architecture will allow developers to deliver dynamically loadable add-ons to their applications through reusable components stored on palettes and assembled by developers using visual programming tools. This unique feature allows third-party and in-house developers to easily create and distribute extensions and plug-ins for applications. This part of the platform will support the use and creation of JavaBeans and the use of Microsoft's ActiveX.

A Platform for Today - and Tomorrow

When developers write to the Yellow Box, their applications can be deployed in four different user environments: Rhapsody, Rhapsody for Intel processors, Yellow Box for Windows, and Yellow Box for Mac OS. These applications will exhibit the appropriate look and feel for the operating system they run on.

Rhapsody will merge Apple's and NeXT's OS technologies to create a powerful new operating system for Power Macintosh and other PowerPC processor-based computers. The Yellow Box portion of Rhapsody will offer preemptive multitasking, memory protection, multithreading, and symmetric multiprocessing with support from the core OS, while the Mac OS portion will provide compatibility for current Mac OS applications so that they can run side by side with Yellow Box applications. This environment will be the best solution for running Yellow Box applications, encompassing fast hardware, easy system maintenance, a modern operating system, Mac OS application compatibility, and an intuitive user interface.

Apple will also release a version of Rhapsody for systems based on Intel Pentium processors. Although this version will not offer all the benefits available on PowerPC processor-based systems, such as the capability to run Mac OS applications, it will bring new levels of OS capabilities to users of Pentium-based systems running Yellow Box applications.

The development platform allows developers to create applications for both the Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems. Because the platform is implemented on top of the Win32 API, it insulates developers from many of the usual difficulties of creating a standard Windows application. Of course, the applications carry the native Windows interface.

An upcoming release of the Mac OS will be extended to support Yellow Box applications. This capability will not affect existing Macintosh functionality. Mac OS systems will be able to run both applications developed for the Mac OS and those developed for the Yellow Box. Users will be able to simultaneously run native Mac OS and Yellow Box applications side by side on their systems. This environment will allow users to take advantage of the powerful PowerPC hardware platform-offering true plug-and-play capabilities and simple, yet powerful, user experiences-with the added capabilities the Yellow Box provides.

Today's Opportunity for Tomorrow's Success

Apple's Yellow Box application development platform provides a new, "21st-century approach" for developing tomorrow's applications. Its object-oriented, cross-platform, language-independent approach streamlines the development process and allows developers to radically improve their productivity. Applications developed with the Yellow Box development platform are being tested today in mission-critical environments of Fortune 500 companies, and ISVs are already using the Yellow Box to create the next generation of ground-breaking, "best of breed" applications.

See Also