Under the Bridge

WWDC Reflections

So, after going through WWDC this year, it’s quite clear that my wild speculations that “Snow Leopard” might actually refer to the return of Yellow Box for Windows were completely wrong. Moreover, it’s pretty much certain that there will never ever be a Yellow Box in its historical form as a Windows-hosted runtime, for a variety of reasons.

However, we weren’t completely nonsensical in our thinking; it looks like we did, in our fumbling way, correctly identify Apple’s interests and goals — we just weren’t thinking outside the box enough in figuring that the resurrection of Yellow Box was the way Apple would choose to achieve them.

Unfortunately, the direct evidence that we have to support this new thinking is all under NDA, although most of it can be pieced together from publicly available tidbits; however, the basic reasoning can all be found in the latest piece up at the always-invaluable RoughlyDrafted Magazine. Money quotes:

Instead, Apple is refining Cocoa for deployment within the web browser to enable developers to build those so called “Rich Internet Applications” that Adobe wants users to build in Flash/Flex/AIR, Microsoft in Silverlight, Sun in Java, and so on…

If you were waiting for the resurrection of Yellow Box or Cocoa for Windows, stop waiting and start coding. SproutCore brings the values of Leopard’s Cocoa to the web, domesticating JavaScript into a functional application platform with lots of free built-in support for desktop features…

Yep … I think Messr. Dilger is pretty much spot on with his various prognostications and recommendations in this article, and when I casually dismissed the idea that MobileMe was the Big Unexpected Thing™ I’d heard hints would be announced, I was completely overlooking the possibility (and most people still are!) that it wasn’t just a rebranding of the .mac web services, it actually does presage a fundamental shift in the capabilities of cloud computing paired with a blurring of the line between native and web applications.

The next couple of years are going to be very interesting indeed!

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