Rainer Brockerhoff wrote:

Still, Steve Jobs said many features were still “top secret”. I suppose most of them will be revealed later under NDA.

And so they were. Well, at the least most of them that developers should be concerned about. I’ll talk about some fundamental issues here, but of course I can’t talk about details not released elsewhere.

Rainer Brockerhoff wrote:

Xcode 3.0 features a cool new debugging feature called… “Xray”. So. Good thing I’m at XRay II already. Where’s my lawyer…? icon_biggrin.gif

Well, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Apple – informally, I hasten to add – and we’ve agreed there’s no conflict. A good thing too, as they have more lawyers than I do, hehe. Unofficially, I’ve heard that it was called PowerSomethingOrOther until nearly the last day before the show and then someone (marketing?) decided on the name change without doing a Google search. (Probably because PowerSomethings are on their way out, anyway.)

I’ve been floating ideas of possible name changes with other developers – GammaRay? CAT? PET? PowerSameThing? Nothing has quite the same zing, and I’d have to change the icon – and so I’ve decided keeping XRay II will be OK for me. It’s a full version ahead!

Anyway, I’ve been not-too-surprised about the mostly ho-hum reactions the keynote got among journalists, analysts and non-developer entities. And of course the stock is down. Well, no new iPod was revealed, right? And some people to this day think that Tiger was only Dashboard, Spotlight and some small cosmetic changes in the iApps…

…and from that point of view, the Leopard preview was only Time Machine, 64-bit support on some machines, and… HTML Mail templates? To-do in Mail. And erh, more effects in iChat and PhotoBooth, right? Personally, I was disappointed to see Steve Jobs waste so much detail on such trivia. And of course, HTML e-mail should be stamped out, not fomented!! Death to Mail templates!!! Argh. Sorry. Hm.

Well, it’s a developer conference and this was a preview for non-developers. The timing of this conference was very interesting. I’ve been to conferences where the timing was unfortunate. Way back when they showed the Copland preview absolutely nothing worked and most of the sessions were pure hand-waving. Last year, Tiger had already been out for a time and that conference was interesting more for its historical value (and for testing on the Intel kits, of course).

This time, the Leopard preview is at the right stage. Most of the new APIs and things are either working or in the final stages. There’s documentation! There are machines running the new system! The new system kernel panic a few times a day under hard use, but that’s normal. There’s the usual list of deprecated APIs we should avoid in the future, and the usual list of cool new APIs I’ll have to wait a year or more to really use. What is mostly not there is what those guys were looking for: a new kernel, a new Finder, the death of metal, new applications, radically improved applications (and I’ll explain below why they shouldn’t be here now).

More importantly, there’s a clear sense of direction. I’ve changed several ideas I had about XRay II’s implementation and most of them will make my life easier, mostly through having to write less code. Or, in the future, of being able to take code away, or to do cool new stuff on Leopard in the “just-works” mode.

So, what the non-developers don’t get is that Leopard is all about infrastructure – as was Tiger too, come to think of it. As someone (Lincoln?) is reputed to have said, “if I have 8 hours to fell a tree, I prefer to spend 6 hours sharpening my ax”. And that’s what’s going on. They’re sharpening the infrastructure. Then, a very short time (comparatively) before release, all the new infrastructure will make doing those cosmetic and application changes much easier, and they’ll be faster as a side-effect too. And they’ll be doing things not possible today. Some folks are catching this hint. For instance, Time Machine’s cool new UI is possible thanks to the new CoreAnimation framework, which itself rests on other stuff I can’t mention… and all this new infrastructure is interacting synergistically, so the rate of change of innovation is increasing without Apple having to add more engineers, or developers like me having to write more code. The new boring Mail features are based on new frameworks available to other apps, and so on.

More later…