WebObjects - Productivity

Started by brunocampos, September 02, 2023, 10:31:21 AM

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brunocampos

Hi there!
I have a question regarding WebObjects in NeXTSTEP and further on macOS.
Back on its days, did WebObjects enable a way higher level of productivity when building web applications?

I haven't used WebObjects, but I've read about it and I believe it offered a higher level of productivity for developers. Apple focused in B2C products and discontinued WebObjects, but it's hard to believe that such a great product was discontinued.

If you could share a few thoughts on the subject, particularly if you built software with WebObjects, it would help in my research and curiosity about NeXT and WebObjects.

Thank you!

wizard

WebObjects had a somewhat niche market and was primarily used in the enterprise and by Apple itself. Over time, other web development frameworks and technologies, such as Ruby on Rails, Django, and modern JavaScript frameworks like React and Angular, have gained widespread popularity and have often been considered more accessible and user-friendly for web development.

Whether WebObjects enabled a "way higher level of productivity" compared to other contemporary technologies is subjective and could vary depending on the specific project, the developer's familiarity with the framework, and the overall goals of the development team. Ultimately, the level of productivity a developer or team can achieve depends on a combination of factors, including the tools they use, their expertise, and the requirements of the project.

MindWalker

I am not really into web development and I've never quite grasped the whole consept of WebObjects and why it was so great. But it's one of those fascinating things that were born at the end of NeXT days and came along to Apple, and most people haven't heard about. And apparently it was something quite special at that point in time.

Are there any hands-on demo videos on working with WebObjects? Were there any demos included in the packages that could be run?

I bought a boxed copy of Mac OS Server 10.1 and that has WebObjects on a CD and I have wondered if that would be something fun to experiment with...

isoriano

Interesting enough still in use e.g. Commerzbank/Deutsche Bank ..

nuss

#4
On this topic I can only tell a tiny anecdote:

For me the late 90s were the pioneer years of the World Wide Web and the whole topic fascinated me since the first HTML pages got "surfed" on our NeXT and UNIX machines and we went life with personal university web pages in 1996 (full of valuable information).

Around 1998/99 I applied for a job-offer near Munich (Germany) at a company creating the web-shop for Daimler/Mercedes-Benz.

What made this company special and interesting for me was, that they worked with Objective-C (well known to me), EOF and WebObjects (not so well known) to create interactive web-sites.

The late 90s were still full of web-pages being colorful, flashy and "under construction" images and more important, not many of them were too interactive. And this company showed me their shop system, where people all over the world could interact with. Very impressive!

In the end I joined another startup for web solutions, so all I can add to the original question (from my mind, that hopefully did not fool me) is that the some Daimler web-shop web-app around 1999 quite sure was build upon WebObjects :)
DON'T PANIC

isoriano

Quote from: nuss on September 03, 2023, 06:19:12 AMOn this topic I can only tell a tiny anecdote:

For me the late 90s were the pioneer years of the World Wide Web and the whole topic fascinated me since the first HTML pages got "surfed" on our NeXT and UNIX machines and we went life with personal university web pages in 1996 (full of valuable information).

Around 1998/99 I applied for a job-offer near Munich (Germany) at a company creating the web-shop for Daimler/Mercedes-Benz.

What made this company special and interesting for me was, that they worked with Objective-C (well known to me), EOF and WebObjects (not so well known) to create interactive web-sites.

The late 90s were still full of web-pages being colorful, flashy and "under construction" images and more important, not many of them were too interactive. And this company showed me their shop system, where people all over the world could interact with. Very impressive!

In the end I joined another startup for web solutions, so all I can add to the original question (from my mind, that hopefully did not fool me) is that the Daimler web-shop around 1999 quite sure was build upon WebObjects :)

German company .. Object Factory?

nuss

Quote from: isoriano on September 03, 2023, 08:55:20 AMGerman company .. Object Factory?

Yes, this was indeed Object Factory in Unterhaching.
DON'T PANIC

brunocampos

What makes me wonder is the vision that Steve Jobs had to create a product like WebObjects back in the day.
Also, if I'm not wrong, it was the main product that kept NeXT profitable after they stopped the hardware production.

This was way ahead of the time.

Rob Blessin Black Hole

Steve Jobs: WebObjects turned the web from static to dynamic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgOUaSmXfUU
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected] http://www.blackholeinc.com
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93

pTeK

Rob are using WebObjects for your business?
Did you sell many copies in the 90s?

Rob Blessin Black Hole

Quote from: pTeK on September 07, 2023, 06:04:50 PMRob are using WebObjects for your business?
Did you sell many copies in the 90s?
As much as I would like to some of the features may be dated and it would be complex for me to implement from scratch , not ruling it out as I have the software . I put trust in a web developer and he has tried to "update" the site but in my opinion, not so much. I did not intend to have a crazy all encompassing home page for blackholeinc.com that has everything. He says it is specifically for SEO purposes and is trained in Google SEO. All I know is my business and even contact through the website has ground to a halt. So yes I need to just revisit it once I catch up on orders as I've hired help and make it simple to use.  AI tools make it easy to do AI and even create websites now I tried to convince him that it would be easy to do using AI tools but who am I to judge lol having one of the worlds longest running web stores.
Web Objects you say, one of my favorite war stories and I think enough time has passed where I won't get in any trouble. I received a call from Apple Legal , shit had hit the fan, I tunes had crashed and no one at Apple corporate had thought to keep copies of the original Web Objects software on hand as they are burning rubber into the future. My understanding is they burned so much rubber so to speak is that the structure of WebObjects and the volume to which it was being used by Apple for Itunes crashed it.  No easy feet as Fannie Mae handled 20 million transactions a day with out a hick up ,  Heck NeXTSTEP AMD/ Intel boxes I integrated for the CBOE the NeXTSTEP OS didn't crash we we're burning up processors over a billion trades per day so hot spare computers we're a must lol. My response to Apple, Yes I have the Web Objects media and licenses you need , how about $500 but I would like them back. I probably could have said 1 Million lol but it was Apple and pulling a thorn out of the big lions paw seemed right to me. Well Apple kept my original Web Object CD's and sent me back copies lol but also as the result of that I can still provide NeXTSTEP and Openstep licensing even in 2023 . I don't know how much Apple lost in terms of revenue when ITunes was down for a few days but I was really happy as they we're that I had kept the old stuff. If it isn't broke don't fix it lol creepy as I just went to see if Itunes is still using ITunes and was prompted to reboot as a new version of Ventura was just installed. 
 
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected] http://www.blackholeinc.com
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93

pTeK

Quote from: Rob Blessin Black Hole on September 08, 2023, 05:22:38 PMWeb Objects you say, one of my favorite war stories and I think enough time has passed where I won't get in any trouble. I received a call from Apple Legal , shit had hit the fan, I tunes had crashed and no one at Apple corporate had thought to keep copies of the original Web Objects software on hand as they are burning rubber into the future. My understanding is they burned so much rubber so to speak is that the structure of WebObjects and the volume to which it was being used by Apple for Itunes crashed it.  No easy feet as Fannie Mae handled 20 million transactions a day with out a hick up ,  Heck NeXTSTEP AMD/ Intel boxes I integrated for the CBOE the NeXTSTEP OS didn't crash we we're burning up processors over a billion trades per day so hot spare computers we're a must lol. My response to Apple, Yes I have the Web Objects media and licenses you need , how about $500 but I would like them back. I probably could have said 1 Million lol but it was Apple and pulling a thorn out of the big lions paw seemed right to me. Well Apple kept my original Web Object CD's and sent me back copies lol but also as the result of that I can still provide NeXTSTEP and Openstep licensing even in 2023 . I don't know how much Apple lost in terms of revenue when ITunes was down for a few days but I was really happy as they we're that I had kept the old stuff. If it isn't broke don't fix it lol creepy as I just went to see if Itunes is still using ITunes and was prompted to reboot as a new version of Ventura was just installed. 
 
Rob you always have some amazing stories :). Reminds me of this meme

The video of Steve Jobs programming a SQL app with NeXT Step 3 always amazes me, especially for the ease he does it in the early 90s.

Quote from: wizard on September 02, 2023, 03:27:49 PMWebObjects had a somewhat niche market and was primarily used in the enterprise and by Apple itself. Over time, other web development frameworks and technologies, such as Ruby on Rails, Django, and modern JavaScript frameworks like React and Angular, have gained widespread popularity and have often been considered more accessible and user-friendly for web development.

Whether WebObjects enabled a "way higher level of productivity" compared to other contemporary technologies is subjective and could vary depending on the specific project, the developer's familiarity with the framework, and the overall goals of the development team. Ultimately, the level of productivity a developer or team can achieve depends on a combination of factors, including the tools they use, their expertise, and the requirements of the project.

@wizard do you think the niche market may have been the initial $25,000USD price? That is a steep price for startups in the late 90s and IT is one of the industries which has the cheapest price of entry now compared to the 90s where you might have had to purchase SUN hardware instead of off-the-shelf components (pentiums, PPC)?

wizard

Quote from: pTeK on September 09, 2023, 11:23:07 PMdo you think the niche market may have been the initial $25,000USD price? That is a steep price for startups in the late 90s and IT is one of the industries which has the cheapest price of entry now compared to the 90s where you might have had to purchase SUN hardware instead of off-the-shelf components (pentiums, PPC)?


The high initial price of WebObjects could indeed have been a factor that limited its adoption among startups and small businesses in the late 1990s. During that era, as you mentioned, the cost of entry for technology and software was significantly higher than it is today. Here are a few reasons why the price of WebObjects could have been a barrier for some:

High Licensing Costs: The initial cost of $25,000 USD for WebObjects licensing could be prohibitively expensive for startups and smaller organizations, especially when considering other costs such as hardware, development, and ongoing maintenance.

Platform Costs: WebObjects was initially developed for the NeXTSTEP platform and later supported multiple platforms, including Mac OS X. If an organization didn't already have compatible hardware or the required software infrastructure, the overall cost of adoption could be even higher.

Competing Free or Lower-Cost Alternatives: During the late 1990s and early 2000s, there were open-source and lower-cost alternatives available for web development, such as PHP, Perl, and later Ruby on Rails, which were more accessible to startups with limited budgets.

Limited Market Awareness: WebObjects may not have been as widely known or marketed to smaller businesses and startups as some other web development technologies, which could have contributed to its niche status.

In contrast, as you mentioned, the cost of entry for web development has significantly decreased over the years. The availability of affordable hosting, open-source development tools, and a wide range of free or low-cost frameworks and libraries has made it much easier for startups and small businesses to develop web applications without the substantial upfront costs that were more common in the late 1990s.

Today, there are numerous options for web application development that cater to a wide range of budgets and requirements, which has democratized access to web development and reduced the barriers to entry for businesses of all sizes.

brunocampos

That's quite a story from Rob! I'm building a product inspired by WebObjects: a no-code tool for designing, building and deploying web applications.

The WebObjects' version mentioned by Rob: is it for NeXTSTEP?