Each year, Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference in San Jose spawns a host of product releases and announcement and, as usual with any trade show or conference these days, the emphasis is on the Internet. This article highlights a few products that shipped "just in time" for WWDC.
Cyberdog 1.0 — Apple has released version 1.0 of Cyberdog, its currently free, integrated Internet client software based on OpenDoc. Interestingly, it appears Apple plans to continue calling the product Cyberdog – although having a product name with the word "dog" in it will no doubt ignite a flurry of quips from Apple nay-sayers, the name "Cyberdog" has been publicly associated with this product for a year and changing it now might lose points in the Macintosh community. (I wonder what this might bode for Copland.) Cyberdog requires a Power Mac, QuickTime, and OpenDoc.
Marionet 1.1 — Allegiant Technologies has announced version 1.1 of Marionet, its faceless background Internet protocol server for authoring environments including SuperCard, HyperCard, Director, and AppleScript. Version 1.1 includes a number of enhancements (especially to HTTP, email, and AppleScript support). Owners of Marionet 1.0 can get a free updater to 1.1 from Allegiant, and a trial version of Marionet 1.1 should appear on Allegiant’s sites shortly, along with revised demos and examples that highlight new features.
BBEdit 4.0 — Bare Bones Software announced BBEdit 4.0, which adds syntax coloring to its bag of tricks. BBEdit now automatically colors keywords for easier reading in any of its supported languages, including HTML, C, C++, Pascal, and even 68K assembler; BBEdit 4.0 also offers Java support and deeper Web serving and authoring integration with UserLand Frontier (see below). Existing users may update for $39 after 01-Jun-96, or for free if they purchased BBEdit 3.5 after 31-Mar-96. BBEdit’s suggested retail price is $119.
Frontier 4.0 — Almost a year ago, Dave Winer turned the high-end Macintosh scripting system UserLand Frontier loose on the net in the form of "Aretha," a codename for a net-savvy version of Frontier. (See TidBITS-279.) Last week, Dave did it again, with the "official" release of Frontier 4.0.
It’s not much of an exaggeration to say Dave lives for scripting, and once again Dave has re-purposed and re-targeted Frontier, this time squarely at Web publishers and service providers. Frontier 4.0 provides extensive hooks into WebSTAR, FileMaker, Netscape, Internet Explorer, and other applications to facilitate creation of custom content and Web publishing solutions. Moreover, Frontier 4.0 now offers Web site management capabilities – the basic idea is that your "source" files for a Web site reside within Frontier. When you want to change your site, Frontier "renders" and exports the HTML for you, even to the extent of uploading the files to your Web server. Frontier can make it easy to create and manage vast, consistent Web sites, and Frontier extensively ties in with BBEdit 4.0 for HTML processing and authoring. Moreover, for CGI developers, Frontier offers native, multi-threaded performance, and Frontier’s UserTalk is still an OSA language, so AppleScript developers could even think of Frontier as a giant set of OSAXen.
Frontier still isn’t for the faint of heart: Frontier scripts can be indecipherable to non-programmers, and even experienced developers have historically had problems diving into Frontier, even with the free Aretha releases. Frontier 4.0 goes some distance toward addressing these concerns, with an entire Frontier Users Guide now available online, along with various Frontier tutorials and walk-throughs contributed by users, covering CGI scripting and other topics. Also, the Frontier user community can be extremely helpful – check out the Frontier-Talk mailing list if you’re interested in learning what Frontier can do.