That time of the year again. My comments on the various previewed feature
highlights of <a href="http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/">Tiger</a>, the
upcoming new version of Mac OS X.
Not a huge surprise, since the BeOS file system chaps have been with Apple
for a while now, but excellent news. System-wide file contents and metadata
searching, integrated with APIs like AddressBook. Could potentially do away
with many specialist organising and searching applications. Very, very nice.
What's particularly nice is that developers can add their own "importers";
translators which allow Spotlight to search custom file-formats; and have
their own document-types automatically appear in Spotlight search results.
That's a great thing. Also nice to note that it supports Word, Excel, PDF,
Photoshop, Keynote and <a href="http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/searchtechnology.html">various other formats</a>
out of the box.
Higher-quality picture. Video confs with three other folk. Personally, I
don't care, but knock yourself out if that's your thing. Do take a moment
to <a href="http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/h264.html">read this page</a>
regarding the related H.264 codec, and also to find out a bit about
<a href="http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/core.html">Core Image and Core Video</a>.
I'll try it out. I don't think <a href="http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/">NNW</a> etc have to worry though.
Nice to have RSS feed-reading integrated into a browser with some kind of user experience.
Hmm. Arlo is right to be <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/29/apple_widgets_konfabulator/">pissed</a>.
Apple seems to have substantially copied Konfabulator's concept
(leading Arlo to <a href="http://konfabulator.com/">parody</a> Apple's
"Redmond, Start your photocopiers!" posters which were handed out at WWDC).
I'm also a little concerned from a UI standpoint, in that UI guidelines go
out the window for these 'widgets'. Sure, I want to see a widget being flipped
around to reveal its controls on the back, but come on. From a development
standpoint, anything that lowers the barrier to entry is always a mixed blessing
for purists but probably a good thing overall, though I'm also concerned that
Apple will relegate an entire class of utility applications to being widgets,
possibly impacting performance, keyboard-navigability, and general interface
consistency. We'll see.
Given the very scant details, and indeed going mostly from the screenshots, I
think this could well be A Big Deal. QuicKeys hasn't been much cop since the move to OS X,
and other utilities have yet to really establish themselves. Having visual scripting
with an Apple UI supplied with the system is potentially a huge win for cementing
OS X's place in workflows. Pre-press folk etc will certainly be soiling themselves
at the sound of this. Oh, and no-one tell Apple that they could readily sell this
I'm also required to mention that Fi <em>loves</em> the robot icon, and indeed the
"Robots Don't Grumble" heading on the preview page. Apple, if you could make that
robot trundle around the desktop, I'd sure appreciate it. Thanks. Just make sure I
can turn it the hell off too.
Accessibility features = good. Gratuitous interstitial capitals = wank.
Goodbye iSync, we hardly knew ye. Sync prefs are now in the apps which they
pertain to, which makes more sense to me. Regarding the .Mac integration, make
.Mac free (again) and then I'll give a damn. I <em>really</em> like how the sync
API will now be exposed to developers though. Could potentially be gadget heaven
from here on in.
Addressing of 16 exabytes of VM (what's the abbreviation for an exabyte anyway?),
resource fork support for more command-line utils, ACLs, centralised management
of services, and libxslt and sqlite pre-installed. Nice.
Oh, and welcome back, <a href="http://www.apple.com/macosx/tiger/64bit.html">Fat Binaries</a>.
Java Code Sense, <a href="http://ant.apache.org/">Ant</a> support,
encrypted graphical remote debugging, new gcc = all good. Reference/search
functions incorporating online material = sounds good, but let's hope it
doesn't suffer from Help Viewer's previous dog-slow performance. Class
diagram generation = meh. Use <a href="http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnigraffle/">graffle</a>
for anything serious in that area.
Excited; looks good so far. Spotlight and Automator get my vote for the features
which will most affect my daily user experience. Spotlight and sync APIs should
be fantastic for growing the platform. Dashboard should get the RB users reaching
for the hand-lotion and tissues. Seems to be turning into a better upgrade than
Panther was, which is a relief.
Upgrade, I said. <em>Upgrade</em>. Apple, don't fucking make me come over there.