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AppleWorks/ClarisWorks Dies Quietly 220

Posted by kdawson
from the out-to-pasture-or-off-to-the-knackers dept.
Several readers noted that Apple has quietly discontinued AppleWorks, in the week that the company's spreadsheet solution, Numbers, debuted in its iWork suite. The AppleWorks website now directs users to the iWork section of the Apple site. AppleWorks was introduced — before the Macintosh — in 1984 and began its long twilight as abandonware in 1999.
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AppleWorks/ClarisWorks Dies Quietly

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  • memories (Score:3, Interesting)

    by greywire (78262) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @02:26PM (#20253097) Homepage
    ah, yes, memories of appleworks in highschool computer class on apple IIc's...
    • Re:memories (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sporadic (110921) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @02:38PM (#20253253)
      AppleWorks (and to a less degree, AppleWorks GS) got me through high school and college (80-mid 90's) as an English Lit/Polysci major. With the Beagle Bros' TimeOut series of add-ons, there was nothing AW couldn't handle! Ah, the good old days! Running it on an Apple IIgs with 8MG, SCSI HD, and ZipGSX accelerator, the 8-bit text based AW flew like a bat out of hell! And being the geek that I was (and still am,) I used to track all my games with the Database :) I still have the IIe and IIgs in my closet, plus a crapload of 5.25 and 3.5 floppies. Maybe I'll take them out this weekend and see if they still work. Pretty sure the machines still work.

      Sporadic
      • Appleworks in the pre-GUI era on the Apple //e was great - it got me through college as well. >sigh
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by KlaymenDK (713149)

        I still have the IIe and IIgs in my closet, plus a crapload of 5.25 and 3.5 floppies. Maybe I'll take them out this weekend and see if they still work. Pretty sure the machines still work.

        Good luck with that. (Honestly -- no sarcasm intended.) I have about 5kg worth of Mac disks with everything from various OS versions, apps, games, and tons of HyperCard stacks ... and vanishingly little of it is still readable. Floppies degrade over time... :'-(

        • by ncc74656 (45571) *

          I have about 5kg worth of Mac disks with everything from various OS versions, apps, games, and tons of HyperCard stacks ... and vanishingly little of it is still readable. Floppies degrade over time.

          3.5" floppies (especially the cheap ones of the past few years) tend to degrade pretty badly. My experience with 5.25" floppies, OTOH, hasn't been nearly as bad. Last time I checked, the boot floppies that came with my IIe back in the day still work, and they're about 22 years old now.

          At some point, I sti

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Kymermosst (33885)
            Before I ran out of room, I had started archiving my Apple II disks with ShrinkIT... I'd archive them onto my SCSI drive and then copy them via AppleTalk to a Linux box via a FastPath 5. I tried archiving directly to the netatalk share, but that'd cause a crash.

            I need to get back to that before I lose all my disks, I have some good stuff.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ...got me through high school and college (80-mid 90's)...

        Senator Blutarsky, is that you?

    • "Do you really want to do this?"

      "Carefully saving this file"
  • by seebs (15766)
    AppleWorks was massively undermaintained, buggy, and really needed work -- but they sacrificed it for iWork, and then kept it around solely for the spreadsheet. I am SO glad to have, finally, a decent and stable spreadsheet for the Mac. (I guess NeoOffice sorta counts, but I like Numbers better.)
    • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday August 16, 2007 @02:32PM (#20253169) Homepage

      Well, yeah. Appleworks hadn't really seen a significant update in, what, more than 5 years? I was always surprised to learn that it was still being sold.

      I'd see it on the shelf at BestBuy and think, "Really?! Appleworks? Do people still buy that, and if they do, are they really pissed off when they figure out how out-of-date it is?"

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Nimey (114278)
        The last update of Appleworks was so that it doesn't require Classic. It's /that/ neglected.
      • Re:Finally. (Score:4, Informative)

        by SillySilly (843107) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @03:38PM (#20253893)

        I bought AppleWorks, knowing full well that it was "abandonware," and that I will never see an upgrade. I bought it because it is native OS X, it is very easy to use, it is very well integrated, it does its job and does it very well, and it opens old AppleWorks and ClarisWorks files. It is a very good piece of software.

        iWorks has some very nice programs. I use Pages -- for page layout it is nicer than AppleWorks. But iWorks still doesn't offer everything that AppleWorks did -- no paint tool, no draw tool, no database tool -- so even if (or when) I upgrade my iWorks to iWorks '08 I will still find uses for AppleWorks.

        • by Bobartig (61456)
          AppleWorks is good for opening old, old files. The kind where you see te file type, and you have no idea what app even created it. It was such a Swiss army knife on my Mac SE. I'd write papers in it, make drawing, mudd and BBS from the terminal emulator, make databases of baseball cards and game related information.
      • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Funny)

        by loganrapp (975327) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [pparnagol]> on Thursday August 16, 2007 @04:15PM (#20254349)
        Whenever Steve was in one of his "moods," programmers would be all, "I'm working on AppleWorks!" and when Steve continued down the hall they expose'd out to get back to composing porn music on GarageBand.
      • by COMON$ (806135) *
        testing my memory here but I heard rumors long ago, maybe a slashdot article that MS had bought out Claris back in the 90s and that effectively ended the dev....can anyone contribute to or destroy this rumor?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by BlueGecko (109058)
          That's completely wrong. Apple broke Claris in two: one half was left with the FileMaker database and reformed into FileMaker Inc.; the other half was reabsorbed directly into Apple. That's why ClarisWorks turned into AppleWorks and began being sold by Apple directly. Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], as always, has a nice overview.
      • When I was at school, issue 100 of Computer Shopper had ClarisWorks 1.0 (for windows 3.x) on the cover disks. The total install was 5MB, which was half the size of Microsoft Word 2.0, which I was using at the time (important on a 60MB disk). I used it for years, and there were some things I really liked, like the fact that inserting a table in a word processor document gave you access to all the spreadsheet features, and inserting a text box in the drawing app gave you all of the word processor functions.

      • by Gilmoure (18428)
        Lotta' schools are still using it. My Mom's a teacher I get calls about once a month for Apple Works. Still, it's better than the weekly Word calls I get. Haven't dared show her pages, yet.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by zullnero (833754)
        Why do people measure the quality of a piece of software by how often it's patched? If a piece of software runs well and does the job, then it's a good piece of software. If a piece of software does not run well and does not succeed in doing the job, then it needs to be patched frequently. If AppleWorks worked well for folks, then why was it dead years ago because no one patched holes that weren't there? As for adding features, you only add features, hopefully, when you seriously NEED to add a feature.
    • by Kadin2048 (468275) * <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Thursday August 16, 2007 @02:39PM (#20253275) Homepage Journal
      I was just glad that they made an OS X native version. I don't know about other people, but I have a *lot* of old ClarisWorks and AppleWorks documents sitting around, and they are not something that you can easily batch-convert. (Or at least I don't know of a way to easily batch convert them; if anyone knows how to do that, please feel free to let me know.) I probably go in and open up an old Claris WP document every few weeks or so.

      Will the new iWork suite open old Claris/Appleworks documents? It would be nice if they did. I haven't played with the new iWork apps at all (I realized that I don't need a word-processor for most of what I now do, and just use TextMate to butcher ASCII instead).
      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        I wonder if they'd consider open sourcing it. It's very Mac-centric, and probably a mess, but it'll at least be carbonized, and there's probably a lot to learn by looking at it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MightyYar (622222)
          It can't be THAT Mac-centric... there's been a Windows version since at least 4.0.
          • by iluvcapra (782887)

            Wow, you're right. I modify my previous comment: I now demand they open source it.

          • by Trillan (597339)
            Actually, it really was that Mac centric. It was just that Claris had some awesome Mac->Win32 porting tools.
          • It was on Windows since it was Claris Works; the reason they spun out Claris was to do the Windows port. I used Claris Works 1.0 on Windows (3.11, on a 16MHz 386 with 4MB of RAM) for years. I was disappointed when I bought the latest AppleWorks with my PowerBook to learn that it couldn't open the ClarisWorks 1.0 files.

            That said, the Windows API is heavily, uh, inspired by the old Mac Toolbox, and porting applications between Carbon and Win32 is not a horrendously difficult task, as long as it's properl

      • by TheoCryst (975577) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @02:58PM (#20253465)

        Will the new iWork suite open old Claris/Appleworks documents?
        http://www.apple.com/iwork/pages/#compatible [apple.com] Yep. I don't know about the old version of iWork, but since it doesn't have Numbers, it's almost a moot point.
        • AW WP does OK into Pages with pretty high fidelity.
          Surprisingly, objects cut and paste from PageMaker under Classic into Pages in OSX. (I know, I know... it's almost over...)

          AW SS to Numbers is a problem.
          I just moved 20 years of cycling mileage and analysis to Numbers.
          Formulas do OK, there are three trouble spots I've found:
          - Charts come in with some object groupings broken, so there are pieces of them disconnected.
          - Data points in series have a different collection of symbols, which don't seem size-able.
          -
      • Will the new iWork suite open old Claris/Appleworks documents?

        Yes, according to the User Guides for Pages and Numbers. I have not tried it myself though.
      • by greed (112493) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @04:06PM (#20254219)

        Well, for Numbers, it's a "Yes, but...". There's a number of things which don't work.

        hlookup and vlookup don't import, formulas using those will be replaced with the last calculated value. Anchors and bookmarks don't import.

        There's some UI commands missing, too, like "Fill Down" or "Fill Right", which I used frequently.

        It was interesting just how close ClarisWorks spreadsheets were to MaxiPlan; all I had to do to move over from the Amiga was re-bias dates to the different epoch. All the formulas worked.

      • by krakelohm (830589)
        http://www.dataviz.com/products/maclinkplus/ [dataviz.com] Maclink Plus has always worked for us.
      • by ncc74656 (45571) *

        Will the new iWork suite open old Claris/Appleworks documents? It would be nice if they did. I haven't played with the new iWork apps at all (I realized that I don't need a word-processor for most of what I now do, and just use TextMate to butcher ASCII instead).

        How old is "old?" Unless I'm just doing something wrong, the Mac OS X version of AppleWorks (came with my Mac mini) won't even touch the files I created back in the day with AppleWorks 3.0 on the Apple II. (Yes, I have a way to get the files fr

      • by bedouin (248624)
        I can't answer your batch conversion question (maybe such a thing could be Apple scriptable?), but I do know that both Pages and Word for Mac will open files with the .CWK extension.
  • Fare thee well, AppleWorks - you kept me from having to buy a copy of Office for several years, and at one point knowledge of your inner workings was tremendously helpful at a job (I briefly worked at a small school which had an Apple ][e running AppleWorks in 1998...
    • by Gilmoure (18428)
      I had to help a bail bonds company transition from Apple ][ GS systems to modern Macs in 2001. They had this horrendous database someone had customer coded 15 years prior. All I promised was to get their files over. Was up to them to find a db solution.
  • Heh, that would explain why Word:mac (aka MS Word) came up when I opened AppleWorks on my new MacBook Pro.

    Actually, I have been trying iWork '08 and it's ok. Right now the port of OpenOffice isn't that stable, like freezing when I try to open a CSV file in the spreadsheet. So for the most part, if I don't need to cut-n-paste information, I just use OpenOffice installed by Fink which is X11.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why-o-why? The same reason apple pretend that no-one uses open formats and containers like: FLAC, vorbis and matroska et al?
  • by idontgno (624372) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @02:36PM (#20253231) Journal

    Moof!

    Thud.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tulmad (25666)
      I believe you are making reference to Clarus, which is really totally different from Claris.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kat_skan (5219)

      This is the way the database ends
      This is the way the spreadsheet ends
      This is the way the word processor ends
      Not with a bang, but with a moof.

  • Pity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@xmsnet . n l> on Thursday August 16, 2007 @02:37PM (#20253241)
    It was brilliant. The only "works" package that didn't suck.
    Its integrated approach, with text processing, spreadsheet, drawing and database modules in a single application program was rather elegant. For quickly throwing together a document that needs all of those, I still haven't seen anything that beats it.
    • by dosius (230542)
      And wasn't the original (RJ Lissner) AppleWorks the original works program?

      (Although I think it was originally released for the Apple /// as /// EZ Pieces?)

      -uso.
    • I used ClarisWorks 3/4 for years under System 7 and OS 8/9. Vector & raster graphics, word processing, page layout, spreadsheet, database -- all there in a package that made creating documents integrating all of those elements reasonably easy. Its capabilities were more limited than other software products in each area, but generally adequate for most desktop needs at the time. A computer *should* have had something exactly like that 10 years ago, especially since that's what most people bought computer
    • I never used Claris Works much (or System 7 in general - our school skipped from Apple IIe to PC, and didn't own any Macs), but it was always my mother's favorite program. My dad said she was constantly cursing at MS Office when she eventually had to switch.

      I have used Gobe productive which was a works suite designed by many of the original Claris works developers. It was originally made for BeOS, and latter ported to Windows and Linux. Unfortunately, the company went under, and for a while there was talk o
      • My grade school constantly used ClarisWorks. We were an all-Apple shop until roughly '99, at which point we began to put out Win95 running PCs, which also ran ClarisWorks. We didn't completely push out Apple and ClarisWorks until 2001-2002
      • Most of the folks who wrote Gobe Productive rejoined Apple. I suspect the resemblance between "place everything in a box on pages" approach you see in Pages and Numbers is not just coincidentally similar to the ability Productive had to do the same thing.
    • No, all "works" packages sucked. All of them. This one may have sucked a little less, but it still sucked. You know, deep in your heart of hearts, that it sucked, and you hated it. It might take many years of therapy, but, one day, you'll be able to admit this to yourself. The sky will look more blue and somehow more cheerful on that day. You might look for a group of recovering Lotus Notes addicts for advice and support through this, uh, difficult time. Meanwhile, the rest of us are overjoyed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Otter (3800)
        You might look for a group of recovering Lotus Notes addicts for advice and support through this, uh, difficult time.

        Meanwhile, Lotus Notes 8 is being released tomorrow! If one of the two had to survive, I'd much rather it were AppleWorks.

      • by JimBobJoe (2758)
        You might look for a group of recovering Lotus Notes addicts... ...and find out if that is a disease which is genetic or inherited.
    • by lakeland (218447)
      Have you tried iWork? I personally think it is an excellent replacement. It is a shame Apple tries to squeeze (a little) money out of you to get it though - it would be really nice if as part of getting a mac you got an easy to use work environment. I haven't tried numbers yet, but their presenter is quite a bit easier to use than powerpoint.
      • by Crash Culligan (227354) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @05:41PM (#20255179) Journal

        I've done more than a little with AppleWorks in my time too; in fact, I used it some Tuesday night at gaming.

        AppleWorks has (I've still got an install disk and updater, so neener) a nifty paradigm for documents. A document can hold text or graphics. The spreadsheet can be spread out on a drawing document in small pieces by opening views onto different parts of a spreadsheet. Thus, a document can be spread out across ten or eleven little boxes on a single page.

        I thought that would make AppleWorks hard to give up, and combined with the other parts of it, I may still keep it around for a good long time (Intel processor on my next computer notwithstanding).

        When I got Numbers, of course I could create as many two-and-three-column spreadsheets on the page as I wanted and link them together. A second sheet contained the "hidden" information which the other tables use for lookups. And the creative lookup scheme I was able to assemble made life a little easier.

        So I've got a new character sheet. I'll still look back, but I don't regret the move.

    • Re:Pity (Score:4, Interesting)

      by brownsteve (673529) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @04:36PM (#20254553) Homepage
      Here is a fascinating history [mit.edu] of ClarisWorks from one of its original authors. It was quite an accomplishment to pack all that functionality into a megabyte of RAM. Ahh... nostalgia...
    • by Flwyd (607088)
      I still use AppleWorks 6 when I want to throw a bunch of stuff together in precise locations on the page, such as printing two columns of coupons [trevorstone.org] to be divided by a paper cutter. The demo version of iWork iTried didn't seem to have this iFeature.

      In college, I'd download a copy (two and a half megs) onto the lab machines; it happily accepts any serial number you care to invent. Apple may not sell it anymore, but I plan to keep using it for quite some time. May Clarus live on!
  • My first mac was an PM8500, I skipped the G3,s and had a G4, now currently I use a Dual G5, which I will probably still use for another year or two before I really need to switch to an Intel based one or whatever they come out with next. But either way I never used Appleworks/Clarisworks and I don't use iWork or whatever their new one is. I guess I'm an MS Whore, but that's what my work always used and maybe that is why I always used that at home too.
  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @02:48PM (#20253349)
    ... there was a 21 MOOF!!! salute.
  • It ruled (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@xmsnet . n l> on Thursday August 16, 2007 @03:03PM (#20253509)
    Back in 1993 when I got my first computer (Mac LC II) with ClarisWorks 2.0, my classmates were struggling with PCs running MS-DOS (oh, horror) and WordPerfect 5.1 (a steaming pile of excrement compared to ClarisWorks). Interapplication communication, PC-style, meant printing your shit and then cutting and pasting the hard way, with glue and scissors.
    My smugness knew no bounds...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tksh (816129)
      You sure about that? I remember using Word 6.0 in Win3.1 back in 1993. It was pretty good, clipboard and all.
  • What an under-rated piece of software. Its integration was way ahead of MS Works. I used Claris Works all the way through college, I had it customized like crazy and had a load of repetitive jobs all automated with ease. I still use Appleworks to this day for preparing documents and simple brochures. I'll carry on using it too. "Prying from cold dead fingers" and all that.
  • I remember using it on my Apple //. Good old days! It as all text mode, not fancy GUI like Macs' versions.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Thursday August 16, 2007 @03:59PM (#20254135)
    This app pulled my chestnuts out of the fire more than a few times - simple, predictable, page accurate, lightweight, did 80% of Office... with a database, no less!

  • I knew one of the early developers who worked on it and the amazing thing about ClarisWorks was that in the Mac market it destroyed the market for Microsoft Works. No small feat.
  • I remember receiving a course from our trainer, Jayesh Valambhia, at Apple Support. We all grew to be Appleworks gurus (of course we continued to say 'Claris', because of that support folder in the system folder, and we denied the claris-to-apple-works update). Cheers Claris, here's looking at you, kid. *pours wine*
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2007 @04:57PM (#20254807)

    AppleWorks was introduced -- before the Macintosh -- in 1984

    This is completely wrong. The programs each called AppleWorks, one running on the Apple IIc and the other on the Macintosh, were completely different programs with nothing in common but their names. The Macintosh AppleWorks was originally called ClarisWorks after the application-software company that Apple spun off. When Claris was later subsumed by Apple, the name of ClarisWorks was changed to AppleWorks--you all were supposed to have long ago forgotten about the Apple IIc program of the same name 8^).

    The AppleWorks of TFA, i.e., for the Macintosh, was introduced in 1990 or 1991. Its level of integration between the components was simply jaw-dropping and as far as I know has never been approached by any other product. AppleWorks was a precursor to a revolutionary technology that was being developed at Apple that would eliminate the concept of "application-centric" workflows and replace it with "document-centric" workflows using a newly developed component technology whose name I can't remember right now (OpenDoc???). A few programs that fully practiced the new technology were developed by third parties as Apple made the APIs available; Apple themselves made the highly vaunted Cyberdog program. However, Apple's woes of the mid-1990s forced them to drop many of the cool technologies that they were working on, including this component technology. It is a little hard to explain (if you've never used AppleWorks) but the idea was that a document lived in a window and whatever software you needed to work on the document would be available without switching programs--some programs could be containers and others would be components, like plug-ins. You would just work in a container program (sometimes it didn't even matter what the program was, as long as it had the right components available). The third party action was really starting to heat up when Apple pulled the plug on the whole deal, apparently in an attempt to stay alive by cutting costs.

    • by bedouin (248624)
      " Its level of integration between the components was simply jaw-dropping and as far as I know has never been approached by any other product."

      I think GOBE Productive on BeOS was aiming for the kind of integration Appleworks provided. Unfortunately I never got around to purchasing it, so I can't give you a first-hand confirmation of that.
    • by gobbo (567674) <wrewrite AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday August 16, 2007 @10:24PM (#20257039) Journal

      AppleWorks was a precursor to a revolutionary technology that was being developed at Apple that would eliminate the concept of "application-centric" workflows and replace it with "document-centric" workflows using a newly developed component technology whose name I can't remember right now (OpenDoc???). A few programs that fully practiced the new technology were developed by third parties as Apple made the APIs available; Apple themselves made the highly vaunted Cyberdog program. However, Apple's woes of the mid-1990s forced them to drop many of the cool technologies that they were working on, including this component technology.

      Yes, it was called OpenDoc, and I really thought that document-centric computing was the way to go. Well, I still do, I've just given up hope.

      The idea is simple: we want context-rich documents, with different kinds of information and presentation as necessary. So, work on the document until it's done, by opening a different software component for each kind of content. The document's always there, the software comes and goes. Compare that to how I work now, with production suites of huge complexity and vast feature sets, but awkward interoperability. In this software utopia, we would have only bought the features we would actually use, and it was all about integration, and not being distracted from the main thing: the document.

      Unfortunately, it died before the bugs could be worked out (the few available components were nowhere near optimized yet, buggy and slow).

      AppleWorks was a transition example of this: a monolithic program that was document-centric, so that you could kind of 'have it all' if your needs weren't too extreme. I suspect that in the big plan it might have had a place weaning us off of the application-centric software economy.

      The third party action was really starting to heat up when Apple pulled the plug on the whole deal, apparently in an attempt to stay alive by cutting costs.

      I wonder about that... [tinfoilhat mode] I'm sure some big money would have been lost if this paradigm had caught on... a blossoming of garage businesses to compete with, it would have been a major shift. I wonder if some horse trading went on to encourage them to "knife the baby" [sfgate.com]. [/tinfoilhat]

  • We still use AppleWorks every day at our business. Apple was still supporting it with updates even fairly recently - to make it work with the Intel chips - I suspect we will continue to use it because it meets our needs and runs on OS X.

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