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WebObjects Now Free With Tiger 296

Reverberant writes "Macworld reports that has Apple released WebObjects as a free application. From $50,000 to free, the software used to build the iTunes Music Store and Dell's original online store is now available for free to Tiger users via Xcode 2.1." From the article: " The software has historical importance to Apple-watchers: it was originally released in March 1996 - but not by Apple. In fact, WebObjects was developed by NeXT Computer and became Apple's software only when that company acquired Steve Jobs' second computer company later that year. While not software on the tip of every Mac users tongue, WebObjects sits behind several significant implementations - the most famous current example being Apple's iTunes Music Store."
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WebObjects Now Free With Tiger

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  • OK, I gotta say it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by udderly ( 890305 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @08:19AM (#12840315)
    Free as in beer no doubt.
  • link to Apple's page (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @08:21AM (#12840329)
  • by fhmiv ( 740648 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @08:27AM (#12840372) Homepage
    A few questions that are unanswered by the article and Apple's store. Does Mac OS X client include a deployment license? What about Mac OS X server? What about deployment licenses for other platforms, like Solaris or Linux? I think a fair number of existing WebObjects deployments are on platforms other than Mac OS X.
    • by fhmiv ( 740648 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @08:35AM (#12840414) Homepage
      I managed to answer some of my questions by looking at []. Tiger Client includes a development license for WebObjects. Tiger Server includes a deployment license.
      • by egghat ( 73643 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:10AM (#12840645) Homepage
        There has been a discussion about this a few days ago at (this is rather old news from the last Apple Developer meeting, but was buried under the big news of switch to Intel).

        The news seems to boil down to this:

        a) WebObjects Development (not deployment) is included in XCode and therefore free.

        b) WebObjects Deployment is included for free with Tiger Server.

        c) Other licences aren't available any longer. So that means, that you'll have to buy MacOS Tiger Server to get a valid licence. Deployment on all other platforms isn't supported any longer (it should work, cause it's java only, but there's no guarantee).

        If Apple doen't change its mind on point c, this news is not good news ...

        Bye egghat.
  • Damn it! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Hyksos ( 595814 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @08:34AM (#12840410)
    I bought WebObjects yesterday!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @08:36AM (#12840422)
    The article quoted only explains the WebObjects DEVELOPMENT environment.

    While Apple did give you free WebObjects 5.3 Development on every XCode 2.1, you have to buy a MacOS X Tiger Server to run the applications. Yes, you can still build a WAR file to deploy the application on Tomcat/JBoss/Jetty [] but you still need the server license to deploy your applications.

    The old way (pay $699usd, you get development environment on Mac and Windows, plus deployment on any JVM):
    You can deploy WebObjects 5.0 to 5.2.4 applications on any Windows, Linux [], Solaris, MacOS X and even FreeBSD [] with a compliant JVM. In short, WebObjects 5.0 - 5.2.4, you spent $699 usd to buy from Apple (I bought my copy $88 usd from eBay. Apple used to has student developer discount for $99 usd).

    The New Way ("Free development license, but $$$$ on each deployment license from Tiger server):
    Enough said, starting from 5.3, you've to buy the license for each deployment license.

    Anyway I'm pissed because I like to write apps on my Powerbook, and deploy the apps to my Debian Linux server running Apache with mod_webobjects adaptor. I would never switch to a Apple machine running Tiger Server.

    Look I love WebObjects... with all the Direct To Web and the EOF goodies, it runs circles around Ruby on Rails and the EJB/JDO toys... but I felt being sold by Apple this time.

    -cocoa ninja
    • by bstarrfield ( 761726 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @08:53AM (#12840531)

      Actually, Apple is somewhat ambivalent about how to deploy. We know that Apple personnel read Slashdot - perhaps someone from Apple will explain whether we can actually deploy with a .WAR package on a platform besides Mac OS X Sever.

      WebObjects used to be authored in Objective-C. WO developers were very happy. Then Apple decided that Java would be the Next Great Thing and removed Objective-C support and transitioned to Java - causing a great number of previous WO sites and developers to give up the toolkit.

      Of course, one of the major reasons to port WO to Java was to use it in an enterprise environment. Now Apple wants us only to deploy on X server, somewhat breaking the point of the entire Java transition. Ah well....

      • My take on this is that Appple is moving WO to be a mac only product. Right now you can build WARs but I'll bet you dollars to donuts they will incorporate some Mac only framework (most likely coredata) into it by the time the next version comes out.

    • Well, that's one of the biggest risks with proprietary software: the company changes licensing terms on you. Another big risk is that they change APIs or other parts of the software.

      The solution? Contribute to an open source project and make it do what you want it to do. There are plenty of open source systems like WebObjects; help improve them.
      • obstarwarsreference: "I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it further" could be a commentary on closed source.
      • Re:license risk (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BitGeek ( 19506 )

        There is some confusion here. They didn't "Change the terms". What they did was LOWER THE PRICE.

        It used to be you paid $699 for a box with the development environement in it, a test-deployment license, and a full deployment license. You could deploy it anywhere.

        Now you pay $0 for the development system, and $499 for a copy of OSX Server for deployment.

        So, if you had 4 Mac Server, before your cost was $2,800-- for 4 copies of WebObjects.

        Now your cost is .... $0! If your Mac Servers are XServes (sinc
        • Re:license risk (Score:3, Informative)

          ...actually I was in the feedback session for WebObjects at WWDC and when the question of using the license key from tiger came up to deploy on other platforms, they said don't do it because it's tied to the OS X architecture and wouldn't work.

          However, they are looking to clarify their licensing policy and legalese, and I feel confident they'll provide some sort of path for the non-Tiger user.
    • Actually, the 10 user license is $499, and comes with an unlimited license for WebObjects (The 10 user license applies only for file sharing).
      • I'm just switching back to WO 5.2 because of some problems that my D2W apps have... however, the WO 5.3 Developer License that came installed with Xcode 2.1 is a "Unlimited Requests Multithreading: Yes LoadBalancing: Yes" License. The former 5.2 Developer license was limited to 100 Requests as well as LoadBalancing: No. Thus it seems that the developer license of 5.3 is actually a deployment license.
    • You're drawing a distinction between a WebObjects DEVELOPMENT license and a DEPLOYMENT license where there isnt any. They are one and the same.

      WebObjects used to cost $699 (for one deployment, or one developer seat), but is now free. It was already free with Mac OS X Server (starting June 2002 according to the article).

      I'm betting they just removed the chunk of code having to do with entering licenses.

      Maybe you are right, but if your only source of info is the linked article, then you know as little as I
  • For those of you who are wondering how to get a hold of Apple's XCode 2.1, you can do so here []. Before you download, you'll need an Apple Developer Connection account [], a free registration.

    • Sadly, Apple doesn't have a Torrent link, which is an obvious choice for a 770MB file. 2 hours to download software in this day and age, bleah.
  • What For? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Walrus99 ( 543380 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @08:43AM (#12840470)
    What for? I still got my Claris Home Page 3.0. Makes web pages that download easily are are compatible with 99% of the browsers in use. Runs great under Classic too.
  • Any idea why Dell dropped Web Objects in favor of an Asp .Net system? It can't have been a small move, which would involve not only recoding their app, but moving to win2k3 servers.
    • Most Likely because WebObjects now only runs in OS X. Dell probably hasn't used WebObjects for about 7 years now, right about the time Apple bought Next. It was there original store that was coded in WebObjects.

    • probably microsoft gave it to them for free (the development of the website, I mean).

      A friend of mine was the main developer for Mexico's Yellow Pages back in 1996, and we built it with WebObjects (back when it was an ObjC-based NeXT product). It worked great.

      Now it's built with ASP, I don't even know if it's .NET or if this switch happened previously. Why did they dump a working website in favor of a new one that has many problems? because MS developed the site for them, for free. It only has the MS logo
      • by Nick of NSTime ( 597712 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:43AM (#12841531)
        Dell dropped WebObjects and went with ASP because, as the site grew in popularity, they needed more developers and ASP knowledge was far more prevalent than WebObjects. I know this from my tenure at Dell in 1998. The move to ASP.NET was an evolutionary one.
        • Why are there more free applications for Windows than OS X? Why are there more servers that run god awful IIS than OS X?
          Developers create the killer apps that drive OS sales. It's great to see that Apple is working to actively court developers as this investment (which costs them little) may yield an increase in demand for both their hardware and software as more and more applications become available.
          The parent post's mention of Dell's switch to .NET highlights my point. They needed more developers, we
  • I'm not enough of a Big Iron guy to know if there's rampant holes in these benchmarks or not, but this benchmark set at Anandtech [] (and other pages in that article) suggests the Mach kernel in OS X isn't the greatest for high end server stuff. So is this the smartest move Apple could make?

    As for the viability of WebObjects, well... I'm currently a J2EE developer working with in-house libraries. Once I get my thesis written I'm going to spend some time with one of the next generation web development platform
    • by MikeMo ( 521697 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:05AM (#12841105)
      Here's a quote from a gent at MacInTouch that I think is relevant:

      [Christian Kent] I was forwarded this today by a Macintosh MPEG software developer:

      Okay, stop, I have to make an argument about why this article fails, before I explode. MySQL has a disgusting tendency to fork() at random moments, which is bad for performance essentially everywhere but Linux. OS X server includes a version of MySQL that doesn't have this issue.

      No real arguments that Power Macs are somewhat behind the times on memory latency, but that's because they're still using PC3200 DDR1 memory from 2003. AMD/Intel chips use DDR2 or Rambus now ... this could be solved without switching CPUs.

      The article also goes out of its way to get bad results for PPC. Why are they using an old version of GCC (3.3.x has no autovectorization, much worse performance on non-x86 platforms), then a brand spanking new version of mySQL (see above)? The floating point benchmark was particularly absurd: "The results are quite interesting. First of all, the gcc compiler isn't very good in vectorizing. With vectorizing, we mean generating SIMD (SSE, Altivec) code. From the numbers, it seems like gcc was only capable of using Altivec in one test, the third one. In this test, the G5 really shows superiority compared to the Opteron and especially the Xeons" In fact, gcc 3.3 is unable to generate AltiVec code ANYWHERE, except on x86 where they added a special SSE mode because x87 floating point is so miserable. This could have been discovered with about 5 minutes of Google research. It wouldn't had to have been discovered at all if they hadn't gone out of their way to use a compiler which is the non-default on OS X 10.4. Alarm bells should have been going off in the benchmarkers head when an AMD chips outperforms an Intel one by 3x, but, anyway ...

      I hate to seem like I'm just blindly defending Apple here, but this article seems to have been written with an agenda. There's no way one guy could stuff this much stuff up. To claim there's something inherently wrong with OS X's ability to be a server is going against so much publicly available information it's not even funny. Notice Apple seems to have no trouble getting Apache to run with Linux-like performance.

      • Interesting stuff, particularly as Anandtech has been pretty pro-Apple lately... Anand himself has bought and reviewed Powermacs and Powerbooks and been very positive about the whole switcher thing. How weird.

        Anyway, thanks for the info!

      • by Glyndwr ( 217857 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:24AM (#12841330) Homepage Journal
        Having read the article quite closely, actually, I don't think he had an agenda. I just think he did it backwards. He took his SUSE 9 system and looked at what versions of MySQL and GCC it had. Then he built GCC for the OS X machine, then used that to build MySQL. He probably felt really good about that being a fair test, too! After all, the software was the same on all machines!

        He'd have done better to use OS X Server with the shipped MySQL, of course, as your source points out. Apple's platform isn't fully mainstream for either GCC or MySQL, and it's hardly unfair to allow Apple's own tweaks to these packages to be used in the test. It's still a pretty real-world test he's doing, so it's not like it can be cheated.

        Maybe it was deliberate bias, but I try not to suspect evil when simple incompetence can explain it.
    • A J2EE developer still not using Spring, Hibernate, etc.?!? Sweet Jesus, that is an arcane art, sir.

      • Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. I only started at the firm eight months back (my first post-PhD job, I was a Perl developer before that). The project I'm working on has been in development, on and off, for nearly five years so it predates most of the really snazzy frameworks. It has all these little home-grown bits and bobs for HTML templating and logging and database persistence and suchlike. Which, naturally, aren't anywhere near as good as what's out there but there's no time to fix that, so whaddyagonnado?
  • by jimijon ( 608416 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:26AM (#12840746) Homepage
    I have been developing a hosted application (Application as a Service) with WebObjects and I must say it has completely spoiled me over all these other technologies. I have been able to rollout release after release of high quality, maintainable, fast and scalable code. I have used quite a few other technologies except for Ruby and .Net, but I really cannot believe that productivity I have had with WebObjects. Plus, its caching has made people comment on "is this really a web application". It so far has played nicely with other frameworks, like jFreeChart, and I cannot recommend WebObjects enough. It kind of reminds me of some article I read where a company chose to use LISP. They were able to constantly stay ahead of the competition etc., until Yahoo bought them out. Well, WebObjects has been our secret weapon and we are able to run rings around the competition wih our productivity. - jimijon
  • by lub ( 188080 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:39AM (#12840822)
    Right here [].
  • by pstreck ( 558593 ) * on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:39AM (#12840823)
    Apple, apple, apple... all I really want is xcode to have as good as support for LAMP (PHP mainly) as it does with java and obj c.. please apple, pretty please.....
  • Disney and TIAA-CREF (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:47AM (#12840891)
    Disney uses WebObjects for booking vacations to Disneyland, Disneyworld and Disneycruise. See this URL I just pulled from their site: bjects/TravelDLIBC.woa/ []

    TIAA-CREF, an institutional and individual investment house has over 200+ WebObjects applications still in productcion. Here's another live URL: IndvGate?Request=CustomerInquiry []

    Those are just a few of the "small" companies using WebObjects :)

    I've been developing in J2EE for over 3 years now (WebObjects before that) and I can say that nothing beats EOF. Entity EJBs are still way too slow of a technology to get up and running. The change notification and delegation that is present in the EOF framework stack is so powerful and the level of caching that's given to the developer are way too easy. Hibernate, CMP EJBs and JDO don't compare. Note that Apple was actually on the JDO specification board. I'm not sure if they voted for or against JDO but it was interesting to see they were on the board. Maybe there were thoughts creating a specification around EOF? HAHAHA!
    • Several DoD entities have been using WO since its inception. Some of NeXT's best customers came from the DoD. The problem with DoD clients is that they're not exactly going to partner with your marketing department and help you create case studies. ;-)

  • by csoto ( 220540 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @09:53AM (#12840961)
    The programming language is mostly irrelevant. WebObjects uses Java simply because that's better known by programmers. What WebObjects brings to the table is exactly what OS X does - ridiculously complete and versatile object frameworks. Who cares what code glues together these objects? It's the richness of the framekworks that matters. Anybody who does J2EE or .Net should really look into it. Every application we have reviewed lately that was built on WebObjects works great. We even bought one of them [].

    IIRC, the USPS uses WebObjects for a number of systems. I sure love their new "automated postal systems."
  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:21AM (#12841276)
    As I was packing up to move last weekend, I found one of the few old issues of Wired magazine that I've kept over the years that featured Steve Jobs on the cover, talking up WebObjects and what a great tool it was for rapid web application development. This was in 1996, and he was talking about how important web apps were going to be in a very short time.

    Love him or hate him, he does have an eye on the future most times.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 17, 2005 @10:41AM (#12841497)
    WebObject rocks. I started using webobjects four years ago. I've been away and worked on projects in raw struts, raw jsp, have played with other frameworks in my own time, and laughed. I've written a couple of my own, and am currently part of a team working to replicate the best of WebObjects using Cayenne and Tapestry. For the most part all the alternatives *completely suck*. That people do commercial work on struts - this is laughable. It is inelegant, heavy, and yuck.

    A few tools go some way towards recreating the success of parts of WebObjects - I've not played with Hibernate but hear it's a good. We use Cayenne, which is better in many respects (no addToBothSidesOfRelationshipWithKey - the default setters do this), although there are some bugs in the latest major release (1.1). Still, Andrus has really improved on some of the weak points of EO, and it's nice to see some people taking some pride in the interface with more recent releases of Cayenne - after fifteen years Apple (who pride themselves on their interfaces) still don't be able get the interface for EO to a point where it's acceptable. Focus doesn't work properly - there are mandatory fields hidden in strange places. And it's made awkward to work outside of the standard toolkit. All this is stupid. Stupid!

    Some of the templating systems are comparable to the WOBuilder. The WOBuilder has some bugs in it, and there are templating systems around that are more powerful. Nevertheless, having now used Tapestry and the wo templating system I can see advantages to the less powerful WO system. It doesn't scale to seriously complicated pages as well as tapestry, and really is a lot less powerful, but for simple pages it's a lot quicker to make magic happen. That'll be OK for us, we're planning to hack tapestry to allow us to store the quivalent of a wod file within a single tapestry tag.

    In the past, I've worked with some top notch people who develop on WebObjects. One of them is just the quintisenial guru programmer. He can look at a problem, sit down and start typing, and have a working product out in a tenth the time it would take me to produce an equivalent. Another guy is a perl guru. He's recreated the entire WebObjects development system in pure perl and moved the platform to linux. We do all our WO development on linux using text editor of choise (mostly emacs but I'm a bim type of guy) and the java libraries on linux. I have a mac laptop and had the privilege of porting them to BSD :) so I could continue to use that command-line approach in preference to the mac tools.

    Apple disappoints me. Releasing webobjects with the OS is a good idea, but they're not doing it to maek WebObjects the next best thing, they're just looking for an exit. The wasted opportunities are so disappointing, and the history of WebObjects is ridden with them. WebObjects is the best of breed and has been as long as it's been out. I'd love to know how the original team conceived it. Did they hire a team of people who'd worked on a web-like thin client system for unix or VMS? It has that feel about it that says that the people who pieced it together had a really good grasp of the problem they were trying to solve, and they did it near the beginning of the web application era. Don't take away the impression that WebObjects is some sort of golden hammer - it's quirky as hell. For example, instead of using List or evven Vector, every time you use a list by default you need to use a java implementation of NSArray. All the NS objects are default, and it's blatant that this is a quick port of Next's objective-C system to java. This is offputting at first as are all the other annoying interface quirks, stupidly long methods names and strange things that go wrong without meaningful explanation when you accidentally leave a colon sitting at the bottom of a wod file (binding file between the temaplted html file and java view file) but - it really is a mile ahead of all competition. Yet1 Apple have kept it on the backburner. They haven't dedicated de
  • to prevent being crushed by the overwelming success of the rising Uber-frameworks 'Ajax' and 'Ruby on Rails'.
    These 4th millenium technologies are going to squish everything else that is even remotely related to the internet and Apple is intelligent enough to know this. Just like everybody who reads slashdot.
    It's a shame. First Longhorn anounces it's upcoming search technology and now this. It's all downhill from here on, Apple.
    RIP. It was nice with you.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev