Now it can be told...

Yesterday I read an interview with Rich Siegel (of BBEdit fame). He said that the "tools we had to use didn't work very well on X."

I'm going to amplify this a bit. Most Mac users probably don't realize what it's like from the developer's point of view.

We use Metrowerks CodeWarrior, like pretty much everyone else. (Though ProjectBuilder is gaining ground.)

It was nearly impossible to get debugging working on OS X. In the end, someone figured out you could set up remote debugging on the same machine. It's totally slow, you have no idea. Just totally painful. And often unreliable. For instance, it's impossible to debug running MacBird cards in Frontier.

(But it did work -- without debugging, there would be no OS X version at all.)

And then there were other bugs -- typing in CodeWarrior on OS X is way slow. More pain.

There was no way to connect to our version control system (which is Windows-based). So I had to take careful notes and boot back into OS 9 and get the VCS caught up from time to time.

I'm not here to throw rocks at Metrowerks. Based on their track record, they will have a very good version of CodeWarrior for OS X before long. They make great tools.

But the reality is that it takes time.

As much as I complain about Metrowerks, they probably have similar complaints about Apple. Everybody builds on someone else's work.

Now, we worked through the problems, and got to beta, and we'll soon be shipping Frontier for OS X. BBEdit for OS X is already shipping (kudos to the Bare Bones folks).

To everybody waiting for apps X, Y, and Z for OS X, you should know what the developers are going through. It takes time, even when the tools are totally there. But they're not there. So it takes double the time, at least.

Of course, the developers often get blamed. And the developers could blame Metrowerks, who could blame Apple -- but that's all stupid stuff. The truth is that this is a new OS, and everyone's working hard, but patience is required all around.

31 May 2001