DaveNet: Friday, July 18, 1997; by Dave Winer.
Moving into the Future[This piece was written during a period of intense flames and attacks on my reputation as a Mac developer. I regret the defensiveness, but decided not to edit the piece. DW 8/8/97.]
To those that slam me and say that I'm bitter about AppleScript, consider this... The current version of Frontier is 4.2. AppleScript hasn't had a meaningful update in years. We have made the Mac the most powerful scripting platform, more powerful than Unix, more powerful than Windows.
Frontier is a multi-threaded environment, built around an object database, with a full suite of development tools, comprehensive verb set, it's fully PowerPC native and fast. The docs are getting great (thanks Matt!). It's even got a great outliner, which is a revolutionary way to edit scripts and HTML source code.
We embraced AppleScript in version 3.0. Frontier is a very powerful development and runtime system for AppleScript. We have a great connection to Mark Aldritt's Script Debugger for AppleScript. People miss the point that Frontier is an environment for developing and running scripts, not just a script interpreter and interface to scriptable apps.
Frontier has been completely modernized to work with the web. Scripting and the web are very close cousins. Automated websites are the way of the future. We've worked with the Bare Bones folks to add a smoothe onramp for people who already manage sites using BBEdit. Same with StarNine -- it's really nice CGI scripting environment for scripts that run behind WebSTAR.
We dig the Mac
UserLand has completely supported all the power of the Macintosh. You look to Apple to provide your scripting software. I wonder why...? We continue to invest. Frontier 5 will ship on both Mac and Windows. You may not want the Windows version, so (here's an easy solution) don't use it!
On the other hand, if you're paying attention to what's going on in the world around you, even if you don't use the Windows version, I think many people will be happy it's there, as an insurance policy against continued uncertainty with the future of the Mac. We're building a pontoon bridge of compatibility to a platform with a more certain future than anything Apple is offering (my opinion). I think that will make Frontier more attractive to more people, and in an interesting way, it makes it safer to invest in the Mac version. Both platforms will get version 5, and as I've said before, the Mac version will be more powerful and more complete for quite some time. Eight years of digging can't be ported in one year. That's just a reality of software development.
We're excited about Windows
But we're also excited about bringing some incredible new power to Windows users. Before I worked on the Mac I did software for the PC. I look forward to reconnecting with many of the people that used ThinkTank and Ready on the PC. I think they'll really like what we have to offer.
PS: For more info, see the directory of www.scripting.com websites.