News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus Mail Starting 1/31/98

From: matt@debris.com (matthew mcglynn);
Sent at Sun, 1 Feb 1998 13:30:52 -0800;
geneva etc.

Truetype converter -- convert any MacOS TT font for use with Windows.

Early on, MacOS system fonts were all bitmaps. Sometime during the system 7 years, I noticed that many of the classic system fonts started appearing as TrueType (which you can see in the font suitcase -- the icon for the individual font is different).

Note, however, that the converted Geneva looks different than what you're used to. I speculate that this is because the MacOS _still_ includes bitmapped versions of system-font sizes of Geneva (9, 12) and those are probably used instead of the on-the-fly- rasterized TrueType versions.

From: jonallen@ntr.net (Jon Allen);
Sent at Sun, 01 Feb 1998 13:48:28 -0500;
Microsoft Java?

I don't know much about Frontier, but I do know Java.

As a developer, I know to avoid any product that mixes Microsoft and Java. I am a Microsoft developer, but they have a track record of delivering much hype an poor quality. (Microsoft programs are very buggy compared to other similar systems.)

As the second largest software company in the world, Microsoft should be able to claim bug free code. (Or at least few bugs.) Microsoft's main goal is to control the market and prevent competition. This is a much higher priority than delivering quality products. For this reason, your choice of using Microsoft Java and COM would prevent me from considering your products.

I have a DEC Alpha machine running NT as well as many Pentium machines. It has proven the failures of COM and DCOM. For example, I can't print from one machine to another because the printer drivers are not the same in binary format. A problem that the UNIX world has solved years ago. COM is dead already because it will need to be changed every time you upgrade the hardware. Will Wintel be the same in 5 years as it is today? Who is going to rewrite software for every update in hardware technology. Microsoft would like everyone to have to purchase incompatable OS upgrades every few years to keep money flowing in.

Java's goal is to allow hardware technology to move even faster, allowing software to take advantage of the network and new hardware. Microsoft has been slowing down the development of new hardware for the past few years, but at the same time, making the consumer beleve that they are behind all new ideas.

From: richard@monarchy.com (richard sucgang phd);
Sent at Sun, 1 Feb 1998 10:22:23 -0600;
Geneva 9 and 12

Many Windows .TTF fonts can be used on a Mac system by means of a special program called TrueType converter (freeware). I am not sure if it will convert the other way, though. Altsys (now dissolved into Macromedia) once used to market Metamorphosis Pro, which can do font interconversions, from TrueType to Type 1 and vice versa, as well as Windows, Mac and Next. And it had the coolest feature: if your computer is attached to a PostScript printer, it can pull the fonts out of the printer! Well, copy it anyway, thus guaranteeing that WYSWIG is true at least where the fonts are concerned.

What is left on the commercial plate is the high powered Fontographer, now available as a crossplatform app. Question is, is it OK to distribute a converted Geneva? All Macs have it anyway, is there some legal problem to use it as a template to create a windows version?

From: aduncan@iprolink.co.nz (Andrew Duncan);
Sent at Sun, 1 Feb 1998 05:56:16 -0800;
Loop closes with loud bang

I just read the piece you linked to at http://photo.net/wtr/vignette.html.

About 6 mths ago a friend lent me a copy of Greenspun's "Database Backed Web Sites". I have deep and abiding interest in this stuff, and read the book twice, and dipped back into it often.

Having read it, it occured to me that his AOLServer/Tcl setup offered nothing which cannot be done with Frontier. Nothing. And as far as I could tell, there was no speed difference which could not be fixed by faster hardware.

That made me happy. It's good to know that I made a technology choice which keeps doors open, and which has very few brick walls.

Like Greenspun, I have found that many of those now-anyone-can-build-a- sophisticated-web-site products just make it easy to hit the first brick wall. Take Tango for ButlerSQL. Please. I chucked that sucker when I found that there was no sane way to generate a popup menu of all the unique values in a column. Argh!

So I used Frontier instead, with the (imported ) DAL osax. Got all the functionality I needed, with connection pooling and result caching to boot :)

I don't know if Greenspun has looked at Frontier, but I'm sure he would be pretty comfortable with it, especially in light of the Vignette review.

IMHO, you don't have much competition from Vignette. Looking over their website, I wonder if they can spell "Content Management". That must be someone else's problem, right?

BTW, Greenspun has fair bit to say in the review about caching, and he discusses it in the book, which also covers the related topic of "spindle contention". This was quite an eye-opener for me, and led me to consider a few architectural issues which I wouldn't have otherwise. You would probably enjoy the book, the author certainly pulls no punches in his criticism, and makes some cogent arguments for his approach to the web.

Last but not least, congrats on the release of Frontier 5. I waited for 5.0fc1 to upgrade from 4.2.3, since my clients depend on stability, and what a refreshingly different beast it is! Totally excellent.

The first new site I've built since the upgrade happens to be my own, and it's been great (see http://www.webwerks.co.nz/ for a preview). The website framework seems to support authoring a lot more "naturally" than it did, without sacrificing flexibilty on the altar of ease of use. Great work, and may thanks.

From: housojay@olympus.net (Dru Jay);
Sent at Sat, 31 Jan 1998 20:06:38 -0800;
Barbara Walters Interview w/ Gates

I watched the interview with Gates that was on 20/20, and I have to say the quality of the questions was definitely consistent with the reasons I stopped watching TV on any regular basis. Shallow, fluffy questions about Bill's personal life and what he felt about being called a "nerd". Though I suppose the quality and insight of programming says more about the audience than the producers. (this is very, very sad)

I'm writing this in response to Microsoft's persistence in comparing the computer industry to the auto industry.

Two points:

a) There is not one car maker that owns anything close to 50% of the market, never mind 95%.

b) Car manufacturers can choose which radios, seat covers, etc. that they choose to "bundle" with the car, and most often, the choice is up the customer.

Another thing- does anyone know of any major innovations that have originated in Microsoft i.e. not a part of companies bought by Microsoft?

From: kc@versiontracker.com (Kurt Christensen);
Sent at Sat, 31 Jan 1998 08:10:27 -0800;
Version Tracker

Just to let ya know about Apple's Hot News page and Frontier. The software listing in "Other Software Updates" comes from our list. At the moment Apple picks and chooses which updates to post from our list but soon it will be automated as a dynamic list to always show the first 5 updates we list. Actually the whole Hot News page is supposed to be automated but it seems to be taking awhile to write the script or whatever. Perhaps they should have used Frontier :-)


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