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According to Hoyle

According to Hoyle...

All Good Things ...



August 2010

by Jonathan Hoyle


As I was preparing Part II on my column on Software Outsourcing, I received word that August 2010 would be the final issue of MacCompanion.  This therefore is the final column of According to Hoyle… (at least in MacCompanion).  For several months now, there have been signs that this might happen, given the current economy and realities of running a business.  This comes as sad news, as I valued MacCompanion has a different cut of magazine than some of the alternatives you see out there.  It is ironic that a Mac magazine would fall during one of the biggest revival's in Apple history.  But unfortunately, this is where we are.  


Although MacCompanion's first issue was published in June 2003, the According to Hoyle... column began with the September 2005 issue, making this its 60th column, exactly five years.  Five years of bringing you software development topics from a Macintosh perspective.  Some of these articles were very technical, others were not.  But I strived to bring you the very best of what was to be learned.  When this column began, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger was only a few months old, the new iPod Mini was the smallest music player around and Apple had just announced its plan to transition its microprocessors away from the PowerPC and onto Intel.  In the past five years, the Mac's marketshare tripled, the iPod became ubiquitous, Apple began its overwhelmingly successful Mac/PC ads, and the iPhone changed the course of telecommunications history.  It has been arguably the most exciting five years in Apple history.


Although most are available now, these 60 columns will all be available on my mirror web site.



Its Five Year Mission ...

There  was a convenient set of circumstances which led to the beginning of this column.  The story begins after I published a paper at MacHack 20 (this conference was also known as ADHOC: Advanced Developers Hands On Conference); the paper's title was Cross-Platform Approaches from a Macintosh Perspective.  MacCompanion Publisher Robert Pritchett saw it and thought it would be a great addition to the magazine and asked me for permission to publish it in MacCompanion.
At 18 pages, however, the paper seemed a bit long as a single article.  Since it was fairly well sectioned, I proposed to Robert that I could break the paper up into its component topics, and publish it as a series.  Robert was very gracious and liked the idea, and suggested that depending on how well it went, I might be invited to stay on as a regular columnist.  The rest, as they say, is history.


Although the information is a bit dated, much of the original MacHack paper holds up, even five years later.  To get a higher level overview of this paper, feel free to view the MacHack PowerPoint presentation.



To Explore Strange New Worlds ...

The According to Hoyle… column was initially launched with series Cross-Platform Software Development from a Macintosh Perspective, which lasted over a year.  Each month, we covered a different topic: Qt, wxWidgets, CPLAT and REALbasic, just to name a few.  Once we covered all the topics in the original MacHack paper, I began to cover other cross-platform strategies I didn't have time for originally, such as Runtime Revolution and Java.  Eventually, I moved away from focusing specifically on cross-platform topics and covered Macintosh topics in general.
My most popular articles in 2006 was a three part series devoted to Basic development environments on the Macintosh.  This covered this history of Basic development environments and reviewed some of the newer entries, including FutureBasic, Chipmunk Basic, KBasic and PureBasic.  In 2008, we revisited Basic compilers again for an update.


One of the longest articles came in March 2007, when we examined changes coming to the ANSI C++ specification.  This article was designed especially for C++ programmers who were interested in new language features becoming available.  At the time it was written, the expectation was that this draft would be finalized in 2009, and hence was named C++09.  Since that time, other delays in the specification has caused it to be held up into 2011.  An update to this article came in November 2008, but it wasn't until the Fall of 2009 that we did it justice with a 6 part series detailing these changes.


Another popular series in 2007 was the three part series Moving from CodeWarrior to Xcode, giving step-by-step instructions for those with legacy projects wishing to modernize them with Xcode.  Although I had planned a Part IV for sometime in the future, the future had other plans.


In the Fall of 2007, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard was released.  So for the rest of the year, the According to Hoyle… columns were devoted to examining this new operating system and other development related topics, including Xcode 3.0, Objective-C 2.0 enhancements and GCC 4.2.  The following year in 2008, we continued with a tutorial on Objective-C for C++ programmers, reviewed other Macintosh operating systems, and previewed Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and Xcode 3.2 compilers.


As the economy faltered in 2009, we had a three part series entitled Software Development Jobs in a Down Economy.  We also considered Apple in a Post-Steve Jobs Era and took time to note the End of the Line of the PowerPC.



To Boldly Go ...

But perhaps the most anticipated columns were the ones covering WWDC (Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference).  WWDC '06 and '07 detailed Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, whilst WWDC '08  and '09 described the upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.  The recent column on WWDC '10 discussed Apple's change in focus to mobile computing and what that means for Mac programmers.  I felt that these conference reviews were very useful, particularly for those who were unable to attend.  While remaining within the confines of Apple's non-disclosure agreement, I was able to relay very important information vital to the Mac development community.  I must admit, the articles covering WWDC were my favorite to write.
However without question, the most popular series of articles in my five year run at MacCompanion was (without a doubt) Running Classic on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, with its detailed analysis and review of SheepShaver, Basilisk and other Classic emulators.  To this day, I still receive followup emails asking for further information on these topics.  Despite the huge success in moving toward Intel processors and 10.5 Leopard, there are apparently a large number of people still interested in running Classic apps.  A SheepShaver update column was published in 2009.


We also had some light moments too in this column, covering the Top 10 Mac Fiascos of All-Time and even a column devoted exclusively to Programmer Jokes.  In the end, I am satisfied that a range of bases were covered, and I had something for everyone.  Yes, this column might have gotten a little too technical and a little too geeky at times, but I believe that these columns were also balanced out by more user level articles.

Thank you for sticking with me through it all.



The Final Frontier ...


To those looking for the conclusion of Outsourcing & the Fall of Software Development, I hope to see it printed in the very near future.  At this time though, things are in flux, so it is hard to say.  But I apparently began stirring the pot, and perhaps between now and the 2010 mid-term elections,  I will be able to conclude my thoughts on the matter.


Now for goodbyes:


There are far too many people to thank for allowing me to be successful in this column over the past five years.  First and foremost, I want to thank CEO Robert Pritchett, who had faith in me to run this column.  Robert sought me out, and I hope I have proven him worthy of the pages of his magazine.  (And as I promised, this indeed will be the last column I'll ever turn in late!)  Also great thanks to the lovely and overworked Michele Patterson, current MacCompanion Editor-in-Chief, and whose advice and direction has been invaluable.


I also wish to thank my day employer Eastman Kodak, whose continued presence in the Mac market kept me challenged to be an ever better Mac software developer.  Their cooperation has allowed me to keep my MacCompanion duties a priority.  Furthermore, three of of my last four WWDC attendances have been funded by Kodak, for which I am grateful.


And finally, I give my profoundly deepest thanks to my loving and supportive wife, Mary, whose patience shown through many a late night, as I was up against an impending deadline.

The email address to best reach me is, as I do not know how long will continue to be active.  FaceBook users may also find me, if they so desire.  And of course, remains my home base.


As of this writing, it is unknown where According to Hoyle… will show up again.  I am hopeful that you will see this column again very shortly, perhaps under a MacTech title.  For now, I want to give my heartfelt thanks to all you readers for staying with me these past five years.


Stay tuned for great things in the future!



To see a list of all the According to Hoyle columns, visit: