[rescue] a pointless defense of Obj-C

Bryan Gurney arb_npx42 at comcast.net
Sat Sep 24 20:21:52 CDT 2005

One irrational gripe I have about Objective C (and keep in mind that I've  
never touched the language): did they HAVE to steal the *.m extension,  
which is usually used for MATLAB script files?  And yes, I checked: MATLAB  
is older than Objective-C.

On Sat, 24 Sep 2005 17:26:19 -0700 (PDT), Skeezics Boondoggle  
<skeezics at q7.com> wrote:

> On Sat, 24 Sep 2005, Peter wrote:
>> Joshua Boyd <jdboyd at jdboyd.net> wrote:
>> [...]
>> > I've now spent the past three days working on Objective C. For years
>> > I was sure I'd love it because it sounded so nice and clean, but now
>> > that I'm using it, I find that I don't like the syntax. Drat. Maybe
>> > it will start to grow on me eventually. I can only hope.
>> There's also the separate construction and initialisation steps for
>> objects, and manually freeing memory. Type and name checking is
>> generally deferred until run time, and you'll usually not get a
>> helpful error message when this happens. The nineteen-eighties called,
>> and they want their programming language back.
> Apple tried to do NextStep in C++:  they called it Taligent, and it was a
> huge fscking disaster, a monsterous money suck, and a complete waste of
> time.  Did they ever actually ship _anything_?
> Sun tried to redo OpenStep in C++:  it took 3 years to "port"  to  
> Solaris,
> they released one beta, and then killed it.  They spent all those
> resources to _port_ an existing code base to C++ and maintain the same
> functionality... gosh, if C++ was so vastly superior, why was it so hard?
> What alternative to Objective C even _existed_ when NeXT was started that
> would have given them the ability to write NeXTstep, with all of the
> dynamic features that made it so cool (and that live on in MacOSX today)?
> Should NeXT have pleased the programming purists and shipped a Smalltalk
> machine?  A Lisp machine?  Or should they have followed the Taligent path
> and ended up never shipping anything at all?  (I guess Be did manage to
> ship their box and OS, eventually, but they were following the highly
> successful NeXT game plan, with the same results.  Go figure.)
>> > About the only reason Objective C is still around not a historical
>> > warning of what not to do when designing a language is because Apple
>> > didn't fancy re-implementing NextStep in C++ when they turned it into
>> > Cocoa.
> I'm amazed that people still don't understand and appreciate how much  
> NeXT
> really accomplished, even though they failed as a company...
> NeXT created an insanely elegant, compact, and powerful object framework
> for NeXTstep - something like 39 class objects for the whole thing? -
> while Taligent, on the other hand, produced something like 50,000 objects
> and several million lines of code and, gosh, surprisingly, it all blew  
> up?
> (I don't remember the exact numbers, but some NeXT developers sitting in
> the audience at a Taligent developer conference nearly wet themselves
> laughing about it.)  Hooray for static IDLs!  Hooray for overfactoring
> everything within a nanometer of its life!  Hooray for bloat on a totally
> mindfucking scale! Bleah.  Have you seen the latest Java class library
> posters?  They're the size of billboards now.
> You can actually _learn_ ObjC and the Cocoa API and keep much of it in
> your head.  That makes it _productive_, even if it is "weird".  And I've
> got NeXT machines here with 400MB hard drives that contain the entire OS,
> developer tools, applications, swap space, AND room for my home  
> directory;
> what's it take to unpack the latest Mozilla/Linux/Whatever SOURCE and try
> to build it these days?
> It doesn't matter, though; Apple seems to be shifting more to Java  
> anyway.
> So next year they'll be selling you a fattened up 1970s microcontroller
> running a 1980s microkernel under a 1990s BSD runtime (dating back to the
> 70s, of course) with a 1980s language (actually two languages from the  
> 70s
> glommed together) but with a 2000 price tag.  And it won't even be as
> pretty as NeXTstep was, given how "Aqua" has already degenerated into an
> inconsistent mess, but whatever.  It'll be SHINY!  Woohoo!
> Of course, after the x86 commodity market gives Apple the Bitch Slap of
> Reality and they stop making hardware altogether to focus on OSes or
> developer tools, then you'll be able to write applications for Windows,
> using the Cocoa API... in Java, or C#... no more icky Obj-C!  Gosh, I'm
> really looking forward to that.
> -- Chris
> We don't need all kinds, we just got all kinds.
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