The Other Site

Repost: Webmasters using Mac OS

I had posted this to MacInTouch and may deserve further comments:

Concerning the state of web development on the Mac platform. I have started web development for the Mac when WebSTAR was still MacHTTP. Now I still develop web sites on the Mac. Only now my production server is Mac OS X Server on a Xserve.

It makes no difference whether a web site runs on Apache or Windows IIS. If it does not work for Mac browsers then the problem lies with the web developer, not the platform. In the end, both servers produce HTML. (Of course, ActiveX, Windows media files, etc. does not apply.)

Having learned HTML in the days when there was no web development package out there at all I have faithfully stuck to BBEdit to this day. I dislike most of the WYSIWYG editors, there is so much more one can do writing HTML manually. I have developed web sites using Windows ASP (only game in town at the time) and I wrote some pages in Notepad. Learn the HTML, style sheets have simplified the HTML a lot, believe it or not.

Databases on my servers are handled by WebObjects. I don't believe one has to become an accomplished Java programmer. Yes, there is a lot of learning to be done and it takes a while to 'get it,' keep add it. I would say that WebObjects is easier then web publishing with FileMaker 7/8. And Xcode is not as horrible as some suggest. WebObjects, for Mac OS only, is truly powerful.

Last time I looked at WebSTAR under OS X I was less then impressed with the UI, there was little discussion at work to continue using WebSTAR or start with Apache on OS X Server (10.2 when I made the migration from WebSTAR 4/OS9). Migrating from WebSTAR to OS X took copying the files and enabling some settings in the Web part of OS X Server Admin application. My point is that ease of use does not mean you have to stick to WebSTAR.

For a mail server I use CommuniGate Pro, migrated away from WebSTAR. There has been some discussions about pricing and features that Mac clients don't use. However, CommuniGate Pro is very flexible and runs on OS X Server. Mac OS X Server has a mail server built-in that can be used. Eventually I will migrate my company to the OS X Server - to cut cost. It still is all point-and-click.

Phantom, yes I liked Phantom. Ran this search engine on StarNine's web site (worked there and did a lot of FileMaker Pro stuff, used Tango). For OS X Server I wrote a WebObjects application to handle search on my site. Phantom ruled.

Why does Apple not promote WebObjects? This question comes up at WWDC every year. One, Apple wants to sell iPods. Two, Apple is a hardware company and wants to sell computers. What's the consumer base for WebObjects compared to iPods?

The Mac platform for front and back-end development and deployment is a great platform. I support both Windows and Mac users on my site. One does not need all the tools that exist for Windows to build functional web site. The lack of Microsoft technologies with all its integrated tools is not a loss to the Mac community, really. My tools consist of plain OS X Server, Photoshop, BBEdit, and two books: HTML The Definite Guide and JavaScript The Definite Guide.

The Mac web community has been given technology in use by the mainstream Internet community in the form of OS X Server (MySQL, Apache, PHP, Java, etc.). We've been invited to the rest of the Internet community that does not use Windows technology.

If you're looking for what I do I'm behind Also check out the WOShowcase.

Originally posted Jun 23, 2006.

I now maintain 7 Xserves in the US, 6 in China, two in Mongolia, 6 in Turkey. These servers handle a total of 1.5 million users.