Omni Development Releases Source Code
[11:03 AM] Omni Development has taken the somewhat unusual move of releasing some of their source code, including OmniFoundation, OmniAppKit, OWF (Omni Web Framework) and OIF (Omni Imaging Framework), along with the source to their animated GIF and appkit plug-ins for OmniWeb 3. Omni Development is a developer of Rhapsody and Yellow Box applications and was one of the very first companies to announce support for Rhapsody when it was announced. With roots going back to NeXT days as a developer for both NeXTStep and OpenStep, Omni Development's products like OmniWeb were frequently cited as alternatives to Cyberdog by readers when Webintosh staff editorialized about the death of OpenDoc.
The source code will not be released under a GNU license, but instead uses the Omni Source License.
Webintosh had the opportunity to speak with Andrew Abernathy, a software engineer at Omni Development. When asked what prompted Omni Development to release their code, Mr. Abernathy replied:
"Basically, it all boils down to our desire to promote Yellow Box development. We are major proponents of Yellow Box - we're committed to this development environment because we think it's far better than the alternatives (if we didn't we wouldn't have limited our business to Yellow Box [and related] projects). We hope that this body of code will make YB a more enticing environment for those who have not yet committed to YB development, as well as provide some great resources for those who are working with YB. This is the same reason that we host (and contribute to) such resources as the MacOS X dev and WebObjects mailing lists, as well as provide various developer tools (from ProjectBuilder and EOModeler plug-ins to advanced application debugging and inspection tools such as OmniObjectAlloc), often for free, and often with full source.
Obviously, if as a side effect we get some bug fixes and improvements from the general development community, we're not going to be complaining (though we really aren't interested in random contributions - the MiscKit is a much more appropriate place for that sort of thing). However, the real payoff in our eyes will be if we start seeing more interest in YB development and more YB native applications."
Mr. Abernathy also stressed that while Java support under the Yellow Box has been the subject of much focus, Objective C was still present and very much a programming option for developers wishing to utilize the highly object-oriented programming language. Says Mr. Abernathy:
"Apple's YB focus really is on Java (since Java is what the market wants to hear, and Java provides much of what Obj-C provides, though we at Omni still find Obj-C very compelling vs Java) - they are making virtually all of YB available via Java, but YB will still be there (and even still written in Obj-C - Java accesses it via a bridge, which works out well due to some important similarities in the language structures!)."
With Apple not being always well-known for their support of developers, especially once product plans have been changed such as is the case with Rhapsody, we wanted to know how Omni felt about Apple's support. Mr. Abernathy was very encouraging in his report saying that Apple has been of immense help in a number of areas, though an NDA prohibited him from going into details.
The Open Source code can be downloaded from the company's FTP server. More information can be found at the company's web site.
The Mac Observer Spin: It is very reassuring to see a developer speak as highly of Apple as does Omni Development. Apple has put a lot of effort into developer relations during the last 12 months and it is obviously bearing fruit.
Omni's move to release some of their development code will be seen as a boon for other developers wishing to do MacOS X Server development. The tools and other code that the company has released will be very useful to the entire MacOS X Server community.