I found the following mid-1980s story on the Web: ‘Cray president John Rollwagen phoned Seymour [Cray] and told him that Apple had just purchased a Cray that would be used in designing the next Macintosh. Seymour thought for a bit, and replied that that seemed reasonable, since he was using a Macintosh to design the next Cray!’
Are computers fast enough these days that this nice story can be generalised to all kinds of software design and development? Several years ago cross-compilation was a hot topic, today Java is on everybody's lips... Back in the iron age of computing all systems were incompatible, then microprocessors and other standard hardware parts arrived. Operating systems soon followed suit. There was some brief talk of standard application frameworks with Taligent and now we are entering the decade of the portable application environment with Java and JavaOS taking the lead.
Will we see the day where any shrink-wrap – sorry, web-wrap – application will work on any platform? In light of all our past experience and trying to make the best bet on the future, should developers really place all their eggs in one basket? And if so which one? NT? Java? ...
(C)1997, Centaur Communications Ltd. Reproduced with the kind permission of EXE Magazine.