Yellow Box for Windows Still Exists?

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,698
11,010
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Over 10 years ago, during the transition from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X (Rhapsody), Apple promised write-once, deploy everywhere functionality ("Yellow Box") to developers in the then upcoming Mac OS X platform.

Yellow Boxes for Intel and Mac OS would in theory make the Yellow Box the premiere choice for cross-platform development, because developers could deliver applications that run on Rhapsody (both PowerPC and Intel), Mac OS, Windows NT, and Windows 95 - all using tools derived from NeXT's highly regarded, object-oriented development environment. According to Apple, an application written for the Yellow Box can simply be recompiled for a different platform, or even shipped as a single, large file containing executable code for multiple platforms. -- May 26, 1997
By 2000, however, it was clear that the Yellow Box was dead.
OK.. so we're really flogging a dead horse here. But the fact is that Yellow Box/NT licenses were promised (contracts in hand), and yanked away. Steve Jobs' recent responses to these questions seem to be "Why not sell your product on the Mac?".
The story laid dormant until about 2 years ago when a questionable Page 2 post revived rumors of Yellow Box (full text of post):

Jobs is well aware of the risk and, as soon as he decided to revive the dormant OS X-on-Intel 'Marklar' project, launched a parallel project (now known internally as 'Dharma') of reviving (here's the big thing)... The Yellow Box for Windows. As you probably know it, the Yellow Box for Windows was NeXT's project of porting Project Builder (known as Xcode today) and the complete NeXT API (known as Cocoa today) to Windows, allowing developers to create a Windows binary by simply ticking a check box.
What would Apple use this development environment for? The poster claimed that Apple had ported Safari to Windows:

As an example of the power of the Dharma project, Apple has ported Safari to Windows and an internal build of Apple's browser (2.0.2, v.417.108) actually runs on Windows (XP required), complete with Quartz anti-aliasing. It is reported to be fairly stable, even if the Java and Flash plugins still aren't working, due to their dependency to third-party code. Apple plan to release the Windows version of its browser for free. In fact, this one was easy to do since they had to port WebKit in order for the Cocoa framework to be complete.
The rumor sparked the usual interesting discussion, but was generally dismissed... until earlier this week. Apple's release of Safari for Windows which seems to includes some interesting libraries for Windows...



.. with one person claiming to have compiled against CoreFoundation and CoreGraphics on Win32 natively.

While this is not proof of "Yellow Box for Windows", it could represent an interesting development, however, in the evolution of Mac OS X and keeps open possibilities for Apple to launch more Windows applications or even provide that functionality to Mac OS X developers.
 

Thinine

macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2002
24
0
This is stupid. CoreGraphics, CoreFoundation, and CFNetwork are not Cocoa. This is not Yellow Box in any form!
 

Luis

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2006
1,228
0
Costa Rica
If this is true why didn't they actually at least talk about it on WWDC?! It would have made it interesting at least!
 

d_and_n5000

macrumors 6502a
Oct 6, 2005
631
0
So, my limited understanding of the matter and 1:00 in the morning fogginess has boiled this information down to this: Basically, Apple had a program to port to Windows ten odd years ago, in the event that they chose to port their software to Windows, the project was dead as far as anyone knew for the last decade, but then they seem to have used it to port Safari? And there is a slight possibility that this tool may be made available to developers? If so, this sounds awfully interesting. We'll have to see where this goes.
 

puuukeey

macrumors 6502
Dec 24, 2004
327
1
tristate area
I see a vision. a vision of jobsy with his feet on his desk fondling his precious iPhone
"hrm we dont have a onemorething for wwdc 07. CRAP!"
---iPhone flys out of his hands--- (smashes on floor, personal slave replaces it)
"I forgot about computers and operating systems! "
---runs over to yellow box, clicks a checkbox and selects 'build and run' ----
"whew. now I can continue building consumer electronics. god do I hate computers."


the boot drive of my protools rig is named Dharma
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,512
33
Singapore
So, my limited understanding of the matter and 1:00 in the morning fogginess has boiled this information down to this: Basically, Apple had a program to port to Windows ten odd years ago, in the event that they chose to port their software to Windows, the project was dead as far as anyone knew for the last decade, but then they seem to have used it to port Safari? And there is a slight possibility that this tool may be made available to developers? If so, this sounds awfully interesting. We'll have to see where this goes.
haha yes thats pretty much it...from what i can tell. its only 3.05pm where i am :) :cool:
 

grannysmith

macrumors newbie
Nov 24, 2006
9
0
Isn't this the kind of under-the-hood nerdy gobbledeegook that would make someone want to switch to Mac from Windows in the first place?

I just wanna talk about iPod, iTunes, and promote my hip new band on Myspace using snappy artwork I created on iWork.

//goes back to figuring out the damn IRQ conflict that won't give me SB16 sound on my old DOS gaming box
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,271
3,422
I thought the quotes in the article were clear to explain the significance of "Yellow Box". Basically, Apple promised when Mac OS X was first being developed that they would deploy technology to allow a developer to code-once, deploy everywhere. In that they could write their application once under Mac OS X and compile an OS X version, a Windows version etc...

Apple would provide the libraries/frameworks on Mac OS X and Windows to allow their app to run.

At one point, Apple said... no, we're not doing this.

So, this article is just some background and some speculation that Apple's still got that in place.

arn
 

RnSK

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2004
322
19
Not that "newsy" arn ;)

Well...i guess it is for "regular" folks. Devs have been aware of this effort for awhile.

But CoreFoundation has been available for use on win32 for awhile.

Now, when we see Cocoa.dll I think the world will implode upon itself :)
 

dichter

macrumors newbie
May 4, 2007
14
0
NeXTSTEP

The younger mac fanbois need to bursh up their knowledge of NeXT and OpenStep. Espcially the OpenStep 3.2 as a cross-platform standard and implementation for Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows, and NeXT's version of the Mach kernel which allows developers to write "enterprise" level software for the X86 system.

The irony, is, since day-one of Steve returning to Apple in 1997, he could have switch to Intel already. :D But he kept the secret card held close to his chest until the time it's really needed.

If switch over to Intel is possible, I can totally see in the future OS X as the best development environment to develop Windows App. :D The histroy's there. :)
 

SC68Cal

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2006
1,642
0
This is stupid. CoreGraphics, CoreFoundation, and CFNetwork are not Cocoa. This is not Yellow Box in any form!
I'm not sure about CoreFoundation. I've heard allegations that it's Carbon all over again, and allegations that it's a Cocoa framework that is accessible to Carbon applications.

Need to read up on it.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,512
33
Singapore
At one point, Apple said... no, we're not doing this.

So, this article is just some background and some speculation that Apple's still got that in place.

arn
aawwww so taht means that this probably isnt going to be implemented. as it probably never was and why would they suddenly change their minds...right?
 

psingh01

macrumors 65816
Apr 19, 2004
1,490
499
wtf is yellow box??
History lesson....

Before Mac OS X existed, there was something called Rhapsody which was the port of NeXT. For it existed 3 "boxes". Blue box, Yellow box and Red box. Blue box was the classic Mac OS evironment that allowed you to run non carbon Apps. Yellow box was the OpenStep frameworks for Mac.....which were eventually renamed to Cocoa. This was the "new" API for Mac, everything would be objected oriented and use this language called Objective-C (eventually people complained and Apple made "Carbon" which was a cleaned up version of the classic Mac api, that was there to appease developers). Red box was the windows version of Yellow box. This existed, in fact I still have it! Long ago I got a copy of Apple's WebObjects tools. With it you could install all the development tools (Project Builder and Interface Builder...today it is called Xcode). Code in Objective-C and use what is essentially the Cocoa API....all in Windows! Well it worked fine under WinNT, but Apple never updated it and it supposedly died....until now.
 

pyewacket

macrumors newbie
Jul 18, 2002
2
0
UI libs

As Thinine said, these libraries are not Cocoa. What would be both really valuable to developers, difficult to port and complicate Apple's relationship with Microsoft are the Cocoa and Carbon UI libraries. If those libraries were available on Windows, it would be easy to port Mac applications to windows.

The rest of tools aren't a big issue. gcc is GPL so any Apple Objective-C extensions would have long ago been released. Whether Apple would ever make Cocoa available on Windows is hard to say. Apple has kept all its UI stuff closed source can clearly believes it to be source of competitive advantage.
 

mdriftmeyer

macrumors 68040
Feb 2, 2004
3,253
996
Pacific Northwest
The younger mac fanbois need to bursh up their knowledge of NeXT and OpenStep. Espcially the OpenStep 3.2 as a cross-platform standard and implementation for Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows, and NeXT's version of the Mach kernel which allows developers to write "enterprise" level software for the X86 system.

The irony, is, since day-one of Steve returning to Apple in 1997, he could have switch to Intel already. :D But he kept the secret card held close to his chest until the time it's really needed.

If switch over to Intel is possible, I can totally see in the future OS X as the best development environment to develop Windows App. :D The histroy's there. :)
It's Openstep 4.x [We ported for the 4.x release and 4.2 was the final release that was Quad Fat [Intel, 68k, SPARC, PA-RISC] and Openstep for NT 4.x

If you see mach-d, pdo.dll and other WebObjects pieces being used for Safari and perhaps iTunes for Windows then yes parts of Yellow Box have migrated.
 

DoFoT9

macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
17,512
33
Singapore
History lesson....

Before Mac OS X existed, there was something called Rhapsody which was the port of NeXT. For it existed 3 "boxes". Blue box, Yellow box and Red box. Blue box was the classic Mac OS evironment that allowed you to run non carbon Apps. Yellow box was the OpenStep frameworks for Mac.....which were eventually renamed to Cocoa. This was the "new" API for Mac, everything would be objected oriented and use this language called Objective-C (eventually people complained and Apple made "Carbon" which was a cleaned up version of the classic Mac api, that was there to appease developers). Red box was the windows version of Yellow box. This existed, in fact I still have it! Long ago I got a copy of Apple's WebObjects tools. With it you could install all the development tools (Project Builder and Interface Builder...today it is called Xcode). Code in Objective-C and use what is essentially the Cocoa API....all in Windows! Well it worked fine under WinNT, but Apple never updated it and it supposedly died....until now.
wow thanks for that!!! hahaha thats so in detail (probablynot really) but thanks. i now understand haha
 
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