With the release of WebObjects 5.3, Apple has significantly changed the licensing of the product. I’m not at WWDC, which is frustrating, but I’ve been following the posts on the WebObjects dev list pretty closely and this is a summary of my current understanding.
- WebObjects if free for development on Mac OS X. It is now a part of the mainstream Xcode (as of version 2.1) developer tools and, according to Cliff Tuel, should receive the attention from Apple it deserves.
- Development is no longer supported on any other platform.
- Deployment licenses are included with Mac OS X Server. It is unclear whether you will be able to buy WebObjects 5.2.3 licenses separately going forward, but according to Bill Bumgarner, the WebObjects 5.3 license is not tied to hardware.
- Deployment on any platform other than Mac OS X is no longer supported. It is not clear whether anyone will be able to hack a native deployment with WebObjects 5.3 on Windows or Linux, but Tomcat or JBoss deployment should be possible. Either way you are completely on your own. According to one report Apple isn’t going to come after you, they just won’t support you.
So, what does this all mean?
- The Good: WebObjects just got a major upgrade, the tools are getting updated, development is free, deployment just got cheeper (free if you’re purchasing an Xserve anyway, US$499 for a 10 client version of OS X Server otherwise), and (maybe most importantly) WebObjects is now a fully supported member of the mainstream developer tools.
- The Bad: No official support for development or deployment on any platform other than OS X, and the future of development using tools other than Xcode looks dicey as well.
My take? Well, this is my blog (so it’s all about me :-)) but I’m pretty pleased actually. Obviously getting a new version is cool, but getting Apple to actually articulate some kind of roadmap is amazing.
I know these changes will negatively affect a good number of existing developers, and I appreciate how that must feel. Luckily I’m going to benefit from all of the “plusses” whithout much impact from the “minuses” (other than maybe losing the ability to develop with Eclipse/WOLips – we’ll have to see on that one).