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Tue 16 Aug 2005
Drag and Drop
Category : Technology
I've released new versions of DNS Enabler (1.1.6) and WebMon (1.1.5) with drag and drop support. This will allow a DNS Enabler user, for example, to re-arrange the DNS entries in any order that he wants.
I've also figured out how to add a toolbar to our applications. And to start working with icons.
In a couple of weeks, I think we would be ready to release Luca with an embedded SQLite database so that it'll be really easy to set up and run an accounting system. Hopefully we can evolve it into something more like a financial management tool.
And I'm working on a new version of Postfix Enabler (which won't be called Postfix Enabler). So things are moving.
The whole point of going through this litany of works-in-progress is to reflect on how very productive the Cocoa development environment is. If you've gone through the dark ages when one vendor after another abandoned the Mac platform, you may have a sense of how liberating all this feels to me.
I used to work with an EIS/data mining tool called GQL and also something called Data Prism. They were a revelation because they were so much cheaper than the incumbent host-based systems. Data Prism and GQL cost hundreds or, at most, thousands of dollars but not the hundreds of thousands that the IT industry, then, assumed that decision-support tools have to be.
And they ran on the Mac. At first, only on the Mac. And they were a revelation because they showed how a GUI could help you visualise the relationships among the data. Remember then that the host-based systems (by that I mean those running on DEC and HP minicomputers, etc) were all character-based. So, for a while, people saw the Mac in a different light.
Then we went into a tailspin (Sculley, Spindler, Amelio) when one product after another dropped support for the Mac and became Windows-only. When GQL became Hummingbird, that was the end of the Mac version.
Nowadays, I feel we can build all these ourselves. The drag and drop needed to implement a data mining GUI - one that will allow you to pull the pieces together to construct a database query - that's there. The access to a wide range of databases - Oracle, MySQL, and SQLite. That's also there. The ability to work with tables, sorting them, rearranging column order, hiding and showing columns on the fly. These are also there in the Cocoa toolset. The ability to simply drag and drop the result into a spreadsheet, a presentation tool, or a publication tool - they're already there.
It's a waste to use all these capabilities just to build graphic tools or Final Cut Pro, etc. There's a wealth of business tools waiting to be built. So we can drag and drop them into our businesses.