Friday, August 17, 2007

Tribute to Dead AppleWorks

appleworks.jpgFriends, Mac-Heads, Clarismen, lend me your ears; I come to bury AppleWorks, not to praise him; the spreadsheets that men do live after them, the oft-interminable crashes shake down to the bones. So let it be with iWork.

Surprising few who were paying attention, Apple officially killed of its former office suite, AppleWorks, with the introduction of Numbers, a spreadsheet program that completes the new iWork trifecta. The writing’s been on the wall for a long time. iWork was introduced in 2005, and I don’t think AppleWorks has been updated at all since mid-2002. Essentially, they got to Carbon OS X compliance and went no further.

Though it never served as a solid suite for OS X, I do have some affection for AppleWorks, which I first came to know as Clarisworks in about 1993 on my dad’s PowerBook 140. I’m not sure I can count the number of short stories and novels I started and abandoned in that little program, not to mention the dreadful book covers I mocked up in those days.

ClarisWorks was great in the mid-1990s, because it didn’t try to do too much. It was a solid little program that would let you do what you wanted to without trying to make you do things you didn’t. Claris never developed a talking paper clip assistant, for example. The spreadsheet program couldn’t make web pages, and the presentation mode was modest in the extreme.

There’s a lesson there, I’m quite sure. Software has never been more bloated, and Apple itself is as guilty as anyone. Aesthetics are lovely, sure, but when are we going to go about creating programs that strictly make us more functional again? We’ve been at about the same place for years. What’s the next level?

R.I.P. AppleWorks. You served well, and you went as far as you could go and no further. Godspeed.

Via (Cult of Mac.)

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