I was reading an Article on Slashdot yesterday about a video of Steve Jobs demonstrating NeXTSTEP 3.0, the video shows the advanced GUI, networking and collaboration features as well as the speed and ease of developing apps on the platform.
Most of the technology in NeXTSTEP has made it into the current Mac OS (OSX), I was doing a little development on a Mac a few months ago and found it amusing that most of the system APIs contained functions named NS_xxxxxx showing the links to the NeXT codebase.
The demo of application building was almost identical to the current application building framework ( XCode ) seen in OSX ( albiet with more eye candy ).
The NeXT and Mac OSX have a series of libraries called Kits that encapsulate various functions of the underlying OS, there is a Networking Kit, a Web Kit etc and this rich set of libraries ( along with a concept of modular design ) are responsible for the flexiblity and tight integration of the software on OSX.
If only technical excellence guaranteed success then Apple would have a hell of a bright future. Alas, as Sony found out with Betamax, it’s all about the marketing…..
NOTE: For those who would like to have a play with the NeXT environment without buying a Mac, you can check out GNUstep, which is based on the OpenStep specification originally created by NeXT.