Microsoft has five or six different platforms for writing Windows software. You might say they are software hoarders, who rarely throw anything out. We looked through the choices a month ago, and got so confusing that we gave up, and decided to stick with MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes). It’s what we previously used for the current version of Goldenseal. MFC is old, but it works. It will get the job done.
There have been very active discussions on the Apple developer list, the past couple months. Last week someone posted a link to Microsoft’s roadmap for WinUI 3. It looks great. Microsoft must have realized that their developer choices were a mess, and decided to put everything into one box. It’s due next year, which probably means 2021. The fact that they are so transparent about the whole process is very reassuring.
By their roadmap we can write code in MFC now, and ship Goldenseal Pro for Windows in a year or so. Then gradually update it with their new libraries over the next few years. Because of their transparency, we are very confident about the long term future of Goldenseal Pro for Windows.
On the Macintosh side, it’s Opposite Land. Apple is very secretive about their plans. They have a new SwiftUI in the works, which uses their relatively new Swift programming language. Their goal is to have one set of programming tools that builds apps for iPhone, iPad, Macintosh, Apple Watch, Apple TV and any other hardware they come up with. But details about it are few.
Based on what we do know, it is extremely unlikely that we can move Goldenseal onto SwiftUI. It appears to be designed mostly for small single-window phone apps, not for software as complex as ours. It uses a new language that probably would mean an enormous code rewrite, even worse than what we already have done for their Cocoa library.
Will Apple have a way to connect existing C++ code to it? Or can we finish the Cocoa version in Objective-C, and convert it easily? Will Apple keep supporting Cocoa, so we don’t have to convert at all? Maybe. There is speculation on the list, but nobody knows for sure.
It usually takes us years to write software. Then it takes years to sell enough to pay for the programming time. That makes it just too risky to be working without better knowledge.
Right now the future of our Macintosh software is very much in limbo. I’ll post details, as we find out more about Apple’s future plans.