Thursday, November 6, 2003

Mac Developer Journal

Apple sent me the first issue of Mac Developer Journal, so I read it. There are some good articles, and contentwise I think it compares favorably with MacTech. But the Zinio format has to go.

From the reader’s perspective, it basically combines the worst features of online and print publishing.

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I finally got off my butt and subscribed to MacTech. Zinio aside, do you think it's worthwhile to subscribe to both publications?

I'm not Mr Tsai, but I'd avoid MacTech, personally. It rarely contains anything of value to professional developers.

MDJ's content looks superior, but I'd agree the style is lacking.

The majority of the articles in MacTech are not useful to me, but I still subscribe because it's not that expensive and sometimes there's good stuff. I don't think the existence of Mac Developer Journal changes any of that, except that maybe the competition will make MacTech better.

I would definitely subscribe to Mac Developer Journal if the format were better. As it is now, I likely will not.

The choice of names is unfortunate, since MDJ is already the name of an electronic Mac publication--one that combines the best features of online and print publishing.

I agree. I bought the first issue, but I won't buy any others until they find a better way to distribute it - I liked the articles, but the Zinio reader took forever to download the magazine and is a sad imitation of PDF readers like Acrobat or Panther-Preview...

Finally, I couldn't believe it cost 14.95 for a single issue - could I really be paying that much extra for the added annoyance of the Zinio reader?

I haven't subscribed to MacTech for a while now. Every so often I flip through it occasionally at the newsstand. Every so often there's a good article or series and I buy some issues. I'd like to subscribe, but it just never feels quite worth it.

I haven't even looked at Mac Developer Journal yet. The use of Zinio rather than HTML is a big turn-off though; either make it a print publication, or use web standards. Don't use a wacky alternative to either that doesn't support copy & paste and breaks things into "pages."

If Apple (or anyone else) were to resurrect "develop" I would subscribe to that in a heartbeat. Even if it cost 2-3 times as much as Mac Developer Journal or MacTech. develop was special because it was Quality. It was Quality because it had great writing and editing, and because a large portion of the content was from the people at Apple actually developing the technology in System Software or supporting it in Developer Technical Support. Imagine what a great quarterly column Quinn could write on networking, or Stuart Cheshire could write on Rendezvous, and you're on the right track. (Assuming, of course, that Quinn and Stuart had time to write columns...)

Oh, "develop" also had next to no advertising. It was an Apple developer publication, not a regular newsstand magazine, sort of like "IBM Systems Journal." This insulated it from some market pressure, but unfortunately was also its downfall. (It was expensive and time-consuming to produce, and sold below-cost for about $10/issue or $30/year subscription.)

develop was great!

Just a note, you can get a free sample issue of Mac Developer Journal here. Well there's only one issue out, so you can get that one. They don't ask for your credit card or anything, just name and email.

Thanks for the pointer Phil. I just checked it out.

Wow, that's hideous interface. You couldn't pay me to read stuff displayed in it, let along have to pay for the content.

I don't mind enforcing the idea of pages, but the way Zinio does it is just stupid.

Two pages at a time? Why?
Man, is it slow.
The zooming seems a little weird. Maybe I'm being put off by the animation.

I was put off after reading these comments, but after lookng through the preferences and turning off all of the zooming and animation it responds reasonably well on my Dual 800 G4 tower. Beyond that the articles seem to be good, but the focus was all over the place.

I think that being able to print a magazine should be within my rights and the reader makes that tedious.

The main question I have to answer is "Is the content worth the lousy interface?" I'm going to try a year and see how it looks after that. We need a good Macintosh developer publication. By subscribing I can give them a chance to address the problems and make this an awesome magazine.

Also, in the magazine there is a web link to a survey that asks for reader input. Take the time and let them know in their preferred format.

I agree with the comments Chris and others have made about MacTech. I had a free year there was one good series of articles(3) that I read and used that whole year. Most of their content is for beginners. The Info Tech articles totally turned me off.

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