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From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inside_Macintosh :

>Bruce F. Webster in BYTE in December 1985 described Inside Macintosh as "infamous, expensive, and obscure", but "for anyone wanting to do much with the Mac ... the only real [printed] source of information". He quoted Kathe Spracklen, developer of Sargon, as saying that the book "consists of 25 chapters, each of which requires that you understand the other 24 before reading it". "The best guide to the Mac's ROMs is Inside Macintosh", Robert C. Platt said in August 1985. "Unfortunately, Inside Macintosh is also the most incomprehensible documentation ever written".

A reason why it was so infamous https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh#1984.E2.80.9390:_Des... :

>Developers were required to learn how to write software that used the Macintosh's graphic user interface; despite standardizing on Pascal for software development Apple did not release a native-code Pascal compiler. Until third-party Pascal compilers appeared, developers had to write software in other languages while still learning enough Pascal to understand Inside Macintosh.

As a result,

>Although outselling every other computer, it did not meet expectations during the first year, especially among business customers. Only about ten applications including MacWrite and MacPaint were widely available ... After one year, [the Mac] had less than one quarter of the software selection available compared to the IBM PC—including only one word processor, two databases, and one spreadsheet—although Apple had sold 280,000 Macintoshes compared to IBM's first year sales of fewer than 100,000 PCs.

>Apple did not release a native-code Pascal compiler.

Originally, an Apple Lisa computer was used to develop Macintosh software. A Pascal compiler that ran natively on the Mac came later.

>Macintosh development in the early days (circa 1983-1985) was done using the Apple Lisa computer and its Lisa Workshop development environment.

The Lisa Workshop hosted a command line interface which accessed a wonderful mouse based editor, a Pascal compiler, a 68000 macro assembler, an object file Linker, the RMaker resource compiler utility program, and the MacCom Lisa-to-Macintosh utility communications program.


One compiler that was available very early on was Coral Common Lisp, which ran on a 1MB Mac Plus. It was a real native-code compiler. It lives on today as Clozure Common Lisp [1], and I can still run some of the code that I wrote back in the mid-80s on it today.

[1] https://ccl.clozure.com

Coral Common Lisp was so useful that Apple at one point bought the team&product and distributed the software via their developer channel.

It had a nice programming interface to the functionality described in Inside Macintosh.

> It had a nice programming interface to the functionality described in Inside Macintosh.

It still does:


What’s amazing to me from that is that the Mac had even 1/4 the selection. Clearly both the PC and Mac software markets were in very early stages.

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