Wednesday, August 15, 2007

AppleWorks - R.I.P.

Well, Apple has finally laid to rest a classic - AppleWorks. In its heyday AppleWorks was industry's best-selling piece of software, beating even Lotus 1-2-3 on the PC. The all-in-one suite of tools was 23 years old.

AppleWorks started life back in the "good old days" of 1984 for the Apple II and was one of the first of what would be known as "integrated applications". It consisted of a word processor, spreadsheet and database that all interoperated on a fairly integrated basis.

Long about 1991 it morphed into ClarisWorks and got a boost with communications and graphics tools - but retained its ease-of-use and integrated tool set. It remained a Mac-only product until the debut of the Windows version in 1993.

It was marketed by Claris, Apple's wholly owned application software development/marketing arm that also was responsible for FileMaker Pro and some other great, but short-lived titles like Claris Emailer, Claris Impact, Claris Paint (from the old "MacPaint") and Claris Draw (from the old "MacDraw").

Claris then went on to focus solely on the FileMaker product (which it acquired from Nashoba Systems in 1988), and re-named itself FileMaker, Inc. At that point, ClarisWorks was returned to Apple and re-named AppleWorks.

AppleWorks was upated for Mac OS X and they even had a very basic presentation piece (the pre-cursor to Keynote) but it never was updated as a Universal application for MacIntel.

Then the beginning of the end came. In 2005 Apple brought out iWorks which at that time only included a word processor and presentation software (Keynote). I think at that point - everyone thought that iWorks would morph into into the new AppleWorks. Hard to do if you don't have a spreadsheet.

Well, last week - Apple added "Numbers", it's new iSomething spreadsheet to it's new lineup in iWork '08 - and it even includes a filter to import AppleWorks files. As the final death throes of AppleWorks came near - Apple even changed the URL to redirect to the iWorks '08 suite.

I worked with ClarisWorks for quite a while - as no doubt countless thousands will continue to do for the foreseeable future. Still, it's the end of an era - ClarisWorks, rest in peace!

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