CLImax: yet another shell before Mac OS X

There are many misconceptions about the Macintosh before the arrival of Mac OS X. One of them is the absence of a shell, a command line interface.

about CLImaxAlthough it is true that until 2001 Apple never provided one out of the box, there have been many ways to obtain such an interface, including Apple’s own MPW package for developers and a plethora of third parts applications and utilities. Among these was an AppleScript command interface for the System 7 called CLImax that was developed around 1996 by Drew Thaler.

Since we interviewed Drew a while ago about his work for Apple we also asked him to tell us the background story about this peculiar shell for the so-called “Classic” Mac OS.
Drew Thaler: I was in university at the time, and everyone in the engineering department spent a lot of time using the command-line interfaces on Unix systems. (SunOS, HP-UX, Apollo, etc.) The Mac had a few types of command-lines — MPW, MacPerl, and so on – but there was no reason to use most of them, because really the way you interacted with the Mac was through GUI apps and that’s where your data was kept.

But there was a text-based way to talk to the GUI applications on your Mac: AppleScript.

Friday 19 December 2008, 11:18 am
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