WebObjects 5.3 Licensing

With the release of WebObjects 5.3, Apple has significantly changed the licensing of the product. I’m not at WWDC, which is frustrating, but I’ve been following the posts on the WebObjects dev list pretty closely and this is a summary of my current understanding.

  • WebObjects if free for development on Mac OS X. It is now a part of the mainstream Xcode (as of version 2.1) developer tools and, according to Cliff Tuel, should receive the attention from Apple it deserves.
  • Development is no longer supported on any other platform.
  • Deployment licenses are included with Mac OS X Server. It is unclear whether you will be able to buy WebObjects 5.2.3 licenses separately going forward, but according to Bill Bumgarner, the WebObjects 5.3 license is not tied to hardware.
  • Deployment on any platform other than Mac OS X is no longer supported. It is not clear whether anyone will be able to hack a native deployment with WebObjects 5.3 on Windows or Linux, but Tomcat or JBoss deployment should be possible. Either way you are completely on your own. According to one report Apple isn’t going to come after you, they just won’t support you.

So, what does this all mean?

  • The Good: WebObjects just got a major upgrade, the tools are getting updated, development is free, deployment just got cheeper (free if you’re purchasing an Xserve anyway, US$499 for a 10 client version of OS X Server otherwise), and (maybe most importantly) WebObjects is now a fully supported member of the mainstream developer tools.
  • The Bad: No official support for development or deployment on any platform other than OS X, and the future of development using tools other than Xcode looks dicey as well.

My take? Well, this is my blog (so it’s all about me :-)) but I’m pretty pleased actually. Obviously getting a new version is cool, but getting Apple to actually articulate some kind of roadmap is amazing.

I know these changes will negatively affect a good number of existing developers, and I appreciate how that must feel. Luckily I’m going to benefit from all of the “plusses” whithout much impact from the “minuses” (other than maybe losing the ability to develop with Eclipse/WOLips – we’ll have to see on that one).

12 thoughts on “WebObjects 5.3 Licensing

  1. Eclipse/WOLips will build WebObjects 5.3 projects. The XcodeIndex task doesn’t generate the new .xcodeproj file, and I haven’t had a chance to investigate whether it can be made to do so. So integration with WOBuilder and EOModeler may be in doubt.

  2. But you can always use Eclipse as an external editor with Xcode. Xcode to manage the project, compile, debug and run… but little more work when you add a file in Eclipse.

  3. So does anybody else think restricting both development and deployment to OSX combined with the introduction of CoreData might lead to ObjC being supported in WO again about the time Leopard shows up?

  4. Can I still develop for WO5.2.4 with XCode2.1?
    Since we won’t upgrade our webservers, I could not upgrade to Tiger if that was the case …

  5. MonkeyT: Ooo, I think that is a long shot. But stranger things have happened (Intel Inside anyone?).

    DerHeld: WO5.2.4 is qualified for Tiger, you just have to stick with Xcode 2.0.

  6. You can deploy to platforms other than OSX in WebObjects 5.3, the process wasn’t exactly straight forward to me since I am new to WebObjects, this is what I figured out how to create a standalong web application that works under tomcat.

    1. When you create your project, make sure you tick the Deploy in a servlet container option, select “Deploy as a Servlet Single Directory Deployment option”, also tick the “Copy all JAR files…” option.

    2. At the XCode project window, change the active build configuration to deployment, for all three targets, your app, application server and web server, change the following build settings to


    (if you don’t do this, the deployment build process will fail due to the script trying to cd into a symbolic link pointing back to itself.)

    3. In deployment build configuration for your app, change INSTALL_PATH_FOR_STYLE to,


    4. Finally, add the following build settings to the deployment build configuration of your app.

    SERVLET_DEPLOY_LICENSE = [Your deployment licence]
    SERVLET_SINGLE_DIR_DEPLOY_LICENSE = [Your deployment licence]
    SERVLET_WEBAPPS_DIR = /opt/tomcat/webapps

    After completing these steps, build using the deployment configuration, you will find that the build process will create your webapp directory in /opt/tomcat/webapps.

    I am currently running my DirectToWeb application on my linux box (FC3/Tomcat 5.5/Apache/mod_jk).

    I couldn’t believe how easy and quick it is to create a fully functional web app based on an existing data model using WebObjects.

    WebObjects rules!!

  7. Jim
    According to your indications I succeeded building a webapp (Tomcat 5.5.9 – WO 5.3 – XCode 2.1) got a complete WEB-INF in my “HelloWord” webapp folder… there is a HelloWorld.woa in it….(with lib, Library, tlds folders too)
    I can deploy HelloWorld in Tomcat Manager, but it just show the folder … not starting any app at all … where am I wrong ?
    do you have a small webapp I could test ?


Comments are closed.