By John Perry Barlow and Dan Lavin *
Barlow: In marked contrast to NeXT products from such lumbering industrial golems as Lotus, WordPerfect, and Frame are the fruits of a new tribe of loincloth-and-machete developers who seem to be gathering their yurts around the NeXT. The best and most prolific of these is a dirt hacker from New Mexico named Andrew Stone. This guy (and a few others like Glenn Reid of RightBrain Software, whose TouchType is a marvel of intuition) represents a whole new breed of software designers who understand the incredible capacities of the NeXT as a development engine.

His work, which includes TextArt, the soon-to-be-released DataPhile (a serious rival to FileMaker among graphical flat filers), and Create, is clean, extraordinarily self-documenting, and powerful. He is also fast. He and his hackerette colleague <its Chris something I'll get her name> can literally revise and improve large programs overnight. (I made a suggestion for a feature to be included the DataPhile. The next day, he e-mailed me a new version of the program which included it!)

At the moment, his flagship is Create, a combination text enhancer, graphics enhancer, and PostScript drawing program of the Illustrator class. Where Adobe's heavyweight has a capacities Create doesn't include, it can't touch Create's abilities to mess with letters. Nor does it do anything with the same ease. Without a manual I was making things minutes after loading the program.

I'd show you more, but I'd only demonstrate an embarrassingly dim eye for graphic design. Nevertheless, if I can do this, imagine this tool in the hands of talent.

Create has only one liability: Many hours will be wasted as knowledge workers dink around with Create instead of building the spreadsheet empires they are paid to do. But if your job ever requires you to do anything visually creative with text and graphics, there is nothing easier nor mightier on any platform.

-Thumbs up-

Lavin: You left one developer off your list, John: the wizards of Lighthouse Design. Together with Reid and Stone, these are the triune masters of graphics and a walking set of competitive advantages for the NeXT platform. They prove that PostScript is a powerful language, not just a way to print.

Another thing you didn't mention is that Create is excellent for one-page page layout as well. It is the ideal tool for super-creative flyers, flip-sheets, overheads or presentations. Create's capabilities exceed a normal person's creativity. No bumping into the ceiling on this one.

-Thumbs up-

* John Perry Barlow writes lyrics for the Grateful Dead and is co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The irrational Dan Lavin is a senior editor at NeXTWORLD.

Stone Design's Create(tm)
2005-06-27 00:37:42 -0500