WebObjects is a little known set of tools for making huge, complex web sites. It has been a well kept secret of NeXT then Apple developoers for a decade or more. In fact if you go to the iTunes web site and look at any of the URL of the pages sent you will find "WebObjects" in it. The iTunes store is built with WebObjects as are many other monster web sites.

Initially it was soldby NeXT for $20,000 per copy. While today many other tools have caught up in several areas, in it's time, WebObjects was and in many areas continues to be, king. Apple's little secret tool... can still be purchased:

For more info see Apple description:

Also from the Apple Web Site:
WebObjects. Included with Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger for just $129

WebObjects makes it easy to develop and deploy enterprise-level web services and Java server applications - while giving you the agility to respond quickly to change. A powerful rapid application development environment, backed by web service, data access, and page generation capabilities, extends the reach of developers and reduces the cost of ownership by ensuring flexible, maintainable design. Xcode, included with every copy of Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, comes with the WebObjects development tools, including a new version of the WebObjects Builder HTML application design tool and a new Xcode designer for Enterprise Objects

From 1998 computerActive web page


WebObjects is a powerful technology for building complex web applications which leverage an organization's existing investments in databases. WebObjects allows the coding of your business logic and permits rapid changes of that logic as competitive forces dictate. The WebObjects object-oriented development environment results in web applications which have a reduced time to market, high reliability and provide state of the art Web site capabilities.

Typically WebObjects deployments are by organizations who have technology leaders and management teams who are concerned not with what the site will be like today, or next month, but what it will become in the next few years. They are laying down the technology and business systems foundations for that future.

One of the worst things can happen for a web site is that it becomes too successful and therefore too slow or unreliable. If you deployed your web site using typical PC based tools and operating systems, once the demand on your site reaches the limit of a single PC technology you will have to completely rewrite your Web site programs using technologies which will allow for distributed computing.

From initial concept WebObjects was designed to be scalable by spreading the work over many computers. In addition, you get automatic load balancing and fail-over capabilities, insulating users from the effects of application server crash by transparently transferring the request another server.

The cost of developing your application typically represents only about 10 percent of the money that you will spend in revising and enhancing the application over its life. The WebObjects object-oriented development environment has tremendous implications in reducing the software maintenance costs and in your ability to rapidly add enhancements as competitive market forces dictate.

These are a few of the reasons that people develop with WebObjects.


One would think with all the above advantages that everyone would be deploying applications using WebObjects. Why is this not the case?

It comes down to "You need to invest up front to make cost savings in the future". WebObjects requires management with a vision of what their site will become over the next few years and who are planning for that now. They must be willing to spend a little more money now for big savings later.


A developer needs to invest $1,500 U.S. to obtain a WebObjects development license. This is within the pricing structures of typical high end PC-based development environments while retaining an architecture which is scalable and can leverage in organizations existing databases. However, when it comes time to deploy the application, costs mount rather quickly. Here is what the start-up costs of a web site for reasonably large organization can be:

Computer hardware:
Let's not fool around with a PC. We will deploy on a reasonable computer right now , a high end Sun Internet server with an estimated cost of $20,000 US

Software licenses:
Web server software, firewall software and network backup utilities are all typical of a well thought out web server. These costs can range from $5,000 to $20,000. We will use $6,000 US

The whole point of doing a Five phase Web site is to ensure it is scalable and maintainable. That means that we do not try to manage thousands of HTML pages and their resulting links. Now we store the page content in a relational database so the documents can be built "on the fly" according to the template of the day. In addition, offering users the ability to search through large on-line catalogs of products demands a high-quality robust relational database. Databases like Oracle, Sybase or Informix are typical. These are powerful tools which will allow for tremendous growth but they are not cheap. For example the price of Oracle Enterprise Server and SQL relational database for a Web site is $47,800 US plus $3,600 annual support.

In order to secure transactions for e-commerce, your site will need security technologies such as SSL and S-HTTP.

For your site to have reasonable performance you're going to need a good connection to the Internet. This typically means a connection with high-capacity and which is fault-tolerant. This typically means connections to multiple backbones in case one fails or becomes bogged down with traffic. We will allow $750 US per month or about $9,000 a year.

A deployment license for WebObjects, which is the reason that you'll be albe to deploy your site in such a short period of time and with such high reliability is not priced as a single-user PC application. It is priced for the value it delivers to many thousands of concurrent users. For a high-end SUN workstation that price is $50,000 U.S. plus a yearly maintenance fee of $8,000 U.S.

Therefore after your application is developed you'll need to expend in the order of $135,000 US (not counting labor or facilities costs).

This will be the best money you ever spent when the site traffic grows to the high volumes you expect. But at start-up it can be hard pill to swallow. Now you don't have to....


As part of computerActive's normal web site development services we offer to run our customer's site. This keeps us honest. Any bugs are our problem. Manpower requirements to keep the system running are our problem, so we want to ensure that there are tools to automate operations as much as possible.

We want our products to look good and perform well for our clients and their customers during that first year of operation. We have invested in powerful computers and network connections and WebObjects licenses in order to deliver great performance.

We have decided to extend the use of those facilities to WebObjects developers and customers who are not yet ready to make the site investments to run a WebObjects application on their own. Since computer security is a large component of our business you can be assured that we will will also do that right.

Pricing will vary depending upon how much of our resources you consume. This will be affected by how compute-intensive your application is, how database intensive it is and how network traffic intensive it is.


We make the "up front" investment. We provide the skilled operators. We remain proactive in terms of security. We do the backups. We run your WebObjects application.

This allows you to focus on what you do best, be that application development or on running a business which happens to use e-commerce."