Omni Group founder Wil Shipley has lauded Mac OS X as a dream for developers and gamers alike.

In an exclusive interview with Macworld, he said: "With Cocoa, the best applications can be written for the Mac in a tenth of the time as for Windows. This means many developers will be able to survive going after the Mac market alone, as they'll have a tenth the expenses of Windows developers."

Commenting on the time lag between the release of OS X and the appearance of major applications for it, Shipley said: "This is an opportunity for new developers to seize a chunk of the market. I think all the major players take OS X seriously. They just don't pre-announce it as early as the little guys."

Game on Shipley added: "Mac gamers have a lot to look forward to, as well. They'll get faster-running games and the best implementation of OpenGL ever seen on the Mac. This will be 20 per cent better again in Mac OS X 10.1. Gamers will also enjoy better sound, and games will come out more quickly because its so easy to port."

Shipley – a computer science graduate from the University of Washington – entered the industry as a consultant programmer at NeXT, the company started by Steve Jobs when he left Apple in 1985.

He went on to found the Omni Group in 1991. OmniWeb was created for the NeXT operating system in 1994. "With Apple's adoption of NeXT technologies in OS X, we find ourselves to be one of the most experienced OS X programmers in the business," Shipley said.

He added: "Mac OS X is the beginning of a huge journey for Mac users, but for Omni it's also the end of our first journey - our quest to get the world to see how cool the NeXTStep technologies are. We're incredibly excited here because we've always believed that once we got a large audience, we could change the face of computing forever.

Unix core, blimey Shipley also believes that OS X's Unix core will prove a boon for the Mac platform: "It has inherent robustness, great server qualities and will attract Unix hobbyists and a garden of freeware from the Linux community."

Cocoa – OS X's native developmental-environment – also wins high praise from Shipley: "Every Cocoa developer I've met has never looked back. I've never heard of anyone who thinks there's a better system in existence.

"Cocoa is not just an amazing toolkit, it offers a new way of approaching programming. It's so easy to create the basic shell of a program that you can do it in a couple minutes, and take that shell and begin painting in features. It's every programmer's dream: the combination of rapid application development with the speed and reliability of a mature toolkit."

Rejecting recent reports that claim OS X developer's are facing problems working with the new operating system, Shipley said: "Working in OS X is a dream. The developer tools are clean, and the OS stable enough so you can develop on the same machine you test your code on, unlike for every other platform we've tried."

To illustrate the point, he discussed Giants: Citizen Kabuto – the game recently ported to OS X by the Omni Group: "It was originally written in Direct3D, a Windows environment. We not only got the game working in a month, but also got it running faster on a year-old Mac than it runs on the fastest PC we could buy today.

"We did this by taking their code and rewriting parts of it so it's actually multi-threaded now, so that on a multi-processor machine it'll use both processors. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that any game-porting company has taken an existing game and made it use symmetric multiprocessing when it wasn't originally designed to do so."

Shipley also discussed the company's work with its current clutch of programs, particularly OmniWeb 4.1. The forthcoming iteration of Omni's Web browser will offer much improved compatibility with Internet page standards. "Our users can expect improvements to our support for CSS, JavaScript, Shockwave/Flash, and Java," revealed Shipley.

The company is also working on a professional version of its charting application, OmniGraffle. Scheduled for an autumn release, this product will offer a host of new features. The Omni Group is also working on an application for OS X developers, but Shipley declined to discuss details.