Apple tried to push a new programming language for the Newton, a bit like Swift. There’s a definite lineage here. The history is really entertaining though. Dylan was canceled, but Apple didn’t want to admit failure, so they allowed the project to get to some level of completion so they could announce WWDC, then shed the group. This is what happened after developers found out they were being laid off:
I started my career at Apple in the developer tools group in Cupertino. But after a couple of years I decided to move east, and transferred to the Cambridge office to work on the Dylan project. In April 1995, we were notified that the project would be cancelled and we would all be laid off. But we were not to be laid off immediately. Apple wanted us to stay for 6 months so Dylan could be released as an experimental “technology release”. This was apparently done to avoid embarrassment at WWDC the following month. Dylan was announced and hyped heavily at the previous WWDC, and it would look bad if it disappeared the month before the WWDC the following year.
We were offered an incentive bonus to stay until October. It was strange to be given 6 months notice. We all had plenty of time to find new jobs, but it was not much fun to go down with the ship. But one interesting side effect was we had plenty of time to prepare for the layoff.First thing (after all) was to print T-shirts. We printed T-shirts (at Apple’s expense) that said “The power to cancel your very best” on the front. On the back was a screen shot of the Dylan IDE with all of our names listed in a window. In front of that was a dialog box that said “Are you sure you want to cancel the entire Cambridge lab?”, with the mouse pointer hovering over the “Cancel” button.By the day of the layoffs, we were ready. We decorated the entire office with gaudy halloween decorations, including a raven with a motion detector that would caw and flap its wings whenever someone walked by. Someone found an advertisement for the “Beverly Hills 90210” with a picture of Luke Perry, whose character was named Dylan. The ad said “Dylan - one step closer to revenge, or one step closer to death?” The “90210” was changed to the zip code for our office in Cambridge, MA, and were posted in the hallways in the office.
When the HR people arrived from Cupertino, we politely invited them into the conference room and served them apple turnovers. I was very proud that one of my coworkers had the presence of mind to think of that! We were all wearing our layoff T-shirts, except David Moon had his “the journey begins” T-shirt on, with masking tape covering the word “begins” and “ends” written on top of it instead. They called us by name one at a time to receive a folder with all of our layoff paperwork. When the first name was called, we instinctively applauded - it had the feeling of a graduation ceremony.