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Jens Alfke is a software developer, who is currently employeed by Apple Inc., works on the Safari web browser team and is known for creating Stickies and iChat.

Jens started working at Apple as part of the team that developed AppleScript (1991-1993), specifically he helped to design the Open Scripting Architecture and created the Script Editor. While working at Apple, he developed a note-taking application in his spare time called Antler Notes. As his employer at the time, Apple took his application and added it to System 7.5 as Stickies. Although he wasn't paid for his application he did receive a bonus at the time.

Between August 1993 and March 1997, he worked on the OpenDoc development framework. For the first release he developed the memory manager, exception handler and imaging classes. He also worked on optimising the size and speed of the framework, work that continued with the 1.1 and 1.2 releases. The last year of his time on the OpenDoc team, was spent designing and developing a Java prototype of the OpenDoc framework.

A month after the OpenDoc project was killed in March 1997, Jens left Apple and spent four months working at a company called Novita Communications as their sixteenth employee, helping to develop a Java email client. Deciding that he would prefer to work at a larger company he left Novita and started working in Sun Microsystems' JavaSoft division, on an embedded version of the HotJava browser. However still dissatisfied with his working environment he returned to Apple in April 1998.

Between 1998 and 2000 he was part of the Java team within Apple. First as the tech lead responsible for developing a new implementation of the Abstract Windowing Toolkit framework for Mac OS and then as part of the team that developed an implementation of Java2 for Mac OS X based on the Carbon libraries.

During this time he developed an MP3 streaming server called Radio Station in his spare time, similar to Nullsoft's SHOUTcast, that ran on the Mac OS called Radio Station. However in a similar situation to Antler Notes, he found that Apple would not allow him to release Radio Station, with them instead posting the source code as a developer sample on their Apple Developer Connection site.

In September 2000 he answered a job opening within Apple to develop an instant messaging client and started working to develop iChat for Mac OS X. The initial prototypes used libfaim, an open source implementation of AOL's instant messenger protocol, and then the open source Jabber protocol. However after a year of development, an agreement was reached between Apple and AOL, allowing the use of AOL's implementation of their instant messenger protocol. At this point Jens was joined by a number of other developers, who helped adding the AOL code, fix bugs and prepare iChat for a 2002 release with Mac OS X 10.2. Once iChat shipped, the team then went on to work on the next version, adding features such as audio/video capabilities, resulting in the release of iChat AV a year later.

In late 2003, unhappy with the direction that iChat was heading in, Jens transferred to the Safari team to work on adding RSS/Atom feed aggregators to Safari, a feature that will ship with the next version of Mac OS X, 10.4.

Sources and References

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