Application frameworks became popular with the rise of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), since these tended to promote a standard structure for applications. Programmers find it much simpler to create automatic GUI creation tools when using a standard framework, since this defines the underlying code structure of the application in advance. Developers usually use object-oriented programming techniques to implement frameworks such that the unique parts of an application can simply inherit from pre-existing classes in the framework.
Apple Computer developed one of the first commercial application frameworks, MacApp (first released in 1985), for the Macintosh. Originally written in an extended (object-oriented) version of Pascal, it later appeared rewritten in C++. Other popular frameworks for the Mac include Metrowerks' PowerPlant and MacZoop (All based on Carbon). Cocoa for Mac OS X offers a different approach to an application framework, one based upon the OPENSTEP framework developed at NeXT.
Microsoft markets a framework for developing Windows applications in C++ called the Microsoft Foundation Class Library, and a similar framework for developing applications with Visual Basic or C#, called .NET Framework.
Silicon Laboratories is offering an embedded application framework for developing wireless applications on its portfolio of wireless chips.
MARTHA (layout engine) is a proprietary Java framework that all of the RealObjects software is built on.