The Byte Works

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The Byte Works
FounderMike Westerfield[1][2]

The Byte Works, founded and run by Mike Westerfield, was a key player in the history of developer tools for Apple II computers. Its first product, the ORCA/M assembler (Object Relocatable Code Assembler for Microcomputers, and also MACRO spelled backwards), developed jointly by Westerfield and Phil Montoya, was a powerful assembly language development environment, complete with a Unix-style shell, which ran on 8-bit Apple II computers.

However, The Byte Works came into its own when Apple Computer was developing the Apple IIgs computer. In need of developer tools, they contacted The Byte Works and came to an agreement by which The Byte Works would develop the official developer tool suite for the Apple IIgs -- the Apple Programmer's Workshop (APW).[3][4][5] This tool suite eventually would include an assembler as well as a C compiler.

The Byte Works was also able to distribute its own developer tool suite, based on the same code as APW. The ORCA/M assembler came first, followed by ORCA/Pascal, ORCA/C, and several other languages, including ORCA/Modula-2 and ORCA/Integer BASIC.

The Byte Works did produce software other than developer tools, although tools were their mainstay. The Quick Click Calc spreadsheet was an excellent spreadsheet for the Apple IIgs, although it arrived on the scene too late to have any major impact on the market.[6]

An easy-to-use and very powerful BASIC interpreter called GSoft BASIC was also eventually released in the mid-1990s.[7][8] With the ability to communicate with the Apple IIgs Toolbox, it could be used to produce powerful software with a minimum of effort.

The Byte Works ceased development of Apple II software in 2000 and licensed its entire product line to Syndicomm, which continues to publish its extensive library to this day. In 2015, this license was extended to Juiced.GS.[9]


  1. ^ "Mike Westerfield & The Byte Works". Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  2. ^ KansasFest 1998 keynote - Mike Westerfield of The Byte Works. KansasFest on 2015-11-21 [Video captured 1998]. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  3. ^ "Apple IIGS Programmer's Workshop - Version 1.0 (K2S002)" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-03. ...APW C is intended for use with the Apple Programmer's Workshop...
  4. ^ "Morgue, Cortland Programmer's Workshop". Retrieved 2016-08-03. ...Apple decided to use a 16 bit version of ORCA/M as the standard development environment for the new machine, code named Cortland. On July 21, 1986, the last version of this environment that was still called Cortland Programmer’s Workshop was delivered to Apple for shipment to the developer community. Later versions were called Apple Programmer’s Workshop, or just APW...
  5. ^ Westerfield, Mike (2013). "About the Author". Building IPhone and IPad Electronic Projects: Real-World Arduino, Sensor, and Bluetooth Low Energy Apps in TechBASIC. Beijing: O'Reilly Media. p. 317. ISBN 978-1449363482. Retrieved 2016-08-03. ...Mike Westerfield...Two years later he finished ORCA/M, which went on to become Apple Programmer's Workshop, the Apple development environment for the Apple IIGS...
  6. ^ Westerfield, Mike (1994). "Apple IIgs spreadsheet" (Press release). Byte Works. Applecations, a publication of the Apple Users' Group, Sydney, Australia. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  7. ^ "The Byte Works' Opus ][ & Juiced.GS Concentrate: GSoft BASIC now available" (Press release). Leominster, MA: 2015-09-01. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  8. ^ Shepherd, Eric (1999). Toolbox Programming in GSoft BASIC Partial Draft. Byte Works. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  9. ^ Gagne, Ken (2015-09-01). "The Byte Works' Opus ][ & Juiced.GS Concentrate: GSoft BASIC now available". Juiced.GS. Gamebits. Archived from the original on 2015-09-01. Retrieved 2017-08-25.

External links[edit]

  • Opus )(: The Software - Juiced.GS, is The Byte Works' collection of every Apple II program ever released under the Byte Works label — that's 35 commercial applications and 16 unreleased applications!..