Apple's new policy on cross-compilers has the development community in a frenzy, and for good reason. RunRev is reaching out to Apple and developers and voicing their opinion on the matter.
For those not familiar with RunRev, revMobile is a cross-platform solution that will allow developers to port their applications to several different mobile platforms with ease. Even though revMobile is still in its pre-alpha stages, it shows a lot of promise for developers who wish to develop for multiple platforms. It allows them to build their applications and not have to re-write code for each and every platform separately. This would provide an invaluable tool for devs. Now with Apple bringing the ban hammer down on cross-compilers, Adobe isn't the only one speaking up anymore.
RunRev has issued a statement with its thoughts on Apple's new policy on cross-compiler usage. Apple wants developers to create native applications originally written in Objective-C code. What this means is that developers will not have the ability to simply port over existing applications written in other languages. Apple voiced their concern over apps running natively and creating a more "seamless" user experience. RunRev isn't necessarily in agreement as to whether or not that's the best course of action. They've proposed a solution to this problem in an open letter to the community and Apple.
" ... In order to support our active and growing revMobile customer base, we submitted an in-depth proposal to Apple that we create an iPhone-only product that uses native Cocoa objects, supports 100% of their API, works perfectly with multitasking and battery life, but uses a variant of the revTalk language to use these objects and APIs, and then translates those into native code. While a significant engineering departure for us from the current revMobile path, this solution would have resulted in perfect-quality iPhone-only applications impossible to distinguish from native applications. It would have been impossible to tell these applications apart from native iPhone applications because they would be native applications. As native applications running directly without a compatibility layer, there would have been no battery life issues, multitasking and iAds would work perfectly, and new APIs would be supported as they came out. ... "
To me, this sounds like a reasonable solution. Apple has rejected this proposal and RunRev is uncertain what the future will hold for revMobile at this point in time.
" ... Some of our customers have suggested that we continue to develop the version of revMobile that outputs entirely native code (as detailed above). However such a solution--even though it would create perfect applications--would be in violation of Apple's agreement, which states that code must originally be developed in one of their approved languages. As such, we cannot risk hundreds of thousands of dollars of further engineering budget to create a solution that does not guarantee Apple acceptance to the app store. ... "
This is also understandable. The amount of development and time that would go into this solution is immense. As RunRev has stated, they're left at a stand-still as they aren't 100% certain that this solution would work or if apps created using revMobile would still face the App Store ban hammer. That's a lot of time and money to waste on an uncertainty.
This policy also will prevent the use of development tools such as HyperCard, which was one of the first successful rapid application development tools available. Not only do tools like this work, they provide an invaluable time management tool to developers. Not to mention HyperCard was written by Bill Atkinson, a co-founder of Apple. How's that for irony?
Perhaps Apple wasn't just after Adobe, as many originally thought. But where is Apple and why is it starting to feel like they're beginning to alienate more than just Adobe product users?