Apple's iPhone SDK Section 3.3.1

by Thomas Brady


Apple’s iPhone SDK Section 3.3.1 prohibits any third-party tool/framework that outputs iPhone binaries, and says you can’t use anything but C, C++ and/or Objective C, and furthermore you can’t use anything but XCode to compile. People are up in arms. People are posturing and postulating, defending their “rights” and their third-party tools/frameworks. I don’t think Apple cares at all about Unity3D, Titanium, Phone Gap, etc. I think this is about Adobe and Flash alone.

But don’t bother reading my thoughts until you’ve read Gruber

Greg (of Tao Effect) posted an email exchange on the topic between him and Jobs. Greg comes off a bit whiny*, though I do appreciate his straight-to-the-top approach, and is told by Jobs that third party tools produce sub-par software and an obstruction in the Apple/developer relationship, just as Gruber guessed in the link above (Gruber even gets coveted Jobs-props in this discussion - Steve calls him “insiteful”). Greg appeals to the logic that a third party tool that lags behind the iPhone SDK in implementing new features or in other ways produces sub-par outputs (concerns Jobs cited in his emails), that it would not become/remain a popular platform.

I beg to differ. Laziness is a pretty powerful motivator. If you already know AS3/Flash, and you’re given the opportunity to pump out applications to the iPhone App Store without learning anything but the submission process, why would you care about new features in the iPhone SDK (which you’re not even using)?

I think Apple knows that opening the App Store side-doors to the world of Flash developers out there is like hooking up to a crapware hydrant. I am a Flash developer, so this is not based on some deep-seated bias. Look around the Web and see what the ratio of awful, wasted bytes to innovative, useful, fun, or worthwhile content there is that’s published with Flash. Go to any Flash gaming site (like New Grounds). You’ll find some amazing stuff. You also find a LOT MORE absolute crapware. Letting all of these hooligans line up to submit their wares to the App Store would mean Apple would have to quadruple whatever team it is that reviews submissions.

I’m certainly not saying that Apple is perfect or saintly. I’m saying it’s likely that their concern is 100% about Flash and its implications with regards to quality control.

Yes, crappy developers make crappy software. The problem is that there are already myriad crappy Flash developers, and they’ve already created mountains of crap software. This isn’t about theory. It’s about the very real fact that 99% of the Flash content on the Web doesn’t deserve to be there.

Again, I am a Flash developer. I’m also an iPhone SDK developer (see?). And to answer your question, no I don’t think everything I’ve made belongs in the other 1%.

* He may sound whiny, but he remains professional. That’s more than I can say for Lee “Go screw yourself” Brimelow. Sad. While he reinforces bad practices constantly by doing so many demos in timeline code, I still like the guy, and his site, GotoAndLearn, is uber-helpful.