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Will the new iPhone OS 4 Developer Agreement ban the use of Flash, PhoneGap, MonoTouch, and other alternative developer tools?

adfm's Photo
Posted Apr 08 2010 02:14 PM

John Gruber over on Daring Fireball speculates that, with the release of iPhone OS 4 SDK, tools such as PhoneGap, MonoTouch, and Adobe's Flash-to-iPhone compiler will be banned.

Is what John writes true? I've been considering building an app using one or more of these tools and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there pondering this. I'd like to know your opinion on the matter.

4 Replies

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  gavin.carothers's Photo
Posted Apr 08 2010 02:26 PM

The agreement seems to leave the door open for PhoneGap. To me PhoneGap is the most interesting of the "development frameworks" for the iPad/iPhone.


Javascript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine

On the whole however it seems a bit like The Length of the Emperor's Nose. Until Apple answers the question more specifically our guesses aren't worth that much. Yet another reason to develop applications as Web apps and avoid the AppStore altogether.
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  mattheww's Photo
Posted Apr 08 2010 02:50 PM

The new wording of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement seems to give Apple more reason to ban applications created with 3rd party tools. Whether Apple will take action or not, is still to be determined, but it seems to me that they want to restrict the creation of cross-platform mobile apps.


Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or Javascript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine

Why would they do this? I would suggest that Apple wants to maintain its current app dominance over other mobile devices. Will it help? Maybe, but it will also turn some potential app developers away.

- M
  jonathanstark's Photo
Posted Apr 08 2010 04:17 PM

PhoneGap is not a third party tool; it's a user template for Xcode. In other words, PhoneGap is just like any other sample Xcode project you might download from the internet. If Apple were to ban apps built with PhoneGap, they'd essentially be saying that developers can't share sample code for Xcode projects.
  kenyarmosh's Photo
Posted Apr 08 2010 06:40 PM

Apple is specifically banning "cross-compilers," which are tools that use some other framework to generate an app for multiple platforms (including iPhone OS). Any tool that produces an app originally written in Objective-C, C, C++ (i.e., no intermediary translation or compatibility layer) should be fine.

Using that guidance, PhoneGap should be fine. It appears right now that Adobe's Packager for iPhone OS (coming in Flash CS5) and MonoTouch probably wouldn't.