Thursday, March 13, 2008

Apple WWDC to mark the iPhone SDK’s new developer halo


Apple WWDC to mark the iPhone SDK’s new developer haloNow that Leopard and the iPhone have shipped, Apple is dividing its annual developer conference into 3 tracks: iPhone, Macintosh and IT, which means fitting the first two into the enterprise. No doubt, developers that are new to Apple will be there for some serious learning on the Mac platform.

In fact, I can see a new “halo” for the Macintosh coming from the thousands of programmers who will embrace the Mac OS X platform in order to write iPhone/iPod Touch applications.

The Apple Worldwide Developer Conference will be held at the Moscone West venue on June 9 through 13. I noticed in the press release and on the company’s Developer Connection website, that Apple isn’t bothering to call the conference by anything other than WWDC. It’s no longer an acronym, it’s just “WWDC,” and you’d better know what that means.

The iPhone SDK, announced last week, certainly will be the big news at the conference and the iPhone track is the first track presented to persons entering the WWDC site.

Whether you are new to mobile application development or a seasoned pro having developed software for other mobile platforms, you’ll gain valuable insight into what it takes to create amazing applications for iPhone.

Take a poll at the bottom of the story: Will the iPhone SDK have an impact on your company’s acceptance of Macs (and iPhones).

No doubt, we will see many programmers at WWDC who are complete newbies to the Mac and to its Xcode 3 development environment. This was evident in the comments of the programmers marching onstage to demo applications at the iPhone SDK launch event in Cupertino.

Some of the coders at the event said they weren’t Mac users or Mac programmers. Now, the development platform for the iPhone requires a Mac — so everything was new to them. But all of the teams (or teams of one), made impressive programs in less than a week.

Chuck Dietrich, Salesforce.com vice president, said that the company had more than 70,000 ISVs developing on the platform. “They are going to love building the next generation of mobile applications on the iPhone.”

But here’s why that makes the iPhone a new halo for the Macintosh: since the development tools for the iPhone SDK only run on a Mac, programmers must buy Macs. Apple said that the iPhone SDK was downloaded 100,000 times in a week, obviously by current Mac users. Everyone else, meaning most of the developers in the world, must now buy a Mac before starting to code for the iPhone.

However, the great irony here is that the iPhone SDK uses Xcode, the very same toolset for developing Mac applications. This isn’t a surprise since the iPhone runs a mobile version of OS X, with similar APIs, kernel, Core Services and Cocoa interface tools.

Could this exposure to the Mac spark a wave of Mac programs, especially in vertical enterprise apps? Why not?

Really, WWDC is centered around the enterprise, with two tracks explicitly targeting IT managers and in-house developers. Integration is the big push behind the IT track with iPhone acting as the carrot to bring along support for the Mac platform and perhaps Leopard Server.

• See how to use built-in and optimized web technologies such as Perl, Python, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, PHP, and MySQL, deliver standards-based in-house applications to Safari on Mac OS X, Windows, and iPhone OS.

• Benefit from demonstrations on deploying Xsan 2 to accelerate user productivity and improve collaboration by sharing workgroup data with an unlimited number of networked computers over the Ethernet network using file-sharing protocols, such as AFP, SMB/CIFS, and NFS.

• Explore how Leopard Server Technologies such as System Imaging Utility, NetInstall, and NetBoot ease centralized IT system image creation, management and deployment.

• Gain best-practices for deploying Leopard Server technologies to streamline system and user management, access and authentication, and application deployment for mobile users running Mac OS X and iPhone OS.

Of course, WebKit will also be very big at the conference. This was most evident in the pitch for the Mac track.

Web developers and users are right at home on Mac OS X Leopard. Learn about the critical tools for debugging CSS and JavaScript both inside and outside the browser. Put tomorrow’s technologies in motion today with standard HTML 5 solutions for client-side storage, audio, video, and vector animation — all inside Safari’s open-source WebKit engine.

Here’s a halo-related question for readers in the enterprise and SMB IT departments:

Will the iPhone SDK make a difference in your company’s support for the Mac?

View Results

1 comment:

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