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Novell Programming Apple

Novell Bringing .Net Developers To Apple iPad 315

Posted by timothy
from the odd-confluence dept.
GMGruman writes "Paul Krill reports that Apple's new iPad could be easier to write apps for, thanks to Novell's MonoTouch development platform, which helps .Net developers create code for the iPad and fully comply with Apple's licensing requirements — without having to use Apple's preferred Objective-C. This news falls on the footsteps of news that Citrix will release an iPad app that lets users run Windows sessions on the iPad. These two developments bolster an argument that the iPad could eventually displace the netbook."
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Novell Bringing .Net Developers To Apple iPad

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  • Apple to Oranges (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anglophobe_0 (1383785) on Friday January 29, 2010 @10:56PM (#30958762)
    The iPad is one product...Netbooks are a genre of device. Add to that the aversion of folks like me to using anything put out by Apple, and I don't see much chance of the iPad replacing a whole genre of DIY-friendly hardware.
  • Nothing new here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Friday January 29, 2010 @10:56PM (#30958768)

    Jesus christ stop with the Apple spam.

    There are already RDP clients for the iPhone and Mono Touch isn't freaking new.

  • Re:Pffff (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:00PM (#30958794) Homepage Journal
    What the fuck were those guys thinking? We know about the fight with Fujitsu [nytimes.com] over the iPad name, but in today's New York Times there was an article about the ambiguous vulgarity of the name itself. [nytimes.com] From that one:

    Many women are saying the name evokes awkward associations with feminine hygiene products. People from Boston to Ireland are complaining that "iPad," in their regional brogue, sounds almost indistinguishable from "iPod," Apple's music player.

    What's going on? This is Steve's baby. He's been working on a "new Newton" since, what, 2000? Well, his perfectionism payed off and now the ones who aren't laughing are the ones who don't give a shit. Hey guys! Let's make an iPhone, but bigger, and a gajillion times more expensive! They'll love it, especially in this economy! More from that last one:

    He is not sure Apple could have found an alternative that ties in as perfectly to its famous brands. "I think we're going to get over this fairly quickly and we'll get on with enjoying the experience."

    Here's an idea - What Steve should have done was release a tablet version of the MacBook Air (with the exact same software compatibility, OS, etc.) and call it the MacBook Slate or MacBook Touch. I would have bought one of those, and I'm often the first to question the sexual orientation of male Mac users.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:01PM (#30958800) Journal
    As someone who's programmed both in .net and for the iPhone, I can't imagine that being able to program in .net would be an advantage. Both are adequate for making windowing systems, but the paradigm is different.

    Seriously, Objective-C isn't that hard; if you can't learn it in a day or two (or at most a week) then you are probably not a professional programmer.
  • by weston (16146) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:09PM (#30958868) Homepage

    ... the next 60 days, amirite?

    The iPad has been officially announced for all of two days, a vanishingly small portion of people have actually spent any time playing with one, and the world is already full of vociferous opinions about its prospects for (pick one) dismal failure/niche success/displacing netbooks/world domination. Like this one:

    Because of its price and lack of perennial netbook features, such as a physical keyboard.

    Looks to me like it doesn't lack for a physical keyboard, even if it's not permanently attached. Will that be a problem for literal laptop users? Maybe. If I were betting, though, I'd guess that it'll be good enough that Apple's sales will compare with the top 3 netbook manufacturers.

    I'm not betting, however, because like most of the planet, I haven't had a chance to really play with one, and therefore don't have a very solid idea what I'm talking about.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:14PM (#30958914)
    The problem is, iPhone OS. Sure, an iPad might be able to do a lot of the things that a regular tablet can, but can it, say, play a YouTube video in the background while working on something in the foreground? Nope. What about Flash? Nope. Yeah, perhaps Apple will release a breakthrough version that makes it usable, but Apple is going into netbook territory with neither the most user-friendly, innovative, feature complete or robust software library. On paper, the iPad is doomed to fail. Perhaps in person it might be different, but I tend to side with the people who think its going to fail to appeal to the masses.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:18PM (#30958942) Homepage Journal

    Umm no.

    1 - its far more expensive
    2 - it has no keyboard
    3 - did i mention it was expensive?

  • Missing Remoting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chrpai (806494) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:29PM (#30959036) Homepage
    I'd be very interested in this but the last time I check it doesn't support .NET's remoting API's such as webservices. I'd want to be able to make rich thin clients that talk to application layer servers but Apple always make sure the garden is well walled.
  • by weston (16146) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:32PM (#30959050) Homepage

    The problem is, iPhone OS. Sure, an iPad might be able to do a lot of the things that a regular tablet can, but can it, say, play a YouTube video in the background while working on something in the foreground? Nope. What about Flash? Nope.

    Missing Flash hasn't killed the iPhone, and while there are setups in which it's a pretty big plus to have multiple apps open at the same time, it's an open question whether it's important to have multiple applications open at the same time in the market netbooks are filling into right now. Modal use might well be fine for a good chunk of people. Heck, sometimes I wonder if modal use might not be better for me. Maybe I'd spend less time farting around on slashdot if I had to close the app I was working in to read and post here. :)

    On paper, the iPad is doomed to fail.

    On paper. That's all anybody's got right now. :)

  • by NatasRevol (731260) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:34PM (#30959068) Journal
    What the hell is it with you flash boys?

    The multitasking I get - it would make it so much better as a useful appliance/netbook/superTouch.

    But really why the hell should most people care about flash? So I can't play Bloons Tower Defender 4, or some other stupid game. Give me a real reason to need flash. My guess is whatever your reason, there's already an app for that.

    I have <a href="http://rentzsch.github.com/clicktoflash/">click-to-flash</a> installed on my system. I love having nice grey boxes instead of ads, videos, etc. I love having the *control* to see them if I want and not if the advertiser wants me to.

    That's fine if you like flash, but not everyone likes or even wants it.
  • Re:Easier? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:37PM (#30959088) Homepage Journal

    The difference between C and x86 assembly is like the difference between hiragana and kanji. You can write the same stuff with hiragana a lot easier, but you look like an idiot.

    Disclaimer: I don't know anything about hiragana, and my only data point is a some guy on Slashdot that was talking about it.

    Hmm, nope. That doesn't work either.

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:39PM (#30959104)

    I'm getting a good laugh out of all the folks damning the iPhone for it's lack of explicit multi-tasking.

    Sigh. If one wants to oversimplify there have been two great visions presented in computing. One was eberharts classic video showing off mouse and button based editing, along with cellular communications. If you've never watched it, you have no idea what you have missed. Prepare to crap your pants.

    The other is Raskin's dream of the info appliance. A device that has no specific function but morphs itself into the perfect dedicated human interaction device for whatever task is needed. It does not multi task. It does not improve a perfectly weighted japanese sushi knife to attach car steering wheel and fire extinguisher to it just in case you need to multi-task. Each item itself has all the controls and human interface it needs for it's task and only that.

    In raskin's vision, the appliance would never need instructions. it would be as obvious how to use it as a hammer is.

    The ipad is the closest (practical sized) realization of that to date. it's 1.5 times the width of your fingers so it balances perfectly in one hand. when you have a task it dedicated it's surface to becoming the perfect human perceptual interface you need just for that task.

    The key here is that Even a 1 year old understands the iphone interface. It's task specificity is intuitive.

    Moreover you don't really want multi-taksing. You think you do but what you really mean is you want to beable to context swtich easily and for cases where apps need to interact that they do so in the way you want them to. Multi-tasking is a dumb way to do this. it puts the load for managing the interaction on the human not the device. The iphone os does most of the connections you want. The addressbook is ubiquitous, apps can send e-mail and get web pages. etc... In the future this conduit management will be handled more and more by the computer as it should be. Context switching will be transparent because the computer will anticipate your next move and have pre-warmed it. etc...

    Multi-tasking is just the current way we approximate implement this metafore for the device that simply changes into what we need at that moment by itself. You don't really want multi-tasking you want that effect.

    For example, people insisted background processing was needed to handle incoming e-mail or other daemon tasks for apps. But the vast majority of those needs (though definitiely not all) are now served much better by the push notification deamon that apple implemented. See background processing was just one way to solve that problem that you were used. You did not need it and you are now better off without it.

    interestingly it's claimed that OSX was originally going to behave that way at Job's request. there's a hidden mode switch (in the defaults.write ) that will change the interface so only one app is visible at a time. the others snap to the dock at each context switch. I activated that for my mother and here ability to use the computer skyrocketed. I've tried it myself, and because I multi-task a lot I do find the transistions annoying. But I have to admit it really does de clutter and improve how you interface with an app. I just find the implementation to clunky to tolerate and I miss my multi-tasking view. The iphone OS enforces this work mode and anyone who has used one can see how well it works in the small format device.

    It's raskin's dream incarnate. This is why other devices that don't get what's being created here are going to fail.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:41PM (#30959116) Homepage

    Not everything revolves around English, you know? In its creator language, the name "Mono" doesn't have that bad connotation.

  • by Draek (916851) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:43PM (#30959128)

    And then there's the whole issue with pricing, which was the whole reason the netbook movement caught on in the first place. $500 may be cheap for a tablet PC, but it's certainly not for a netbook replacement.

  • by bar-agent (698856) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:51PM (#30959176)

    Has removing features ever been a good feature?

    Er, yeah. The feature of fewer features generally gets described as "now even easier to use," and a lot of software would benefit from it. (Background apps might not be one of the features that is good to remove, but that is a different question.)

  • by introspekt.i (1233118) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:51PM (#30959182)
    Blegh, Flash. Apple not supporting it gives the web world a smidge more incentive to make the leap to HTML5, webGL, and Javascript for the two instead of lugging around the bear that is Flash. Hulu and all those other guys can work to integrate that stuff in to the new HTML5 like Youtube is currently doing. Hulu can also (and probably will) make an App for the iPad that will sidestep this problem entirely.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:59PM (#30959216)

    Shouldn't we be waiting until, oh I don't know, the device actually is released and we can see how this whole thing plays out?

    It's almost like Slashdot is perpetually trying to make up for that whole "No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame." thing.

  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:35AM (#30959404)

    Moreover you don't really want multi-taksing. You think you do but what you really mean is you want to beable to context swtich easily and for cases where apps need to interact that they do so in the way you want them to

    No, I really do. I want to upload a picture, listen to music, and chat with friends at the same time. I want to be able to start a long network action and not have to watch it finish because switching away will cause it to abort.

    And just so you don't think I'm talking out my ass, these are things that annoy me about my iPhone today. Raskin's vision is interesting, but like all ideals, it needs tempering with reality.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:08AM (#30959572)

    The problem isn't that developers can't develop well, the problem is that Apple doesn't let developers do much with iPhone OS.

    I guess all 140K applications do the same exact thing? Since Apple "doesn't et you do much".

    The reality is that Apple has a few areas they don't let you go, but everything else is wide open.

    The nice thing about a netbook or a cheap laptop is I can run multiple things. I can keep my Facebook open, my IM open, play music on YouTube and type on a document all at the same time.

    And on an iPad (or iPhone) you can play music while you type a document, and get a stream of notifications when there's some new twitter or facebook post you really care about. Or you can write and jump quickly into a twitter/facebook app to see what is going on and jump back - because the device has been optimized for that use, unlike a traditional PC where application startup is more expensive and lengthy.

    These are basic things that people do daily, the lack of a major component of today's web (Flash)

    What? Where is is major use? It's widespread to be sure, but I question that it is such an important aspect of using the web today. I installed ClickToFlash on Safari about a year ago, and the ONLY flash I have had occasion to click on to see have been videos - all on sites that simply feed the h.264 the flash video player is already using under the covers, directly to the device. In the meantime I have also been spared a horde of annoying, battery sucking ads - and I never did believe in adblock because I like supporting sites. It's just that the number of Flash elements per page was getting to be absurd, with a ton of Flash overhead consuming the CPU.

    Other than video use, the other major use of Flash is web based gaming - are you really arguing the iPhone/iPad platform is hurting for free casual games? There are so many games out now you could probably play free trial or ad supported versions of games for a year straight before you ran out of things to try. There is no Flash based game so compelling it would make people choose a platform, EXCEPT possibly for Farmville due to the large number of players who would like constant access to it. But there I imagine we'll see an iPhone app at some point.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:15AM (#30959604)
    When I joined my current employer, I did not know how to write in perl but I learned quickly and took over development of our first e-commerce service and we launched on time. During my time there I've learned perl, VFP, C#, Python and Java.

    If you want to learn how to develop for the iPhone OS then you need to learn Objective-C.

    I don't care if you have an existing codebase in C#. You are going to have to expose your code as generic webservices anyway since Mono for the iPhone does not support .NET remoting anyway. Once your "cloud" services are available as standard web services, they can be accessed by any language and it makes sense to learn the main native language of the iPhone OS platform.

    Trying to use Mono Touch as a crutch smacks of laziness and fear of learning.

  • Re:Pffff (Score:3, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:37AM (#30959934)

    Personally, I think the iPad is a good idea. However, I also think that while the app store is a useful evil on the iPhone, it's going to be death for the iPad.

    Why? What apps are there really that are being blocked? Google Voice, SlingBox over 3G and...? Yawn. I know there's a list of interesting rejected apps, the losses are minimal, and while lamentable, a drop in the bucket compared with what software *is* available.

    On the contrary, the App Store is one of the single most important factors in the success of the iPhone and now the iPad. Yes, the geek-types will lament the control imposed by the app store, and for myself, I'd prefer an official opt-in jailbreak mode, but in terms of mass appeal, the hinderance caused by the control is absolutely dwarfed by the benefit brought about by the single marketplace for discovering and downloading new apps and games.

  • Re:Pffff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @02:41AM (#30959960)

    Perhaps, but as a woman I can definitely tell you that all my women friends have agreed it's an unfortunate name because the first thing it makes us think of is feminine hygiene products.

    Sure, today. Give it some time and iPad will just be another word, like Wii. People made the same arguments against the Wii. This too shall pass.

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @03:05AM (#30960068)

    - It's more portable.

    Not substantially. Sure, its about 60% of the weight of most 8.9"-11.6" netbooks I've seen -- all of which are around 2.5-2.75 lbs -- but that doesn't make much practical difference. Its esaier to use standing up, but no more so than tablet convertibles (most of which are now also styled as "netbooks") that are available at similar prices to the iPad.

    - It lasts longer on a charge.

    Apple claims "up to 10 hours" active use, which is about the same as, or a little less than, I've seen claimed by most manufacturers of Atom N450 or N280 netbooks with 6-cell batteries; also, the same that is claimed by the manufacturer for the Atom Z520 powered netbook I'm using right now.

    - It gets you to the point (i.e. web browsing) faster than a netbook does.

    From standby, my netbook gets to web browsing pretty much instantly. If the iPad behaves like its cousins (e.g., iPhone), its quick to get to an app -- if you haven't actually turned it off. Which is analogous to standby on a netbook. Don't see a big advantage there.

    Plus, netbooks -- in addition to being available much cheaper -- don't depend on the user having another computer available. A netbook can be the users only computer, an iPad can't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2010 @03:14AM (#30960114)

    "A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @03:18AM (#30960130)

    I don't care if you have an existing codebase in C#. You are going to have to expose your code as generic webservices anyway since Mono for the iPhone does not support .NET remoting anyway.

    Right, because the only type of applications is a thin client that connects to web services.

    Maybe you have an existing codebase that you want to run on the iPhone.

    Trying to use Mono Touch as a crutch smacks of laziness and fear of learning.

    No, it smacks of wanting to re-use code to deliver a solution at lower cost in less time and with fewer bugs compared with trying to rewrite things from scratch.

  • Re:Pffff (Score:4, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @03:39AM (#30960234)

    Not to say anything negative about Apple here, but to those of us not in the gamer community, Wii still sounds asinine.

    You couldn't have that any more backwards. The Wii is the one console that appeals to non-gamers.

    People may still snicker at the name, I'm not saying that's going away. People still make "iPood" jokes. But the name "Wii" is no longer seen as a liability.

  • Re:Easier? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @04:01AM (#30960360) Journal

    C# is standardized, but open source/cross platform implementations (Mono) are behind those from Microsoft.

    IIRC, in terms of language implementation, Mono is actually not beyond Visual C# - at least all C# 3.5 features seem to be fully supported. Where Mono lags behind is the libraries, and generally those which aren't covered by the Ecma CLI spec.

    Java is very stable, but given the number of releases I would say less solid (it's on its seventh major release, with a beta for it's eighth). Based loosely on C++, but with garbage collection (no pointers), it is really the only system that produces true cross-platform binaries.

    CLR (.NET) binaries are equally cross-platform, since a basic implementation of CLR VM is fairly trivial. Both Mono and Portable.NET are good enough to run the binaries on all platforms they themselves run on. The problem with portability is also due to libraries.

  • Re:Easier? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2010 @07:57AM (#30961238)

    It makes perfect sense, though I've no idea if the analogy is valid. He said you can write with only hiragana, but it makes a person look uneducated. This is completely true.

  • Not definsible.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Junta (36770) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @09:02AM (#30961480)

    It does not improve a perfectly weighted japanese sushi knife to attach car steering wheel and fire extinguisher to it just in case you need to multi-task. Each item itself has all the controls and human interface it needs for it's task and only that.

    That is a broken analogy. Each one of those devices has hard-set physical characteristics that inherently conflict with each other. The iPad can do multiple things, but not concurrently. Their UI is in no way hard set to preclude any of the functions people are asking about. A knife can never be a reasonable steering wheel ever, it isn't just that it can't cut and be a wheel at the same time.

    In raskin's vision, the appliance would never need instructions. it would be as obvious how to use it as a hammer is.

    And yet I see in hands on demos people trying various random gestures, and requiring the Apple rep to demonstrate what gesture was needed to perform a task. Notably, pinch to 'go back', how the hell is that intuitive?

    Moreover you don't really want multi-taksing. You think you do but what you really mean is you want to beable to context swtich easily and for cases where apps need to interact that they do so in the way you want them to.

    People don't complain about WebOS's realization of small form-factor multitasking, where each app is a full-screened app at pretty much all times. You seem to be attacking the multi-window model, which is a fair thing to question particularly in small form factors, but forbidding a program from executing in the background (doing non-interactive things like receiving instant messages or manipulating audio, etc) is asinine. I wonder what your post will be when Apple does finally cave to allowing third-party apps to background execute, it will happen I can guarantee.

    For example, people insisted background processing was needed to handle incoming e-mail or other daemon tasks for apps. But the vast majority of those needs (though definitiely not all) are now served much better by the push notification deamon that apple implemented. See background processing was just one way to solve that problem that you were used. You did not need it and you are now better off without it.

    Umm, you do realize that the daemon they implemented is explicitly a form of background processing? Apple *needs* it to deliver the things they need, and they allow themselves the privilege of background execution, they just deny it to third parties.

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