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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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  • Easier? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Friday January 29, 2010 @09:56PM (#30958758) Journal

    I'm not a programmer myself so can someone tell me if C# really easier to use than C or Objective C as stated in TFA? Or is it just a matter of there being more people who are familiar with it?

  • Re:Easier? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bheer (633842) <rbheer@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday January 29, 2010 @10:01PM (#30958804)

    Objective C is not a hard language to learn: it's a sibling to C++ in that both tried to add OOP to C. ObjC as used on the Mac combines the best of both worlds -- you get pointers for low level control, *and* a nice OO framework/API and niceties like garbage collection. And of course OS X is beautifully designed, none of the back compat cruft that makes one want to stay away from Win32.

    Where C# wins over ObjC though is its similarity to Java (which in turn is fairly comfortable to C++/C programmers).

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday January 29, 2010 @10:22PM (#30958974)
    I'm not seeing the iPad displacing the netbook even with .net. The problem isn't that developers can't develop well, the problem is that Apple doesn't let developers do much with iPhone OS. 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. These are basic things that people do daily, the lack of a major component of today's web (Flash) and the lack of an ability to multi-task is going to kill any chance the iPad had to survive much faster than anything else other than the steep price.
  • You're right that iPhone OS makes even the early plan for Windows Starter Edition (with its 3-app limit) look like a multitasking powerhouse.
  • by seebs (15766) on Friday January 29, 2010 @11:09PM (#30959260) Homepage

    Objective-C rocks, really. But! If you don't know it, and you have an existing code base in C#, maybe this would be useful. I guess. I think this is not aimed at making iPhone/iPad app development easier in general, but rather, specifically for people who are already using C#. In which case, it's not totally stupid. Just mostly stupid.

    FWIW, I'm currently at the "okay, that's the basic functionality, now what do I do next?" phase of developing an iPhone app. From "never even looked at the docs" to "working multitouch and graphics" took me, oh, a good solid two evenings.

  • Re:Easier? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zullnero (833754) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:00AM (#30959534) Homepage
    C# is a lot easier and cleaner. Don't listen to the plethora of Apple and Linux fans...there's a reason Mono is still around and people invest in it. Without going into too many technical details, C# is just a flat out better language than C++. Objective C just isn't that great an improvement. C# really comes a lot closer to bridging the difference between Java and C than Objective C could ever do. I've done all of the above aforementioned languages professionally, so I'd know. My preference is C#. The .NET framework is mostly the only thing Microsoft that I actually am a fan of, and would love to see that sort of platform development effort for every platform out there.
  • by naz404 (1282810) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @12:17AM (#30959628) Homepage
    News Flash bro.

    You may not like/need Flash, but a lot of people like it, maybe most.

    Why don't you check out the current Ars Technica poll on how many people would like to have Flash on the iPad:
    http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/01/poll-technica-do-you-want-flash-on-the-ipad.ars [arstechnica.com]

    And yes, Flash is a gaming platform unparalleled on the browser. You may not like Flash games, but a lot of people do. Flash has also ushered back the golden age of game development in the 80s where you could have just 1-3 people teams pumping out fun games, unlike in the late 90's to early 2000s before the explosion of casual gaming where to push out a game in the industry meant spending millions of dollars with tens to hundreds of developers per project, and it was all 3D, 3D, 3D and idea rehashes.

    The ease with which authors can ties together together animation, illustration, design, sound & interaction on Flash is has no equal. Not everyone is a developer and that's why HTML5 will not kill Flash.

    Coding slick GUIs and programmatic animation ain't an easy task and designers/animators/multimedia artists without programming backgrounds can't pull those off easily. Flash changed that.

    H.264 video is also here now with YouTube, but Mozilla Foundation ain't willing to pony up for the proprietary codec so don't expect to see an H.264 bundled video player on Firefox soon. These HTML5 in-browser media players ain't as easy to reskin and meld with other interactive elements as Flash though so you can go stay in your bland Jakob Nielsen-esque [useit.com] world for all everyone else cares.

    Btw, re: Flash's sub-par performance on the Mac, it's not all Adobe's fault. See this post from Lee Brimelow of Adobe (scroll down to comment #62):

    http://theflashblog.com/?p=1703 [theflashblog.com]
    "Apple is not cooperating in our attempts to improve the performance of the Flash Player on the Mac. Microsoft is, and in FP 10.1 we cut the CPU utilization in half for watching video. Same with other mobile device manufactures. We would love to work with Apple to do the same but they are making a strategic decision not too so that they can increase their revenue. Hey thats business. Another thing to note is that the site you showed is filled with Flash and just because it takes up a lot of CPU doesnt mean that kids will not want to play with it. Give people the option is what Im saying."

    It is a humorous world in how Microsoft is much more open than Apple. [technologizer.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:03AM (#30959808)

    Somebody buy this man a beer. It's on me.

    I just spent the last week cleaning up some Java code written in India. As you can imagine, it's pretty fucked up to begin with. It was even more fucked up when I saw them holding references to large objects (in one case, arrays with over 5 million items each) in private static member variables, and then in comments bragging about how the garbage collector will take care of them! The worst part, though, is that nothing even referenced these member variables. I couldn't believe it.

  • Re:Pffff (Score:4, Interesting)

    by node 3 (115640) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:23AM (#30959878)

    Oh come on, the name jokes are a manufactured "controversy". Just like the name iPod, iPad will stop sounding like something else, and become a word of its own. But even without this, there are so many other "pads" out there, that this is silly. For example, where was this controversy over the Fujitsu iPAD? Or the various other pads. ThinkPad? Newton MessagePad? MS Notepad? Or simply a pad of paper?

    I'm not complaining about the jokes per se. They're kinda funny for a second, but they do wear thin. But what I'm responding to is that this is treated as some sort of serious issue. "OMG, people are making jokes!" How many iPood, iPaid, etc. jokes were there?

    In the long run, the name is going to be just fine.

    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.

    And it would have sold worse than the MacBook Air. People have shown they don't want tablets that are just their desktop OS in tablet form. To be sure, there are people who buy them, but they are almost exclusively sold to geeks, artists, and some vertical markets. But as a mass media product, it takes something that's already cumbersome for most people, and making it even more so.

    The brilliance of the iPhone OS is that it's designed specifically for multitouch. You're not just using your finger (or stylus) as a mouse, with handwriting recognition thrown in for good measure. Mac OS X no only already supports this, but you can already have your Mac modded into a Mac tablet (or buy one pre-modded). And they're not selling well enough to warrant a separate Apple SKU.

  • by tftp (111690) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:31AM (#30959916) Homepage

    A tablet, in general I mean not just the iPad, has a better form factor for doing things like looking up information or doing small chunks of data entry.

    I believe I mentioned that I have a tablet myself, and it has practically the same weight as the iPad. I can tell you, it is an awful fit for any computing "on the go". Too heavy to begin with, then iPad is hard to hold with one hand (my UMPC has grip space, thankfully). And it's just awkward all around to walk with the thing. I use my tablet for reading in bed, and I hold it with both hands, like a book. If you believe any data input is possible "on the go" - it just isn't so. You want to sit down, put the thing on the table (my UMPC has a flap on the back for that) and then you use the stylus (provided with mine) or the greasy fingers to work it.

    I don't know how people are supposed to use the iPad. The keyboard demo shows that it should be standing nearly vertically (maybe at 75-80 degrees), but how do you do that without the keyboard stand? If you sit somewhere, like at a coffee shop, do you need to stack books behind it, or you must hold it in your hand all the time? If the latter, it sounds not very ergonomic. I understand that crew in ST:TNG are carrying tablets all the time, but rarely they are shown actually working on them; a tablet is mostly used to glance at. The computer in Captain's ready room is a desktop [memory-alpha.org].

    This is not something iPhone users are encountering because their device is small, and it doesn't need to be held for long (only while you dial a number, and do some other occasional computing.) Most of the time iPhone spends in the pocket, even if it plays music.

    Then again, I'd much rather have one of those than a netbook. (I'd rather have a 17" laptop than both of them combined.)

    As matter of fact, my main computer (that I type this on) is a 17" Fujitsu LifeBook. This was actually a nice purchase, previously I had only desktops. But now I know that there is a lot of value in a "desktop replacement" type of a notebook. I can carry it if necessary, but usually it sits on the desk and I use it as a desktop. It's plenty fast. The other computer, as I said, is the UMPC, and I have a PDA also. That's why I am so sure that the tablet idea is so limited and limiting - I have the thing for several years.

    Funny thing is, the lowest-priced entry-level iPad would be more useful to me than a typical netbook. Heh.

    Well, of course it's your decision, I only point out that the iPad will not have the selection of software that Windows/Linux users are familiar with, and it won't have a keyboard, and it won't have USB host or camera - something that netbooks usually have; even my Q1 tablet has all of the above, along with WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, VGA output, *stereo* speakers and *stereo* microphones.

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @01:36AM (#30959932)

    How does being able use C# or run windows sessions on the iPad enable it to displace a netbook? About the only place they overlap in functionality that they are both really good for is that they are both good for browsing the web and interacting with web apps that don't require lots of text input.

    Beyond that their functionality diverges. The iPad is a slightly better ebook reader, is better for certain types of applications (particularly, though not exclusively, those involving fairly passive media consumption.) A netbook is better for anything that requires lots of text input -- I wouldn't want to take notes in a meeting or class on an iPad, or write a substantial document on one, both things that netbooks are good for. Netboooks are also substantially cheaper -- the least expensive iPad model is at the high end of netbook prices, the 11.6" Atom Z520 powered netbook I got a couple days ago that I'm typing this on was half the price of an iPad. (And it has a SIM card slot and 3G capablity, which I'd have to pay another half the price of the netbook on top of the minimum price of an iPad to get on iPad.) Its also got much more storage than the high-end iPad. And you don't need another whole computer with iTunes just to be able to use it. Its perfectly possible for someone who doesn't have heavy computing needs to have a netbook as their only computer -- an iPad can't fill that role as long as it is dependent on a "real" computer with iTunes.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @03:12AM (#30960420)

    Why don't you check out the current Ars Technica poll on how many people would like to have Flash on the iPad:

    Polls like this have the problem of people are just going to say yes, after all, why not? The proof is in the pudding, and the iPhone and iPod touch have done just fine without Flash.

    I'm not saying that people don't actually want it, but it really doesn't matter all that much.

    And yes, Flash is a gaming platform unparalleled on the browser. You may not like Flash games, but a lot of people do. Flash has also ushered back the golden age of game development in the 80s where you could have just 1-3 people teams pumping out fun games

    The same is true for iPhone games. Further, the overwhelming majority of Flash games will be unplayable on a multitouch device. They just aren't designed to be played by nothing more than clicking the mouse.

    Btw, re: Flash's sub-par performance on the Mac, it's not all Adobe's fault. See this post from Lee Brimelow of Adobe (scroll down to comment #62):

    http://theflashblog.com/?p=1703 [theflashblog.com] [theflashblog.com]
    "Apple is not cooperating in our attempts to improve the performance of the Flash Player on the Mac. Microsoft is, and in FP 10.1 we cut the CPU utilization in half for watching video. Same with other mobile device manufactures. We would love to work with Apple to do the same but they are making a strategic decision not too so that they can increase their revenue. Hey thats business. Another thing to note is that the site you showed is filled with Flash and just because it takes up a lot of CPU doesnt mean that kids will not want to play with it. Give people the option is what Im saying."

    That's absurd. Apple isn't keeping Flash running poorly for financial reasons. Apple has a specific way to accelerate video on Mac OS X. If Flash can't utilize this, that's Adobe's fault. Of course, the way Flash works, it doesn't really have a way to interact with QuickTime, but it seems they should be able to do something with OpenCL.

    What's more, Flash on Linux also isn't accelerated, and Adobe has full access to the source code there. The problem isn't openness or financial incentives, it's in how Flash interacts with the system. Adobe keeps taking jabs at Apple about openness, or insinuating financial motives, simply because they know it will resonate with a certain audience.

  • Re:Easier? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vahokif (1292866) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @04:16AM (#30960652)
    Mono isn't actually behind. The compiler supports all the latest features of C# (and even some of their own extensions), and the Mono runtime supports 99% of what people actually use. The rest is either obscure or uneconomical to implement (like WPF). They even have their own libraries for doing SIMD (which you can't do on official .NET) and other things.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @08:59AM (#30961808) Journal

    Btw, re: Flash's sub-par performance on the Mac, it's not all Adobe's fault. See this post from Lee Brimelow of Adobe (scroll down to comment #62):

    Yes it is. There are two ways of playing H.264 video on OS X. You can roll your own CODEC, run it entirely in software (on the CPU or GPU with shaders), or you can use the one in QuickTime, which will use whatever hardware is available. VLC does the former, and still manages to get a pretty low CPU load. Flash ships its own CODEC which is slower than both QuickTime and VLC. I can play 720p content in VLC or QuickTime player on my 1.5GHz PowerBook, but flash stutters and displays about two frames per second. On my C2D MacBook Pro, YouTube videos take about 5-10% of my CPU when played with QuickTime (than you ClickToFlash) or about 60% with the Flash plugin.

    Adobe wants custom interfaces added to the graphics card interface for them, and that's not going to happen. Apple wants them to just use the same QuickTime code that everyone else uses for H.264, but Adobe refuses and insists on bloating their plugin with a lower-quality implementation of something that's shipped with the platform's standard libraries.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @09:27AM (#30961990) Journal
    I actually had this argument with him a few months before he died. He had changed his mind about mice, and thought that they should have multiple buttons, each with a well-defined function (like the RiscOS model), but didn't see the advantage of shipping one-button mice, specifically that it forced people to design user interfaces that worked with a touchscreen.
  • by NatasRevol (731260) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @11:41PM (#30968118) Journal
    The one question Adobe can't answer about this:

    Why is it that VLC can play a FLW video fine with good (ie low) CPU usage but Adobe can't?

    And it shows that Adobe is lying.

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