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Developers: MS Hopes To Lure iOS Apps With API Mapping Tool 191

Posted by timothy
from the hey-fellas-psssst-over-here dept.
Microsoft isn't standing idly by while Appple's app store fills with software; fysdt writes "A newly-announced service called the iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool acts as an interchange for developers to take applications they've already written for Apple's platform, and figure out ways to get the code work with Microsoft's standards."
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Developers: MS Hopes To Lure iOS Apps With API Mapping Tool

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  • ...is lowering your own.

    (Click here for more information [instantrimshot.com])
  • by zppln (2058178) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @12:27PM (#35984916)
    ... Microsoft will be unstopppable.
  • ...and the NeXTSTEP API was something allowing portability across systems.

  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @12:40PM (#35985008) Homepage

    is that you have to (AFAIK) buy a Mac to develop for it. I can't really fault Apple on this as it's a great business strategy, but I simply can't be bothered so I'll only make apps for Android, which doesn't require me to buy hardware.

    If Microsoft wants their phone to succeed, they need to make sure that their SDK is available on as many platforms as possible.

    • you have to (AFAIK) buy a Mac to develop for it

      As I understand it, you have to buy a PC with Windows to develop for Windows Phone 7. Or you have to buy a retail copy of Windows to run in dual-boot or virtualization, which is as expensive as just buying an entry-level PC due to deep OEM discounts. (Once in Best Buy, I've seen a retail copy of Windows Home Premium for $200 and an ION nettop PC with included Windows Home Premium for $200.)

      • you have to (AFAIK) buy a Mac to develop for it

        As I understand it, you have to buy a PC with Windows to develop for Windows Phone 7. Or you have to buy a retail copy of Windows to run in dual-boot or virtualization, which is as expensive as just buying an entry-level PC due to deep OEM discounts. (Once in Best Buy, I've seen a retail copy of Windows Home Premium for $200 and an ION nettop PC with included Windows Home Premium for $200.)

        ::Sigh:: Or, you can build a faster machine for cheaper yourself... Avoid the OEM all together. You still have to purchase Windows to develop WP7 (& Windows apps, but I use Linux + Wine to cross compile some of my Win apps sans VM or dual-boot), but at least YOU CAN.

        The problem for me is that I have hardware that is faster than anything that Apple sells right now, and I purchased it for less than 2/3rds the price of Apple's most comparable systems... I saw that I can purchase the Mac Box Set with Snow Leopard for $169.00, but IT REFUSES TO RUN ON MY HARDWARE.

        That, my friend, is why I don't develop for iOS or other Apple OSs.

        You may attempt a rebuttal claiming that Apple doesn't want to support any unsanctioned hardware, and go on about "complete experience", but I'll shoot you down immediately because I install ALL of my O.S.s in a virtual machine -- there is no "hardware differences" that Apple's software would have to support except the lack of a hardware DRM system that Apple uses to prevent me from installing their inferior OS on my superior hardware. Besides, OSX runs on the same Intel brand CPU that I purchased... and, in fact, I have an illegal VM image (Hackintosh) that runs just fine, so OSX Can and Does run under this environment -- But I refuse to use it to develop software since it's illegal.

        The problem isn't that I can't afford to purchase Apple hardware, it's that I have to have a special build environment just for their over priced hardware and software DRM solution to operate legally... That, and I've already purchased better hardware than they sell...

        When people ask why my apps run on Windows and Linux but not Mac I always reply: Because Apple's DRM makes it illegal to use OSX on my hardware, neither Linux or Windows does. Apple would rather lock things down than let me compile my code on my hardware with their OS.

        • I use Linux + Wine to cross compile some of my Win apps

          And what to test them? If you're using Wine other than as a toolkit for making Linux apps, you need to test on Windows.

          I have hardware that is faster than anything that Apple sells right now

          Which hardware might that be, may I ask?

          I install ALL of my O.S.s in a virtual machine

          Recent VirtualBox can run Mac OS X. Which host OS do you use to run your virtual machine?

          it's that I have to have a special build environment just for their over priced hardware and software DRM solution to operate legally

          A Mac mini costs $600. Is that more overpriced than what, say, Sony and Nintendo charge for their development equipment?

          • by makomk (752139) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @06:49PM (#35987240) Journal

            And what to test them? If you're using Wine other than as a toolkit for making Linux apps, you need to test on Windows.

            You're assuming that all builds are actually tested. It's not uncommon to have regular builds - even automated ones - that aren't necessarily tested on all platforms, at least for open source projects. Being able to compile Windows applications under Linux can make that a lot easier, whereas the fact that Mac applications can only be compiled on Macs is a huge pain...

            • by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @09:08PM (#35987836)

              Being able to compile Windows applications under Linux can make that a lot easier, whereas the fact that Mac applications can only be compiled on Macs is a huge pain...

              You are clearly open to tools like Wine. Can't you use a tool like GnuStep to cross-compile to OSX from Linux? It sounds like a huge pain in the ass vs. just having an old headless Mac to run a compiler on, but you could put it together if you wanted to stay purely open source.

        • by am 2k (217885) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @10:13PM (#35988054) Homepage

          You may attempt a rebuttal claiming that Apple doesn't want to support any unsanctioned hardware, and go on about "complete experience", but I'll shoot you down immediately because I install ALL of my O.S.s in a virtual machine -- there is no "hardware differences" that Apple's software would have to support except the lack of a hardware DRM system that Apple uses to prevent me from installing their inferior OS on my superior hardware.

          And you know what? Apple doesn't care about your fringe desires. Just as Microsoft doesn't care, it's just that their solution happens to work on your machine. In business, you have to learn that you can't please everyone, and that you have to reduce your target customer base to whatever is most profitable, otherwise you'll never have a shipping product.

        • by gig (78408) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @06:32AM (#35989664)

          A MacBook Air costs $400 per year over 3 years, including AppleCare. It is easy to make that pay for itself by doing iOS app development. If that doesn't sound good to you, then you're not interested. That has nothing to do with Apple not participating in the generic PC industry.

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @06:18PM (#35987102)

        Or you have to buy a retail copy of Windows to run in dual-boot or virtualization

        The last I heard the Windows Phone Seven emulator that you use for developing applications, would not run in a virtualized environment (perhaps it's really a virtualized instance of the phone OS itself?).

        Annoying anyway, and it's kept me from playing with the WP7 dev tools.

      • by thaig (415462) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @02:53AM (#35989064) Homepage

        . . .. . but with Symbian you can develop on a Mac, Windows or Linux...... YAY! :-)

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @01:04PM (#35985174)

      Biggest problem with iOS development is that you have to (AFAIK) buy a Mac to develop for it. I can't really fault Apple on this as it's a great business strategy...

      How is that a great business strategy? The number of iOS developers buying Macs contributes basically nothing to Apple's bottom line compared to iPhone sales driven by their large number of iPhone apps. The great business decision is keeping the dev environment under their control and making it Mac only is just easier and cheaper than maintaining it on Windows as well. This leads to apps that conform to UI guidelines and leverage all the built in functionality of iOS and are updated in a timely manner to take advantage of new additions to iOS. Apple doesn't have to wait for third party tool developers to add features to support what Apple puts in iOS in a new release. They build it into the tools and in many cases the next recompile of the app takes advantage of the new function. That is what is smart about Apple's dev tools, not some barely noticeable increase in Mac sales from selling to developers that want to target iOS. It's about promoting iPhone sales because that is where the money is.

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @01:07PM (#35985196)
      You always need hardware to do development. The majority of people have a PC so this is not an obstacle; however, some people have Macs or no computer at all so they will need to purchase something to start development work.
    • by fermion (181285) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @01:38PM (#35985382) Homepage Journal
      Of course if one is happy with a development environment that "lack the full breadth of features found in higher-end Visual Studio and SQL Server Editions" and all one wants to be is a "hobbyist, student, and novice developer" then one can develop for MS Windows Phone 7. Otherwise it costs $1300 with a $800 yearly upgrade.

      OTOH, the mac mini is $700 plus 4.99 for Xcode or $100 a year for Xcode and full documentation. Over three years, for a professional developer, not someone who is just knocking off fart applications, this is $1000 for the iPhone vesus $2900 for the MS WIndows Phone 7.

      Of course all this, and android, can pretty much done on shoestring using Eclipse which costs nothing. Which is why even with this lame escuse for a cross compiler I can't see people leaving in droves from iPhone, much less Android, to write for MS Windows Phone 7.

      MS has to decide what it's core mission is. Is it selling development tools and enabling the use of the code, in which case other software, especially the OS, should be much cheaper. Is it selling an OS and supporting apps, in which the development tools should be much cheaper. Is it hardware, in which case the software should not be forefront. It is this lack of focus that has allowed Apple to surpass MS in terms of revenue and profit.

    • by Karlt1 (231423) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @03:53PM (#35986304)

      is that you have to (AFAIK) buy a Mac to develop for it. I can't really fault Apple on this as it's a great business strategy, but I simply can't be bothered so I'll only make apps for Android, which doesn't require me to buy hardware.

      All you have to buy is a dozen different phones to make sure your app is compatible and then enjoy on average 5% of the sales of the Apple app store....

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @04:01PM (#35986378) Journal
      Programming for Windows Phone requires either Vista or Windows 7. But I don't forsee Microsoft changing that at all.
    • by coolgeek (140561) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @07:31PM (#35987432) Homepage

      I'd rather buy one computer than 20 smartphones.

    • by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @09:29PM (#35987918)

      This claim is a red herring for a serious developer. The upfront cost of the Apple HW required for development is minuscule. It is tiny compared to the hours of work you'll spend developing any app and, more importantly, it's tiny compared to the income you'll generate from your, obviously, block buster apps.

      If this is just a hobby and you have no intention or chance in hell of making money, the HW cost is a valid concern. However, your scenario is not important in the real world. It's the professional developers that matter and from that point of view the HW cost is laughably small.

    • by caywen (942955) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @01:38AM (#35988830)

      That's not really the problem. Having a Mac toolkit isn't somehow going to magically bump them to 100,000 apps. If they want WP7 to succeed, they should focus on what they are supposedly currently focusing on: Selling as many WP7 devices as possible.

      If the market is there, developers will buy the hardware. I bought a new $2000 MBP just to develop for iPhone. If WP7 had the same market size, I wouldn't hesitate to drop $1000 on a Windows laptop. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to fork over $199 for a Windows license for use in Parallels.

    • by gig (78408) on Sunday May 01, 2011 @06:28AM (#35989662)

      That is great news. If you don't use a Mac, then we don't want your app running on iOS. If you're used to using Windows or X-Windows then, yes, Android has the level of quality that you'll feel comfortable with, and iOS would seem much too demanding. You wouldn't understand why either Apple or the user base rejects your app.

      It's not some business strategy that iOS development requires a Mac. They simply did not port Xcode to Windows, because that would mean porting the whole of Mac OS. In the same way that programming Windows requires Windows, programming a Mac requires a Mac. And iOS is just a Mac with touch instead of mouse, so yes you need a Mac to program it. It's really basic.

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @12:51PM (#35985098)

    This may be viable for shops with enough manpower to support multiple OSs and devices, but many one, two or three man shops may not have the resources to deal with support for some low-spec phone so far removed from the basics they can count on iOS.

    • Umm... way to comment with absolutley no <expletive deleted> clue what you're talking about. That argument may be valid for Android, which is avialb le on a wide range of hardware including some very low-end devices, but all WP7 phones have to meet a pretty high-end spec (1GHz proc, 800x480 resolution, 512MB of RAM, certain GPU requirements, 4-point multi-touch, and a suite of sensors). There are better phones available, of course, but only recently; that specification was finalized somewhere near a year ago. Additionally, it's a minimum, not an exact requirement. Presumably, the minimum spec will be updated over time.

      For the record, the iPhone 4 may meet the CPU spec (the iPad does, but only just; it's unknown whether the iPhone cloock speed is the same). I believe it meets the GPU spec, but I'm not sure about that. It meets the RAM spec. It exceeds the minimum resolution but has the minimum viewable screen area. It meets the sensor spec, including an optional feature (gyro) and adds a second camera. It exceeds the minimum storage. Sounds good, right?

      On the other hand, if you're writing apps for Apple you probably want to support the 3GS as well. The 3GS fails almost every portion of the WP7 spec except sensors. In particular, it's slower, has less RAM, and has a low-resolution display - overall, it's a much less powerful device. Given its age, that's completely reasonable, but it's still an argument against targeting iOS for development - you've either got to support old devices with much worse hardware, or you've got to exclude everybody who hasn't upgraded to the newest generation.

  • by The O Rly Factor (1977536) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @01:01PM (#35985158)
    Sounds like Microsoft development in a nutshell.
  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @03:37PM (#35986176)
    Duh, I guess they figure that those thousands of Windows Mobile developers, whose apps are now worthless, can fend for themselves. Actually, many of them went to the iPhone.
  • by nog_lorp (896553) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @04:01PM (#35986380)
    So let's see, what's the API to pop up the Apple App Store on Windows 7 phones? xD
  • Let us say they were able to map bulk of the API that does the actual work on the app. Let us even assume they kluge a virtual environment to let the app talk to "apple app store" and transfer it to MS app store and then hack some authentication too. After all one should be able to simulate enough of it in vm to get it going. Then what?

    Back in the days of Visual Studio 4 our company was doing mainly unix development. We hacked enough scripts to take the unix Imakefile and make it call the Visual Studio compilers and linkers to get the nightly build done on PCs. Main development was in unix. In version 4 or 5 they took away the command line. It was brought back later in v6 or so by the big players. But the damage was already done in our company. We had moved all the Imakefiles out, and wrote out vcproj files, and went to that nightmare called Mainsoft and the build env could never go back to Imakefile and linux when eventually much cheaper alternative to solaris, hpux, irix and Del Alpha emerged. One code base. Overnight builds. We did not need bounds checker or purify. Any memory error forgiven in one platform will crash in another.

    I just wish MS would sink a couple of billion dollars to make this kluge work and then Apple make enough tiny changes to the API to make it such pain they get the taste of what they were dishing out to others. I want Apple and Microsoft enter into such a slugfest most developers give up in disgust and move to some platform neutral development environment. I want the dev tool makers to have no incentive to push one platform over another. Would that day ever come?

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