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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])
  • ... Microsoft will be unstopppable.
  • ...and the NeXTSTEP API was something allowing portability across systems.

    • You're thinking of OpenStep [wikipedia.org]. When it was clear to Steve that NeXT wasn't about to win on its own, he started opening things up, in a desperate bid to retain relevance—the design was beautiful (although I can't say I care much for the exhaustive use of NS prefixes) and it seemed like a smart move at the time. Then Apple came running back to him, he became super-duper-successful again, and suddenly playing nice with the rest of the industry became a bad dream for Steve, excepting occasional concessions
      • Of course, since OpenStep was pretty much doomed

        I believe that OpenStep and/or its progeny are integrated into OSX and iOS, which is one of the reasons that Apple can swap around it OS's onto various CPU designs so easily. Think of the transition from PowerPC to Intel, or the other chips that run the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. This is a huge competitive strength, and is likely a key reason for the success of Apple.

      • by gig (78408)

        Every instance of the word "win" in your post is wrong. Windows NT never won anything. It is terrible, an embarrassment. The World Wide Web was built on NeXT, and so was the modern Mac, iPhone, and iPad. If current trends hold, OS X systems will outsell Windows systems in 2014 or 2015.

    • by gig (78408)

      The NeXTSTEP API was about running on NeXT. It was used to create the World Wide Web. OpenStep was about portability across systems. But nobody used it, they just copied it into their own proprietary systems. So now the technology enables Apple to do things like jump OS X from PowerPC to Intel to ARM within the space of 2 years.

      Today, Apple's WebKit browser engine, which is the most popular mobile open source project, brings the Web and the open HTML5 API to all mobiles except Microsoft's, plus to Chrome an

  • 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

        • by tepples (727027)

          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)

            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)

              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)

          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)

          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.

      • 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.

      • . . .. . 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.

    • 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 markdavis (642305)

        Indeed. But with Android development, it doesn't MATTER which platform you have because it will work with Linux, MS-Windows, and MacOS. So let's review:

        Android development: Most any platform. So you don't have to buy anything, what you already have will very likely work.

        Windows development: MS-Windows machine only

        iOS development: MacOS machine only

        • by gig (78408)

          Yeah, but Android apps are not native. You can develop for the Web on any platform, too. But if you want the power of a native app, you need a native toolkit.

          You get so much more with iOS development, and you make so much more money that the cost of the Mac is immaterial. Plus, once you get one, you find it is the best PC you ever owned and forget you were whining about it. I haven't heard a single iOS developer complain about having to use a Mac. You get free developer tools with it that are worth the purc

      • by gig (78408)

        The majority of developers that I know have Macs. This thread started by talking about developing for Android because you don't want to buy a Mac. Well, Google is 75% Macs.

    • by fermion (181285)
      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 far

    • 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....

    • Programming for Windows Phone requires either Vista or Windows 7. But I don't forsee Microsoft changing that at all.
    • by coolgeek (140561)

      I'd rather buy one computer than 20 smartphones.

    • 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 deve

    • by caywen (942955)

      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 l

    • by gig (78408)

      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

  • 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.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      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 y

  • by The O Rly Factor (1977536) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @01:01PM (#35985158)
    Sounds like Microsoft development in a nutshell.
  • 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)
      "whose apps are now worthless" You say that as if they had worth at one time!
      • by RogerWilco (99615)

        A fried of mine works at a company where about 20 people make a living selling apps on Windows mobile to the medical world. They now have to do a serious rethink of their business because most of their software was tied to Windows CE/Mobile for the last 10 years. They'll probably go web-based, but then you're depending on the WiFi in the hospital.

        • by am 2k (217885)

          They'll probably go web-based, but then you're depending on the WiFi in the hospital.

          Dunno about Windows Phone 7, but the iPhone runs offline HTML5 apps just fine (sans the new js engine, unfortunately).

          • by gig (78408)

            Yeah, you can install an HTML5 app on iPhone from any server and run it side-by-side with native apps, regardless of Internet connection.

            The newer JS engine will likely come later, because of security concerns. Even so, you have hardware acceleration already, it is the best HTML5 environment.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Um, C# is also used on WP7. WinMo supported native development, which WP7 doesn't (officially, it's possible unofficially) but the encouraged path was to use managed code. The UI needs to be re-written to use Silverlight, but the functional code can be re-used without any modification in many cases.

      • by am 2k (217885)

        The UI needs to be re-written to use Silverlight, but the functional code can be re-used without any modification in many cases.

        That requires a clean MVC implementation, which most probably didn't do.

  • 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 co

    • by gig (78408)

      If you want platform neutral, then make HTML5. That is what it is for. iOS supports both HTML5 and Cocoa so you can choose what is best for your app. App Store is totally optional on iOS, and didn't even ship until year 2.

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