back to article Apple app police anoint un-Flash code translation

Though Steve Jobs has banned code translation on the iPhone and the iPad, the Apple App Store police continue to accept applications built with Unity and Appcelerator's Titanium, two dev kits that convert code from languages not explicitly approved by Jobs. If there was any doubt that the primary target of Jobs' code ban was …


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  1. Randy Hudson

    What could be dumber...

    than choosing to develop using javascript, CSS, and HTML? The only plausible argument for their use is that runtime environments (browsers) require it. But, even then, there are alternatives like GWT.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: What could be dumber...

      Developing in Flash, perhaps..?

    2. Wibble

      Have you tried Objective C

      Objective C is about as challenging as learning Chinese and the code makes about the same sense too.

      OTOH developing in web-based technologies for simple applications is quite trivial and any half-decent HTML / JS / CSS coder can do this. Turning a website into an application makes a lot of sense; just look at the sorts of things the eBay or Amazon application did.

      There's an excellent book on the subject of building iPhone applications with HTML, CSS and JavaScript which I recommend you read.

      Of course, developing in normal languages is well beneath the hyper-intelligent mega-being's tool of choice: Obfuscative C.

  2. Lou Gosselin

    Mixed feelings

    Certainly, it's a good thing the apple police are less draconian than apple's explicit terms and conditions about banning portable technologies.

    However it's not really any good that apple is ignoring it's own rules when deciding which apps to allow.

    I guess poor enforcement of bad rules is better than strong enforcement of bad rules.

  3. StooMonster

    Still loving Unity 3D

    Downloaded Unity3D 3.0 today and it's even better than before. =)

    Love using C# to develop for iPhone/iPad, with the odd bit of Objective-C tweaking; however, very pleased that Unity have Plan B in place.

    Although I think Unity should press on with Plan B and offer up C++ access to all scripting as standard part of Unity development anyway, simply to give developers more choice.

    1. John Hoar



      So are you one of the beta testers then? 3.0 isn't out for general release yet and I'm curious to know what the changes are like.

      1. StooMonster

        Beta, nah pre-order 'easy access'

        Knew I would get Unity3D 3.0 for my business anyway, so pre-ordered saving $300 for each license.

        Looking good so far, Unified Editor is the most immediate thing ... hopefully make it easy to support Android development as well as Apple toys. :)

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Developers already fleeing flash platform for open standards

    Job(s) done.

    Time to ease up and look more like a nice guy.

  5. the bat

    Why cut off the hand that feed you! (again)

    With out Games on the device it would just be another palm or blackberry.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Why cut off the hand that feed you! (again)

      "With out Games on the device it would just be another palm or blackberry."

      There are games for it. Just none of those shitty Flash-based ones!

      1. James Hughes 1

        Three words for you

        Desktop Tower Defence.

        AFAIK, that's Flash, and very good it is too.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    It's because the contract people couldn't think of a non-discriminatory way to say, "interpreted languages are ok unless they crash and burn the whole OS and eat more clock cycles than a 30 year prison term."

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Look a digit: 1 (in the title!)

    "The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms"

    Wow. That sounds exactly what I'm looking for. For me as dev consistent looks on all supported platforms is worth heaps more than pleasing the beast of Cupertino.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Look a digit: 1 (in the title!)

      "For me as dev consistent looks on all supported platforms is worth heaps more than pleasing the beast of Cupertino."

      I hope that isn't you saying that you use Flash for this? It's not available on all platforms, has performance issues on some and is a reduced version on others. It doesn't like touch screens too well either.

      Just use HTML 5.0 ;)

      Oh wait, that's what Jobs said (for different reasons)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        HTML 5?

        But, isn't HTML 5 a pile of shit designed by a committee more concerned about keeping its members' busy (mostly writing books to flog to unsuspecting developers about how to use their new "standard") than in actually producing anything worthwhile?

  8. Matthew 4

    Who cares?

    In the long run it will be Apple, not Adobe who loose over this - makes android a far more attractive program to develop for.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Who cares?

      ...because you have Flash?

      Who cares?

      1. karakalWitchOfTheWest
        Jobs Horns


        Because you don't have Apple and Steve Jobs on the Android.

        And this is way more preferable for me that any feature the Judas-Phone might have....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      You may be correct

      But I'm not upvoting you because your spelling sucks




  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Better Plan 'B'

    Ditch Apple and code for Android

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Better Plan 'B'

    And make less money while opening yourself up to piracy! Way to go!

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Leave the techy stuff to techies business people


    [Appcelerator CEO Jeff Haynie]

    "If Apple tweaked its thread scheduling underneath an API to better handle multitasking, he says, Adobe iPhone packager apps may not see the benefit."

    Err , hello, underneath the API is the OS! NO app can bypass the OS and its the OS that does the threading you moron. Did you read Computing for Dummies before they gave you the Head Suit job??

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @nick davies

        "And underneath the OS is the machine code that the processor is actually running. "

        Newsflash - that goes for any OS.

        "Like Unity3D, Adobe's iPhone Packager does not convert code into Objective C. It converts it straight into machine code."

        And? Sounds like you need to read Computing for Dummies too, specifically the chapter on how virtual memory and CPU privilege levels work.

        Don't they teach these basic concepts anymore at colleges?

    2. Blain Hamon

      Computing For Dummies: pthreads vs NSOperations

      Full disclosure: Jeff's my boss, but I'm posting as myself, not representing Appcelerator or anything.

      Actually, Jeff does do a lot of coding, and you can see it on Appcelerator's Github repo since you won't believe me. There's underneath an API, and then there's underneath an API. Since we're talking about threading, let's go into detail.

      iPhone OS (Sorry, iOS) run on the mach kernel, which does offer a POSIX API, namely you can do all the pthreading you want. This is very low level, and when Apple talks about 'their' APIs, they don't mean APIs like these. Instead, Apple refers to its APIs such as Cocoa Touch, Core Foundation, Grand Central Dispatch, etc. Several of these offer different ways to do threading.

      In the foundation classes, there's -[NSObject performSelectorInBackground:withObject:] and -[NSObject performSelectorOnMainThread:withObject:waitUntilDone:]. With NSOperation and NSOperationQueue, the OS does load balancing and pool management that you wouldn't get automatically with pthreads. Titanium uses both of these APIs. The only reason that Titanium doesn't also use Grand Central Dispatch, which allows execution of anonymous code blocks in different threads, is because we still support 3.1.x, which doesn't have the OS functions.

      It's highly unlikely that Adobe's packaging would use NSObject and NSOperation's threading methods, because that is OS-specific and would be missing in everything but the iPhone and Macintosh systems. It's highly likely that they would instead use the underlying pthreads, which are present even in Windows.

      So. If Apple tweaked its thread scheduling underneath NSObject and NSOperation APIs to better handle multitasking such as using Grand Central Dispatch and better manage their sue of pthreads, Adobe iPhone packager apps, if they use only pthreads and don't touch NSObject and NSOperation, may not see the benefit.

      Or, in the short version, since "an API" may refer to NSObject or NSOperation:

      If Apple tweaked its thread scheduling underneath an API to better handle multitasking, Adobe iPhone packager apps may not see the benefit.

      See how that works?

  12. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Unity doesn't use .NET.

    It uses Mono. Though the end result is much the same.

    (Also, it's called "Unity", not "Unity3D". Still, never let a few facts get in the way of a good non-story.)

    Unity isn't banned from iOS4 because Unity *is* built against the SDK. Every time you run a Unity game, you're running Unity. It's the *database* that changes, not the app. No "rules" are being broken here because the Unity developer's code only ever gets as far as the Unity engine.

    The build process still involves the iPhone SDK: it spits out a proper XCode project, not a completely opaque binary file as Adobe's solution does. If you're willing to get your hands dirty with Objective-C 2.0 (a much underrated language), you can throw iOS4 APIs around to your heart's content. That's the whole *point* of this exercise: ensuring developers aren't forced to ignore whizzo new iOS features because they can't get at them.

    Adobe's solution, on the other hand, bypasses Apple's SDK entirely, spitting out a .IPA file with no intermediate stages. If Apple updates the SDK with new libraries, new bugfixes, etc., Unity apps would simply need a rebuild, but Adobe's customers wouldn't have that option. Result? Support headaches and iOS' reputation dragged through the mud through no fault of Apple's own. Apple would then be faced with a dilemma: add fragile hotfixes and patches to iOS *just* for these Flash-built turds and face all the legacy support problems and developer inertia such fixes tend to create... or simply ban Flash-built apps in the first place.

    (And before anyone suggests the first option—and leaving aside the logic behind demanding Apple spend its own money patching *someone else's* crap code—this is how Windows' reputation for bloat and its umpteen legacy APIs came about.)

    1. Cade Metz (Written by Reg staff)


      Unity does use .NET:

      But Unity - and not Unity3D - is indeed the handle.

      Cade Metz

      The Reg

  13. Ben 50

    In my experience

    People who knock Flash/Flex either haven't used a recent (post 8.0) version for development, or are too inexperienced to understand what they should be using it for.

    In the old days when I hated Flash (through its association with advertising), before (via OpenLaszlo) I discovered what it could do, I was a HTML fanatic busy abstracting the cross browser chaos, writing DHTML/AJAX libraries (a good year before any popped out onto the web and I realised I wasn't the first!) trying to tell anyone that would listen that SVG was "a really good idea" that Browsers were *bound* to pick up on, and fervently hoping for an OpenGL plugin so I could carry on coding in OpenGL. Turned out to be rather a pointless perspective. We're still waiting, and I'm not sure it's worth it anymore when I see what can be done in Flash/Flex (for all platforms except for the Jesusphone, and that's just because of politics which can change in the blink of an eye).

    In the meantime, Flex is one of the sharpest tools in the toolbox. Contrary to popular belief, it fits in very well alongside a healthy dose of JQuery, RoR/Spring ... lets you do things which the HTML acolytes can only dream of, and then when you start getting into rtmp over the Open Source Red5/BlazeDS things get really interesting.

    It's also here to stay, unlike Titanium. I just spent a few weeks mastering it, built some interesting apps on the side, then realised that I didn't want my business to be at the mercy of one man's mood swings.

    Not a Fanboi. Not a Flexboi. Appreciate HTML but don't think it's the holy grail. Just somebody making systems which work, and work well, for people who need them.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      It craps out all the time

      I knock Flash because it hangs and craps out all the time. I don't care how easy/difficult it is to develop for, if the end result is a steaming pile in my browser.

      Of course, the same people using Flash are the same morons that don't bother to put their business hours, shop location, or phone number on their sites, so I guess they might as well make it *totally* useless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Waaaah antiflashtard waaaah

        I never ever notice flash hanging or crapping out, google docs seems to freeze up a lot more often

        streetview, nope works fine

        audiotool, great app works perfectly

        aviary apps work fine

        all really advanced cutting edge stuff that apparently are made by 'morons' according to design bigots like Gene Gash.

      2. karakalWitchOfTheWest

        @Gene Cash

        Hmmm, never experienced YouTube to "hang and crap out" and its Flash.

  14. Doshu

    That's all fine for devs, but...

    It's simply a matter of logical pragmatism when it comes to being an internet user:

    Flash IS out there so something is needed to see it -- and there's always someone out there who will pony up: just look, there's flash on the iPad now -- no, it's not 100%, but it's a start.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Interesting ...

    How Apple pisses off the only company that ever made it's crappy overpriced PCs somewhat viable.

    I mean who besides some graphics people and a few nutjobs spends almost double the money they would on an adequate non-Apple box?

    Just imagine how fast it would sink Apples PC business if there was no more Photoshop for the MAC ^^

    Normally I'd say magical fairy Steve sure has some (magical) balls but i guess now that Apple has their magical phones and magical wonderful astonishing tablets, what does it matter?

    I mean, who wouldn't want to buy totally magically locked devices without servicable batteries, without removable storage media such as microSD, without standard interfaces and coming with a premium pricetag for all the magicalness (and wonderfulness. Did I mention how magical it is?).

    What a wonderful world with millions of clueless people to exploit... oh the joy!

    (Steve Ballmer because ... well, there's no devil Steve Jobs icon. I wonder why, the latter is even worse)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Psst. Troll Better.

      If you want to troll properly, you'll have to capitalize Macintosh properly, as it's not an acronym, it's an abbreviation of a trademark, and thus, Mac.

      You'll also have to be able to recognize the difference between Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer, as the icon you used IS the devil Steve Jobs icon. El Reg doesn't have a Steve Ballmer icon, and sadly, not even a dancing one.

      Doing this will help your standard "They're all overpriced" claim hold more water, and make you look less like a 13 year old troll, and perhaps maybe even give the impression of a clue.

      1. karakalWitchOfTheWest

        Yeah right (s)he is a troll, but...

        ...he has some valid points though.

        The phones and the paddy thing are overpriced and locked down.

        The workstation, since there is only one anymore, is also way to expensive.

        The iMac was a nice concept but not at this price.

        The new Mac mini is a joke, especially for this price!

        just the plastic iBook looks like good value for money, but only as long as you don't need an always working notebook with business grade service contracts. (and yes, my private notebook is a business notebook from dell with a business grade pickup contract)

        So essentially Apple seems to like to alienate techies, likes to appeal to fashionistas and tries (and fails in my opinion) to change the mobile phone business.

  16. Snert Lee


    Adobe should have just gone ahead and released their iPhone packager, leaving it up to the developers to decide if they wanted to use it or not. And leaving it up to Apple to figure out how to test binary code for its origin.

    1. Relwal

      Adobe DID release the iPhone packager

      Adobe did release the iPhone packager. It's part of Flash Pro CS5. It works great. You just might not be able to get your apps approved, but I don't know what people are actually experiencing if they submit Flash Packager apps.

      A very similar toolchain is one of several options available to support Flash's Air for Android which is currently in Beta. One major difference is that the AIR runtime is shared among AIR apps on Android.

  17. Phil Hare 2

    Forgive me for not paying attention...

    ...but could someone explain to me in simple terms why Apple don't want Flash on the iPhone?


    1. karakalWitchOfTheWest

      It is easy...

      Steve Jobs doesn't like Flash.

  18. Chimaera

    Flash Crashes?

    Really? i can't remember the last time i had a browser crash, never mind one that was even caused by flash. If that's happening regularly then maybe there's just something wrong with how your computer is working.

    Flash crashing on a mac? maybe although i've not noticed it, but since Apple don't let Adobe use hardware acceleration on OSX then maybe the blame should be at their door instead of Adobes.

    Oh and the comment by Ben 50 above is one of the best i've read on this issue in a long long time.

    1. E Haines

      Yes, really

      Safari has crashed on me twice this year, both times when trying to run some Flash thingy. Granted two crashes isn't exactly the apocalypse; however it's pretty clear what the culprit is.

  19. Rob Moir

    Since the latest build of firefox...

    which tells you when a plugin has crashed, I've seen just how often Flash crashes on my windows and OS X based 'real' computers.

    As unreliable as it obviously is, it should be obvious why supporting it on phones is a bad idea while it is in that state.

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