posted by Thom Holwerda on Wed 21st Apr 2010 22:55 UTC
IconRecently, Apple changed its iPhone OS developer agreement to prohibit the use of programming language other than Objective-C, C, C++, and JavaScript running in WebKit. This has the effect of pretty much pre-emptively killing Adobe's CS5 iPhone developer tools, as well as several other, similar tools. Adobe has now said it will cease development of the iPhone development tools. To make matters really interesting, Apple has actually replied directly to this news.

Adobe's Mike Chambers announced the news on his blog. Chambers believes that while Apple will most likely selectively enforce the new terms, Apple will enforce them against applications for the iPhone created with Flash CS5. "Developers should be prepared for Apple to remove existing content and applications (100+ on the store today) created with Flash CS5 from the iTunes store," Chambers writes, "We will still be shipping the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5. However, we are not currently planning any additional investments in that feature."

"As developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at anytime, and for seemingly any reason," Chambers continues, "The primary goal of Flash has always been to enable cross browser, platform and device development. The cool web game that you build can easily be targeted and deployed to multiple platforms and devices. However, this is the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms."

Apple has actually replied to these comments; a rarity for the Cupertino company, which usually employs a strict 'no comment' regime. "Someone has it backwards - it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe's Flash is closed and proprietary," Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told CNet.

Of course, Apple is lying here by claiming H264 is an open standard - it's patented up the wazzoo with complicated and restrictive licensing agreements. These patents and licensing agreements are overseen by an organisation which has threatened to sue ordinary users - an organisation Apple and Microsoft have stakes in.

Apple is right that Flash is closed and proprietary, and as far as I'm concerned, the technology moves into oblivion. However, this isn't a Flash issue; the CS5 iPhone development tools deliver native code compliant with the iPhone SDK. I also don't understand why this press person cites HTML5, CSS and JavaScript; to write real applications on the iPhone, those are useless. You'll need Xcode, you'll need a Mac, and you'll need Apple's blessing - just as closed, proprietary, and restrictive as CS5; more so, probably.

It's understandable Adobe ceases development of these features, since they're pretty much useless now. Maybe they can spend the energy on actually making Flash bearable on Linux and Mac OS X.

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