Wil Shipley On iPhone’s “SDK”

July 9th, 2007

If I wanted to program in a crappy language just so I could get more customers, I’d switch to Windows, not stinking JavaScript.

Pretty much sums it up for me, too. Wil makes this point and about a million other cutting and accurate remarks about Apple’s sloppy presentation of web development as an “SDK” for the iPhone. It’s a common theme among developers that we feel burned not by the lack of an SDK, but by the fact that Apple expects us to believe that this is one.

iPhone’s AJAX SDK: No, thank you.

10 Responses to “Wil Shipley On iPhone’s “SDK””

  1. Jesper Says:


    I’m not saying iPhone web apps aren’t a big deal. It’s a big deal that some web apps run entirely unmodified on iPhone, and it’s really a big deal that people are making good new iPhone web apps. But they’re still not full apps.

    There’s a reason why the 15 non-Safari icons you can push in the main menu does not take you places you can go through Safari’s bookmark menu.

  2. Dave Feldman Says:

    I actually don’t mind the idea of using DHTML/AJAX as the SDK for the iPhone; I just wish they were actually treating it as an SDK by providing iPhone-specific JavaScript APIs in Safari. The iPhone has its own interaction model and without access to some of what makes it special, developers are stuck with only the intersection between the old interaction model and the new one. EDGE without offline storage is yucky, and I don’t think you can call them apps without some way to create shortcuts to them outside Safari’s bookmarks – even just a “Favorites” button on the home screen.

  3. Tom Says:

    I’ll be the first to admit that Apple’s non-“SDK” for the iPhone is not ideal… but JavaScript is not THAT bad of a language, as Shipley makes it seem.

  4. Jesper Says:

    I like JavaScript as much as I like Objective-C, but I’d argue any day that – especially to existing Mac app developers, but generally true too – Objective-C is the saner language.

  5. Nick Says:

    Given the time constraints, web apps/JavaScript are a neat solution. One thing no one is mentionning is that, like all things Apple, this approach is going to be copied by other phone vendors. When it does, all the iPhone web apps will be automatically compatible, which will benefit the developpers of said apps.

    Actually, I would prefer if Apple continue to offer tools and support for portable technologies and languages. It’s no fair that Apple’s most used apps (iTune & Safari) are cross-platform, yet Cocoa developpers can only adress the Mac market. It’s like Apple is saying “We’ll write for everybody, but you guys continue to write only for us”.

    I love Objective-C, but I would like to get to use it outside the Mac’s confine.

  6. fallenrogue Says:

    Is it me or are the stock and weather “apps” seem remarkably close to Konfabulator widgets? Are they pure Cocoa ports for iPhone from Yahoo! or some apps developed by, well, some of that dog food? Afterall, isn’t that what Konfabulator widgets are? HTML, JS? Perhaps this is step one in the plan to get people to dev Konfabulator or Dashboard type widgets for iPhone rather than full Cocoa apps. Dashcode for iPhone, perhaps? (posted with eyebrow raised…)

  7. Michael Says:

    “I would prefer if Apple continue to offer tools and support for portable technologies and languages.”

    Use C++

    I know you like Objective-C, but C++ is not any more difficult and already has long standing support on both platforms (as well as Linux, AmigaOS, BeOS, etc.)

    As for the konfab widgets, I wish that was what was on the iPhone. However, I imagine that Apple decided to use it’s own technology. Konfab widgets are not in HTML, they use a proprietary XML format. Dashboard widgets are in HTML and are basically Safari browsers without the chrome.

  8. Mr Spanky Says:

    C++ is portable? I guess it is, technically. But good luck actually porting it to anything that, for example, uses a GUI.

    Wil is right about some things, but as usual he goes overboard. Nothing succeeds like excess, I guess. JavaScript is not at all lousy, it’s just a language that has a completely different role from ObjC and the Cocoa frameworks.

    BTW, Wil is back to censoring differing opinions on his blog. So best not share your views on C++ with him…

  9. Nick Says:

    “Use C++”

    Actually, I am a veterant C++/Windows programmer trying to write in ObjectiveC for the first time. Comming from C++, ObjectiveC is quite refreshing (and fun!).

    The big challenge for writing portable apps is not C++ vs Objective C (you can write your code using ObjectiveC++/.mm), it’s building a portable UI that will look “natural” on the Mac. My personnal solution is to use OpenGL for the UI and draw the Mac look. I’ll let you guys know how that went when I’m done developping my current app.

  10. Mr eel Says:

    “stinking javascript”


    Obviously a shallow knowledge of the language. Javascript is actually quite and interesting and sophisticated language, it’s just been abused for so very long.

    That said, I agree with Wil’s sentiments. Developers and users want to see applications on the actual phone for all sorts of reasons. At this point no SDK would have been better than this… sop.

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