Can we risk investing in iPhone development?

I’ve been asking myself this question quite a few times already.

We have a few little tools that could possibly be of use to a wider raneg of users, and there are a few ideas about what we could possibly build. But is it worth the investment? Most of the stuff we have is implemented either in Smalltalk or Java.

Sure, it should be possible to port most of that to objective-C in a few days, even more so since we do have objective-C knowledge and experience form Mac development. The nature of iPhone OS makes the GUI stuff pretty straight forward, so we should be able to do a port.

But is it worth it? There even is the possibility of installing Pharo or Squeak on the iPhone and there even are a few Smalltalk applications in the app store. So why not simply do it?

Bevause Apple might decide to simply ignore your application and not let it into their app store. There are some respected developers simply giving up on iPhone development because of that.

But there’s more to consider:

There are so many mobile platforms popping up these days, each of them having their own SDK and primary programming language. Which one would be the most widespread for our mobile app? How much would it cost to write and maintain the app for two platforms?

I guess this technicalย  question will go away over the next 2-4 years. There will be no mobile platforms any more as we know them today. The mobile devices will be pc’s running a normal operating system like windows and/or linux or maybe even a “real” mac os. They will have added features specific for small screens and touch input, but there will be no differences in APIs or available frameworks.

So for now, we’ll simply not invest in building a mobile app, even though it’s a fascinating idea…. I will look into Pharo on iPhone for sure, but only for fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

BTW: Since Nokia’s Maemo seems to be a Debian/Linux derivative, shouldn’t it be easy to run Pharo on it? I guess I need to google a bit…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

[UPDATE] Of course someone has already taken a look at running Pharo on the iPhone. So life is probably a bit better for a Smalltalker than one might think at first glance ๐Ÿ˜‰ Still there’s the question of whether Apple would accept an app built in Pharo…



3 thoughts on “Can we risk investing in iPhone development?

  1. No problem. As Esteban Lorenzano (main developer) is my friend I was just aware of all that ๐Ÿ™‚

    Today I discovered this cool blog…so, one more blog to my rss reader ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Sorry for coming too late to this post. I just wanted to ask you if you were aware of the Mars and Deimos projects. They even receive ESUG sponsor this year so I guess it will have much more work. Some links:!


    1. Mariano,

      I am aware of the project and eager to see where it goes to.
      The project sounds extremely promising and I also have high hopes for MARS. I want to see a Smalltalk that you can use to build Mac OS applications with a native look&feel.

      Thanks for the collection of links. Interesting to see them gathered in one place. Saves me the effort of googling next time I want to check

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