Losing my religion

So I ordered an iPad because I want to build things for it. My first project was going to be a port of the Rubricator concept — the larger screen and interest of the education community made this seem like a good fit for an iPad application.

Unfortunately, I made a crazy choice in February and started down the path of the Flash CS5 Packager for iPhone rather than commit to the straight-up Apple toolchain I’d been dabbling with for the last year and a half. Why Flash? I was hoping I’d be able to use at least some of my Flex expertise – full-blown Flex components weren’t supported, but ActionScript techniques translate readily back to plain old Flash. This would also give me a chance to experiment with a lightweight AS-only component set (minimalcomps) and an interesting Dependency Injection framework I’d been hearing a lot about (Robotlegs).

Not only was this process awkward, my first crack at the app itself was painfully slow. It was obvious that the techniques I’d developed for Web and desktop application development were not going to be enough to make a reasonable iPhone app, even with a good UI concept. I was beginning to see the dark at the end of the tunnel for this pet project of mine.

But then disaster – Apple pulled the rug out from under the entire Packager for iPhone concept, taking their ball and going home. Boy howdy, I loved middle school. It took a few weeks, but yesterday Adobe finally cried uncle and the proprietary software apologist in me died a little. The two companies that saw me through Microsoft’s bungled hegemony over the Web are now taking shots at each other. Can’t mommy and daddy just get along?

So where do I go now? Do I succumb to Apple’s strong arm tactics and commit to the platform in the way they so desperately want? Do I ditch Apple and run careening for Google and Android?  Or do I run to something like PhoneGap, which promises a more open way to develop apps with JavaScript and Web standards.

Anybody wanna buy an iPad, slightly smudged?

5 thoughts on “Losing my religion

  1. For what it’s worth I’d consider plugging away native iPhone development environment. It’s an incredibly well architected platform. I’ve learnt a lot about how to develop serious software just from scratching the surface of it.

    Having said that, if you’re looking to give away that iPad of yours…. :)

  2. Hi Brian, I am not sure how much work you have already committed to your Flash version, but I would suggest looking at Titanium by Appcelerator. The short version is that you write and design your app in JavaScript, the script is used to create a native iPhone app that invokes native controls.

    I am not a spokesperson for them, but I am a pro-license subscriber and I have produced apps that are in the store.

    I wish you success, whichever path you choose.

  3. Brian,
    We don’t have much choice when the big boys fight, although I think this one is mostly Apple’s doing. It’s not as though Apple is “fair and open” in other ways. They have closed their platforms because they think they’ll make more money that way, of course.

    I have been doing extensive Flex development, so I am hurt by Apple closing that door. I intend to jail-break for demos and re-implement for product on iOS. Ouch – but not a disaster.

    Oz – 4dtext

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