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  Apple's High-Water Mark?
Subject:   Universal Binary is not a certification program
Date:   2006-03-30 06:53:43
From:   jdodds
Response to: Universal Binary is not a certification program

Xcode is an IDE. It's not a 'multi-platform development kit.' It is not an alternative to something like Qt. But, as Trolltech's website notes, Xcode is a supported IDE for Qt/Mac development.

Adobe put themselves in a tight spot by not recognizing (or at least not reacting to) the handwriting on the wall regarding Metrowerks. Adobe's dependence on Metrowerks' IDE and libraries is similar to your story about the proprietary middleware.

I don't think Xcode represents the same risk. First, if you're targeting Mac OS X then you're already depending on Apple. If Apple loses interest in computers and becomes a consumer electronics company your investment in Mac OS X development may be a lost regardless of your choice to use Xcode or not. Second, Xcode has little or no direct competition right now. Paradoxically that's good. Apple needs developers so Apple needs to support good developer tools.

You are always "putting your coding effort in the hands of other people." Even when you are using open source. The potential advantage of open source is that by providing more options the risk factors are changed.

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  • Universal Binary is not a certification program
    2006-03-30 10:27:12  AdrienLamothe [View]

    Quoting one of your earlier statements:

    "Apple's Xcode development tools support building universal binaries. It's a build configuration option in the Xcode UI."

    Your earlier assertion was that software developers can smoothly migrate to whatever new microprocessor Apple uses, simply by using Xcode. Do you still assert this?

    QT also generates Mac OS X programs. Adobe has used QT in the past, to build Photoshop Album.

    Using open-source tools does potentially mitigate risk. Even better is when you can code to open, established standards. Linux is a POSIX-compliant Unix operating system, that is both open-source and adheres to standards. This separates it from other operating systems, that appear to be open but are in fact only open to a certain degree. Lots of software developed for other Unix platforms will compile and run on Linux; this demonstrates the power of standards.

    Of course, there are abstractions above the operating system, that are not official standards, so we end up developing to those de-facto standards. Today's de-facto standards can become tomorrow's official standards. So it is also good to avoid dogmatism and pragmatically utilize the best tools for the job. QT may be a candidate for future standardization, as may any new abstractions Apple can develop.