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By David Gassner | Friday, September 10, 2010

Apple now permits third party development tools for iPhone and iPad

In a press release dated September 9, 2010, Apple Inc. announced that they are lifting restrictions they’d put in place earlier this year on which tools developers could use to create iOS apps for distribution in the Apple App Store.

A bit of background: Earlier this year, Apple changed the license for members of the iOS Developers Program (then known as the iPhone Developers Program), restricting developers from using anything other than Apple’s Xcode development tools and a small set of languages that included Objective-C and C++. This had an immediate impact on Adobe Systems and its Flash developer community; Adobe had created the Packager for iPhone, which supports compilation of Flash presentations into native iOS apps. Adobe Flash Professional CS5 was released with the feature intact, but it was suddenly clear that Flash developers who created iOS apps with this workflow would not have their applications accepted by Apple for distribution in their App Store.

That’s now changed. Developers using Flash and other tools for iOS app development (such as Novell’s Monotouch, Appcelerator’s Titanium, and the open source Phonegap) are now assured that their apps will be considered for inclusion in the App Store on an equal basis with apps built with Xcode and Objective-C. The developer licensing agreement, which previously set the restrictions on tools and languages, now simply says:

3.3.2 An Application may not download or install executable code.  Interpreted code may only be used in an Application if all scripts, code and interpreters are packaged in the Application and not downloaded. The only exception to the foregoing is scripts and code downloaded and run by Apple’s built-in WebKit framework.

This means that Adobe Flash Player still won’t appear on the iPhone and iPad, since it requires downloading executable code at runtime. That’s a separate issue that isn’t addressed by this licensing change. But applications that are compiled prior to posting in the App Store can now be built with the language and development tool of your choice. And we believe that choice is good!

In response, we’re revisiting our plans for offering training on using Flash Professional CS5 to create apps for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). Content we’d already created forFlash Professional CS5 Essential Training, but didn’t include in the course’s initial release due to Apple’s licensing restrictions, will be added back into the course within a few days (check back frequently if you’re an Online Training Library® member). And if we hear from you, our members, that you want training in other development tools for iOS such as Monotouch, Titanium and Phonegap, we’ll seek out the best industry experts to create new courses.

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