April 28, 2009 - A new perspective upon new horizons

Well, I have to say I’m utterly blown away by the iPhone. I can quite solidly say it’s the most useful object I’ve ever bought – more useful even than my PC if I’m brutally honest. I’ve not put the thing down since I bought it; whether I’m checking my email, checking out websites in a proper browser on a proper screen, finding a takeaway in Barton-upon-Humber, playing Geo-defense or Wurdle while waiting for food in the takeaway, or even simply controlling iTunes on my PC from the familiar iPod interface via Remote (which has subsequently put Winamp on the back shelf – the first prog to do so since Sonique many moons ago) it’s been a complete and utter revelation.

This has obviously inspired me into developing for the iPhone – which means I need several things:

  1. A Mac – Oh dear. I shudder every time I have to turn to one of the studio Macs at work. Despite my new-found respect for Apple, Macs are still truly dreadful to use, primarily because of:
  2. OS X Leopard – It’s an improvement over the older versions, that much is true – however it’s also still basically an unproductive and annoying departure from what is obviously the ‘first choice’ way that Windows handles things. Apple can’t swallow their pride or dump on their existing userbase by conforming and as a result I can’t see Mac OS ever being their star product.
  3. XCode + SDKs – All 1.8gb of them. Yay!
  4. An iPhone developer account – Yes, Apple don’t allow you to run your own code on your own iPhone without paying them another £59. You can run it on the iPhone simulator that comes with the dev kit, but you obviously want to see and feel it on the real hardware (plus multi-touch with a mouse is out of the window).

As you can see this could become a pricey proposition. I’ve got something in mind for the first three steps – but it looks like there’s no way around the ‘Apple app tax’, I’ll simply have to stump up the cash.

The app that I have especially in mind is Chaos Enhanced (which now has a new name, though that’s for another post and an ‘official launch’) – which although being server-based and written in PHP with JSON I/O, needs client apps. If I can make the iPhone client smooth, slick and nice, then I can translate some of the features into the Flash client – I reckon this is easier and more likely to result in a really polished interface across the board, instead of me having to shoehorn the interface from a 1920×1400 browser window into an iPhone’s paltry 480×320.

On a rather unrelated note, I’ve also been looking at MooTools – partly because of the absolutely excellent Quakenet Webchat I discovered the other day which uses it, and partly because they’ve recently released a new version. Turns out it’s a really impressive looking framework, which takes an altogether more pure approach to extending and un-browser-fuckifying Javascript. I found myself absolutely hooked as I flicked through the docs and demos and I’m really excited about using it in my next Javascript project. Of particular note is its OO system, which I kinda envy and wish other languages I use (see AS3) had a similar system as opposed to the clunky, ugly and confusing Java/C++ way of doing it. I know I’ll attract hate with that statement but really, see how MooTools does it – it’s a breath of fresh air and makes total sense!

Finally, I’ve (attempted) contact with Julian Gollop regarding the ownership aspects of Chaos though I’m unsure as to whether I’ll get a reply – he appears to be a hard man to find. Hopefully I’ll get a reply, as a few things are resting on it at the moment. More news in the coming days on what’s going on with the game formerly known as Chaos Enhanced.

  • Biggz

    You make me want an iPhone even more 🙁

    Ever since I got my hands on my sister’s iPhone and played chopsticks on a piano app I’ve craved one 😛

    Too bad I’m stuck with an N96 for another year.. fuck.