And this time we mean it…

9 September, 2010

In an unexpected statement today, Apple have again changed their stance on the use of third-party development tools. In particular, they say that “we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need”. Daring Fireball has a nice summary of the key changes to the terms and conditions.

This puts us all back to where we were last year, with Squeak again being a realistic choice of development environments for use on the iPod Touch, iPhone, and of course the iPad. John MacIntosh’s port of the Squeak Virtual Machine to iOS, and Bert Freudenberg’s work on multi-touch support will prove very useful resources in getting keen developers up and running quickly. Unfortunately, Apple explicitly rule out any applications that can download additional code after purchase, meaning that Scratch on iOS is probably still out of bounds.

There’s already lots of speculation about what’s driven this change of heart, based on the timing of this announcement (just after the big Apple event last week), its low profile release, and its terseness (reminiscent of Steve Jobs’ rather direct written communications), but whatever the cause, Squeak developers have cause to celebrate!

Squeak running on iPad

17 June, 2010

Bert Freudenberg has recently got Squeak working on the iPad, and has the video to prove it!

Bert’s work is based on John McIntosh‘s original port of the Squeak Virtual Machine to Apple’s touch-based OS, modified slightly to enable multi-touch and keyboard input. Bert also added multi-touch handling to Morphic. Interestingly, he notes that “Morphic was designed to handle multiple ‘hands’ (pointing devices) from the beginning”, so Squeak has always been multi-touch capable, and just let down by operating systems until now!

Bert’s work will help the Etoys team prepare their application for the next machine from OLPC, the XO-3, which will also be a touch device. The new version of the Sugar OS for the new device is still being developed, so it looks as though Etoys is well ahead of the curve.

Given the recent changes to Apple’s licence terms for iOS developers, it’s looking increasingly likely that we will see Squeak-based applications appearing for the iPad in the future. After a forty year wait, the Dynabook is nearly here!