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iPhone Devlopment Web versus SDK

A lot of buzz is going around the development of mobile applications for  Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms. It seem a lot of developers want to develop for Apple’s platform over Android due to the current deep penetration of iPhone/iPod Touch in the US and European markets.

If you are not a Mac developer, it takes a significant investment in terms of both money and time. There is a general perception (at least I did) that the iPhone applications can only be written in Objective C. So, if you are jumping from a Windows or Unix/Linux background, you will firstly have to invest in an Intel based Computer running Mac OS. Secondly, you will have to get your feet wet in a new OS (Mac), Framework (Cocoa Touch), and Programming Language (Objective C). I however, had opportunity to listen to Christopher Allen this past week talking about iPhone development. He described two primary models of development for the iPhone :-

  • Web – This model involves the knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and one of your favorite dynamic programming languages.  It should definitely speed up the development time for a developer with a Web Services background. This model also makes it easier to integrate and share existing web content.
  • SDK – This model involves the knowledge of Objective C (similar to C/C++). The benefits of it are that it runs natively on the phone and so integrates seamlessly with the iPhone libraries making use of the improved graphic libraries available to it.

I can see advantages in both models from both the developer and the application’s perspective.  It boils down to the needs of the application. A developer trying to create a mobile version of an exiting web application/service would be better off trying to use the Web Model and come up with a quick working application.  It also comes with the advantage that it will work on other mobile devices with minimal changes. On the other hand, developing more touch sensitive and graphics using applications like games etc would be better suited to be developed using the SDK.

The development should be purely based on need. If you take the example of Google, they don’t have native iPhone apps for all their Web products. Some of their apps are native like Maps, Youtube whereas others are purely web based like Gmail.

The book “iPhone in Action” by Christopher Allen and Shannon Appelcline seems like a good resource to get a hang of the Web SDK.

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January 22, 2009 - Posted by | iphone application, mobile application, web application | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] The availability of the iPhone SDK last year has ushered in the creation of thousands of iPhone applications. It was closely followed by the release of the Android SDK by Google.  Application developers have […]

    Pingback by Yet another platform to develop mobile apps … Palm’s Mojo « Socialapp | January 31, 2009


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