Thursday, March 10, 2011

Xcode 4

Martin Pilkington has a great review of Xcode 4 as well as a guide for where to find Xcode 3 features in it. One change not mentioned is that Xcode 4 drops SDK support for developing applications that run on Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5. (Depending on which libraries you need to link with, primitive 10.5 support may be possible using deployment targets.) Xcode 3 can still develop for those systems, but it probably will not be able to run on 10.7 or develop for 10.7 APIs from 10.6. So Apple is strongly encouraging developers to drop PowerPC support and support only Snow Leopard and Lion going forward. This was to be expected, although Apple is obsoleting older systems more quickly than in the past. I’m sure there’s lots of code that could, without much trouble, run on these systems if there were tool support.

Update: Part 3 looks at Xcode 4 schemes.

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But can't you move the Xcode 3 10.5 and 10.4 SDKs to the Xcode 4 SDK folder?

@Michel Fortin No. My understanding is that the format of the SDKs has changed and also that Xcode 4 only works with newer versions of the compiler that cannot target 10.4.

I approach this as a non-programmer who has found various occasions to fire up Xcode and other parts of the DevTools.

I've always thought of the DevTools as part of the OS just like Terminal, and find the token direct e-commerce payment Apple is demanding to be somewhat disturbing. It truly ain't the money. Five bucks is only five bucks. But it just is yet another symptom of what I find the be rotten in Cupertino these days.

Also, you get issues like those made in Zach Holman's OS X Isn't for Developers post, which brings in some less abstract disturbing points than mine about the shift.

The iOS rot just creeps very slowly, but very continually into OS X. I really thought the OS X we had in the first decade of this century was something special, and it seems to be eroding.

@chucky, I'm very much not a developer, but I use Xcode and C++ occasionally for research. I don't mind the $5 as much as I mind potentially useful resources in the $99 Mac Developer area. Again that's not too much money for me as a faculty member, but it's not something I'm going to ask my students to pay. And it's not something I want to pay without knowing if what is on the other side of the pay wall is useful for my odd needs.

So in terms of signs that Apple is Different (now in a different way): when the was the last time they did something without special allowances/programs for us kind and fuzzy folks in education?

"I'm very much not a developer, but I use Xcode and C++ occasionally for research. I don't mind the $5 as much as I mind potentially useful resources in the $99 Mac Developer area."

I actually have far less problem with that.

As long as DevTools were part of the OS install disk, a non-developer could get along just fine without the paid Mac Developer program. The $99/year program (as I understand it) is for betas and various resources and benefits that make far more sense for professional developers than they do for casual users. There is a free Mac Developer account you can use to poke around in the Mac Developer area and get access to much material.

But now, the basic DevTools are an e-commerce premium from the OS installation, which is a paradigmatic shift that disturbs me on a variety of fronts.

Apple may have 200 million credit card accounts in their e-commerce store, but they don't have mine. I personally don't want an active credit card account connected to my general purpose computer OS. I like e-commerce, but I just want the option to do my e-commerce separately from my OS vendor. I buy my music from Amazon, not Apple. Now, maybe Lion is going to have an activation scheme done through the AppStore, as the rumors have it, so the whole forced e-commerce thing will be upon all OS X users. No active credit card account with Apple, no OS. But even if that doesn't happen, the DevTools removal from the OS is yet another reason I'm trying to find a viable path forward off the platform. I just don't trust Apple these days as an OS vendor.

If you look out a couple of years, this all seems to end up in a situation where you're going to have to pay $99/year to Apple (or perhaps much more) to get a certificate that lets you sudo on your own OS X box...

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