As developers await word from Steve Jobs that applications coded with Appcelerator's Titanium kit are still welcome in the iPhone App Store, the company is testing a new version of the kit for RIM BlackBerries.
The idea is that hardened web coders can build for the iPhone without learning Objective-C or for Android without learning Java. Appcelerator offers a free version of the kit as well as a "professional" version that includes support and app analytics for $199 per developer per month.
Before April, Titanium was merely a handy development kit. But it achieved a new level of fame when Apple released the beta version of the iPhone OS 4.0 SDK – now iOS 4.0 SDK – which bars applications translated from languages not officially supported by the Jobsian platform.
The SDK says that native applications must be "originally written" in Objective C, C, or C++, forbidding developers from using any sort of "translation or compatibility layer."
With his infamous "Thoughts on Flash" open letter, Steve Jobs made it clear that this new language in the SDK's terms of service was meant to ban Adobe Flash in particular. Jobs carries some sort of pathological hatred for Flash, and Adobe now offers an iPhone packager that translates Flash script into native iPhone code.
"Effectively, what we're doing is machine-generating Objective C and then compiling just as the developer would do if they had originally written in the language," Appcelerator boss Jeff Haynie has told us. "We're not trying to bypass everything that Apple has set up to ensure quality and performance and things like that."
And he's confident Apple's ban on translated code won't affect his kit. "We think - based on reading of the wording and our understanding of what it means - that we're in compliance," he says.
"We believe that Appcelerator produces really high-quality native applications compiled with [Apple's] languages and technology. There's nothing about what we're doing that avoids that or pre-empts that or goes against that intention."
It won't be long before we find out for sure. On Thursday, Apple began accepting submissions for apps based on the iOS 4.0 SDK, and the OS makes its debut later this month.
In the meantime, Appcelerator is testing a beta version of its kit for BlackBerries. The beta is closed to the public, but the company is offering access to Reg readers here. Spots are available for the first 100 coders. ®