Does Apple's new developer agreement ban Adobe's Flash-to-iPhone compiler?

And what about Unity and Lua?

Does Apple's new developer agreement ban Adobe's Flash-to-iPhone compiler?
Given that any kind of formal truce between Apple and Adobe was essentially blown out of the water by Steve Job's very public slating of Flash and backing of rival HTML5, those looking to utilise the platform on iPhone were hoping a workaround would come into play.

Back in October 2009, Adobe announced it was working on just that however, the firm putting together a compiler that would help package Flash content into a native iPhone app – and still abiding by Apple's legal terms.

However, it would appear a change in the SDK agreement to accommodate iPhone OS 4.0 could block Adobe's plans.

Changing the playing field

As spotted by John Gruber of Daring Fireball, Apple now insists that apps "must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the documented APIs".

As such, apps that "link to documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited".

In short, it's likely Adobe's cross-compiler – which was due to be included in the firm's upcoming Flash Professional CS5 release – falls foul of this new rule.

Looking after its own

Although Apple doesn't specifically name Adobe's compiler, many are already speculating that the rule change is a direct response to the company's plans, although Adobe itself claims it changes nothing.

"We are aware of Apple’s new SDK language and are looking into it," the company said in a statement to the New York Times.

"We continue to develop our Packager for iPhone OS technology, which we plan to debut in Flash CS5."

As Gruber notes, there is a logical reason as to why Apple might have changed its developer agreement which goes beyond any perceived spat with Adobe.

The company could simply be trying to ensure that developers who wish to target iPhone give the format the attention it deserves, rather than using a cross-compiler to translate software.

Danger, danger

There is also wider disquiet in the developer community however about the impact on tools such as the Unity engine, and other middleware, which is increasingly popular.

Ken Carpenter of indie Mindjuice Media said he was concerned even about the use of some industry standard development tools.

"I've been using some compiled Lua scripts in my upcoming trading card game, so I'll need to see if that is still allowed before I continue," he said.

"Sometimes it can be frustrating trying to hit the moving target of Apple's developer agreement."

[source: Daring Fireball]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.