[OSNews] Will Apple Go .NET?
Interesting article. I’m not holding my breath waiting, but I think this would be great.
Personally, as a hobbyist programmer, I’ve found .NET: C# and VB.NET to be incredibly easy to learn and powerful. On the Mac I used to rely on AppleScript and Real Basic for programming. I never learned Pascal, C or Objective C. I did learn C++ and quickly determined that I wanted nothing to do with it. I also learned java and learned that Java support on the Mac was second rate (back in the days of Java 1.0 – 1.3).
.NET is simply amazing (in my humble opinion). In a few short months I’ve learned how to build powerful Windows Forms applications, Web based ASP.NET apps, and Mobile Compact Framework apps, Tablet apps and just recently learned a little COM interop to write a Windows Media Center Sink to display status about Media Center on my Vacuum Fluorescent Display.
Now, back to the Mac. I loved AppleScript because I could write glue that tied two Applications together and did useful things. I did quite a bit of this back then. I then moved onto
Real Basic because it allowed me to build rich GUIs with a very simple programming language. They offered Mac like native widgets unlike Java which had a horrible platform agnostic GUI. Sadly Apple’s editor for AppleScript was super lame (still is) and I used a great third party product called Script Debugger. With Real Basic I was obviously using a third party product to write those programs. And with Java there was Metrowerks which is what I used in college when taking my C++ and Java classes. However, I wasn’t using any Apple software or tools to develop Mac stuff. How does a company build a good developer story if it isn’t in the tools business?
Enter Mac OS X. Apple now has Cocoa, Project Builder, XCode and some other stuff. However, I looked at Objective C once. It scared me to death. In my role I need to prototype a lot of UI. I’ve used Real Basic in the past (cause it’s way easier than using PhotoShop and traditional pixel pushing), and it was great for this. However, I needed to build a prototype with a Mac native Toolbar (OS X toolbar). I figured I could fire up Interface Builder and drag the toolbar control to a Window. Nope. I had to use Apple’s developer website to find some Objective C sample code to do this. Right at that point I gave up. Compare this to writing or prototyping a Windows Forms app where you just drag the control to the Form and you’re done. Everything is done with point and click. And of course if you want to get fancy there are these amazing third party windows form controls. It used to be that this kind of prototyping was left for Visual Basic only, however, with Visual Studio and the .NET framework the richness of the prototyping tools and capabilities for C# and VB.NET are fantastic.
So what’s my point. Apple definitely isn’t helping out their developer story at all by keeping away folks like myself from writing any code on the Mac. Having support for .NET would simply be amazing, but I also think it’s a pipe dream. I think there are way to many political issues for Apple to do this, most importantly, they would not want to validate .NET as a developer platform. I don’t agree with a lot of what’s said in the article. There are some political issues that are going to make any rational viewpoints and perspectives not apply in this case.