A new set of open source tools, some already being used by Apple in Mobile Me, could be poised to change Web development dramatically, according to Ryan Carson in his blog Wednesday.
Mr. Carson provided the background to understand how these tools fit together:
- "Objective-J is a clone of Objective-C, the language behind OSX desktop apps. It was created by the guys at 280North who recently launched 280Slides (a browser-based version of Appleis Keynote).
- Cappuccino is a port of Cocoa (the set of Mac OS X Objective-C application frameworks) to the web. It was created by the 280North team.
The point of all this is that developers are building Web apps with CSS, HTML and some AJAX in a mode that is fundamentally different than building a native application. The combination of tools above allows the developer to not only write code thatis more like a native app, but it also runs right inside a browser.
"So the big shift is this: instead of relying on the client-server model, you can build asyncronous, offline, robust web apps right inside the browser. In fact, they donit even need to connect to the web at all," Mr. Carson noted.
Some might respond that this can already be done with AIR or Silverlight. The big deal is that each of the tools described above is open source, something that Apple believes strongly in and avoids turning the modern Web experience over to one company and its proprietary products.
Mr. Carson pointed out that Mobile Me, essentially a port of native applications to the Web, is using SproutCore. The fact that a company as large as Apple is promoting this technology is good news for the open source community. Perhaps more important, Apple is in a position, to change the expectations of what Web apps should look like.
Apple has, in fact, done that before with the iPhone, completely changing usersi perceptions of what smartphone apps should look like. Mobile Me could be just the beginning.