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Apple clamps down on code tools

13 April 10 10:17 GMT

Apple has clamped down on the software tools that developers can use to write programs for the iPhone.

Before now developers have been free to use many different tools to create applications for the iPhone and iPad.

Imminent changes to the way the iPhone software development kit is used will restrict these tools to just three.

The move has brought protests from many software developers with some declaring they will no longer produce applications for Apple's handset.

Apple said the change was made to improve the quality of applications appearing on its hugely successful App Store.

But critics say the changed text in section 3.3.1 of the development licence move is unnecessarily restrictive and is aimed more at Apple's rivals than poor quality code.

Many developers use other tools that have specific utilities, such as physics models and 3D graphics engines, that are useful help when creating certain sorts of applications such as games.

Any application submitted to Apple that does not use the mandated tools will be rejected.

Many developers took to their blogs to complain about the change.

"Developers are not free to use any tools to help them," wrote Hank Williams, adding: "This is akin to telling people what kind of desk people sit at when they write software for the iPhone."

Pierre Lebeaupin said clause 3.3.1 was so widely drawn that it was "completely impossible to enforce" and urged developers to contact Apple to show how strongly they feel.

Many joined an "I'm with Adobe" Facebook group which now has almost 6,000 members. The new terms led one programmer, Dan Grigsby, to say he would now no longer develop for the iPhone.

Developer Greg Slepak wrote an e-mail to Apple boss Steve Jobs setting out his problems with the clause saying it "limited creativity".

Mr Jobs responded saying that the limits would improve the quality of the applications. Letting developers use other tools would produce "sub-standard apps" and hold back the progress of the iPhone.

Apple has not yet given any official comment on the criticism it faces over Section 3.3.1.

Industry experts said the restrictions might be intended to stop developers re-using applications written with Adobe's Flash. Neither the iPhone nor iPad can run Flash applications.

Adobe released a software package, Creative Suite 5, on 12 April which can turn Flash code into iPhone code.

Flash programs are very widely used on the web and many games and videos are created using the software. However, under the new terms and conditions using Creative Suite 5 would lead to an application being rejected.

In a statement, Adobe said the change to section 3.3.1 would not stop it releasing the software.

"We intend to still deliver this capability in CS5 and it is up to Apple whether they choose to allow or disallow applications as their rules shift over time," wrote Kevin Lynch, Adobe chief technology officer, in a blog post.

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