How Did Apple Get Developers

Recently Apple took over Microsoft in terms of marketshare.  It got me thinking a bit about Apple.
The one question that stood out in my mind is how did they get developers to write brand new applications for their phone in a language most wouldn't have encountered before.

Microsoft for example has always tried to get things compatible.  So of course, what is their development language for Windows Mobile?  Well it's the same ones you use to program for Windows (visual c++, c#...).

Many other phones hooked up with Java, another well known language.  Symbian developers use C++.

So of course the question is how did Apple manage to get huge numbers of people to use XCode?  Better still who was the executive at Apple this made this choice.  No doubt in the meetings, they pondered using C++ or other languages.

Recently as well, Apple is trying to outlaw developing for the iphone using multi-platform compilers.  Basically 3rd party program where you program in one language, and it does all the work and spits out versions in xcode for the iphone, another for Java, Symbian...I'm sure there's some less pure motives at work at Apple.  Perhaps platform lockin and the like.

However, it's hard to argue with success.  Perhaps there is something to Apple forcing developers to write applications specifically for their devices.  It forces a certain level of quality.

If I were to pick the one failing for windows mobile, it would be they chose the compete opposite of this.  They tried to make it an easy transition from desktop to mobile.  Windows CE devices which ran the early versions of PDAs copied the desktop windows 95 style interface... complete with a start button.  They made no attempt target development to the devices.

The IPhone for example uses an exclusive touch interface.  Now let us imagine I had application in Java and used keyboard input.  Let's imagine a world where Apple support Java applications.  I'd just redeploy and users of my software would just use the IPhone's virtual keyboard.  It will get the job done...Yet, by forcing me to develop in a new language, I'd have to see how to work with my application in touch.  It could completely change the UI for the application.

The same can be said about other choices for the IPhone platform, such as 'lack of multi-tasking'  It changes the way people design their software at a fundamental level.

All that said, what is amazing is that Apple pulled it off.  They somehow managed to get people to write for their platform and throw out everything else.  That is simply amazing.  Far too often developers look for universal solutions to minimize work.  What Apple has shown is that people are actually willing to invest in rewriting when new paradigms emerge.  Can everyone do it?  I doubt it... but Apple did it.


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