Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Love Mac Developers

I mean that in all sincerity. They really are a diverse and interesting lot, and for the most part, very smart. Most of the people blogging iPhone development right now are from the Mac development community, which makes sense. Since the iPhone SDK is so similar to Cocoa, so these folks have a leg up. 

I haven't been actively participating in Cocoa or Objective-C circles for close to two years, but the release of the iPhone SDK has pulled me back in. It is very refreshing to be immersing back into it.  This is a great and really helpful group of people. Almost every time I've ever had a Cocoa problem that I couldn't resolve myself after researching, I found someone on Apple's Coco-Dev mailing list who would point me in the right direction. It's better tech support than most companies provide their paying customers. It is a community. Now, I know that word gets thrown out a lot with respect to the internet, but in most cases, it's misapplied. Not so for the Cocoa development community.

Anyway, studying the iPhone SDK documentation, I started looking for information on how much memory was in the phone, and how much as available for your application to use. I'm not talking about the widely touted 8 and 16 gigs of persistent flash memory in the phone, but the amount of volatile physical memory. It turns out finding this information is not straightforward at all: Apple does not include this information in the iPhone specs page nor could I find it any an of the SDK documentation. I broadened my search out to the interwebs, which led me to Craig Hockenberry's blog and more specifically this entry. It didn't take long for some smart person (aka Craig, in this particular case) to identify the hole in the documentation and plug it. He could have kept this information to himself, giving him a leg up on a great many developers, but instead, he chose to share it.  For those of you who didn't click the link, the answer I was looking or is that the iPhone has 128 megs of RAM, with 64 being available to a running application.

Of course, once I found Craig's blog, I started reading through the entries. I did this partly because I like the way he writes, but also because part of my (second) job right now is to find out everything I can about the iPhone and the iPhone SDK, and Craig certainly seems to be knowledgeable in this regard. I must say, though I don't know Craig personally, I'm rapidly becoming a fan of his. I especially like this post where he suggests raising the barrier to entry for iPhone development by charging $499 instead of $99 to become an iPhone developer. I know this probably will not prove to be a popular opinion, but it's one I agree with, although I would propose a slightly different approach. Instead of raising the price substantially for becoming an iPhone developer, instead, simply don't make it an option for ADC Free members. 

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