3.3.1 with a twist

The by now famous paragraph 3.3.1 in the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement for iPhone OS 4.0 says that “Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited”. Which, of course, ruins the day for Adobe and Flash CS5. The idea was to have Flash scripts run on the iPhone on just such a compatibility layer.

The theories as to the reason why are, generally speaking: f*ck Adobe, preserve performance on the iPhone and iPad, and/or make multiprocessing efficient on these devices. With regard to that last, the theory goes that the OS figures out how the app works and hooks into the app and the app framework, but if there’s a compatibility layer in between, that becomes very difficult and inefficient. Actually, purely technically, without any fanboyisms, it does make sense to me.

In that case, and reading the 3.3.1 literally, nothing stops me, or Adobe, from implementing a translation from our own specific languages using a precompiler, as long as you end up compiling actual Objective-C code using XCode into the app. That’s what I would do, and I find it a better solution, anyway.

But the anti-Adobe conspiration theorists may claim Apple doesn’t want you to do this, either. I don’t know if they do, but let’s assume.

Now it gets interesting. There is no way that Apple can detect from the runtime code, or even the source code, that the code has been produced by a precompiler, if that precompiler does a decent job. If they want to stop that from happening, they’ll have to monitor the user’s machine for precompilers and editing tools, like World of Warcraft is monitoring for bots. What a fascinating circus that would be.

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