August 25, 2008

Messing With Developer Infrastructure Conventions [7:49 am]

Problems on the horizon for the iPhone development community? Assuming, that is, they get to form one? IPhone software developers stifled under Apple’s gag order (pdf)

By creating games and other programs for the iPhone, software developers hoped to find millions of new customers. But they didn’t expect to feel muzzled.

The software development kit that Apple Inc. distributed to programmers bound them to not discuss the process of creating programs for the iPhone. Companies typically waive such legal restrictions once the product in question launches, but Apple didn’t. And it won’t say why.

As a result, iPhone developers — and businesses that cater to them — say they are prohibited from asking technical questions or sharing tips anywhere in public. On Apple’s official support website, moderators remind visitors that they are bound by the nondisclosure agreement and should mind what they say or ask.

Conference organizers are trying to figure out how to plan sessions for iPhone software developers when they’re not allowed to talk about iPhone software. Book publishers are sitting on how-to manuals, afraid that if they ship them Apple will sue.

And software developers are forced to make applications for the iPhone in an information vacuum, without the help of a developer community that is used to openly sharing tricks of the trade. [...]

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