10 development environments for iPhone

On my previous few days of diving  into iPhone development, found some promising environments for the iphone development.

1.  unity ( http://unity3d.com/unity/features/iphone-publishing )
This is an IDE,for 3d Graphical Object authoring which has compelling capabilities regarding the content creation.
Pros : With in-built events handlers(behaviours) and native iphone support looks very promising as far as the content creation and delivery are concerned. Full light,shadow and materials in a 3d environment is just a full fledged game development environment. The IDE can be used in both Windows and MAC.
Cons : A very high price tag.

2.  torque2d ( http://www.garagegames.com/products/torque-2d/iphone )
This is an IDE for 2D Graphical Object authoring. WYSIWYG 2D editor at iPhone screen resolution. Has got a 3d IDE (http://www.garagegames.com/products/tge/iphone) for iphone.
Pros  : Makes a complete game development environment as the Objects are visual and a custom scripting environment for the obejcts, same kind as Unity but 2D environment. Option to divide the 2D and 3D games as per requirement.
This IDE can be used in both Windows and Mac.
Cons : Still a high price tag and not a clear Licensing model.

3.  ston3d ( http://www.stonetrip.com/shiva/publish-3d-game-on-iphone.html )
This is an IDE(http://www.stonetrip.com/) for 3D authoring as Unity and Torque.
Pros  : Makes a complete game development environment as the Objects are visual and a custom scripting environment for the obejcts, same kind as Unity and Torque.
Runs on both Windows and Mac.
Cons : Still a high price tag (http://www.stonetrip.com/platform/view-all-products.html)
the iphone exporter only works in Mac.

The IDEs are too good for a complete game development environment,where the developers and designers work in the same IDE.Graphics can be done and kept as library items and then developers can take those to add the desired behaviour. This will be much like developing the Flash IDE with actionscript. But then all of the people invloved in the development must have teh clear knowledge of the environment and the developers must learn the new languages specific to the IDEs.

4. nui ( http://libnui.net/pages/about.php )
A C++ framework designed to build multiplatform applications on top 3D rendered dynamic layouts.

Pros : platforms supported are iPhone, MacOSX, Win32, Linux
Cons : High price tag, only coding and no graphics IDE will increase the complexity of development.

5. HAXE (http://ncannasse.fr/blog/haxe_for_iphone)
A language to create projects in multiple platforms.
Pros : An actionscript like language,with which flash developers can get upto speed very fast. Publish the application in different environment(Haxe publishes to SWF,Javascript,PHP and C++ now)
Complete Opensource development.
Cons : The present support for iPhone is a JailBreak one.

6. PyObjC (http://pyobjc.sourceforge.net/)
A python language derivative to create ObjecticveC applications
Pros : Can use Python knowledge to develop. Opensource development.
Cons : Does not make any sense for a flash developer,anyway has to study a new language. At (http://www.saurik.com/id/5) it says one still need to know ObjectiveC.

7. alcheMo-for-iPhone (http://innaworks.com/alcheMo-for-iPhone.html)
pros : Use java to develop iphone applications. Seems its the only one which does not require Jailbreak or any other tweeks to develop for iPhone in Java.
cons :  Neither Download norLicensing are clear.

8. QuickConnect (http://quickconnect.sourceforge.net/browser/index.html)
A javascript framework to develop iphone apps.
pros : will be easy and fast develoopement as it is in javascript. Multiple platform deployment.Since it is open source and liberally licenced you can use it to develop for your open source, free projects or closed source, for-cost projects.
cons : still a Release candidate.(http://sourceforge.net/projects/quickconnect/)

9. XMLVM (http://www.xmlvm.org/iphone/)
An XML driven iphone application development.
pros : Simple and fast as its all XML. Opensource.
cons : Needs Jail-break (http://plum.sfsu.edu/xml11-external/java4iphone-google.pdf ,page 28)

10. The Cocotron (http://www.cocotron.org/)
This is an open source project which aims to implement a cross-platform Objective-C API similar to that described by Apple Inc.’s Cocoa documentation.
pros : Cross platform developement,so can be developed on windows.
cons : Need to learn ObjectiveC. Still seems premature.

While all of the programming environments either seem under heavy development or missing tutorials,its a good idea to keep an eye on them as all of them seem promising. Same with the graphical IDEs. Would like to see HAXE coming up as my personal favorite from a flash developers point of view. 🙂


Author: saumya

designer / developer / maker / educator @saumya

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