Sep 17, 2012
Google has released an interesting new tool on their Code page called j2objc. It’s designed to convert code written in Java, the native programming language of Android devices, to Objective-C, the native programming language of iOS. This means that an app built for Android could be ported to iOS using this converter from the Google team.
So, why does this matter? Why would Google want developers bringing their apps they make to iOS? Well, it’s a taciturn admission that this town is big enough for both operating systems. But right now, the pattern is generally to go from iOS to Android with code. It’s can be difficult for developers, especially those who are perhaps used to working in Java when having to make iOS apps. While there’s still iOS-specific interface elements that will not translate over, what this does is that it allows for apps to be built in Java, then ported to iOS.
So, if developers who were going to make iOS apps anyway can make them for Android in the first place, then this means that more apps can hypothetically come to Android, whether it be by simultaneous release, or by releasing on the OS first. This is potentially massive for developers.
It could also mean more natively-written apps, which means more apps that feel better on Android, rather than shoehorned from iOS. While my personal hope is that developers take the time to make sure their code works smoothly on both platforms, getting higher-quality Android apps, ones built for the system and its growing userbase, is only a good thing.
As well, if this allows small developers more opportunities to bring their apps to more users easily, then everyone wins. There’s more revenue opportunities, and the entire mobile universe benefits from having more quality mobile apps. Androids and iPhones living together with apps in perfect harmony. It’s madness, I tell you what.