My Mac Adventures, Part 2

Apple expected to switch to Intel chipsUh, excuse me?

I’ve really been enjoying writing code for the upcoming Mac OS X version of SwordSearcher. I’ve passed a few self-placed milestones in the code and I am progressing about as quickly as I had hoped to. I have people lined up for beta testing. My understanding of Cocoa (the framework for programming Mac OS X) has hit critical mass and I am able to think out problems in my head without having to refer to reference books.

Imagine my surprise when I read that Apple is now planning another architecture shift.

I really, really don’t understand this move. According to some recent news stories, Apple has actually managed to increase its desktop computer market share recently. They are on the right track. Now it looks like they are set to undo the progress and success of OS X.

The problem with a fundamental architecture shift, like switching from Power PC chips to Intel chips for the central processing unit, is that it will require all existing programs to be re-compiled for the new chips. As someone who has just invested a lot of development time on the current archetecture, I am not pleased.

I can only hope that XCode will allow me to easily cross-compile for both archetectures. In theory, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem — the underlying compiler is already cross-platform. As long as Apple takes care to make the frameworks the same on the new system, we (developers like me) just might be spared the agony of platform migration. But all programming is as much an archane art as it is science, and these kind of changes inevitably cause problems for developers, and by extension, end users.

For now, I will continue my development work as I have. But I do have to admit to being a little bit disheartend at Apple’s move. I can tell you one thing for sure: if I had read this news late last year instead of this month, I would have had a much harder time convincing myself to embark on this new Mac adventure of mine. No doubt other developers will feel the same way, which is not good for Apple.

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