Sunday, March 23, 2008

Joyous iPhone SDK is released!

Downloaded the iPhone SDK a few days ago and i've been playing around with it. had to scrounge up a macbook and download mac os x 10 to get started, no windows development capability (yet). the SDK is very cool, and apple has lots of great information on their website including some demo apps and extensive documentation....looks like they've done this before :). just playing right now but have a few proof of concepts of cool new things to do with an iphone i wanted to try out. ran into a few things i wish they would have spelled out right away on the site that i've learned:

you can use a simulator to do development (the Aspen Simulator), very nice with identical in look/feel to the iphone EXCEPT for the things that are not yet completed. a few of those details i've learned so far:

the accelerometer is not yet simulated. this was mentioned in a document buried somewhere deep in the SDK. at least provide us with a left/right button to simulate sending events along a specified x,y, or z axis ASAP please :)

there is no OpenGL ES simulation yet. i confirmed this later with some documentation, but i originally poked around for a few minutes to determing that this wasn't possible. the documentation also points out that rendering a transparent EAGL surface (alpha blending w/ the framebuffer) is 'very intensive for the GPU and not recommended'.

SDK developer vs. the developer program:

when i attach my iphone it asks me to have a newer version of firmware. since i do have the latest version i conclude that downside of only registering to download the SDK is that you cannot develop for a real device with just the SDK, you have to be in the developer program, and that was a very limited subset that i am not a member of.

for now, i'll workaround these limitations, plenty for me to get used to in the apple development world, including objective C, XCode, and i'm sure i can dig up an OGL simuator for my PC somewhere's on if i need it. i can put the pieces together when i get access to the developer's firmware update.

for the OGL ES simulation, this should be easy enough, just compile into the simulator an OGL ES .dll that supports all the API calls into OGL ES via emulation on x86. this shouldn't be more than a week's worth of work provided the source code is already developed for an OGL ES software simulation, but i can understand it not being the top priority this early in the game. later they can connect it into the real GPU hardware on the platform you are running Aspen for acceleration, but this gets complicated with various IHVs hardware needing OGL ES drivers or wrappers around the definitely existing OGL drivers, etc.

just wanted to capture these notes for anybody else joining the revolution.

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