back to article Google offers tool to bridge Android and iOS app dev

Google has released a tool aimed at making it easier to port software between the two major smartphone platforms, by converting Java code for Android into Objective-C code that can be compiled to run on Apple iOS devices. "J2ObjC is not a Java emulator," writes Google's Tom Ball in a post announcing the tool, "but instead …

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Anonymous Coward

That's one way of doing it.

Another is to use Unity, which lets you code in C# or Javascript, and publish your code to Windows, OSX, Linux, Android, iOS, the Web and soon Windows Phone 8.

Admittedly anything outside the provided class libraries is interpreted, but that doesn't seem to cause any problems that I've noticed.

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Re: That's one way of doing it.

Is that the Unity 3D game engine thing (http://unity3d.com/unity/engine/programming)? Only reason I ask is because at first glance to a C# programmer "Unity" brings to mind the IoC container that Microsoft created : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff649564.aspx

What's your feeling on Xamarin's toolset (Mono/MonoTouch?)

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Re: That's one way of doing it.

I got over 170 apps installed on Android and the only weird working app is coded with that Mono junk.

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Re: Mono junk.

shit code is language agnostic.

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::rubs chin:: What's the word I'm looking for?

Oh, yes, that's the one: "clusterfuck".

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Anonymous Coward

I give the iPhone another 3 years tops

soon people are going to wonder why they ever thought it was good

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I give the iPhone another 3 years tops

Same for Android. With Apple barely innovating that only really leaves Microsoft or RIM to come up with new ideas.

Who are Google going to borrow ideas of? there's practically nothing original in Android.

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JDX
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Re: I give the iPhone another 3 years tops

Good counter-troll.

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Re: I give the iPhone another 3 years tops

That would have given it about a decade at the top of its market, so even if you are right I doubt that Apple will reckon it was a failure.

So what's coming in 2015 that completely changes the market for "personal gizmo"? Goggles? (Quick! Somebody trademark iPatch and iWear.)

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Trollface

Re: I give the iPhone another 3 years tops

have Apple ever done anything but 'barely innovate'?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I give the iPhone another 3 years tops

I dont know, they have done a good line in questionable patents

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I give the iPhone another 3 years tops

"have Apple ever done anything but 'barely innovate'?"

In my view? Yes, Steve Jobs seems to have been the first computer entrepreneur to realise that computers only looked complicated to adults, but wee boys/girls got along just fine with them, thus shaping his vision of things to come, and most notably, giving him the confidence that yes, the computer as a consumer item did indeed have a future.

Granted, that was a few decades ago when many of the people commenting here weren't even born, but if nothing else in at least that sense I believe the Macintosh *was* innovative. People familiar with Apple may be able to bring up more recent examples.

Btw, I have never bought any Apple products or services that I'm aware of, and don't know much about the company itself, but, with due respect, those accusations that "$leadingITCompany has never done anything innovative" ring a bit silly to me.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

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Pint

Re: AIPinging of the White House for Intelligence, Opportunity and Curiosity. .......

Didn't I just say that, in two lines?

Are you admitting to having an Auntie Eliza and an Uncle Parry?

Regardless, Beer. Keeps TehIntraWebTubes[tm] properly lubricated. This one's on me.

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Happy

Re: AIPinging of the White House for Intelligence, Opportunity and Curiosity. .......

Yay! He's back, and bonkerser than ever!

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Re: AIPinging of the White House for Intelligence, Opportunity and Curiosity. .......

Little tip for you: you could have just said, "flibble bibble wibble," it's a lot less typing.

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Re: AIPinging of the White House for Intelligence, Opportunity and Curiosity. .......

"Little tip for you: you could have just said, "flibble bibble wibble," it's a lot less typing." .... paul-s Posted Saturday 15th September 2012 12:47 GMT

Quite so, paul-s, I could have done if I had wished for nonsense to star in the post .....which you have surely noticed is now disappeared from Registered view ..... for deeper metadatabase packet inspection? It certainly contained a mine of sensitive information which one would have to treat carefully so as not to expose too much all at once of one's systemic vulnerabilities for ruthless zeroday exploitation by virtually invisible forces beyond any traditional human or conventional earthly controls.

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Re: AIPinging of the White House for Intelligence, Opportunity and Curiosity. .......

Now THAT was an odd deletion by a moderator. There was nothing illegal, immoral or fattening, near as I can tell from the copy in my browser-cache ...

I'd re-post it here, but I don't own the copyright ;-)

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Re: AIPinging of the White House for Intelligence, Opportunity and Curiosity. .......

Now THAT was an odd deletion by a moderator. There was nothing illegal, immoral or fattening, near as I can tell from the copy in my browser-cache ...

I'd re-post it here, but I don't own the copyright ;-) .....jake.

Now that is exactly what I was thinking, jake, ...... and feel free to do as you wish, for alien works are surely copyleft and a universal resource to be made available to all.

And things are moving on a quite a pace in the fields exposed in the missing post and which are being comprehensively explored in SMARTR circles and badly ignored in failed operating systems, as this update on pertinent matters reveals, for are you not all to die for too

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Coat

Now Im convinced

That amanfromMars 1 has finally gone home. There is no way that a couple years ago I would have made sense of a post from him within the first dozen readings let alone one.

I think this is a sign that we may have been infiltrated (granted at the lowest of ranks) by aliens :)

No no the coat with the tinfoil hat attached to it...thanks

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Now Im convinced

"That amanfromMars 1 has finally gone home. There is no way that a couple years ago I would have made sense of a post from him within the first dozen readings let alone one."

Which is why I suspect this is not the original but a mere impostor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Now Im convinced

""That amanfromMars 1 has finally gone home. There is no way that a couple years ago I would have made sense of a post from him within the first dozen readings let alone one."

Which is why I suspect this is not the original but a mere impostor."

Sorry, forgot To say: that and the Lack of Random capitalisation.

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@James O'Brien & AC 22:2X (was: Re: Now Im convinced)

Nah.amfM has been here all along, you just haven't been reading those threads. Check it's posting history. Also, it's been known to have the odd[1] conversational English conversation with other commentards, here & there, over the years.

[1] In the "occasional" sense of "odd" ;-)

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: AIPinging of the White House for Intelligence, Opportunity and Curiosity. .......

"Now THAT was an odd deletion by a moderator. There was nothing illegal, immoral or fattening"

No, it was simply completely unintelligible, sorry.

C.

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Re: AIPinging of the White House for Intelligence, Opportunity and Curiosity. .......

"No, it was simply completely unintelligible, sorry."

So is most of the commentardary of the iFad set, defending their decision to purchase the latest shiny bit of haberdashery from Cupertino ... or the folks trying to insist that Redmond makes an adequate server operating system ... or the people who think that Canonical is spiffy ... or the manglement who trust their corporate data to "the cloud" (whatever that is) managed by some other party ... or ... I'll stop.

And actually, if you re-read amfM's post, it actually makes sense. For strange values of sense, of course. What would you expect from a man from Mars?

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Holmes

Won't last long?

Is my memory faulty or do I recall Apple closing off apps developed using cross-platform tools from the apps store a few years back? Must be some fingerprint in code generated this way that they'll spot and close off too.

TBH I'd be more impressed if developers for the minority platform got such a tool rather than the other way round... ;-)

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Re: Won't last long?

No they allowed it in the end.

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Re: Won't last long?

Which end?

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It's A solution

Or you could write your app in cross-platform C++ (don't know if there are any good cross platform MOBILE UI toolkits though, like wxWidgets for Windows/Linux/Mac).

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Re: It's A solution

There is, it's called Qt.

Unfortunately an idiot by the name of Elop didn't understand what he had and threw it away.

It's now managed by Digia.

It currently handles Android, Symbian, Mac OSX, Windows, Linux (many platforms) and a lot of more specialised targets.

I believe that an iOS target is under development, though I don't know how far away.

WP7 & 8 are not currently on the table, which is rather strange.

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Boffin

Re: It's A solution

I've been using Marmalade (previously known as AirPlay) for a few years to write games in C++ for iOS and Android (and Windows and OS X and Playbook and Bada and so on). The UI stuff is not so hot (it does have cross platform native UI support but it's pretty limited) but, bugs aside, the rest is pretty nice (integration with either GCC or RVCT ARM compilers under VisualStudio, STL, OpenGL or an abstracted 2D and 3D APIs with a choice of backends, etc., etc.). Works with Xcode too if that's your thing ('thing' in this particular case being that you hate yourself).

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Stop

Re: It's A solution

Not really that strange considering nobody bought windows phone

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Anonymous Coward

Surely they're going the wrong way. With far more apps written, and being written for iOS, shouldn't they be making easier to port apps to the Android

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Google want devs to write the Android first

They are saying "Here, write your application for Android and you can easily port it to iOS in the future."

The idea is that development houses will start by writing an Android app, as that way around carries less risk.

It's also pretty likely that many will never actually convert it to iOS at all, merely having the option is enough.

If you only develop for iOS it's pretty risky, as you're screwed if/when iPhone popularity dips*, and indeed vice-versa.

*It will probably dip fairly soon, because iOS is starting to stagnate - what's new in iOS 6? An extra screen size?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google want devs to write the Android first

How does developing for Android carry less risk when apps are selling better for iOS?A larger user base doesn't equate to bigger sales.

Didn't the last survey say there was a decline in the number of people developing for Android? Surely a tool that makes it easier to port the app they're currently writing to Android makes more sense.

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FAIL

*Whoosh* as the point flies over your head

Which is riskier - developing for both of the two most popular platforms, or developing only for the second-most popular platform?

Of course, neither are as risky as developing for the fourth or fifth (depending on how it's measured) that hasn't even been released yet.

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Re: *Whoosh* as the point flies over your head

@Richard12

I completely agree. Have Google done this to make sure a competitor benefits? No. They haven't spent a fortune developing this for others, it's because they need it for their benefit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: *Whoosh* as the point flies over your head

*Whoosh* as the point flies over YOUR head.

Why develop FIRST for the platform that will make you less money. Why not develop for iOS to generate money to fund your Android development. What about all the iOS apps that have already been developed too? Why not make a tool that would ease porting them.

Surely that tool only benefits Google?

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FAIL

Re: *Whoosh* as the point flies over your head

Oh dear. You really don't get it, do you?

Google wrote this tool. Google want people to develop for Android, and Google would prefer that people did not develop for iOS.

Ask yourself this question:

Which of these statements are in Google's interest to say:

a) "Develop Android first, and you can make an iOS version easily."

b) "Develop iOS first, you can make an Android version easily."

Hint - if you said, (b), you're wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: *Whoosh* as the point flies over your head

Oh dear. You really don't get it, do you?

Google wrote this tool. Google want people to develop for Android, and Google would prefer that people did not develop for iOS. So writing a tool that ports Android code to iOS would be crazy!

Ask yourself this question:

Which of these statements are in Google's interest to say:

a) "More people write for iOS. Let's make a tool that makes it easy for people to port their apps to Android."

b) "More people write for iOS. Let's make a tool that makes it easy for people to port Android apps to iOS too"

Hint - if you said, (b), you're wrong.

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@AC

What you've just said proves that Google's intentions are not that obvious as you are. Google doesn't care about developers or iOS users. Developing in java2objc fashion means that Android apps would work OK but iOS ports would be terrible without extensive manual tuning (BTS, have you ever tried to find errors in autoconf-generated ./configure scripts)? Then users would grow frustrated with inferior iOS versions of apps and developers would grow frustrated with fixing and patching the inferior iOS versions of their apps, and voila, profit!

If Google's gnomes really wanted to help anyone besides themselves, they'd develop two-way java <==> objc converter

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC

@Ramazan

Ah, finally a sensible comment. I guess I was a bit naive to think Google were actually trying to help developers with this tool.

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Holmes

>shouldn't they be making easier to port apps to the Android

Absolutely not.

Otherwise people will code for your competitor and you'll get the second rate port. Remember OS/2 & NT?

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I was thinking of writing a tool

for writing common non-UI code with a series of elegant C pre-processor macros. I'd write code in the macro language, and then I'd have a different set of macro definitions for each target language. It would have been AMAZING.

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Go

Re: I was thinking of writing a tool

Don't forget to patent it

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Go

Or, C++

If anyone's interested, I have a rather prototype Java to C++ translator: https://chiselapp.com/user/dg/repository/cowjac/home

It works well enough to run benchmarks but is decidedly unfinished. I'm taking a rather different approach to Google --- I'm starting with Java bytecode, while they're starting with Java source. I'd hazard that mine is theoretically capable of producing better code (as I'm using a proper Java compiler/analysis framework underneath). OTOH, theirs is actually useful, if that's relevant to anyone...

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Codename One

Codename One seems to have a much better tool for doing this, or they will once the program matures.

http://www.codenameone.com/

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Trollface

This is something numerous people have already worked on. So it appears to be Google "borrowing" ideas for Android again.

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Anonymous Coward

"So it appears to be Google "borrowing" ideas for Android again."

Umm, it's for iOS really as that is what it translates Android code too. If you're going to troll, at least do it accurately.

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FAIL

So let me get this straight...

... I'm supposed to lead on the platform with the worse ROI, using Java? (You know: the language currently most famous for its "write once, malware everywhere" philosophy?)

I think I'll pass, thanks.

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