Despite Apple's long-standing war of attrition over Flash, Adobe is making it easier for Flash and Flex developers to target Apple's mobile platform. The company announced on Monday that the latest versions of Flash Builder and Flex both support building apps for the iPhone and iPad in addition to supporting Android and RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook.
Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 now include tools to specifically target the iOS platform. This builds on Flash CS5's ability to compile and package a Flash project into a "native" iPhone application. In particular, Adobe highlights the fact that Flex and Flash Builder can be used to develop apps for sale via Android Market, BlackBerry App World, and the iOS App Store "using one tool chain, programming language, and code base."
Such a strategy may not have been possible had Apple stuck to its plans to ban non-native code from its mobile platforms. Before launching iOS 4, the company had revised its developer agreement to forbid using anything outside of Apple-supplied APIs written in Objective-C, C, or C++ in apps destined for the App Store. Amid furious protests, Apple eventually backed down and relaxed the restriction, allowing essentially any tool that generated native, executable code. Interpreted code could be shipped as part of a finished, signed binary, but downloading additional code would be verboten.
"In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code," Apple said in a statement released to the press last September. "This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need."
While Apple has been adamant in keeping Flash out of iOS, ostensibly due to performance issues and battery life concerns, Adobe has continued to find ways to allow users of its products to reach iOS ...