This post is predominantly for those people in the SAP development community who lament the news that Apple has decided that with iPhone OS 4 any 3rd party dev environments are kicked off the popular mobile platform.
If you’re an accomplished iPhone developer who largely focussed on Adobe’s Flash-To-iPhone compiler or tools such as MonoTouch (both of which I do not know or have used, by the way), then I can actually understand your anger.
However, if you are a developer who lives and breathes the SAP ecosystem -and ABAP in particular- then this whole epipsode must sound to you like a sequel of “Back to the Future”. Apple’s move aims to create a development platform which is dominated by the one and only language Apple (who actually developed the platform’s hardware) sees fit – Objective-C. Parallels to SAP’s own proprietary language ABAP are not out of place here.
I’ve recently dabbled a little with iPhone SDK and even though ABAP and Objective-C are not very similar languages by and stretch of the imagination, what they do have in common is that their respective “inventors” push these languages for reasons of stability (a strength of both SAP’s ABAP stack as well as the iPhone OS), reliability and performance.
For years now, SAP’s ecosystem has been mainly hailed for its rigid design under the bonnet, the bulletproof-ness, the stability. At the end of the day, vast numbers of global businesses rely on SAP’s technology day in day out. ABAP, love it or loathe it, plays a central part in that. (It also plays a central part in which future path for SAP to turn towards and innovate the core, but that’s another topic).
Maybe it’s because I’ve been using stable Macs for 15+ years now and been part of SAP’s ecosystem for many moons, but why is it so hard to understand that Apple is trying to provide a stable and reliable platform for iPhone, running on hardware Apple has developed itself? I’d wager that the same people who now complain about the locked-down dev platform would also be the first who would complain about crashing iPhone apps had the device not been so tighly regulated.