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Wired still using Flash tool for iPad magazine app

updated 01:00 pm EDT, Fri April 16, 2010

Wired says it can use Flash CS5 despite Apple

Wired today insisted that its magazine app for tablets will still reach the iPad despite being built using Adobe's Flash-to-iPhone tool. Publisher Conde Nast said it was working with Adobe to develop the reader with the middleware but was adamant that it would still pass Apple's iPhone 4.0 guidelines, which explicitly ban cross-compiling software like the Flash CS5 component.

"We are working with Adobe to prepare Wired's reader app for the iPad, and will be compliant with Apple's new guidelines," a spokeswoman told AdAge. "To bring Wired to iPad, Conde Nast plans to follow Apple's legal requirements."

It's not clear whether Wired has actually discovered a workaround for Apple's guidelines or is simply hoping that it will be given an exception given the size and influence of the company involved. Apple hasn't said how it would check for material built outside of Xcode and translated into a native app, but it may rely primarily on looking for recognizable code patterns. Theoretically, developers could alter code to mask the origins, but this isn't necessarily practical.

Conde Nast has been counting on a write-once, publish-everywhere strategy to simplify its digital magazine strategy as it would let the company adapt no matter which tablet gains the most practicality. Android tablets would be helped the most by the move as the eventual addition of Flash 10.1 and AIR will let them see magazines without needing more than the Flash tools in question.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How to Fail?

    Is there a reason the picture accompanying this article on the main MacNN page has "How To Fail" prominently displayed in the on-screen presentation?

    Comment buried. Show
  1. graxspoo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm glad Wired is forcing the issue, and I hope they prevail. The content they're developing looks great, and it definitely deserves to be delivered to the iPad. If Apple blocks it, it will be clear that it is purely for political reasons, and has nothing to do with the quality of the user experience.

    That being said, it would be an unfortunate outcome if a two tier system gets established where big players like Conde Nast can finesse their ported apps through, but smaller players get blocked.

    For all parties concerned, it would be wise for Apple to reverse itself on the new developer agreement, and make the determining factor for acceptance the functioning of the application, not the technology used to create it. There are plenty of poor apps built with Objective C and Xcode that should get the boot, just as I'm sure there could be many good apps built with Flash that should be allowed.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It'll pass...

    if Apple wants their content (which they probably will). This is the kind of App Apple is hoping will drive sales of the iPad, so they'll find some way to OK it. Now, if you or I did the exact same thing, forget about it.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And did you note the reason they are doing this?

    Conde Nast has been counting on a write-once, publish-everywhere strategy to simplify its digital magazine strategy

    Which is basically the reason a lot of people use such tools. They don't want to have 15 different source trees for all these different platforms just to get an app out there. They just want to have one.

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Put any managers too cheep to hire...

    ... talented developers to write native code in a pillory..

    I'm serious. Any manager at any company too stupid or cheep to hire talented developers to write proper native code, should be placed in pillories and have rotten fruit thrown at them.

    I'll bring some over-ripe oranges..

    Stop making excuses for these schmucks!

    Oh, and anyone out there planing on putting iAds in PAID apps..ditto.

    Why yes, I am in a bad mood today, why do you ask?

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Each Magazine is a new application?

    A magazine app should be an empty shell for content, so you don't have to keep rewriting the application for each issue.

    I would assume they'd be better off creating a CMS system for their magazine and use H.264 videos.

    As of right now, there is no Flash client for Android either. It's something we all keep forgetting: There is no Flash client for ANY tablet or mobile phone -- except for the JooJoo tablet, and we all know how great that worked out.

  1. gmsquires

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Will Fail

    It uterly amazes me the total lack of comprehension as to why Apple is placing theses kinds of restrictions. They are doing this not for political reasons, but to avoid being held hostage by other software companies when they (Apple) wants to update their platform/OS. If the other companies are behind in their updates then Apple doesn't want to have to wait ,and thereby causing problems for their users. This is precisely the kind of issue Android is going though due to the various versions/fragmentation. Not everyone is on the same page, and Apple wants those that write apps to be on the same page to provide a maximum user experience. Write once use everywhere is a falacy that has never really worked unless you adhered to set industry standards for web pages etc. Even Sun's Java never achieved it.

    I would strongly recommend reading some of John Gruber's "Daring Fireball" blog pieces about this isse over the past couple of weeks. He has very cogently detailed the reasons why Apple is being so "picky". Ther have even been a few other bloggers that have written cogently about this too. Unfortunately can't come up with their names, but would probably find them in "Daring Fireball".

    The only thing I can probably see where Conde Nast will suceed is that they are working with Apple and will get this sorted out..

  1. Darchmare

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I agree with the always insightful John Gruber (of Daring Fireball) as to the 'why' behind these moves, but I disagree with his conclusion that it's okay. It is inappropriate for a platform vendor like Apple to be micro-managing things to the degree they currently do.

    Apple should ban shoddily-designed, buggy apps of any sort if quality is of concern. Being consistent on that, of course, would whittle down the App Store market to about 50% its current size at best.

    Beyond that, they should let the market decide what good apps are and aren't. And - if some apps don't get updated to support cool new features - that simply provides an opportunity for more nimble native app developers (like myself) to swoop in and succeed with a better app.

    I know that as a developer AND a consumer that I generally prefer 100% native apps, and make both my development and purchasing decisions accordingly. But I don't like the idea of Apple making those decisions on my behalf, esp. in cases where good-but-not-100%-native apps might be held up. They didn't do it with the Mac and there's no shortage of great software available for that platform. So why do it here?

  1. OkieDoc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why is this always labeled "Wired Magazine on iPad

    I've seen this demonstration a bunch of times. It's not running on an iPad...would love to see it ACTUALLY running on an iPad.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Content vs Code

    Testudo - of course that's what they want. And that is why the software with my Huawei dongle is a piece of junk (on Windows or Mac - it's written in Java) - and it's why I don't use any of the software that came with my HP printer (written in Qt, still junk). I've tried ebay's AIR client, and BBC's iPlayer software - and they have put me off AIR as an idea. It's a contempt for the end customer - although it's driven by us (customers) going for the cheapest option.

    What Conde Nast really need isn't Apps - but a workflow that allows designers to work in InDesign to produce content to be published on the iPad, Android, etc - some form of more advanced and multi-media e-reader software.

    But the reader Apps should be first class apps, whatever platform they're on. What's really needed, here, are more 2nd tier platforms. (Think how early on, every firm developed custom websites by hand, due to a lack of CMS platforms).

    All that said - given the Apps that have been accepted, my belief is that the issue is with software which is not compiled using the native toolchain - i.e. the Flash-to-iPhone workflow compiles direct to native ARM, and including an ARM-based library (not a runtime or code interpreter) to implement some Flash features - while some of the accepted tools work by producing C-code which is then compiled through XCode - i.e. I believe that is what is meant by 'originally written in C code' - that 'written' can be machine generated, but that the whole end product must be compiled from source.
    (Which would make sense, if the intention is to avoid developers getting 'locked in' to a tool that may not support OS changes).

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