Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mac App Store Scores One From Me.

It took a while, but I have finally made my first Mac App Store purchase! All I can say is, Apple are getting rather "crafty" with their developer tool offerings, since this is the first time in 10 years that Apple have charged non-subscribing developers for their tools! And... Apple are no longer giving non-subscribers the entire developer tool suite—all you get is the Xcode application, and nothing else. If there are any additional tools and sample code that come with the Xcode application from the Apple Developer Connection directly, they may only be available to subscribers, or be available somehow else.

However, the good news is that if you are a paying developer who has a subscription, Xcode is available to you for free!

In one way, this may be seen as off-putting to those who do not need a developer subscription, because you now get less tool for your buck. Many of Apple's tools are based on free software (not free as in beer, though). But because many tools have morphed into becoming their own, I'd say Apple would suggest that Xcode is becoming less of a derivative work and more of their own product, justifying the cost of the software.

In another way, this may be lead to a better outcome for the quality of Apple's platforms as a whole. Charging for developer tools raises the barrier of entry to the platform, thus making people think twice or more about how serious they should be in developing software for the Mac and for iOS. If people are charged for developer tools, perhaps they would be persuaded to make less garbage software for the Mac, because the developers would have to justify to themselves the cost of the developer tools as well as their own time.

As for the Mac App Store itself, I already have one complaint, so to speak... the app installation progress bar is tiny on my Dock! Luckily, like iTunes, the Mac App Store application itself provides a list of purchases, and, whilst they are being downloaded, shows expected times of arrival with a progress bar and some status description. You have some idea of how large your purchases are to download off the 'Net, along with estimated download times.


—tonza

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