inessential by Brent Simmons

Intel, NetNewsWire, MarsEdit

For most Cocoa developers the Intel switch won’t be a big problem. For our apps it’s not quite as easy as just checking a checkbox, but it shouldn’t be very difficult, either.

NetNewsWire, for instance, is made up of a collection of components: several frameworks, bundles, and libraries. Each separate component will have to be Intel-ified before the main executable will run Intel-native.

I’m guessing that, in terms of work, it will be somewhat less work than, say, adding the Bloglines subscriptions feature was. Probably 5% as much work as the syncing feature. In other words, in terms of the amount of work I expect to do, it’s a relatively minor feature.

So of course we plan to make our apps universal; we plan to support PowerPC and Intel.

Not at all developers will have it as easy, of course. Cocoa developers using Xcode are likely to have the easiest time making universal binaries.

I’ve heard and read some fearful reactions about the Intel thing. Here’s the deal: the Mac developers I know are professionals. They’re not going to just do PowerPC only or Intel only.

One of the things about independent developers is that they often do a great job of supporting a range of systems. Consider this: Safari with RSS runs only on Tiger, but NetNewsWire still runs on Jaguar. This isn’t some special case, this is normal for independent developers.

You might say something like, “Oh, that’s just because Apple wants to sell operating systems and independent developers want to sell to everybody, even people who don’t upgrade.”

To that I’d say, “Yes! You’re right! We have a very strong incentive to support different systems.” It’s just plain good business sense.

And, at least for the majority of Cocoa developers, this support won’t be a big deal. We already do stuff like this. In fact, supporting older operating systems is probably quite a bit more difficult.