September 14, 2009, 3:45 PM — Novell on Monday will offer a kit for developers to build Apple iPhone and iPod Touch business applications using Microsoft's .Net Framework instead of the Apple-designated C or Objective-C languages.
Leveraging Novell's Mono runtime for running Windows applications on non-Windows systems, Novell's MonoTouch 1.0 is a commercial software development kit that lets developers utilize code and libraries written for .Net and programming languages like C#.
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"What's important here is that C# and .Net are considerably more productive development environments than the native iPhone language, which is Objective-C," said Miguel de Icaza, vice president of the developer platform at Novell and the leader of the Mono project. With MonoTouch, the Mono runtime provides such developer services as garbage collection, thread management, type safety, and Web services, de Icaza said.
Novell anticipates applications being developed ranging from productivity applications to line of business systems, health care applications, and games, he said. Individual developers and software vendors can sell their products into the iPhone market, while corporate developers and IT organizations can deploy applications on a new mobile environment, Novell said.
MonoTouch features a software development kit and a suite of compilers, libraries, and tools to integrate with the Apple iPhone SDK. Developers can take advantage of native iPhone APIs. A cross-compiler is included to turn .Net executable files and libraries into native applications for distribution on the Apple App Store or for deployment by enterprise iPhone users. Ahead-of-time compilation is used instead of a Just In Time compiler, enabling distribution in the Apps Store.
Integration with Apple's XCode IDE enables devloeprs to test on the iPhone device or on the Apple iPhone Simulator, Novell said.
With MonoTouch, Novell brings a new development paradigm to the iPhone, said analyst Al Hilwa, program director for application software at IDC.