Yesterday Apple announced Mountain Lion and released a Developer Preview. It was announced to world through the press which is very un-Applelike. Welcome to the new Apple. As a developer I like that – less uncertainty.
One of the major new features in Mountain Lion is called GateKeeper and I won’t attempt to butcher the explanation. I’ll let the fine folks from Panic tell you via their blog post at http://www.panic.com/blog/2012/02/about-gatekeeper/. Come back when you’ve read it.
I think this is a very good thing from a developer standpoint. GateKeeper seems to be a much wanted middle ground that we’ve been waiting for. It seems to give the best of both worlds for both casual and power users (and most that are in the middle). Security shouldn’t be so painful that mere mortals (and the average developer) should be punished.
Mountain Lion also integrates iCloud into the OS in a big way. A troubling thing, though, is that to use iCloud services you must be in the App Store (either iOS or Mac). That limits my options as a developer. If I want to make iCloud part of my application then I am forced to sell it through an Apple store.
I know plenty of Mac developers that have no desire or intention of putting their apps into the Mac App Store because they don’t want to pay Apple 30% off the top. Some also dislike Apple’s ‘walled garden’ approach. It feels as if Apple is punishing us by cutting off access to iCloud.
Most of the readers of this blog use Real Studio and many are concerned with non-Mac platforms in addition to Mac OS X. I don’t know the answer to these questions: Can we currently include iCloud services in our Windows builds? And will this change for the Mountain Lion release?
Does the move to GateKeeper change the March 1st deadline for SandBoxed Applications sold through the Mac App Store? It seems that this hasn’t been answered yet and I’m not the only one that feels this way. See http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/software/3338240/developers-unsurprised-but-cautious-about-gatekeeper/ for more details.
While it’s still too early to have an opinion about Mountain Lion, GateKeeper and iCloud integration are both exciting and mysterious at the same time. I’m hoping the new Apple does a better job of telling developers what our options are.