Open Source iPhone Development at OSCON

Developing applications for mobile devices is often a daunting thought for those of us more comfortable in the land of high-level languages.  However, in the wake of the new iPhone announcement, I thought I would check out the mobile development offerings at OSCON to see if there was anything I could sink my teeth into.  It turns out that it’s become much easier to create content for the iPhone without having to turn to objective C.

The most intriguing tutorial I found was an introduction to the PhoneGap project, a platform which makes it easy for developers to create applications which work on the iPhone as well as several other mobile platforms.  A developer creates a web application using Javascript/HTML, and the framework provides a wrapper for this application which works as a native application on the mobile device.  The tutorial covers development under PhoneGap as well as the administrivia needed to get the resulting application into the App Store.  I was curious about how well this kind of framework could work for general iPhone applications, so I browsed through their applications page and found a variety of applications including highly rated games and locationally-aware utilities.  I’ll be excited to hear more about it at OSCON so I can get started playing with it.
I do have a macintosh, which has up until now been a requirement for most iPhone development – but for those of you who aren’t in the Cult of Jobs, another tutorial gives you the information you need to develop for the iPhone using open source tools on Linux or Windows.
Later in the week, Ian Dees will be talking about testing your iPhone apps using Ruby and Cucumber, and Patrick Collson will be telling you how to turn your iPhone into the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  OK, actually he’ll just be talking about how they managed to cram Wikipedia into the iPhone, but it’s pretty much the same thing, isn’t it?
Of course, you still have to get a developer’s license from Apple before you can create an installable application for the iPhone.  If you’re curious about iPhone development, these sessions should help you decide if you want to jump in and give it a try.  

Dialogue & Discussion