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Saturday, February 27, 2010

iPhone iPad iPod

I'm lazy. The iPlatforms are incredibly cool, even if I own only a lowly iPod touch I have to say, it's an impressive product. But I'm lazy.

I don't really care about jumping on the appstore bandwagon, but I'd like to make a few experiments. But in order to make those, I really would like not to have to learn ObjectiveC. I know, that's a problem that a lot of developers have.

I know that ObjectiveC is not bad, maybe it's even better than C++, but it's not interesting enough for me to study as a language, and it's different enough from everything I've played with not to be able to write stuff without reading the documentation...

So I went on for a quest to find a C or C++ example, or library, or something that I could start fiddling with. Of course that's stupid, I could have invested the same time to learn the rudiments of ObjectiveC, but anyway...

The first insight you have to get is that actually ObjectiveC/C++ can compile C/C++ code. So really, you can take the basic OpenGL project provided with XCode, and fiddle with it even just working with C. This post shows how to convert the template project into something that works with C++. 
Simple, but what if you want also to create widgets, play with the touch controls and so on, without calling ObjectiveC functions?
Well, there's not much around, but I think, there is enough to start playing. The most useful library that I've found is openFrameworks. It has an iPhone port, it's C based, and provides a very easy access to OpenGL.

If you want to make something more widget-heavy, the NUI framework looks really cool. 

Oolong engine has some very nifty arm assembly snippets. Very worth a look, the arm VPU is peculiar and fun.

I would also love to hack the iPhone using C#. Unfortunately, monoTouch is commercial only. There are even two (unrelated afaik) incredibly cool hacks to run processing (.js) on the iPhone. 
They leverage on the javaScript processing port, that uses the (cool) HTML5 canvas element. This one seems to be using the Appcelerator framework to execute the javaScript code, while this other claims to be executing using a SpiderMonkey port and a custom made canvas element, implemented using OpenGL|ES.

5 comments:

lxcid said...

Hi, I'm like you, looking for C/C++ alternative for iPhone dev. I know many ppl will say we are lazy. I admit too but either I do find one interesting solution. Check out AirPlay SDK. It directly compile C/C++ projects to iPhone executable. Pretty exciting for us! :D

bubu said...

There is also SDL 1.3 version that support iPhone.

DEADC0DE said...

All commercial stuff though. oF is the only free one.

ypp said...

I write my iGame entirely in C++. In order to hook my "engine" to Objective-C I used approach described here:
http://iphonedevelopertips.com/cpp/c-on-iphone-part-1.html
(There are 3 parts.)

In two words: Obj-C able to call C-functions. So, you create .h file where you place C-style function declarations and .cpp file where you redirect function calls to C++ part.

Use of this scheme is pretty straightforward. I create a new iPhone project from iPhone/OpenGL template and insert "bridge" calls into a few places. And that's it.

Brendan Miller said...

Keeping most of your logic in C++ is fine... but I'm not sure you are saving yourself any effort by not learning objective-c.

It's not that complicated of a language... I actually learned objective-C before I learned C++, and it was like 1/100th the effort.

I think you may be assuming it will be more difficult than it is by comparison with having learned C++. You can probably become proficient at objective-C over a weekend.

http://www.otierney.net/objective-c.html