JetBrains adds IDE for Apple iOS, Mac OS X development

Developers can build Objective-C apps and deliver Xcode-compliant projects, keeping them on the right side of Apple's coding restrictions

JetBrains says it now enables developers to deliver Xcode-compliant projects to the Apple App Store without ruffling any feathers, thanks to its AppCode IDE for Objective-C application development introduced Tuesday.

AppCode is an alternative editor for Xcode projects; Xcode is Apple's IDE for building Mac OS X and iOS software. But the issue of using third-party tools and runtimes on Apple's iOS devices like the iPad and iPhone has at times been controversial. Apple has maintained tight restrictions on what can be run on iOS devices, barring Adobe's Flash Player and the Java Virtual Machine, but the company has begun allowing use of third-party application development tools for building iOS applications. JetBrains believes AppCode users will have nothing to worry about since AppCode delivers an Xcode project. "That means our users are safe regarding any restrictions Apple imposes or may impose in the future," said Max Shafirov, AppCode team lead at JetBrains.

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JetBrains is positioning AppCode as an alternative environment that can be helpful to developers building Objective-C applications. "When compared to Xcode, AppCode provides an environment that knows quite a bit about Objective-C code syntax, semantics, common practices and continuously helps the developer to author reliable, maintainable, and actually enjoyable code," Shafirov said.

In terms of its code base, AppCode is built upon JetBrains' popular IntelliJ Idea Java IDE. AppCode development, though, must be done on a Mac. AppCode supports versions 3 and 4 of Xcode and features an integrated debugger and a visual unit test runner for OCUnit. Automatic memory leak detection is featured in AppCode as well, along with support for such iOS 5 features as automatic reference counting, for memory management. Developers can use AppCode in conjunction with version control systems like Git and Mercurial.

AppCode is slated to be available this week, with companies able to purchase a commercial license for $199. Individual developers can purchase the package for $99. Discounts will be available until the end of the year, at $149 for a commercial license and $69 for an individual user. A free 30-day trial period is offered as well.

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