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After TUAW posted about Leopard only applications the other day, Scott Stevens (of Thoecacao and CocoaBlogs, and CocoaDevCentral) addresses the issue from a developer perspective. You may want to check the TUAW post first, and then go back to Scott’s explanation of things for a full-world view of the situation.
The insight Scott offers is terrific and makes a good amount of sense for the layman. In a nut, logically people who upgrade their operating system are more likely to upgrade software versions as well. By setting the bar higher for the app requirements it also allows the code to be leaner and meaner, making for a much faster and satisfying user experience. So while it may appear to be leaving the slow-adopters of Leopard in the dust, it’s really a move to improve the usability of the app overall. I like one of the last comments Steve makes as well, that using these advanced technologies (frameworks, if you’re a dev) is what really seems to put Apple and OS X ahead of the rest of the industry, and makes for a great way to show off how cool this stuff really is.
I also found it interesting that Delicious Library was referenced so heavily in the article. Delicious Library version 2 will be one of those Leopard only programs if you want to upgrade (both the app and the OS). The thing that dawned on me while reading Scott’s post, was something I read in Wil Shipley’s interview with Ars Technica.
While Wil has decided that Library will be Leopard only (read, not the lowest common denominator), he makes mention that he’s stayed on a G4 PowerBook for development purposes. His reason being that if he has to deal with the slow-downs of a slightly older system, he’s more likely to fix the issues that will bug some of his users as well, who are running something other than the latest and greatest setup. I think this is a really impressive practice and appreciate the thoughtfulness as a consumer. The dichotomy between trying to develop with the lowest (so to speak) hardware in mind, and with the latest Operating System software that’s available is interesting to me.
Regardless, upgrading to Leopard should be a great way to go with lots of benefits just by itself. Count the apps that will only run on Leopard – and run super fast to boot! – and you’ve got a great year ahead of you.