∞ Chameleon open source project speeds iOS to Mac OS X conversion

On Tuesday developers Craig Hockenberry and Sean Heber introduced Chameleon Project, a new open source project aimed at helping developers cross the bridge from iOS to Mac OS X.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]UIKit is programming code that Apple provides to developers who want to make apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It’s the primary code use to create a user interface for iOS applications. Unfortunately, it’s not very portable to Mac OS X.

Especially since the introduction of the Mac App Store, more developers have sought to expand their product offerings from iOS to the Mac OS X platform. Hockenberry and Heber are no exceptions – they’ve developed the popular Twitterific app from The Iconfactory; Twitterific runs on both the Mac and iOS. And it was the result of that development that led them to create Chameleon.

“Chameleon is a drop in replacement for UIKit that runs on Mac OS X. In many cases, your iOS code doesn’t need to change at all in order to run on a Mac,” explained the developers on the Chameleon Project Web site.

“Prior to the creation of Chameleon, we were looking at only being able to re-use about 25-30% of our code from iOS in the Mac version (mainly in data models.) By porting UIKit instead of the individual view and controller classes, we were able to re-use 90% of our iOS code.”

They call Chameleon a “clean room implementation” of Apple’s iOS work, which doesn’t use any private Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) or other techniques that Apple disallows for Mac App Store application development.

The developers underscore that Chameleon is very much a work in progress, and offer a list of limitations and areas where the framework is incomplete. The source code has been published on Github.

More details and information on how to get involved is available on the Chameleon Web site.