Rhodes: A Tool To Bring Ruby Apps to the iPhone
InfoQ’s Werner Schuster reports on Rhodes, a new open source toolkit developed by Rhomobile that makes it possible to run Ruby applications on the iPhone, Windows Mobile devices, and the BlackBerry. Support for Symbian and Android is set to follow. The code is hosted on Github.
Rhodes works by packaging Ruby code with a Ruby interpreter honed for iPhone (or BlackBerry, etc, respectively) use. It’s uncertain how this works with Apple’s iPhone App Store policies, but developer Adam Blum told InfoQ:
To be compliant on the AppStore app developers can’t be downloading interpreted code on the fly from elsewhere. It is the app developer’s responsibility to be abiding, and if they do want to be violating there are much simpler ways to do it than embedding a Ruby interpreter and downloading Ruby code from elsewhere.
On the surface, it sounds as if getting into the App Store shouldn’t be a problem, but due to these tools being so new, Apple might find it difficult to analyze apps initially to see whether there’s potential for abuse (please write in to us with your successes / failures!). However, the iPhone-optimized Ruby interpreter does try and play it safe by disabling some features, such as eval. You also won’t be developing regular iPhone Cocoa apps using this technique (in the way you can develop full Cocoa apps with RubyCocoa or MacRuby). Rhodes applications are Web applications that run directly on the phone, so your views will be in HTML, etc.