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Witless Android v. iOS Article

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Witless Android v. iOS Article

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It kind of blows my mind that big media outlets routinely publish pieces that are clearly written by people who don‘t even really understand the topic they are purporting to write about. Wait, in the time it took to type that sentence, I realized, my mind‘s not blown. I‘m not even surprised. The headline will generate a bunch of gawkers, the ad pimps will get their retinal johns so transaction done. Fact that content is useless? Meaningless.

Meantime, I was going to offer a deconstructive criticism, but deconstructing this article would be like asking a chef what ingredients went into a bowl of steam.

Here's the article: iOS of Android: Choosing the Best Platform for Your Mobile App .

Basically, according to this dude:

  • Android has more eyeballs (he says dominating and then has 53%).
  • But iOS has 5x the revenue
  • Android is more fragmented
  • But starting with iOS7, Apple is fragmented too

Then the author kind of flips his little tryke (peddled too hard) when he goes on to explain that fragmentation occurs when you have to decide whether the device you are on has certain features. Um, no, dude, fragmentation occurs when your app has to be:

  • written differently for different devices
  • support a ton of OS versions because the userbase is so scattered, and is not upgrading

On the first point, this is a disaster for Android because it also doesn‘t have any tools. The eclipse homunculus that they just abandoned was a joke in terms of interface building, and Android Studio is in like it‘s second month of life, and is so far behind Xcode (especially after the release of 5) it‘s laughable. Furthermore, Apple has been transitioning to Autolayout, which has incredible tool support now. Anyone who has been doing software for a long time knows that all complex ui stuff ends up having to be done with constraints. Problem is, frameworks have done such a poor job, and had such abysmal tool support, that constraints tended to turn into entropic vortexes of spaghetti code (cf: gridBagLayout from JFC). Apple‘s constraint based interface framework and tools are the best that have ever existed. If you think about it, programming interfaces in terms of pixels is completely absurd. Good friend of mine was on a team at a major studio that tried to put some of their apps on android and sacked the project once management figured out that each device required another casing and another trip through the sausage factory.

The author also doesn‘t realize that Apple has avoided these problems up until now because the mini is the same form factor.

Author also failed to mention the pie graph from WWDC where Tim Cook noted that one third of Android users are on an OS from 2010 while over 90% of Apple users are on ios6 now (which has auto layout).

Author also doesn‘t know that the feature detection/selection stuff has been in iOS since day one. There‘s nothing new there. If anything, Apple‘s made it easier.

Author doesn‘t mention that iOS has Storyboards, which makes it possible to basically construct the whole ui for phone and iPad without writing code, and now storyboards and interface builder will even do the first pass of auto layout coding for you. Furthermore, constraint resolution in the interface and debugger are completely nuts.

If you are trying to make a decision, as the bait of this article implies, seriously, flipping a coin would be better than getting guidance from pieces like this. (Given of course that asking someone who‘s done development on both was apparently too much trouble…)


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