While the net is abuzz with speculation that the new Apple iPhone 3G may be flash-enabled, an official confirmation came during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference that Adobe and Apple are working together. Only, this is a very different project — a project to port the Mac OS X implementation of the Standard Widget Toolkit to Cocoa.
SWT is a cross-platform GUI tool that allows Java apps to have a native GUI on each supported platform, and Cocoa is Apple’s native object-oriented application programming environment for the Mac OS X operating system. SWT is currently implemented via Carbon on OS X, but Carbon isn’t supported by Apple’s latest version of 64-bit Mac OS X Leopard.
Although Scott Kovatch, a Senior Computer Scientist at Adobe, is leading the project, it is open source under the Eclipse Foundation. Interested developers can find and contribute to the code at the SWT Cocoa Port Page. The project might be included in Eclipse v3.5, indicating a June 2009 release, close to Apple’s release of Snow Leopard.
What’s in it for Adobe? Kovatch is working on a Flex Builder-related design tool called Thermo. Flex Builder’s IDE is based on Eclipse, Eclipse uses SWT for its GUI, therefore, Adobe has its interests in making sure it is 64-bit compatible.