Sunday, October 9, 2011

Software for Macintosh users?

Marleen who is currently demonstrating the GS Judge application at worlds in Tokyo, has received several times the question whether the software is also available for Apple computers. When I look at the statistics of our website (see picture below), it is quit obvious that my target audience likes the Macintosh.

The short answer is: no there is no Macintosh version and there are no such plans as I speak.

Does this means all Macintosh users are left in the cold? Not completely, but they will have to rely on emulation software for Windows. I suppose that most Macintosh users use this approach when they want to run software that was developed for Windows only.

The reason why there is no Macintosh version is that I have no experience at all either with using a Macintosh or with programming against a Macintosh. Last week I consulted a fellow software developer at work who is a Macintosh user, and asked him what the effort would be to build GS Judge for Mac. It could not be done he said, because I am using Microsoft .NET framework version 4.0 that is not fully ported to Macintosh (yet?). The mono project was started just to port this framework to Macintosh and Linux. But wikipedia has this to say about mono:

Mono's aim is to achieve full support for the features in .NET 4.0 except WPF (which the Mono team do not plan to support due to the amount of work it would need), Entity Framework and WF, limited WCF.

Unfortunately, GS Judge is a full-blown WPF application and apparently mono does not plan to support it ever. WPF is a graphical engine that makes it possible to display the WAG exercises with many graphical features (such as zooming the exercise and highlighting individual symbols).

If you are still reading: this all means that there is no easy way to convert existing code from Windows to Macintosh. If we decide to take on the challenge, we must start with buying Macintosh hardware and software, and hire a developer. That is going to cost a lot of money. Which I don't have. Now. Maybe later. I hope.


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