Apple has just released a beta of their widget making tool Dashcode. This is significant for a few reasons: 1. it’s rare that Apple issues a beta version of their software; 2. Dashcode will be made a part of the official release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Apple made it available to users of Mac OS X 10.4 “in order to get feedback from a broad range of users.”
The idea behind this application—making complex Java/XML/HTML programming simple—is what the Mac experience is all about. Developer tools made more approachable to the average consumer is something a lot of us would like to see. I know I’d love to put a pro-tool like WebObjects to use, but I’ve found the learning curve too steep. Maybe this is an indication of the direction Apple is taking for these kinds of apps.
I’ve never tried previous versions of Dashcode (and truthfully, I’m a fairly infrequent Dashboard/widget user), but I intend to give this one a try. Unfortunately, by downloading and installing it, Apple’s EULA is crystal clear that I can’t discuss anything about it, especially on a blog. Bummer! If there are others in the MacCast community who have used earlier versions of the software and aren’t covered by any legal restrictions, please post your comment below and share your impressions.
The Dashcode beta release will expire on July 15, 2007 (which hopefully also gives us a no-later-than date for Leopard’s release). You’ll need a free Apple Developer Connection login to download it.