The Chameleon Project

Sometimes it's nice to see a hunch confirmed. Back in February, I defended Twitterrific for Mac against fellow writer Ben Brooks (whom I greatly respect and josh around with on Twitter). In that post, I wrote:

Side story: Popovers are an iPad UI element. They aren't native to Mac OS X (at least, not yet. I wouldn't be surprised if they are in Lion). If you rip open Twitterrific's app bundle (right click, Show Package Contents) and scope out their frameworks, you'll see UIKit. UIKit is an iOS framework. To me, that says Iconfactory rewrote Apple's UIKit framework for use on the Mac. That's pretty much amazing (and a lot of work).

In contrast, when you click an image link in Twitter for Mac, it appears a type of popover opens. You can dismiss this with Command-W. That tells me that Twitter for Mac is actually opening a standard window with a custom UI.

Iconfactory did the work to bring iOS popovers to OS X.

Well, that has been confirmed today, as the Iconfactory has revealed and open-sourced their implementation of UIKit, called Chameleon. Chameleon will allow iOS developers to reuse a great deal of their codebase if they are looking to port an app for the Mac App Store. The huge advantage of this, and one Iconfactory states they are doing themselves, is that major feature releases can be shipped simultaneously for both iOS and Mac.

This is a nice perk for consumers, and should make developers drool.

Fellow midwesterner and friend Sean Heber is the lead developer on the project, and I think he's pretty much a genius. Go give him a pat on the back.