Alan Kay Notebook Guru Takes Scratch To Apple

He may have predicted that Apple’s iPad would ‘rule the world’, but the man who invented the notebook concept isn’t happy with Steve Jobs at the moment.

Alan Kay is one of the great heroes of the technological revolution we’re still experiencing today. So much so that when Apple introduced the iPad, Jobs took pains to send Kay one as a personal gift. But it isn’t the product that Kay has a problem with – it’s Apple’s determination to control what developers do with it.

Apple last week changed the terms of its deal with developers, introducing new clauses which forbid iPhone apps from using non-Apple code, through uses including a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks or other APIs. It is the same clause which Adobe has cited as reason to end development of Flash export to iPhone solutions.

Scratch, a Kay-championed child-friendly programming language which teaches children rudimentary computer coding has also been banned under the Apple code. The Scratch app displayed stories, games and animations made by kids using MIT’s Scratch platform, which was built using Kay’s programming language Squeak, according to MIT.

Kay didn’t develop the app, that accolade belongs to developer John McIntosh, who admits, “If you follow the chain of where Scratch came from, yes it is a Dynabook app, sadly not an iPad app.”

Apple’s decision to bin Scratch has raised questions. While the company should be consistent in its approach now it has introduced a changed developer deal, there are many in the wider community who note that unless you are backed by Alan Kay and MIT or in possession of a Pullitzer prize there’s little chance to force Apple to change its mind.

This is generating calls for Apple to adopt a more open stance to iPhone development.

VIA: Wired

Alan Kay Image: 9to5Mac

Written by Jon Edwards

Jon Edwards enjoys The Mighty Boosh, Can, John Lydon and Roller Derby.
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  • Bonnie MacBird

    I am married to Alan Kay and “infuriated” is incorrect. Entirely. He is not only hopeful that a children’s programming application will eventually be on the iPad, but completely cordial about it. He has, in fact, many nice things to say about the iPad. If you read the source for this in wired,you’ll discover a far more temperate view than you have reflected here.