An alternative to Ruby on the iPhone

…from someone who says they’ve tried to do that:Programming Nu.

Here’s the description of the alternative, called “Nu”:

Nu is an interpreted object-oriented language. Its syntax comes from Lisp, but Nu is semantically closer to Ruby than Lisp. Nu is written in Objective-C and is designed to take full advantange of the Objective-C runtime and the many mature class libraries written in Objective-C. Nu code can fully interoperate with code written in Objective-C; messages can be sent to and from objects with no concern for whether those messages are implemented in Objective-C or Nu.

Nu currently requires Mac OS X version 10.5 or greater and runs on PowerPC and Intel systems. A Linux port is in progress; contact me directly or visit my blog for more details.

This is all from the guy that commented on Jason Fried’s prediction about the iPhone (where others raised the question of using Ruby for development):

Regarding Ruby and Objective-C:

I spent a lot of time looking at the combination of Ruby and Objective-C. Starting at the beginning of 2005, I built the RubyCocoa Resources site and later wrote my own bridge from scratch, RubyObjC. Eventually I decided that ultimately, the best way to put a scripting layer on Objective-C was to write one that was specifically designed for the job. Last year I did that, and this afternoon I got it working on the iPhone.)

If I understand this correctly, he’s more-or-less built a modified Ruby specifically designed for building apps on the iPhone. I’m not sure what challenges the new language overcomes where Ruby fails, perhaps in mapping to Objective-C concepts? Or why he chose to use a Lisp-like syntax: it would be much easier for Ruby programmers to adopt if it were both semantically and syntactically like Ruby.

A quick poke around his web site, however, renders answers to these questions.

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