App Store Rejection of the Week, Runner-Up: Scratch

Scratch is a well-regarded runtime geared toward allowing kids to create their own simple games and animations. They had a player app in the App Store, but it’s been removed. This is unfortunate, because it seems pretty cool, but, this is not the least bit surprising. It’s only surprising that it ever made it into the App Store in the first place.

There’s a gray zone regarding the “no code interpreters other than WebKit’s JavaScript engine” rule, but Scratch is way outside that gray zone. You can argue that the rule is wrong-headed (and you will be far from alone in doing so), but this is Apple being consistent, not inconsistent.

Apple’s intention with the “no interpreters” rule is to block meta platforms. Imagine a hypothetical arbitrary “Flash Player” app from Adobe, that allowed you to download SWF files — such an app would stand as an alternative to the App Store. What’s frustrating about Apple blocking Scratch is that Scratch doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that one could use to build software that’s even vaguely of the caliber of native iPhone apps. It’s really rudimentary stuff, focused on ease-of-programming. But what’s Apple to do? Change the rule to “no high-quality interpreters”?

The only way something like Scratch could get into the App Store would be if it used WebKit as its interpreter.

Friday, 16 April 2010