In what is surely a brave entreprenurial endeavor, Objective Cloud is a
new product going into private beta soon that lets you upload Objective-C code
and run it as a service. Aside from the obvious implications that you can use
NSCoding as a wire protocol, they promise the ability to use Cocoa
frameworks like Core Image or PDF Kit.
I doubt the Cocoa frameworks are licensed for cloud use. Not sure how this will
work out legally. Also I’m not a fan of the “run your client libraries on the
server” meme, in general. Not that you can’t find a good reason, but servers
are different beasts than clients and you’re better off using languages and
frameworks tuned for each environment and use something like this as a last
Legal and conceptual issues aside, the idea fascinates me. I’m going to keep an
eye on this.
Update: November 12, 2012
Christian Kienle of Objective Cloud reached out to me to give me some more
backstory on the company. They do agree with me on using trusted server side
tools to do the job. Yet they see enough of an interest in focused services
leveraging the Cocoa frameworks that they think this has legs. The idea of
using the Address Book libraries to handle address localization or
NSLinguisticTagger for some natural language processing server side is
I am not a lawyer so I can’t predict how this will fall legally. They are based
in Germany and it sounds like they’ve been doing their homework. As I think
about it, you could pull this off yourself manually with a colocated Mac
Mini and write your web service in Objective-C with the Cocoa libraries.
You’ve bought the machine and the libraries. So the question comes down to
selling a service running on the Mac Mini written in Objective-C. But, to me,
that sounds like the whole point of OS X server.