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Developers Fear App Store Sandboxing To Strip Out Useful Features

Developers Fear App Store “Sandboxing” To Strip Out Useful Features

The Mac App Store has evolved several changes in itself and the new change which will be implemented from the 1st of March, 2012 as was announced by Apple Inc. the change occurred this time relates to security aspects and requires all the Mac Apps in order to be a part of the Mac App Store to get pass through a security system called ‘sandboxing’. The result of this will be that the apps will be much safer in terms of its productivity and usage, whereas, there are some developers who are of the opinion that they have to strip out some important features from the application so as to pass the security test.

Explaining about sandbox, it is a security system which has been designed to regulate the power and individual app can enforce on the Mac operating system. In a more technical definition, ‘sandboxing’ is the process of limiting the access an individual application can gain on your Mac instead of occupying the entire drive space by having complete access. It confines a determined space within the Mac system under its respective file system. The advantage of this system is that the application when installed on the system will perform only those actions which are allowed and permissible by the user of the operating machine. By employing the apps to undergo the sandboxing feature, it restricts them not to perform maliciously.

However, when any software developer submits programs which are in adherence to the restrictions of the sandboxing set by Apple, they can always request for specific entitlements for their applications such as the reading and writing access towards Downloads, Music, and Pictures, interaction with flash drives, access to microphones, printing and many other such features. This facility of entitlement is also offered with a twist in it as the Apple Company will decide whether the app in question should be granted with the entitlement requested by the developer as a part of the approval process of the Mac. This system is opposite to that of other similar platforms such as Android and Windows, under which a list of all the features are displayed which, contains those apps that can be accessed and asked for the approval of the user.

Potential Shortcomings of Sandboxing

The sandboxing rule applied by apple on the Mac App Store will be effective as of 1st March, 2012 for only those apps which will be newly submitted to the Store’s collection. But such a rule has tightened the position of some developers. Some will have to alter the features of their application so as to enter into the store, whereas, other developers have the fear that they have to entirely remove some of the features as they will not be allowed.

Another potential disadvantage of this rule can be that the Mac users will buy that application from a third party source from where he/she can obtain all the features of the app. He can quit going pass the sandboxing rule. A developer rightly points out that by the application of sandboxing rule, the customers of the program will get confused whether the transactions made from Mac App Stores receives updates which removes the previous functionality in order to maintain the strengths with the sandboxing rules. He further adds, that the consumers will be complaining for this flaw to the developers and not on Apple.

Another pitfall on part of the developers that if they sell their application from a platform apart from Apple, it would be certainly like losing a major portion of the audience of the application.

A major positive aspect to this rule is that the implementation time will take an additional four months time which will give the developers more time to understand the rules and their compliance which will turn out to be of great help in the developing of software and applications.

Is Sandboxing Safer?

It has been suggested by Apple that the restriction of sandboxing will make Mac operating systems safe and secure. This phrase is pretty much agreed by several developers as they state that those Mac users who completely rely on Mac Apps Store, will run exclusively only those applications which are guaranteed safe by the parent company of Mac, keeping aside the potential tradeoffs of limiting the features of an application.

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