Apple wooed developers at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco yesterday with the release of Xcode, a new set of developer tools that pave the way for future Mac OS X development.

This powerful toolkit combines usability with power, the company said. It offers a Unix-based development environment with an elegant user interface and new technologies including, Fix and Continue, Zero Link and Distributed Build.

The environment's performance is a claimed five times faster than previous development tools, meaning developers can swiftly bring their applications to Apple's next-generation OS. Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced developer Brad Peebler to yesterday's keynote crowd. Luxology co-founder Peebler said the company's developers were able to reconfigure their software for Apple's new 64-bit processors in 15 minutes using Xcode. Luxology produces powerful 3D applications.

Less legwork Apple senior VP worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller said: "Xcode merges the power of a world-class Unix-based development environment with a simple, elegant and powerful user interface. It takes much of the legwork out of creating applications by putting powerful tools at developers' fingertips, and is the best and fastest way to build the next generation of OS X applications."

The Xcode Fix and Continue feature means developers can make live code changes to a running application and see their effect immediately without the need to restart. Reduced development turnaround times are achieved with Zero Link, which removes the linking stage for all development builds. Project build times are also minimized through a Rendezvous-enabled Distributed Build feature that lets developers to compile applications using multiple systems.

Xcode also offers an easy-to-navigate user interface, offering all the information and tools developers need through a streamlines, iTunes-like user-interface. Project management is boosted by the introduction of Smart Groups, with another feature called Fast Find that "delivers a consistent search interface with live indexing that refine searches as they are entered," Apple said.

API documentation is accessible directly from the source-code editor allowing fewer distractions and higher productivity. An easy migration path for CodeWarrior allows developers to directly import CodeWarrior project files into Xcode. Metrowerks, developer of the CodeWarrior environment, was acquired by Motorola in 2000.

Xcode supports new Apple technologies, and is built to optimize applications for the next-generation PowerPC G5 processor. Developers can use AppleScript and Apple's development tools to create native OS X applications that use Cocoa and Aqua.

Xcode will be available internationally in English and Japanese on September 15, 2003. WWDC attendees each received a copy of a preview version of the software. Select and Premier ADC members can get their hands on the Xcode preview through the Apple Developer Connection Web site.