When we tag questions for iOS development, we never know if we should use iphone-sdk-{version} or ios-sdk-{version}. I understand that the tag iphone and ipad are usefull to differentiate devices but for the SDK it's now named ios and not iphone (so iphone-sdk-4.0 should not exist).


As I indicated here, more people tend to use than out of convention, rather than what's technically correct. When you talk to a developer, they're more likely to still say they're doing iPhone (and / or iPad) development than iOS development, because more people will understand the former.

For better or worse, the central tag for iOS development is still , and that's the one I monitor for new questions on the topic.

The switch over from Apple referring to this as the iPhone SDK for two years to the iOS SDK is also a problem because of the momentum that built up behind the former. I still find myself slipping up and calling it the iPhone SDK.

Unless we retrain all visitors to the site to use the technically correct terminology (something I've found to be nearly impossible to do), the best we could manage would be to set up proper tag synonyms. However, I can't find a good tag to use as a base. These are the tags I currently see for the SDK and related topics:

and of course poor Cisco with × 10.

As you can see, people are more likely to call out OS versions than SDK versions, even though the SDK is what they're really asking about. Note that , , and are all synonyms of , so they don't appear on the list.

I don't see tags as needing to be completely technically accurate, as long as new users coming into the site can find the solutions they're looking for, and existing users can find topics to answer in their area of expertise. From the way questions are asked, it's clear that users of the site still think iPhone before iOS.

The one area where I tend to see problems with tagging is when the only tag someone applies to a question is a very specific SDK version, which will cause the question to not be visible to many people who could answer. It is for this reason that I agree with Popular Demand's argument here that version information should not be a part of a tag, but should be contained within the question itself.

  • Brad's answer is very comprehensive, so I won't add my own, but I think all tags should be aliased to iOS, it's just easier to have a single tag for the same thing.
    – Moshe
    Mar 21 '11 at 17:25
  • @Moshe - The one danger I see with that is that tags are used to help Google searches, and many people forget to indicate that this is an iPhone question when asking. With [iphone], someone searching for "iphone table view problem" will still hit the question. If we remap that to [ios], they might not. As I indicate above, far fewer people use iOS in practice than iPhone when looking for solutions to their problems, and I'd expect that Google searchers would be no different. Mar 21 '11 at 17:39
  • @BradLarson Ok, so then go with iPhone as the top level tag. It just needs to be a single tag. However, we could use iPhone and iOS as top level tags. I'm just sick of seeing all of those tags being used.
    – Moshe
    Mar 21 '11 at 17:44
  • Continuing to use iphone as the umbrella tag for all things that should really be tagged ios is a disservice to future developers. It may well be true that right now, many developers tend to use 'iphone' in place of 'ios', but Apple shows no signs of changing the name of the OS back to iPhoneOS, and at some point even the most curmudgeonly among us will get used to the change to iOS. If we start using the correct term now, we'll help to shorten the transition to iOS. If we continue to use the wrong term, we're only slowing down the transition and sowing the seeds of future confusion.
    – Caleb
    Mar 29 '11 at 19:46
  • See Break the ios->iphone synonym for a related request.
    – Caleb
    Mar 29 '11 at 19:47
  • @Caleb - I replied there, and agree with your sentiment, but we shouldn't make it more difficult for people to find answers just because we want to be technically correct. If I had a better solution than just tagging things with both [iphone] and [ios], I'd present it, but I don't. Mar 29 '11 at 21:07
  • @Brad Larson, The two-tag solution seems fine.
    – Caleb
    Mar 29 '11 at 22:01

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