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Intel XDK Updates For HTML5 Developers

News that may have slipped past you over the holiday season is that Intel has released an update to the Intel XDK (cross-platform development kit). Intel says it intends to "end-of-life" the original Intel XDK (originally called the appMobi XDK) by the end of February 2014.

So as there will now only be one Intel XDK going forward, those developers using the older, original Intel XDK, will need to undertake an "easy" migration.

The company has been looking at helping HTML5 reach its promise of a true cross-platform, responsive, run-anywhere language and runtime — it also wants HTML5 to be a platform that is based on standards.

"With this release, we are starting down the path of helping HTML5 apps be more responsive through performance improvements in the web-runtime, JavaScript profiling, and easier remote debugging — two of the problems that have been infamously cited by folks from Facebook and LinkedIn," notes the Intel Developer Zone blog.

New features discussed here are "technology previews" for now. So programmers will find remote debugging to develop code in the Intel XDK NEW. To do this, users will need to download it to an Android-based mobile device (connected to a development system via USB) and then test/debug an application using the Intel XDK's debugger via a new "Debug" tab.

This remote debugging function (as described above) works for web apps and hybrid apps as well and is enabled via a new on-device "App Analyzer" app that is downloaded from the Intel XDK to enable both remote debugging and the JavaScript profiling feature.

Intel says that programmers here will be able to "easily set breakpoints in your code" — and then inspect variables and single step through your application's source code.

This function (so says Intel) "greatly improves" the pace at which you can turn around changes to your application and test them on real hardware.

This capability is only compatible with mobile devices running Android 4.x.

Also here is JavaScript profiling functionality to allow developers to download and run an application on an Android-based mobile device, collect statistics on which portions of code are using the most CPU, view those statistics on the development system, and see exactly where in source code an app is spending the most time.

Intel says it is also using a new web-runtime based on the open-source Crosswalk project, which is only available on Android 4.x devices now.

According to official sources, "At the heart of Crosswalk is the Blink rendering and layout engine, which provides the same HTML5 features and capabilities expected in the modern web runtimes such as WebGL and Web Audio. However, with Crosswalk, one can see enhanced JavaScript, WebGL, and Audio performance on Android 4.x devices. In addition, Crosswalk gave us the ability to augment the JavaScript engine with hooks to give us greater fidelity in remote debugging and performance analysis. This is only available on Android 4.x devices now; we'll be looking at providing these capabilities for other platforms in the future."

… And In Other News

In other Intel news this week, Augmented Reality (AR) company Metaio says it plans to integration its 3D augmented reality tracking software with the Intel RealSense Software Development Kit (SDK).

Metaio's AR tracking technology is capable of recognizing real-world images, objects, and environments in order to "augment it" with pertinent digital or virtual information — all in real-time.

Perceptual Computing chief at Intel Mark Yahiro says that his company's vision is to make computing more immersive and enable human-like natural interactions with our devices.

"Using Intel RealSense 3D camera technology in combination with Metaio's augmented reality tools, we look forward to blurring the virtual and real worlds further than ever before. For example, children will be able to play with their favorite toys and customize their experiences with digital interactions in creative new ways," said Yahiro.

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