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Jolt Productivity Awards: Mobile and Web Development #2



The Appcelerator Titanium Mobile platform, a winner of this year's Jolt Productivity Award in the Mobile and Web Development category, holds two great promises to developers: First, it lets web developers, who have JavaScript and CSS skills, jump onto the mobile app bandwagon developing without learning quirky Objective-C for iOS or Java-based Android SDK. Second, it promises that apps developed in Titanium will be cross compiled into both iOS and Android native code, hence greatly reducing the need to re-write the same app for each device platform.

The technical approach it took to deliver the promises are solid. For instance, you can easily use JavaScript to build a DOM model for a table or a form, and use CSS to style each UI elements in the DOM. Titanium generates the iOS and Android code for the table or form when you build the project. Want to access native device features like camera, GPS location, media player, photo gallery, PUSH notification, and address book? No problem. Titanium is packed with over 300 JavaScript extension APIs that let you access all these device features. The Titanium extension APIs also provide structures to mimic common UI conventions found on iOS/Android devices. For instance, the iOS navigation view and tab bar view are easily supported. Of course, JavaScript apps built with Titanium extensions cannot run in web browsers, you will have to use Titanium to turn it into iOS/Android code to see it run.

However, the limitation of the Titanium approach is that its developers will have to wait for Titanium to support new features in the underlying iOS and Android platform. That could be an issue in the fast evolving mobile space. Also, debugging a Titanium application can be a chore as you are never sure whether the bug is in your code, or Titanium, or in the underlying SDKs.

Titanium is free for commercial use under Apache 2.0 open source license. Its rich feature sets, extensibility, robustness, and liberal licensing differentiate itself from competitors in this space.


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