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2012 Jolt Awards: Mobile Tools

, October 30, 2012 The best mobile development tools
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Productivity Award: Appcelerator Titanium Studio

The Appcelerator Titanium Studio IDE builds on the well-regarded Aptana Studio, which Appcelerator acquired last year. Although it's another Eclipse-based IDE for developing mobile applications using native tools, Titanium Studio provides integrated tool chains for Android and iOS application development that span from project management through to distribution packaging (including deployment to well-known cloud services and app stores).

The free version of the product includes extensive support through the Titanium Studio Dashboard — a truly useful addition for newbies. The mobile emulator works better than the other products that I've examined. Titanium Studio also includes a base level of cloud services with the free package. To add security, enterprise extensions and more responsive support, developers must upgrade to one of three paid packages. Titanium Studio provides all the usual Eclipse functionality and it supports multiple languages including HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Ruby, Python, and PHP.

As a new mobile and JavaScript developer, I found the ability to use the Titanium SDK to develop for Android, iOS, and Mobile Web compelling and the preloaded code snippets helped me come up to speed very quickly.

Titanium Studio does useful things in the background, such as coordinating the authentication keys between your cloud application setup and the application manifest. Managing similar authentication setups in other solutions is a pain for most developers.

I had little difficulty with the IDE installing Android applications in the emulator and on physical devices, although the emulator and the IDE did seem to get out of synch on occasion. One feature that is missing is a visual editor for developing views. The edit, build, and deploy cycle necessary to check the visuals can become tedious, making IDE/emulator synchronization a bigger potential issue but not a deal breaker.

As a Visual Studio veteran with little experience using Eclipse in the mobile space, I found that the Titanium Studio's tool integration and completeness helped me feel comfortable quickly. If you're looking for a mobile development platform to start and grow with, Titanium is worthy of serious consideration.

— Jonathan Harley

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