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Appcelerator Buys Aptana

by Mirko Stocker on Jan 22, 2011 |

Appcelerator, the company behind the Titanium application development platform, has announced that it acquired IDE-developer Aptana. Aptana is well known in the Ruby community for taking over RadRails and the Eclipse Ruby Development Tools, integrating it into their Aptana Studio IDE together with the Python IDE Pydev and their IDEs for the Web (HTML, JavaScript, CSS).

Appcelerator's Titanium is a platform for building mobile (iPhone, Android, iPad) and desktop (Windows, OS X, and Linux) applications with web technologies like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Titanium's desktop applications can also be built with Python, PHP and Ruby. These applications are then cross-compiled to all the target platforms.

Jeff Haynie, Appcelerator's CEO, explains how Titanium works

Titanium takes your Javascript code, analyzes and preprocesses it and then pre-compiles it into a set of symbols that are resolved based on your applications uses of Titanium APIs. From this symbol hierarchy we can build a symbol dependency matrix that maps to the underlying Titanium library symbols to understand which APIs (and related dependencies, frameworks, etc) specifically your app needs.

Fore more information, take a look at this InfoQ interview with Matt Quinlan, Vice President of Community Development at Appcelerator.

Considering all the programming languages Appcelerator supports, Aptana is a perfect match with their IDEs for the Web, Ruby, and Python. Aptana's Studio 3 has been in beta for over half a year and InfoQ talked to Trish Ridgway from Appcelerator to learn more about the future of Aptana Studio: 

We are on target to release a refresh of Aptana Studio 3 Beta within the next 2 weeks and we are targeting a General Availability release of Studio 3.0 during Q1 2011.

InfoQ: Paul Colton, CEO of Aptana, mentioned that they "have subsumed RadRails [..] as well as Pydev [..] into a singular product". Does this mean that the two IDEs are based on a common infrastructure for dynamic languages, or is the support for the two languages still two completely separate entities? 

You are correct in your assumption, Studio 3.0 uses a unified codebase to support all the various dynamic languages including JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby. The main contributors of RadRails and Pydev are members of the Aptana Studio 3.0 team. RadRails, Aptana’s Ruby on Rails development tool, and Pydev, the Python and Django development tool continue to be in active development. These tools have been integrated as part of Aptana Studio 3.0.

InfoQ: Support for PHP has also been re-introduced, are there plans to support even more languages? 

Given our support of the primary web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) on the client side and PHP, Ruby & Python on the server side, we pretty much have the gamut covered. The obvious ones that we DO NOT support directly are Java, which is already supported quite extensively by the core Eclipse community and the Microsoft .Net languages (C#, etc.) that Microsoft Visual Studio has a good handle on. We see server-side development as critical to the cloud-connected strategy that Appcelerator has had on its roadmap for awhile. Note that one of the great advantages that Aptana Studio has by being Eclipse-based is that developers can add the Java IDE capabilities to Aptana Studio and use it as a unified IDE for client-side as well as Java-based, server-side projects.

 More details on the acquisition can be found in the Appcelerator announcement.

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