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Titanium- What’s it All About Appcelerator? Part 1 of 2

by Martin Monroe on Jul 25, 2013 |

Developers great and small often employ Appcelerator to build, deploy and promote their mobile or tablet apps. A great deal of information already exists on InfoQ about Appcelerator. There are numerous presentations to view and a lot of edifying posts have been written over the course of the company’s six year reign in the cloud services sector. According to one influential InfoQ research project, Appcelerator is “an SDK for developing native, hybrid and mobile web applications from a single codebase” and as such, an influential cross-platform mobile development tool.

 

Appcelerator, through its Appcelerator Cloud Services (ACS) and Titanium Cloud Services, is also a major Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) provider. So chances are good that you will continue to find new content here on InfoQ about this key cloud service and player of note in the mobile ecosystem.

 

Developers sign up on the Appcelerator site to access the different platforms; SDK’s and tools that are needed to construct and promote their mobile app or apps. If not otherwise selected, devs should expect a steady stream of informative and encouraging emails thereafter from Appcelerator on exactly how to go about getting started. 

 

There are two main approaches to developing a mobile app on Appcelerator. One is the self-titled “Appcelerator Platform.” The Appcelerator Platform proper is geared towards enterprise developers, who with it can write multi-platform apps that will run on an array of devices, clouds and even in back of firewalls. The Appcelerator Platform’s enterprise cloud services connectivity is powered by Node.js.

 

The other approach is geared more towards smaller and individual developers. It is Appcelerator’s version of the JavaScript-based open source multiplatform code optimizer, Titanium. Titanium is; a superset of Java 1.4 augmented with checked synchronization, an explicitly parallel and a global address space language.

 

Titanium for iOS- Apple only permits the iOS SDK to be used on Apple products like OSX. Xcode is needed, downloadable from Apple’s App Store or the Apple developer’s web site. To facilitate getting up and coding, a separate installation assistant is available. To actually test your Appcelerator mobile app on a device requires joining the iOS Developer Program. That will set you back $99. Titanium, 3.1.0 doesn’t support anything below iOS and Xcode versions 4.3 or ARMv6 devices.

 

Titanium for Android- after you sign up as an Appcelerator Developer, you will be able to access the documentation and downloads needed to develop a mobile app for Android. Windows and OSX operating systems are supported and each has its own collection of installed programs required to make everything work. You will have to commit to a target Titanium and Android platform. For OSX developers there is a Native Add-on Module and Android SDK Tools, to name a few of the programs that you will need.

 

CEO Jeff Haynie maintains that

Titanium’s performance is close to or in most cases as good as handwritten native code.

 

According to Wikipedia, there are reports from some developers that while Titanium renders fast results with its cross-platform interpretations, there are behavior, stability and memory management issues surrounding the API.

In Part 2 of InfoQ ‘s examination of Appcelerator: Appcelerator is moving away from their present Node.js approach to a more JavaScript-centric runtime. Systemic changes expected for the currently-in-the-works next generation of Titanium, Ti.Next. 

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