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Ti.Next-What’s It All About Appcelerator?- Part 2 of 2

by Martin Monroe on Aug 10, 2013 |

Even with this two part post and a close look at their newest developer survey, InfoQ is only able to scratch the surface of the far reaching importance of Appcelerator to the mobile ecosystem. So look to InfoQ to continue to address the ongoing impacts of this major player. 

In his recent post, ‘Thoughts on Ti.Next’ for the Appcelerator web site, CEO Jeff Haynie talked about the reasons that the popular MBaaS provider is busy revamping=Titanium, their signature SDK.

As Jeff maintains, a lot of the problems that developers have experienced with Titanium to date are the result of poorly written code.

We’ve seen plenty of cases where bad application logic performs very badly and great code performs very fast. …code is only optimized and as good as the developer who writes it. But we would like to reduce as much of this possibility as we can.

Haynie says that Titanium, their multiplatform IDE, has become out of date.

Like any code base, you tend to get some level of code rot after so many years and so many changes.

Here is the current status and timetable for Titanium updates:

  • 3.1.1 current version- highlights include BB10 Beta, Android 2.3.3 support
  • 3.1.2 update expected this month
  • 3.2 available in fall or concurrently with iOS7- will feature better Android animation, improved CLI
  • 4.0 =Ti.Next- release date unknown- to include background processing, auto layout, Win 8 

At the TiConf.us held on June 27, 2013, Jeff laid out his vision for the future of Titanium. He cited performance, speed and the fast moving disruption to enterprise infrastructure brought about by the ascendance of mobile computing, as reasons for the near total rewrite that is in progress of Titanium’s core engine. 

An operation in (the current version of) Titanium across the bridge can be as much as a 10 ms operation. Our target is sub-microsecond operations...in fact, we think we can get faster in most cases than pure native code (Objective-C for example on iOS) by using a direct assembly (ASM) code generation process with FFI

With Ti.Next, we’ve created a small microkernel design that will allow us to have minimal bootstrap code in the native language (C, Java, C#, etc) that talks to a common set of compilers, tools and a single JavaScript Virtual Machine. We have found a way to make the WebKit KJS VM work on multiple platforms instead of using different VMs per platform. This means we can heavily optimize the microkernel (or Ti Runtime) and maintenance, optimizations and profiling can be greatly simplified. 

The community over at the Appcelerator web site found the news about Ti.Next to be a mixed blessing…  Joe says:

July 4, 2013 at 6:42 am

With the current Ti 3.1.1 the performance on iOS is on par with Native, I really can’t tell any difference.

I strongly agree with the article that performance really depends on the architecture and logic of the code and optimization/experience on the developer.

Curious & looking forward to Ti.Next

 While community member Conny was concerned about support for his OS… 

          Conny Svensson says:

July 4, 2013 at 1:23 am

This sounds very interesting but I wonder what the timeframe is because this will be the first release that supports Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 (is that true?). Before we’ve heard that Win support will come later (first it was communicated first half of 2013) this year and this feels like we’re more looking at early 2014, and then it will probably be a little bit shaky since it’s the first release. I have customers constantly asking me when I can port to Windows Phone 8. I have been telling them later this year but now I don’t really know what to tell them anymore.

 Developers should prepare for changes that will be needed to their current and future Titanium apps, such as the deprecation of iOS5 support. No need to panic just yet though. As Ti.Next is still ‘a lab experiment.’

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