Overview of the Appcelerator RIA Platform
In this post, InfoQ discusses the Appcelerator platform with Matt Quinlan, Vice President of Community Development at Appcelerator. Quinlan highlights the strengths of Appcelerator and some of its common uses.
The Appcelerator site provides a detailed answer to the question, "What is Appcelerator?"
Appcelerator is a fully-integrated RIA + SOA platform.
Appcelerator combines the usability benefits of Web 2.0-style, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) with the reusability and flexibility of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This combination results in a "client/server for the web" development style...
After understanding the "What," InfoQ asked Quinlan, why software professionals should consider using Appcelerator:
InfoQ inquired about the Appcelerator expression language:
- DOM events (click, focus, blur, change, mouse events)
- key events (up, down, press)
- other (history, drag/drop, selected, resize, iPhone orient, sortXYZ)
- subscribe to custom message
This allows a developer to address event handling, DOM manipulation, and Ajax (via the custom messages) all in the same consistent manner that is extremely similar to how they address events (e.g. onClick) today.
- Scriptaculous effects (show/hide, fade, move, scrollto, drop, grow, highlight, morph, ...)
- set element value (static, dynamic, bind)
- set CSS class or attribute
- publish custom message
To understand the messaging that enables our UI decoupling and Ajax see first page of http://doc.appcelerator.org. Think observer pattern & publish/subscribe rather than API calls.
InfoQ asked about deploying Appcelerator applications:
Then, InfoQ followed-up, asking Quinlan if an SOA backend is required:
Quinlan then shared about Appcelerator Google App Engine support:
We provide a handy little swiss-army knife tool called "app" (similar to Ruby's GEM command) which allows us to many things including deploying your Appcelerator app directly to the Google App Engine cloud. You can also publish assets to the Amazon S3 cloud as well from the command.
InfoQ asked Quinlan what else InfoQ readers need to know about Appcelerator:
The publish/subscribe messaging paradigm is EXTREMELY powerful and enables clean decoupling of user-interface elements from each other, and from the serverside. This architecture makes Appcelerator-based applications well-suited for offline (queue the messages, then flush), for testing (stop imitating clicks and just record messages... hint: they work cross-browser!), for prototyping (build fully functional prototypes with zero server code by mocking the server-side service in HTML), and for so many other concerns of web developers.
Shortly after InfoQ.com interviewed Quinlan, Appcelerator announced a license change from GPL to the Apache2 license. Appcelerator CEO Jeff Haynie anounced the change in his post "Appcelerator announces licensing changes; bye-bye GPL."
We've talked and listened to the community a lot in the past 6 months to understand how people want to use Appcelerator, how they are presently using Appcelerator and what types of things they would like to do in the future. We've clearly heard a very resounding theme: GPL is not the right license from a community perspective because of the implications that it brings to redistribution, especially as it relates to building web applications and how they are incorporated and downloaded by a web server. While we initially considered attempting to clarify our position on the GPL as it relates to these special legal concerns - I felt like we would essentially dilute the intent of the GPL license and that would defeat it's purpose. This was a clear indication that our license didn't match our business and technical goals.
Learn more about Appcelerator at: http://www.appcelerator.com/
This looks awsome!
Re: This looks awsome!
I should mention that since this interview was completed we have released a new version of the Appcelerator Platform which includes brand new layout, design, and theme features intended to simplify the creative effort required to make a web applciation actually look nice (rounded corners, gradients, grids, control-level themes, etc.) These new features are currently in alpha, so they will be refined over the next several months as we collect feedback from the community.