I’m going to set aside a little time each week to blog about my experiences with developing Pintley. This is the first in hopefully a long-running series 🙂
Not long ago, I chose a platform for Pintley Mobile 2.0. I had some specific criteria, and not all of these apply to everyone.
- Must be a native app-store app
- Must use native-looking UI controls. An iPhone app needs to look like one, and an Android app needs to not look like an iPhone port. Nobody wants to be using the ported version, and reinventing the UI wheel isn’t for me.
- Must perform, even last-gen phones
- Must support at least iPhone & Android, possibly Blackberry, Palm, Win7
I looked into writing the app in HTML, and then just putting a “native” wrapper around it. I took a hard look at other apps that do this, and realized two things. First off, the performance just wasn’t quite there. These things responded like web pages, and that just wasn’t what I was looking for. The second problem I realized was that because it was HTML for multiple platforms, I would be facing the same headaches as HTML on the desktop… browser standards compliance & implementation. There are a couple platforms out there, like jQuery Mobile and Sencha Touch, but both platforms are not quite there yet, and would require heavy CSS trickery to “look” like native apps.
I took a look at Flex 4.5 & AIR Mobile, but the UI controls look like Flex controls, not native. Also, there’s no public info on if or when the iPhone Packager will be updated to support Flex 4.5.
Building both the iPhone and Android apps in their native languages and then maintaining both versions was cost-prohibitive.
The basic process for development is this:
- Install the iOS and/or Android SDK’s, and Titanium
- Create a new project, or import their Kitchen Sink Example
- Edit the .js code in your IDE of choice
- Hit the compile button in the Titanium Desktop application. This compiles the app and installs/runs it on your simulator or device.
The Titanium SDK is free and open-source. I, however, opted for the $200/mo professional option. The main reason is this option gives, among other things, access to their Appcelerator-moderated Helpdesk section, which has a two-business-day turnaround. I’ve easily saved $200 worth of time & headaches with my questions there, and you probably could, too. I don’t know if I’ll maintain the subscription past the launch of Pintley Mobile 2.0, but we’ll see.
So, follow me into my journey into building Pintley Mobile 2.0 for iPhone and Android.