Your Development & Design Resource
First Impressions: Appcelerator Titanium Studio
03/02/2015 by Chris Toohey
One of my IBM Notes Domino customers who is looking to create native versions of their Domino-based application for BlackBerry, Android, and iOS asked me to look into using Appcelerator Titanium Studio. Always interested in adding a new (to me) solution to my arsenal, I went to appcelerator.com/titanium/ and downloaded the free Eclipsed-based IDE.
Before I could download Titanium Studio, I had to register and create a "developer profile". Pretty standard stuff, but what interested me was the "Interested In" category. Here's a list of the options:
- Hosting Meetups (Local Evangelism)
- Our Titans Program
- Training & Certification
- Partnership Opportunities
- Contract Work
- Full-time Work
- Collaborating with Others on Titanium
... so this doesn't appear to be a method for populating potential sales leads for Appcelerator's CRM, but rather a "developer profile" that gives the developer the ability to join and interact with the community, evangelize the product and solutions written with that product, get training and certification or even jobs. Interesting...
Back to the actual product: Appcelerator Titanium Studio installed without an issue, and after launching it I was asked to sign in (with my "developer profile" registered account). Once logged in, Titanium Studio checked for updates and allowed me to select which "native SDKs" it would pull down. Since I'm running Windows 8.1 Pro, I was limited to Android and BlackBerry SDKs (as Apple licensing restricts their SDK only be installed on Mac OS devices).
This is where I encountered my first issue. The BlackBerry SDK download failed. While the Android SDKs installed successfully, the BlackBerry SDK installation threw the following error:
"An error occurred while collecting items to be installed."
Not a huge deal, as I don't even have a functioning BlackBerry device myself. But still wanting that option (as I have customers who still use BlackBerry devices), I hit Google to see what's up: answers from 3 and 4 years ago don't apply, and everything I read basically states that it's BlackBerry's issue. There is, however, a well-documented workaround by manually installing the BlackBerry NDK which I'll have to do... but not now, I want to get started with my first app!
Instead of trying to create some random demo or a "Hello World" minimum viable product, I followed the Creating Your First Titanium App tutorial from the Appcelerator documentation.
The "first app" tutorial has you creating a simple "favorite books list" application using the Accelerator Alloy framework. It's a slick framework and an easy-to-follow tutorial. And I'll be diving deeper into these tutorials in the upcoming days and I'm really looking forward to it!
When finished, I'll be able to do a more formal review of Titanium Studio... but I really like what I'm seeing so far!
Now, most of the people reading this are IBM Notes Domino developers, and most of them have been using IBM Notes Domino XPages in some capacity for some time now...
Titanium Studio seems to be specifically designed to allow a developer to write an application, build, and deploy the application across multiple client types. Where IBM Notes Domino developers see those clients as Notes Client, Web Browser Client, and Mobile Device Browser Client, Titanium Studio sees iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and finally the Mobile Web Browser as the target clients.
And it appears as though the same approach is taken: use your web development skills along with built-in or custom componentry to create XML. Run a "Build" that will generate the machine code (Objective-C, Java, et al in this case), and deploy. You have a single point of code maintenance while getting the ability to create cross-platform solutions. Pretty awesome, and something that I can not stress you should pursue... but I have to dive deeper into Titanium Studio before I say it's the definitive way to go.
First Impressions Recap
To review, here's a breakdown of my first impressions:
- Simple installation of the Eclipse-based client.
- Easy "developer profile" registration.
- Impressive developer resources including documentation, tutorials, online and local events.
I'll be sharing more on Appcelerator Titanium Studio after I go through the tutorials and create more applications with a complete review, so stay tuned. And, as always, if there's anything else that I should check out and review, use the contact form on the site and let me know!