Appcelerator

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Appcelerator
Type Private
Industry Software
Founded Atlanta, Georgia (2006 (2006))
Founders Jeff Haynie and Nolan Wright
Headquarters Mountain View, California, United States
Products Titanium, Appcelerator Platform
Employees 160[1]
Website www.appcelerator.com

Appcelerator is a privately held mobile technology company based in Mountain View, California. Its main products are Titanium, an open-source software development kit for cross-platform mobile development, and the Appcelerator Platform, an enterprise software suite for mobile app development, testing, deployment, and analytics.

As of 2013, it had raised more than $68 million in venture capital financing and employed about 160 people.[1][2]

History[edit]

Appcelerator's founders, Jeff Haynie and Nolan Wright, met at Vocalocity, an Atlanta-based VoIP company which Haynie had co-founded.[3] After Haynie sold Vocalocity in 2006, the pair founded Hakano, a company focused on developing web 2.0 applications.[4][5] By 2007, Hakano had shifted its focus to creating an open-source platform for developing rich Internet applications, and in October changed its name to Appcelerator.[6] In December, Marc Fleury, the founder of JBoss, joined the company as an advisor.[3][7]

In mid-2008, Appcelerator relocated from Atlanta to Mountain View, California in order to benefit from Silicon Valley's technology-savvy business networks and venture capitalists, which sparked debate in Atlanta about the city's difficulty nurturing and retaining entrepreneurs.[8][9] In December 2008, Appcelerator released a preview of its RIA platform, Titanium, which drew comment as a possible open-source competitor to Adobe AIR.[10][11] At the same time, it closed a $4.1 million series A round of venture capital funding led by Storm Ventures and Larry Augustin.[10][12]

Appcelerator began to shift its focus to mobile apps during 2009. In June, it released a public beta of Titanium which added support for creating Android and iOS apps to its existing support for web and desktop applications.[13] Titanium 1.0 was officially released in March 2010.[14][15]

Appcelerator's co-founder and CEO Jeff Haynie, giving a talk at a February 2013 conference in Valencia, Spain
Appcelerator's co-founder and CEO Jeff Haynie, giving a talk at a February 2013 conference in Valencia, Spain

In April 2010, during the Apple–Flash controversy, Apple banned applications that used any "intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool" from its App Store, raising concerns about the status of iOS apps built with Titanium.[16][17] Apple never applied the policy to Titanium-built apps and five months later reversed it entirely.[18] In October, Appcelerator raised $9 million in series B funding from investors including Sierra Ventures and eBay.[19]

Appcelerator grew quickly during 2011. In January, it bought Aptana in order to take advantage of Aptana's popular Eclipse-based integrated development environment, which it rereleased as Titanium Studio.[20][21] By the time it acquired Particle Code, maker of an HTML5 mobile gaming development platform, in October, it had 100 employees, five times as many as a year before.[22] By November, it had raised $15 million in a Series C venture round led by Mayfield Fund, Red Hat, and Translink Capital and become the largest third-party app publisher in Apple's App Store and the Android Market.[23][24] According to Inc., its revenues during the year totaled $3.4 million, up 374% from 2008.[25]

By early 2012, Appcelerator had shifted focus from the desktop to mobile and decided to end development of Titanium's desktop application toolkit.[26] It spun off the toolkit into an independent project, which adopted the name TideSDK and became an affiliate of Software in the Public Interest.[27][28] In February, Appcelerator purchased Cocoafish, a backend as a service company that provided prebuilt features like push notifications and photo uploads for mobile apps.[29][30] Appcelerator incorporated Cocoafish's features into Appcelerator Cloud Services, a new product released alongside Titanium 2.0 in April.[24][31]

In November, Appcelerator bought Nodeable, a big data analytics company, seeking to strengthen its mobile application analytics offerings.[32][33]

In early 2013, Business Insider reported that Microsoft was considering buying Appcelerator,[34] but the rumor was never confirmed.[35] In May 2013, Appcelerator announced the Appcelerator Platform, launching a foray into the mobile enterprise application platform market.[35] In July, it raised a further $12.1 million of funding in a round led by EDBI, the venture fund of the Singaporean government's Economic Development Board, and announced that it would open an Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore.[36][37]

In August, Appcelerator acquired Singly, a company that had created a framework for integrating third-party APIs into web and mobile apps, and announced plans to merge the framework into its own products.[38] According to VentureBeat, the acquisition fit with Appcelerator's ambition "be the next Oracle ... a key component of the mobile ecosystem for every developer." The company also begin migrating its operations off Amazon Web Services into its own data center, citing cost savings and increased flexibility.[2]

Titanium[edit]

Appcelerator Titanium
Developer(s) Appcelerator, Inc.
Stable release 3.2.0.GA / December 20, 2013 (2013-12-20)
Preview release 3.2.2 Beta / January 29, 2014 (2014-01-29)
Operating system Mac OS X, Windows, Linux
Platform iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Tizen
Type Application framework
License Apache Public License v2, Proprietary software
Website www.appcelerator.com/developers

Titanium is an open-source framework that allows the creation of mobile apps on platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, and Tizen from a single JavaScript codebase. In February 2013, Business Insider estimated that 10% of all smartphones worldwide ran Titanium-built apps.[34] As of 2013, Titanium had amassed nearly 500,000 developer registrations.[2]

The core component of Titanium is the Apache-licensed software development kit, Titanium SDK. Appcelerator also makes Alloy, an Apache-licensed, Titanium-based model–view–controller framework, and Titanium Studio, a proprietary integrated development environment available as freeware.

Architecture[edit]

All application source code gets deployed to the mobile device where it is interpreted[39] using a JavaScript engine; Mozilla's Rhino is used on Android and BlackBerry, and Apple's Javascriptcore is used on iOS.[40] In 2011 it was announced that a port to Google's V8 JavaScript engine is in development which, when complete, will significantly improve performance.[41] Program loading takes longer than it does for programs developed with the native SDKs, as the interpreter and all required libraries must be loaded before interpreting the source code on the device can begin.

Some developers have reported that although working with Titanium gives fast results, making Titanium well suited for prototyping, there are issues around differences in behaviour of the API cross-platform, stability and memory management, that made them re-write their apps in native code in the end.[42][43] However, as of June 21, 2013, there have been over 55,000 applications shipped to the app stores built with Titanium[citation needed]. Many Appcelerator developers cite the speed of development, native UI, and JavaScript skill set needed as reasons why they choose to use Appcelerator.[44]

In June 2011, Appcelerator released Studio and Titanium Mobile 1.7.[45] Titanium Studio is a full open standards IDE that is derived from Aptana Studio which Appcelerator acquired in January 2011. In April 2010 Appcelerator expanded the Titanium product line with the Titanium Tablet SDK.[46] The Titanium Tablet SDK draws heavily from the existing support for iPhone, but it also includes native support for iPad-only user interface controls such as split views and popovers. Initially the mobile SDK only supported development for iPad, but support now includes Android-based tablets as well.

Features[edit]

The core features of Appcelerator Titanium include:

  • A cross-platform API for accessing native UI components such as navigation bars, menus, and dialog boxes and native device functionality including the file system, network, geolocation, accelerometer, and maps.
  • Transparent access to native functionality not already covered by the API.

Development history[edit]

When it was introduced in December 2008, Titanium was intended for developing cross-platform desktop applications and was sometimes compared to Adobe Air.[47][48] However, it added support for developing iPhone and Android mobile applications in June 2009, and in 2012, Titanium Desktop was spun off into a separate, community-driven project named TideSDK.[49][50] Support for developing iPad-based tablet apps was added in April 2010.[46] BlackBerry support was announced on June 2010,[51] and has been in beta since April 2013. Tizen support was also added in April 2013 with the 3.1.0 Titanium Studio and SDK releases.

In June 2013, Jeff Haynie, Appcelerator's CEO, announced that the company had begun Ti.Next, a project to rewrite the Titanium SDK in Javascript for improved performance and to bring Titanium's end users, who write in Javascript, closer to the internal code.[52] In a blog post, he wrote:

We believe JavaScript should be the right language to build Titanium, not just apps on top of the Titanium SDK. 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 (herein after called the "TiRuntime") and maintenance, optimizations and profiling can be greatly simplified. We're talking about ~5K LOC vs. 100K LOC per platform.[53]

The Appcelerator Platform[edit]

The Appcelerator Platform is a cloud software suite that extends Titanium with features including a mobile backend as a service, test automation, debugging tools, an analytics and performance management suite, and a service level agreement.[35][54] The platform is intended as enterprise software; the price of licenses starts at $5000 per user per year.[35]

As a mobile application development platform, the Appcelerator Platform competes with SAP's SAP Mobile Platform,[55][56] Antenna Software's Antenna Mobility Platform,[55][57] IBM's MobileFirst,[58][59] and Kony Solutions's KonyOne.[60][61]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Julie Bort (7 February 2013). "25 Enterprise Startups to Bet Your Career On". Business Insider. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Devindra Hardawar (22 August 2013). "Why did Appcelerator buy Singly? Because it wants to be the next Oracle". VentureBeat. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b John Foley (12 January 2008). "Startup Of The Week: Appcelerator Promises Faster RIA Development". Information Week. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Michelle Markelz (July 2013). "The Dawn of a Digital Ecosystem". Profile. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
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