Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cross-Platform Apps are easy with Intel XDK - Part 1

There are lots and lots of Apps. In fact there are over a couple of million Apps including all of the major brands, Apple, Google, Blackberry, Microsoft with Apple at the top and Microsoft in the bottom. But this is a growing market. The variety is truly bewildering, different size devices; different operating systems(OS); different programming languages;  and different orientations.

Windows Phone Apps is for example based on Microsoft's Window 7, 8, 8.1 OSs using .NET. With Windows OS and Visual Studio one can build Apps for all of Microsoft devices covering Phone, Tablet and Desktop. However Microsoft Windows Apps sans Html5/CSS/Javascript is OS specific. Even for apps built with Html5/CSS/Javascript the WinJS file is required (or recommended) in most cases.

Apple Apps can be used on both iPad and iPhone as long as certain files specific to each device profile is available, in general iPhone apps can be used on iPad but not the other way. However the so called iOS Universal apps can be used on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad (before the advent of iOS Universal there were two binaries created for each type). XCode/Interface Builder was used to create the iOS Universal. Although XCode, a superset of Objective-C makes this easy it is not straight forward mainly due to device size differences. Again Apple Apps are specific to devices running Apple iOS.

The same is true of Android Apps. It is built using Java in a multi-user Linux system. The recommended development platform is Eclipse. Read more here, http://developer.android.com/guide/components/fundamentals.html
Now how do you create a single app that work on all platforms? The answer is 'cross-platform' development. This post describes the Intel XDK which can be used to create HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript based apps that can be deployed to various platforms.

Start here:

This section describes Intel XDK and its installation

From here you can jumpstart your App development skills after downloading the Intel XDK. You can write once and deploy to several platforms.


It is generally argued that while HTML5/CSS3/Javascript is a good option to create cross-platform apps it is only suitable for some simple, inexpensive apps. In order to buld more complex apps you need a single language to access the 'native apis'. Hardware specific apis are accessed
by a variety of languages like Java, .NET, Objective-C etc. There does not exist a single language to access the machine specific information for all platforms.

However, a large number of Apps fall into the 'inexpensive/simple apps' that integrate many of the social media applications and in these cases the Html5/CSS/Javascript is more than adequate. Apps based on HTML5 can also contribute to the number of apps in a store to improve the perceived lack of apps for Windows for example. Well at the end of the day quality and not quantity of apps that matters

What is Intel XDK?

Open Source PhoneGap (http://phonegap.com/) technology was instrumental in getting AppMobi (http://www.appmobi.com/) to use HTML5 for App development. Intel came along and acquired AppMobi and it was renamed XDK. Perhaps it then went rounds of revisions and tweaks to become Intel XDK. Right now in preview but will be a full fledged tool one day soon.


This video explains the Open Source PhoneGap.




BTW PhoneGap is free and you can download from the PhoneGap Site.
Here is a screen shot of Intel XDK homepage:



Intel XDK is free and can be downloaded from here,

http://xdk-software.intel.com/

for Windows 7, Windows 8, Apple OSX and Ubuntu Linux.

The installer Intel's Software Install Assistant installs xdk_web_win_master_0876 (~90MB); file version 1.0.9.38
Just double click the installer.


After extraction is completed the Welcome page is displayed.


In the Welcome Page click Next. Here you choose the destination. Default was chosen here.


Click Next to get to the installation summary page.


Click Install.
Installation begins..



Pretty soon it is completed. Very uneventful installaiton.


Click Finish and you are done.
The first time you use it you will have to login into Intel XDK.
Then provide the required information


That's it. Now you are ready to develop.
Watch future Intel XDK posts on
http://hodentek.blogspot.com and/or
http://hodentekMobile.blogspot.com

Want to create your first app from scratch?

Click here.

Want to create a Web App with Intel XDK?
 
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