Only Java allowed

Cross-platform mobile toolkit Codename One jumps out of beta

Chris Mayer
codename-one1

The mobile development platform purely for Java developers has released its first version, following impressive growth.

Off the back of 100,000 downloads, Codename
One
has unleashed the first stable version of
their mobile development platform for Java developers.

Arriving back in June 2012 in beta form, the Java SDK from
the Tel-Aviv startup generated plenty of intrigue, allowing
developers to write native apps for a variety of mobile platforms,
including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.

This normally isn’t possible in a single codebase, but
Codename One keeps true to the Java motto of ‘write once, run
anywhere’. Unlike competing cross-platform mobile toolkits, the
platform avoids using HTML5 and other technologies in favour of
Java.

By avoiding using native widgets, users must craft components
from scratch, which is a big drawback – although Codename
One
put a positive spin on it by insisting
that this approach enables them to avoid
fragmentation.

Co-founders Shai Almog and Chen Fishbein, well known for
their work
on Sun Microsystems’
Lightweight User Interface Toolkit (LWUIT), have decided
that
after six months’
development and feedback, the time is right to
release a stable version. The company claim that with over 1,000
native apps built so far, Codename One is one of the ‘fastest’
growing toolkits of its kind and
, even more
controversially,
“on par with native OS
toolkits”
.

“We have been thrilled with the success of our beta launch
and are very excited to release the much-awaited 1.0 version,”
explained Almog.


Speaking to JAXenter
in September, Almog was
confident that the Java community would “embrace” this new approach
to writing mobile apps.

“I think that the pain faced by developers is very obvious
and many want to solve it […] I think our product and its
potential speak for themselves. I don’t think anyone has an
offering remotely like ours.”

The Codename One plugin is available for two of the most
popular IDEs in the market, Eclipse and Netbeans, and can be

downloaded
for free alongside enterprise
pricing
.

The platform has a shot of becoming an important tool in a
developer’s arsenal, yet it may have arrived too late, lost in the
noise of PhoneGap and Appcelerator. However, Codename One‘s
impressive growth in six months does suggest there is room

for a Java-only alternative.

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