Krause brings the rhymes

EclipseSource shows off native RAP clients for iOS and Android

LouisGoddard
RAP-mobile

Preview clients have been released to selected developers, but they’re not open source

EclipseSource has launched a developer preview
programme
and project site for its newly-official extension of
the Rich Ajax Platform (RAP) for mobile devices, known as ‘RAP
mobile’. Registered and approved developers are now able to
download preview versions of the platform’s native clients for iOS
and Android, which allow mobile devices to run apps written using
pure Java/SWT.

Writing in a
post
on the official EclipseSource blog, CEO Jochen Krause runs
us through the familiar conundrum of mobile development, listing
developers’ three options as “HTML5, development for each platform
or making a bet on which will be the most successful.” He describes
RAP mobile as a fourth option which “gives us some key advantages
over the alternatives”:

First, it allows multi-platform development in Java. It uses the
iOS and Android native widget toolkits for rendering the user
interface with optimal performance and native look and feel. And,
it provides a mature and Open Source platform for writing and
deploying business applications on standard JEE servers. It also
provides a solution for common data security concerns with mobile
devices.

While it certainly sounds convenient for established Java devs,
the closed nature of the platform is likely to put some people off.
Asked whether the iOS and Android clients are open source, Krause

explains
that, unlike the RAP server and the existing
browser-based client, the lion’s share of the native code is being
kept in-house at EclipseSource. “We are planning to open source
parts of the native clients that are useful for native
development,” he claims, but RAP mobile is, for better or for
worse, a commercial offering.

With the core RAP platform boasting a dedicated user base among
enterprise-focused Java developers, RAP mobile may just take off,
particularly as an environment for rapid development of specialised
or niche business apps. For larger projects, though, we expect that
hands-on native development will continue to hold sway for the
foreseeable future.

As with cross-platform visual environments like
LiveCode
, performance issues and bloat are always going to be
the flip-side of convenience and ease of deployment. Ultimately,
there’s no substitute for getting down to the nuts and bolts of a
device.

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