There can only be One Mobile SDK

“Write Once, Run Mobile Apps Anywhere” say ex-Sun founders of Java SDK Codename One

Chris Mayer
codename-one

A familiar motto from two Sun veterans who have founded a new Java mobile SDK, set to go toe-to-toe with PhoneGap

Two former Sun Microsystems engineers have
reappeared
in the Java space
preaching a slightly modified version of
the Java mantra of old: “Write Once, Run Mobile Apps
Anywhere.”

Israeli company Codename One
is cooking up a new SDK that will allow Java developers to
write native applications across a number of mobile and tablet
platforms through one codebase.
So what marks this out
from PhoneGap, other than being Java-based?

Well, their API claims to offer
a vast abstraction of mobile device platforms
providing rich portable functionality”.
The SDK
supports iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows 7 and is designed to
translate Java
bytecode to C/Objective
code, then compiles the resulting amalgam to native apps
using
Xcode on Mac machines. This
according to the company creates iTunes-compliant applications,
which could be its crowning glory.

The option to launch an application concurrently is
incredibly enticing for any burgeoning startup, saving crucial time
in the development process. It could
also
instigate defragmentation, as they claim to be able to create
core components without having to enter into the world of native
widgets. That’s a big plus point for some.

The two founders of Codename One are Chen Fishbein and Shai
Almog, both considered hardened
Java
veterans – after all Fishbein kicked off development of the
Lightweight User Interface Toolkit (LWUIT), which became the
Lightweight UI toolkit for Java ME.  Probably the best
grounding you could ask for a Java mobile cross-platform project
like this.

Codename One has been knocking around for a few months now,
but only in the past week has their media profile been pushed, and
with that comes community praise and rage in equal measure. When
you’ve been slaving away for so long tinkering with the product,
you can be forgiven for that.

“Chen and I are thrilled to be releasing this
transformational technology that is filling a growing demand among
mobile developers,” Almog said in a statement, “The wasteful
reality of having to develop the same app multiple times due to the
variety of operating systems in the market is coming to a close.
With Codename One, developers can write applications just once and
run them everywhere.”

Although the SDK is still in beta, we’re excited to see what
the company has prepared for us. They’ve already touted numerous
Java 5 features, such as generics but what else does it have it
store? Industry juggernauts have already been wooed, including such
giants like Vodafone, Verizon and Intel all using it in production.
It will also be
interesting to see how it
fares against the already established PhoneGap in the space. It’s
going to come down to whether you’re dead set on using Java or
not…

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