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Google's latest purchase

Form – Developing for mobile with your mobile

Coman Hamilton
The six-strong RelativeWave team – Image via relativewave.com

A team of six developers have built an impressive tool to help app designers see what their app will look like before they even begin coding. In fact it’s so productive that Google just bought the company.

At the centre of mobile development, there is a major irony. Mobile developers spend most of their time developing from a desktop computer, and not on a mobile device.

That’s where things are starting to change, thanks to a new tool called Form, first launched in September this year.

Less than three months later, the company has already been sucked up into the Google mothership. So what is it about this mobile tool that makes it so interesting to Google?

An app viewer – not an app builder

The aim of Form is to help iOS developers get a sense for what their app’s design will feel like in practice. TechCrunch’s Greg Kumparak explains it as somewhere between the brainstorming and the working prototype:

If doodling on a napkin is a 1 and actually coding the app is a 10, building a prototype with Form is somewhere around a 6.

Using both an app for iOS and an OS X app, developers can create a quick mockup of their smartphone or tablet app. Developers can share their demos with the community via the RelativeWave forum and get inspired by other projects.

Teams can also view the prototype in real-time, which runs simultaneously on multiple devices. Best of all, the prototypes are native to iOS, meaning they can even make use of hardware like sensors and the device’s camera.

form

Form’s building blocks for enabling interaction are called Patches. (via relativewave.com)

Coinciding with RelativeWave’s entry into Googledom, the creators have also made the app available for free for Mac users. The Form development team assures users that anyone who previously paid the $80 fee for the tool will be refunded.

RelativeWave claim that working with Google will help them “get Form in the hands of as many people as possible.”

We’ve just scratched the surface with prototyping. With the help of Google, we’ll be focused on improving the state of design and development tools.

Hold on–isn’t Form just for iOS developers? What does Google want with the tools of the enemy? Our guess is that RelativeWave is already busy working with Google on an Android version of Form.

Author
Coman Hamilton
Coman was Editor of JAXenter.com at S&S Media Group. He has a master's degree in cultural studies and has written and edited content for numerous news, tech and culture websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies.

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