Companies eager to get to involved with iPhone apps can be put off by the time to learn, retrain and reskill developers into the Objective C language and syntax. Increasingly, companies are looking at alternatives to Objective C / native code.
Driven by a “time to market” need, or other pressures, developers (even myself) have been looking at alternatives to the native platform.
Both platforms are open source development frameworks for building cross-platform mobile apps.
Although I won’t be doing a comparison of the two platforms (there is already a great thread on StackOverflow and ManiacDev on this), I’m wanting to cover some issues that I feel the Appcelerator team need to address.
My problem with Appcelerator really can be summarized in this bullet point list.
- The API documentation is not informative enough and lacks samples, in addition the video demonstrations cost money.
- There is no official dedicated technical developer team on the forums.
There are literally hundreds of questions which could easily be resolved if there was a developer team that actually responded to developer’s questions
- Can Appcelerator handle large databases? And what is the best practice for handling large databases using Appcelerator?
- The forum design is really poor. There is a voting system which is never used and seems to have higher prominence than the actual number of replies that a forum thread has garnered
- The desktop API, the API that allows you to make cross-platform desktop apps has been neglected, so has its video screencasts. But it is something they are addressing.
Is Appcelerator viable? Yes, if your app is reasonable in size; if you’re trying to build a game, or large database heavy application then its possibly not the right option.
Despite my frustrations with Appcelerator, its a very good application. You can build native applications that look, feel, act and deploy as native iPhone applications.
If time to market is important to you, take a look at Phonegap, Appcelerator, Corona, or one of the many other frameworks out there.