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Cross-Platform Developer Tools 2012 is the seminal report on the landscape of 100+ cross-platform developer tools with an analysis of key vendors and the metrics of developer experience. (download at ...

Cross-Platform Developer Tools 2012 is the seminal report on the landscape of 100+ cross-platform developer tools with an analysis of key vendors and the metrics of developer experience. (download at www.CrossPlatformTools.com)

Cross-Platform Tools 2012 is the first major report that analyses the complex cross-platform tools landscape, presents the key tools vendors and maps out the trends in one of the hottest markets in mobile. This report presents developer perceptions about a wide range of key issues, from incentives and deterrents to cross-platform tool use to the most-wanted tool features. Our research profiles 15 well-known cross-platform vendors and tools with regard to their technology, positioning and market traction.

For more info and in-depth data, drop us a line at hello (at) visionmobile.com

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Vision mobile cross-platform_developer_tools_2012 Vision mobile cross-platform_developer_tools_2012 Document Transcript

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  • 12 About VisionMobile Chapters VisionMobile is a leading market analysis and strategy firm, 1. Why cross-platform tools are here to disrupt the for all things connected. We offer competitive analysis, status quo market due diligence, industry maps, executive training and strategy, on topics ranging from the industrys hottest trends 2.The landscape of 100+ cross-platform vendors and to under-the-radar market sectors. Our mantra: distilling their tools market noise into market sense. 3. Measuring the developer experience and VisionMobile Ltd. perceptions of cross-platform tools 90 Long Acre, Covent Garden, 4. In-depth profiles for 15 major tool vendors London WC2E 9RZ +44 845 003 8742 5. The outlook for cross-platform tools www.visionmobile.com/blog Follow us: @visionmobile Behind this report About webinos Lead researcher: Seth Jones This research was supported by webinos, an EU-funded project under the EU FP7 ICT Programme (#257103). Quantitative analysis: Christina Voskoglou Webinos is an EU-funded project aiming to deliver a Market trends: Michael Vakulenko platform for web applications across mobile, PC, home media (TV) and in-car devices.VisionMobile is a member of Sales and sponsorships: Vanessa Measom the webinos consortium. More info at www.webinos.org Editorial: Andreas Constantinou License Marketing & Proj. Management: Matos Kapetanakis Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Any reuse or remixing of the work should Also by VisionMobile be attributed to the VisionMobile The Clash of Ecosystems report. Mobile Industry Atlas | 5th Edition The complete map of the mobile industry Copyright © VisionMobile 2012 landscape, mapping 1,700+ companies across 90+ market sectors. Disclaimer Available in wallchart and online version. www.visionmobile.com/maps VisionMobile believes the statements contained in this publication to be based upon information that we consider reliable, but we do not represent that it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied upon as such. Opinions expressed are current opinions as of the date appearing on this publication only, and the information, including the opinions contained herein, are subject to change without notice. Use of this publication by any third party for whatever purpose should not and does not absolve such third party from using due diligence in verifying the publication’s contents. VisionMobile disclaims all implied warranties, including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. VisionMobile, its affiliates and representatives shall have no liability for any direct, incidental, special, or consequential damages or lost profits, if any, suffered by any third party as a result of decisions made, or not made, or actions taken, or not taken, based on this publication. v.1.00 2
  • 12 Key Messages - Cross-platform tools are addressing real challenges for developers Cross-platform tools (CPTs) allow developers to create applications for multiple platforms - usually mobile, but increasingly tablets or TV screens - from almost the same codebase or from within the same design tool. CPTs reduce the cost of platform fragmentation and allow developers to target new platforms at a small incremental cost. More importantly, cross-platform tools allow software companies targeting multiple platforms to reuse developer skills, share codebases, synchronise releases and reduce support costs. - PhoneGap and Sencha lead developer mindshare Our survey of over 2,400 developers revealed that PhoneGap and Sencha lead in terms of mindshare, as they are currently used by 32% and 30% of cross-platform developers, irrespective of their primary tools. Completing the top-5 ranking of our Mindshare Index are Xamarin’s MonoTouch / Mono for Android, Appcelerator and Adobe (Flex). The second half of the top-10 CPTs in terms of current use are Unity, Corona, AppMobi, RunRev and MoSync. - PhoneGap, Mono and Unity lead developer IntentShare. Our survey indicates that PhoneGap (23%), Xamarin Mono (22%) and Unity (22%) are the tools most developers plan to adopt, irrespective of their primary tool. This market is in constant flux, with developers experimenting and trying out new tools – for example PhoneGap is a stepping stone to cross-platform development as it leads Mindshare, IntentShare, but also comes third in the tools being abandoned. The most widely used CPT accounts for just half of the Mindshare seen in the iOS and Android platforms in our Developer Economics 2011 report. - Cross-platform tools flatten the playing field Just as the Apple/Google duopoly began to look impenetrable in 2011, a major disruption is flattening the playing field for competitors like Microsofts WP7, RIM’s BlackBerry OS and Samsungs Bada: cross-platform tools are letting developers target multiple platforms with low incremental costs and high levels of code reuse. - Cross-platform tools challenge the Apple/Google duopoly 2012 marks an inflexion point in the war of mobile ecosystems where the network effects built by Apple and Google are being challenged by an unsuspected new entrant. Cross-platform tools (CPTs) make it easier for example for an iPhone developer to reach Android and Windows Phone 7 users. CPTs dilute network effects by allowing other ecosystems to compete not just in terms of the number of apps listed, but also the availability of top apps, the time-to- market (an app rarely appears at the same time across all platform app stores) and the overall app quality. - Democratisation of development The dozens of CPTs available cater to every developer segment, from creative designers to C++ gurus to hobbyist website enthusiasts to Fortune-500 CIOs. Cross-platform tools reduce barriers to entry and democratise app development, by allowing developers from any language (HTML, Java, C++), any background (hobbyist, pros, agencies, corporates) and any skill level (visual designer to hard-core developer) to build mobile apps. The result could be termed a “democratisation” of software development (in the words of Unity’s Dan Adams), in that mobile platforms may be opened up to all types of developers. - Past the early-adopter chasm We have identified over 100 cross-platform developer tools, in a market that’s booming with new players in 2011. Cross-platform tools have passed the “early adopter” phase, and are now moving into mainstream. For example vendor Sencha counts 1.6 million SDK downloads, Corona apps have reportedly been downloaded 35 million times in 2011, Unity reports 200,000 developers active each month, while Appcelerator boasts 35,000 apps published using the tool and deployed on 40 million devices. - Mergers, financings and the survival of the strongest Since 2011, cross-platform tool vendors have raised major VC funding, have been acquired, or achieved major releases. In the CPT space we have tracked 10 acquisitions, and over US$ 200 million in funding rounds. This is a market that takes cash to survive: CPT vendors are subsidizing their entry to market with free products, based on ample VC funding. For example OpenPlug ceased operations as it failed to find a monetisation model, with its key challenge 3
  • 12 being the conversion of freemium users into paying customers for its support and professional services. CPT vendors without a compelling free product will be washed out by the competition. - Abundant developer volatility The cross-platform tools market is in a state of abundant developer volatility. Our survey revealed that developers are hoping on and off across different tools. There are clear market winners or losers and experimentation is the only means of tool selection. This is a market where there is little developer loyalty, and perceptions are still being formed. This is a great time for well-funded vendors to establish a beachhead of developer marketing and inch themselves apart in terms of mindshare. - Cross-platform tools are taking HTML further than browsers can The purpose of HTML5 has been to extend the capabilities of web apps (those developed using HTML and JavaScript) to more closely match the capabilities of native apps. Despite performance disadvantages and fragmentation across different browser versions, HTML5 has emerged as the most widely supported authoring technology for cross-platform apps. Cross-platform tools are taking HTML further than web browsers can, by allowing web developers to create native smartphone apps. In other words, CPTs are taking HTML5 much further by unifying the authoring side- rather than the runtime side - of the app across platforms. - Cross-platform tools have triggered an influx of web developers to mobile CPTs are paving the way for HTML5 to become not a platform, but the mainstream development technology for smartphone apps. Cross-platform tools are already triggering an influx of web developers; We found that 60% of CPT users, irrespective of their primary tool, have more than five years experience in web development. Indeed, cross-platform tools have triggered an influx of web developers into mobile. - Cross-platform tools will complement, not compete with native development Android and Windows Phone have been constantly evolving, adding hundreds of new APIs from each major version to the next. Due to the rapid advancement of platforms, tools vendors will always be one or two steps behind in terms of features and access to the complete set of device capabilities. Developers that create demanding applications like 3D games or apps requiring intense user interaction, exceptionally deep user experience, or apps relying on specific features not available on all platforms will need to be developed using the native SDK. Cross-platform tools will therefore be complementary to native SDKs. - Hybrid apps combine the best of both worlds The perennial question for many developers is whether to use a web-browser approach to deploying mobile apps, or whether to create native applications. Web apps provide a large addressable market, at the cost of web-only distribution and a comparatively shallow experience. Native apps allow for much deeper device integration and experiences, but at the cost of a platform-specific addressable market. Hybrid apps – like those created with PhoneGap – can combine the best of both worlds. Hybrid apps can use web languages, can be distributed through an app stores and can provide deeper experiences than web-only apps. - Access to additional platforms is main adoption driver The most important CPT selection criterion for developers is the breadth of platforms that the tool supports, cited by nearly 60% of respondents. The ability to tap into existing developer skills is the second most important reason for tool selection. - Monetisation is least important criterion What’s notable is that monetisation opportunities are the least important selection criterion. It is therefore evident that developers consider CPTs as a technical means to cross-platform portability, and not as a way to profit. - Performance and platform latency are key challenges The biggest barrier to mass adoption of cross-platform tools is feature parity with the native platforms. In his open letter to Adobe, Jobs criticised cross-platform tools for lack of performance and sluggishness in adopting the latest platform features. Indeed, the same issues were cited by developers in our survey as some of the most important reasons for dropping a tool. Performance was the top reason for dropped a tool, cited by 29% of respondents. More importantly, the perception that “cross-platform tools are always a step behind native” was selected as a top-2 reason for not using CPTs in the first place. - Developer maturity With such a broad variety of cross-platform tools, we would expect developers to use them at varying stages of their application projects. Yet, the overriding use case - 75% of respondents 4
  • 12 irrespective of primary tool - was using CPTs from start to finish, to fully develop an app for multiple platforms As such we see a high level of practicality and commercial acumen in the use of cross-platform tools; developers are now using CPTs at the very beginning of the app lifecycle - to create cross-platform apps from scratch or to prototype - and not to retrofit an app onto a new platform. - Cross platform tools will become “business as usual” As the platform landscape remains fragmented for the foreseeable future, cross-platform tools will become “business as usual” The future of mobile development is multi-platform – fewer and fewer developers will be able to afford to be confined to a single platform with the limited user reach and monetisation opportunities that implies. The adoption of cross-platform tools is driven by the ability to reach masses of users, which is the primary consideration for most developer segments. Cross-platform tools are indeed the only cost-effective vehicle for these developers to reach a wide mass of users, and we expect CPT usage to become commonplace a result. - Changing points of CPT competition At the onset of 2012, CPT developer selection criteria are heavily skewed towards the breadth of platforms supported by each tool. This picture will change considerably as cross-platform tools vendors advance their products to cover all the major mobile platforms. We expect that by mid-2013, the platforms covered by a CPT will move from a point of differentiation to a point of parity. In that timeframe, we expect the points of competition to move to later stages of the app lifecycle, with vendors offering component marketplaces, end-to-end workflow tools, device adaptation tools, app publishing services and post-download services. - Cross-platform tools expand to new verticals In the sea of 100+ cross-platform tools, vendors are beginning to differentiate by targeting three distinct developer segments: those working on games, enterprise or media apps. Developers in these three segments face distinctly different challenges, work in distinctly different environments and as such need very different CPT solutions. As tool vendors try to survive in the “red ocean” of dozens of cross-platform tools, we expect CPTs to emerge for the financial sector, media publishers and the healthcare/medical sector. - Multi-screen is the next frontier for cross-platform tools The battle of the software ecosystems is raging across many screens - mobile, tablet, PC and soon smart TV devices - and multi-screen will be the next frontier for cross-platform tools. Already in our survey, 27% of respondents noted that they also target Windows PC and 24% target Mac desktops with their main cross-platform tool. However, the complexities of cross-platform development in a multi-screen environment are growing exponentially and beyond the simple sharing of the code between multiple platforms. Different screen types have different interaction models, input methods, screen sizes, go-to-market channels and pricing models, while developers working on different screens have use varying tool-chains, development cycles and collaboration processes. With the proliferation of users who own more than one connect screen, the next frontier for cross-platform tools will be multi-screen. 5
  • 12 About The Cross-Platform Tools Report Welcome to the inaugural Cross-Platform Tools Report for 2012. This is the seminal report on the landscape of 100+ cross-platform developer tools with an analysis of key vendors and the metrics of developer experience. Cross-Platform Tools 2012 is the first major report that analyses the complex cross- platform tools landscape, presents the key tools vendors and maps out the trends in what is one of the hottest markets in mobile. The term “cross-platform tools” describes developer tools that allow applications to be created and distributed to multiple platforms while reducing the incremental cost per platform and maximising the code reuse. Cross-platform tools can address platforms across mobile (e.g. Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft Windows Phone 7), tablets, desktop (Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX, Linux) and gaming consoles (PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox). ‘Cross-platform tools’ is a broad landscape that spans from JavaScript frameworks to source code translators. The tools cater to a broad range of developer audiences, from newbie developers to seasoned C++ gurus. This report presents developer perceptions about a wide range of key issues, from incentives and deterrents to cross-platform tool use to the most-wanted tool features. Our research profiles 15 well-known cross-platform vendors and tools with regard to their technology, positioning and market traction. Our Cross-Platform Tools report also investigates the top tools being used, identifying which tools are being adopted and which are being dropped by developers. This research is based on an online developer survey, as well as in-depth interviews with developers and tool vendors. There were more than 2,400 participants in the online survey, from 91 countries across the globe, spanning from the major US and European regions to Malawi, Uzbekistan and Jamaica. There were also 15 interviews carried out with major tool vendors, as well as developers. This report is split into five chapters - an discussion of why cross-platform tools have come about, a review of the cross-platform tools landscape, an analysis of the developer experience and perceptions, a detailed review of cross platform tool vendors and an analysis of market trends. Hope you enjoy reading this report as much as we enjoyed writing it! The VisionMobile team - Andreas, Matos, Christina, Michael, Seth, Vanessa www.visionmobile.com | twitter: @VisionMobile Thank you! We would like to thank our sponsors, who helped us bring this project to life and supported us throughout its course. We would like to particularly thank Marmalade, RunRev LiveCode, Verizon Developer Community, Xamarin, AT&T, Appcelerator, Intel, MoSync, Orange Partner and WIP. We would also like to thank Paulius Uza, CEO of development house InRuntime and Henry Kingman for their contribution. 6
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  • 12 Research Methodology The Cross-Platform Developer Tools 2012 project is based on a large-scale online developer survey and 15 vendor interviews. The survey was carried out for five weeks between November and December 2011. The survey gathered completed responses from a total of 2,406 participants across an impressive 91 countries. Respondents had primarily technical roles, with 75% identifying as software, mobile or web developers. Only small constituencies identified as managers, IT staff or designers. Mobile developers were mostly new to mobile, with 66% having up to two years of experience. In contrast, web developers were very experienced (53% having more than seven years experience) while software developers were seasoned pros (74% having more than seven years of experience). Cross-platform tools are indeed enabling major new segments of seasoned software and web developers to come to mobile. Similarly to previous Developer Economics reports, Europe and North America each accounted for about 40% of respondents, while Asia accounted for another 12%. 8
  • 12 The market of cross-platform tools is booming in 2012. We identified over 100 vendors selling tools that range from JavaScript frameworks and app factories to runtimes. For our survey, which seeks to quantify developer mindshare, experience and expectations, we selected 20 tools: Adobe (Flex), Appcelerator (Titanium), AppMobi, Bedrock (Metismo), Ansca (Corona), DragonRad, Kony, Marmalade, MoSync, Netbiscuits, Alcatel Lucent (OpenPlug), PhoneGap, RhoMobile, RunRev (LiveCode), Sencha Touch / jQTouch, Strobe/Sproutcore, Unity, Unreal, Worklight and Xamarin (MonoTouch/Droid). We were also able to extract insights for Qt, which formed part of the “other” tool category for over 50 respondents. The previous graph shows the distribution of 2,406 respondents by primary cross-platform tool. Participation rates were skewed by promotional campaigns some survey sponsors ran to encourage survey participation. We removed the bias effects of these campaigns by normalising all graphs against the top-10 primary cross-platform tools or other survey parameters with over 50 unique responses. To arrive at our tool MindShare, IntentShare and abandonment rankings, we asked developers to indicate, for each one of twenty listed tools, which ones they had used but dropped, which they continue to use, and which they plan to adopt in the future. The resulting 1,713 responses were then cross-tabulated for the top- 10 major tools. These cross-tabs enabled us to normalize usage, intent and abandonment more or less independently from the respondent sample size and the primary tool used by respondents. Note that while the report was sponsored by many industry players, none of the sponsors had editorial influence or control over the report. 9
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  • 12 The cross-platform Gold Rush 2012 marks an inflexion point in mobile platforms. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platform have been propelled to previously unimaginable heights, amassing over 540,000 and 350,000 listed applications, respectively, from hundreds of thousands of developers, as of the end of 2011. Thanks to so-called network effects, Apple and Google have built huge barriers to entry for competitors like Microsoft, who having spent over US$1 billion in marketing, still lag a few laps behind. However, just as the Apple/Google duopoly began to look impenetrable, a major disruption is flattening the playing field for competitors like Microsofts WP7 and Samsungs Bada: cross-platform tools are letting developers target multiple platforms with low incremental costs and high levels of code reuse. Simply put, cross-platform developer tools (CPTs) allow developers to create applications for multiple platforms from almost the same codebase or from within the same design tool. The impact of CPTs is twofold; they can reduce entry barriers to mobile development and, if successful, reduce exit barriers (‘lock-in’) that users face when migrating to a new platform. Democratisation of development First, cross-platform tools allow developers to reach platforms they otherwise could not. CPTs lower entry barriers, for example allowing web developers to create native smartphone apps using only HTML and JavaScript. They can provide easy-to-use languages and development tools, and facilitate modular development and software component reuse. Some tools also allow developers to use the same codebase to target multiple screens – and not just different mobile phones, but also tablets, games consoles, desktops and TVs. The result could be termed a “democratisation” of software development (in the words of Unity’s Dan Adams), in that platforms may be opened up to all types of developers. Reducing developer lock-in The second impact of cross-platform tools is strategic. CPTs reduce platform exit barriers, i.e., “developer lock-in.” For example, they make it easier for a developer to code for Android and Windows Phone 7 at the same time as iPhone. App ecosystems compete in four arenas: the number of apps listed, availability of top apps, time-to-market (an app rarely appears at the same time across all platform app stores) and overall app quality. In theory, cross-platform tools make it far easier for platforms with weaker network effects (e.g., Bada) to compete, by allowing developers to code for Bada essentially at the same time as they code for Android. In other words, cross-platform tools can help smaller platforms to compete not just in number of applications, but also app availability, time-to-market and quality. Apple famously tried to increase developer lock-in to Apple’s XCode tools and iOS APIs by banning Adobe’s Flash runtime from iDevices – and very successfully so. But, cross-platform tools make it easier to circumvent Apple’s pre-load and app store restrictions, by packaging the runtime with the app or by translating a platform-neutral codebase into native code at build time. As we shall see, 2012 marks a year of technological maturity for cross-platform tools. The older approach of using a “lowest common denominator” like Flash or Java has lost favour to newer approaches based on thin runtimes, cross-compilers, and hybrid web apps. Tools once criticised for teething problems have in 2011 raised major VC funding, been acquired, or achieved major releases. For example, MoSync 2.7 enabled web coding and, along with Marmalade, added real native UI elements. Meanwhile, Sencha is readying Touch version 2.0, featuring its own web wrapper solution and a streamlined build process. Others, such as the LiveCode Android deployment pack and Mono for Android, were only officially released to market in 2011. In parallel, the HTML5 umbrella of technologies is inching past the peak of inflated expectations and towards the trough of disillusionment (in Gartner’s Hype Cycle terms). HTML5 has yet to really become a platform; it lacks essentials like implementation consistency, mainstream distribution channels (a.k.a. app stores), and any means of micro-monetisation other than mobile ads. Yet, thanks to cross-platform tools, HTML5 (including JavaScript) is making mobile app inroads. There are tens of tools aimed at helping web 11
  • 12 developers use existing skills to build ‘native’ or ‘hybrid’ smartphone apps. Those discussed in this report include Appcelerator, PhoneGap, Rhodes, Sencha 2.0 and Worklight. Meanwhile, mobile frameworks are arriving that aim to help web apps offer a “near native” user experience. These include jQuery Mobile, Sencha, iUI, and – for gaming – Impact.js. CPTs are paving the way for HTML5 to become not a platform, but the mainstream development technology for smartphone apps. Ups and downs in the cross-platform space This report is written at a time of great flux for cross-platform development. Acquisitions, divestments and funding rounds are taking place all over the radar. Adobe’s Flash, the venerable cross-platform solution, faces retirement, with Adobe announcing in November, 2011, that it will cease development of the Flash plugin for mobile browsers. In parallel it is planning to retire the Flex SDK in favour of ActionScript-only development. Cross-platform tools vendors acquired since mid-2011 include RhoMobile, Metismo, Aptana, ParticleCode, Nitobi, Strobe and Worklight. Open-Plug, acquired by Alcatel Lucent in 2010, had to discontinue its product due to lack of revenues (see the case study later in this chapter). Meanwhile Sencha, a high-profile JavaScript framework for creating native, touchscreen UIs, closed two VC funding rounds in 2010 and 2011, to the tune of US$29 million. The next three tables list the main acquisitions, exits and VC financings, respectively, in the cross-platform tools space. MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS IN THE CROSS-PLATFORM TOOLS SPACE Company Product & type Acquirer Date Aptana Development environment Appcelerator Jan-11 Metismo Bedrock Java-to-native source code translator Software AG May-11 TapJS Game hosting platform and API AppMobi Jun-11 TapLynx App factory Push IO Jun-11 RhoMobile Rhodes enterprise apps framework Motorola Solutions Jul-11 Particle Code Source code translator Appcelerator Oct-11 Nitobi PhoneGap tool for creating web hybrid apps Adobe Oct-11 Strobe Web app framework and app management Facebook Nov-11 platform Cocoafish Post-download app services Appcelerator Feb-12 Worklight Enterprise app platform IBM Feb-12 Source: VisionMobile research Investment floods in As financiers scout for the next hockey-stick curve, cross-platform tools have popped up in their radar, raising over US$200 million. Backed by significant venture capital funding, Appcelerator is playing the role of consolidator, acquiring Particlecode, Aptana and Cocoafish as it moves to provide a more end-to-end solution across the app lifecycle. Worklight gained a major US$21 million boost before being sold to IBM, while Pyxis raised US$17 million and was renamed to Verivo. 12
  • 12 VC FINANCINGS IN THE CROSS PLATFORM TOOLS SPACE Company Major Investors Investment rounds Date Ansca Mobile Merus Capital Undisclosed Undisclosed Appcelerator Storm Ventures, Larry Augustin, US$4.1 million December 2008 Sierra Ventures, eBay, Mayfield US$2.1 million June 2010 Fund US$9 million October 2010 Translink Capital US$1 million January 2011 Red Hat US$15 million November 2011 Apperian Common Angels, North Bridge US$ 1 million July 2009 Venture Partner, Bessemer US$ 0.5 million December 2010 Venture Partners US$ 9.5 million March 2011 AppMobi Undisclosed US$2.1 million July 2009 US$6 million January 2011 GameSalad Inc. Steamboat Ventures US$1 million July 2010 Greycroft Partners US$6.1 million March 2011 DFJ Mercury DFJ frontier FF Venture Capital Get It Mobile Javelin Venture Partners US$1.1 million February 2011 Kony Solutions Insight Venture Partners US$19.1 million January 2011 Papaya Mobile Doll Capital Managment US$4 million January 2010 Keytone Ventures US$18 million April 2011 Pyxis (now Verivo) Egan Managed Capital US$5.2 million September 2005 Ascent Venture Partners US$1.95 million December 2007 Commonwealth Capital US$17 million January 2012 Sencha Led by Sequioa Capital and US$14 million June 2010 Radar Ventures US$15 million October 2011 Led by Jafco Ventures Service2media Prime Ventures US$10 million June 2011 Newion Investments StackMob Trinity Ventures US$7.5 million May 2011 Harrison Metal Capital Baseline Ventures Unity Led by Sequoia Capital US$5.5 million October 2009 Technologies Led by WestSummit Capital & US$12 million July 2011 iGlobe Partners Unwired Nation DFJ Mercury US$6.5 million January 2006 US$7.5 million January 2012 Worklight (now Index Ventures, Genesis US$5.1 million September 2006 IBM) Partners, Shlomo Kramer US$12 million April 2008 Pitango Venture Capital source: VisionMobile research, Crunchbase 13
  • 12 Divestments in the CPT landscape: the case of OpenPlug Alongside the rosy investments and buyouts, there have been a few grey fatalities in the cross-platform tool speed race. In September, 2010, Alcatel-Lucent acquired OpenPlug. The telco infrastructure vendor hoped to build a strategic platform between telcos and developers. A little over a year later, in December 2012, OpenPlug announced it was discontinuing operations, having failed to attract enough developers. The company had originally an embedded software background, and had built an operating system for feature phones called ELIPS Suite, which started shipping in significant volumes in 2008, notably with Sony Ericsson. By that time, handset OEMs were however shifting their focus away from feature phones and racing to adopt Android in their smartphone range to counterbalance the increasing competition posed by Apples iPhone. As a result, OpenPlug pivoted to a cross-platform runtime and toolset, released in beta at the Adobe MAX 2009 conference under the ELIPS Studio name. It was targeting Adobe developers seeking to extend their reach beyond desktops to smartphones. That was mistimed, with the product being announced on the very same day as Adobe¹s Flash packager for iPhone and AIR for Mobile. ELIPS Studio was using Adobes rich internet application framework (Flex and MXML) which was then starting to be challenged by HTML5, and is now being phased out by Adobe. OpenPlug was also criticised for failing to respond to numerous developer requests to make their toolset more compatible with Adobes MXML and AIR APIs. Ultimately OpenPlug failed to find a monetisation model, with its key challenge being the conversion of freemium users into paying customers for its support and professional services. The challenges were exacerbated by competitors like Appcelerator who – thanks to ample VC funding – gave the product away for free. Unlike others, OpenPlug also lacked any cloud services offering, which could have provided a complementary up-selling opportunity. Being part of Alcatel-Lucent, an operator-focused vendor, certainly did not help OpenPlug to recruit developers. Instead, the company found that developers did not consider operators to be an important part of the mobile app ecosystem. Before discontinuing operations, OpenPlug did amass 22,000 registered developers; however, only a minority were active users who went beyond just creating a “hello world” application. Past the early adopter stage Cross-platform tools have passed the “early adopter” phase, and are now moving into mainstream. One tool vendor – Sencha – claims a developer base of 1.6 million, along with 300,000 registered community members. Games development platform Unreal has seen 1 million unique installs of its SDK, it says. Unity has seen major growth in 2011 as well, and is now claiming 800,000 registered developers, including 200,000 active every month. Appcelerator spiked its user base from 250,000 by another 1.6 million by acquiring Aptana, and integrating its “Titanium” technology with the popular Aptana IDE. PhoneGap has been downloaded 600,000 times, and integrated with dozens of mobile application platforms and App builders. Cross-platform tools are making a consumer impact, too. Corona claims its tool has been used to create 6,000 apps, which have been collectively downloaded 35 million times in 2011. Appcelerator claims 35,000 apps and 40 million device deployments. CROSS-PLATFORM TOOLS TRACTION Tool Market Traction Reference Applications Adobe (Flash, 3,000,000 estimated developers Machinarium (iOS), eBay, BBC iPlayer AIR, Flex) Adobe claim 9/10 of the most popular Facebook games use Flash Ansca Mobile 100,000 downloads The Secret of Grisly Manor, Bubbleball 14
  • 12 (Corona) 10,000 developers (estimated) incl. 873 and Unicorn Studio. studios. Apps downloaded 35 million times in 2011 Appcelerator 250,000 through Titanium (pre Aptana) NBC iPad App, LEGOLAND, Zipcar, and 1,600,000 through Aptana IDE PwC’s MyTravel app. 35,000 apps published and deployed on 40 million devices Marmalade 50,000 developers installed base Plants vs. Zombies, Call of Duty: Black including EA and PopCap Ops: Zombies, Need for Speed Shift, Cut The Rope, Lara Croft Guardian of Light and Sim City Deluxe MoSync 180,000 downloads Enterprise apps, e.g., Gemalto, Intel, 20,000 registered users Navtech RhoMobile 100,000 downloads SuperTrainerHQ, Pilsner Urquell (now Motorola) Navigator, IPv6 World congress, Touristik Mainz PhoneGap 600,000 SDK downloads Netflix, LinkedIn and Ars Technica Reader for iPad Sencha 1,600,000 downloads Direct.TV app, Tours in Malta, Bugs in the 300,000 registered community members Garden and Just One More by Ribbit Unity 800,000 registered developers 200,000 iShadowgun, Battleheart, Gears, Samurai Technologies active each month. More than 87 million II and Snuggle Truck (Unity) total installs of the web player. 1,500 Unity based games in the iPhone App store source: VisionMobile research Behind the emergence of cross-platform tools Cross-platform tools have emerged to address three major market gaps that exist today in mobile apps development: dealing with platform fragmentation, accessing new platforms, and managing developer resources. Dealing with platform fragmentation Cross-platform tools have emerged as a solution to the problem of device and platform fragmentation. Java ME was supposed to address the tens of proprietary operating systems powering phones in the 2000s – but developers wound up having to support over 200 device variants (SKUs), just to reach 80% of the installed device base in any one country. Mobile web sites were another “lowest common denominator” approach hampered by poor browser conformance to web standards; even today, Internet Explorer on Windows Phone supports only half of the HTML5 features supported by Apple’s Safari on iDevices. In addition, HTML5 is still a long way from delivering app-like experiences, and requires expensive tweaking. Assanka, which made the popular Financial Times HTML5 app for iPad and Android tablets, said it took 24 man months (an estimated. US$400,000 cost) to create the iPad version of its HTML5 app, and another 12 man months to port the same app to Android. Besides fragmentation across devices, platform fragmentation is very pronounced. Android is notorious for its runtime fragmentation; in February, 2012, there were three different versions of the Android platform (API levels 7,8 and 10) in the installed base with a share of more than 2%. All three versions in the installed 15
  • 12 base are behind the latest release version at API level 15, with the interim API levels (11-14) targeted at tablets “Fragmentation is now a (Gingerbread release). 4D matrix” To combat fragmentation, cross-platform tools vendors have offered device optimisation and web re-rendering solutions Christopher Kassulke CEO of Handy Games in the cloud. Databases of device specifications and capabilities can be used to optimise image sizes, re-configure layouts and user interfaces, and implement workarounds or graceful functional degradation rather than forcing developers into a lowest common denominator approach. Traditionally, device capability databases were provided by pure-play vendors such as Wurlf, DotMobi and DetectRight. Increasingly, device databases are available from telco infrastructure players (e.g., WDS, Ericsson, mFormation, Ascom), telcos themselves (e.g., AT&T device capabilities API) as well as existing cross-platform tools (e.g., Netbiscuits, Mobile Distillery, Sevenval). BKRender, another cross-platform solution, provides a database of 6,000 devices and an HTTP reverse proxy to optimise mobile websites. A number of CPTs grew from the need to solve fragmentation issues for internal consulting projects. One such case is Enough Software, a provider of optimisation tools for Java ME apps. Enough Software exemplify what is a fairly typical path in the cross-platform tool space – starting with solving fragmentation issues they experience in their own projects before productising that know-how into a commercial tool. This was the evolution path followed by Pyxis (Verivo), Netbiscuits, Marmalade and DragonRad, among others. And while CPTs are beginning to solve platform fragmentation issues, new dimensions of fragmentation are emerging. “Fragmentation is now a 4D matrix” according to Christopher Kassulke, CEO of Handy Games who notes that developers now have to deal with fragmentation across software platforms, billing platforms (and pricing models), advertising platforms and social platforms. Access to new platforms and screens For the nearly 2,500 developers that participated in our online survey, we found that the most important factor in selecting a cross-platform tool is that it supports a broad range of platforms. Apart from the dominant iOS and Android platforms, many platforms are vying for runner-up positions – including Windows Phone 7, Bada, and BlackBerry, not to mention additional “screens”, i.e., desktop, gaming and set-top box platforms. We found that developers are using iOS or Android as the launchpad from which to then expand to new platforms; users of the popular Appcelerator and Marmalade tools responded that over 90% target iOS and over 80% target Android. Over 70% of CPT users target iOS, while over 60% target Android. In the VisionMobile Developer Economics 2011 report, we found that developers target an average of 3.2 platforms concurrently. Almost a year on, in the survey conducted as part of the cross-platforms report, we found that respondents are targeting an average of 3.8 platforms – a figure that increases to 4.5 platforms for those developers actively using cross-platform tools. In other words, cross-platform tools are proven to increase the number of platforms simultaneously catered to by developers. The increase in multi-platform “tenancy” is important from a cost perspective. For a developer, rewriting an application to target a new platform costs time and money. Often, targeting a new platform means adding more than 50% to the original development costs. Plus, with platform development locked to different app stores, app submission and marketing costs also increase. We also found that CPTs are being used to address new screens, i.e., new form factors and connected devices, desktops, set-top boxes and gaming consoles. In our survey, 27% of respondents noted that they also target Windows PC and 24% target Mac desktops with their main cross-platform tool. With Eric Schmidt predicting that more than half of TVs in North America in mid-2012 will be powered by Android, the ability to reach new screens is going to be a major driver for the growth of cross-platform tools. 16
  • 12 While our survey was conducted slightly before their sudden surge in hype, the smart TVs that emerged at the “We have found that by using end of 2011 did not show much momentum. Only a cross-platform tools our time single respondent requested support for smart TVs, to market is reduced by 70% while a few more mentioned SmartTV platforms like Google TV and LG TV. There were also several on average. We choose cross- mentions from developers supporting the Playstation3 platform tools even if we need and Vita, Xbox, and the MS Surface Table. Linux proved to build a single application for to be the most popular alternative platform that we had not identified, with 76 respondents noting that they a single platform” targeted the platform in embedded, server or desktop form. Paulius Uza CEO of InRuntime Managing development resources A third very important reason behind the emergence of cross-platform tools is the challenges in managing developer resources. Developing for mobile presents multiple operational issues for software houses, regardless of whether they are a one-man garage operation or a top-five multinational game software vendor. Each major smartphone, PC or games platform has its own authoring language, its own set of APIs, its own development environment and its own app store. The next table shows how much the major smartphone platforms differ. LANGUAGES & ENVIRONMENTS Platform Authoring language Dev Environment App store Android Dalvik Android Development Tool Android Market C and C++ (NDK) Plugin for Eclipse WebViews Other IDEs, e.g., IntelliJ, Netbeans. Visual Studio Bada C++ (proprietary Bada IDE based on Eclipse Samsung Apps extension) CDT and JSDT (JavaScript HTML, CSS, JS Development Tools) Blackberry C/C++ QNX Momentics IDE Blackberry App World Tablet OS Java Eclipse plug-ins Android Player Standard IDE & Webworks HTML5, CSS, tools JavaScript Blackberry J2ME MIDP 2.0 Eclipse plug-in Blackberry App World OS HTML WebWorks SDK iOS Objective C Mac with Xcode App Store WebViews Symbian C++ Carbide C++ IDE Ovi Store Qt Windows C#, VB.NET Visual Studio and Microsoft Windows Phone Marketplace Phone Silverlight framework tools such as Expression XNA framework Blend source: VisionMobile research 17
  • 12 Take for example a small apps company developing for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7. They would have to employ three teams of developers, as often, skillsets don’t mix. They would have to maintain three different codebases, and synchronize feature additions and bug fixes across the three. This is a daunting challenge, and one reason why many apps are launched across stores with months of delay. Furthermore, quality and design consistency will vary when multiple developer teams are involved, and especially when the development for a new platform is outsourced to a third party. Support costs are also difficult to contain when developing for multiple platforms, as developer documentation needs to be built for three platforms, as does the internal customer support documentation. Cross-platform tools therefore can provide major time-to-market advantages and cost savings to a software house. “We have found that by using cross-platform tools our time to market is reduced by 70% on average,” remarks Paulius Uza, CEO of development house InRuntime. He continues, “We choose cross- platform tools even if we need to build a single application for a single platform”. 18
  • 12 19
  • 12 Mapping the Cross-platform Tools Space The market of cross-platform developer tools has exploded in 2011. What used to be a niche market of few big players in 2005 (Adobe Flash Lite and Sun Java ME) has in 2012 mushroomed into a diverse market of over 100 smaller players. In this report, we’ve attempted to create order out of chaos and introduce a mapping of cross-platform developer tools (CPTs). We’ll examine the key components of a CPT, the five different technology approaches, the three forms of app deployment (native vs. web vs. hybrid) and the use cases. We’ll conclude with a full list of cross-platform tools. Anatomy of a cross-platform tool A cross-platform tool can have five components, which correspond to the five stages in the app lifecycle: develop, integrate, publish, deploy and manage. 20
  • 12 1. Develop. Cross-platform tools offer a plethora of authoring languages, from entry-level, simplified languages like LiveCode or Lua (e.g., Corona, DragonRad, Moai and Unity), to web languages HTML, CSS and JavaScript (e.g., Appcelerator, Application Craft, Kony, Spot Specific) to mid level languages like Java and C# /.NET (e.g., Xamarin MonoTouch) to more low level languages such as C++ (e.g., Qt, MoSync, Marmalade, Aqua Platform). Many tools offer a visual drag-and drop environment (e.g., Games Salad, Yo Yo Games Maker, LiveCode, Appcelerator, Spot Specific). Others have only a restrictive template-based app development process (e.g., iBuild App, Wix Mobile). Other tools target developers in specific segments; for example, Impact JS and Lime JS JavaScript frameworks target games developers, while RhoMobile and Worklight target enterprise developers. This gamut of CPT authoring languages caters to the entire spectrum of app developers, from scripters to seasoned web developers, and from creative designers to hard-core software developers. The IDE (integrated development environment), emulator and debugger are core parts of the Develop stage. The open source IDE Eclipse is most often used as a basis, as the development environment is cross- platform itself across PC, Mac and Linux. On top of Eclipse, vendors provide additional plugins and emulators. Some vendors offer an install-free, web-based development environment specially designed for enterprise developers or designers working for a brand. The Develop stage can also involve source control, collaboration and workflow tools. RhoMobile’s RhoHub uses Git repositories to manage source control and collaboration. Unity, Appcelerator and RunRev provide marketplaces where designers and developers can sell components and assets with the aim of helping others to speed up their development cycle with off-the-shelf components. Sencha soft-launched a similar component marketplace in November 2011, while Corona and Marmalade host a template repository and code community, respectively. 2. Integrate. This stage is about integrating with native device capabilities, cloud APIs and enterprise databases. To integrate with native device capabilities, a popular approach is to use JavaScript alongside the PhoneGap APIs and library, all of which are bundled together in a hybrid-native application. Worklight, AppMobi, Feedhenry and BKrender include PhoneGap functionality within their tools. MoSync and Qt use a similar approach of wrapping native APIs with an abstracted set of platform-independent APIs that the developer can call irrespective of the end platform being targeted. To integrate with native device capabilities, developers use the set of APIs defined by the tool in the tool’s coding language – for example JavaScript, Lua, LiveCode or C++. Similar functions on each target platform usually share the same tool-level API, allowing for a high level of code re-use for the business logic, but less so for the UI or hardware-specific features. For example, Mono Touch and Mono for Android do not share common UI APIs, nor do all device feature APIs map cleanly from one device to another. Apps can call the device functionality at runtime, with the call either translated at compilation, or passed through the bridge that the runtime provides to the underlying platform. Connecting to cloud APIs is another major part of the integration process. Cloud APIs are turning into a market segment of their own. Social gaming networks have become increasingly important to mobile developers, and this is not just Facebook or LinkedIn. The Apple Game Center, OpenFeint, Scoreloop, Skiller, Papaya Mobile and Swarm provide cloud-based APIs for social gaming. Social APIs are only a small part of the picture. There are over 14 vendors providing in-app billing and virtual goods platforms, including Bango, Social Gold and Paythru; more than 27 selling sales analytics tools such as App Annie, Distimo and Flurry; more than eight offering app diagnostics tools such as Bugsense and Testflight. A full list of vendors is available through VisionMobile’s Atlas service. There are, of course, signs of consolidation. Appcelerator in particular has its own analytics and monetization platform and acquired Cocoafish to integrate social sharing and push messaging features. 21
  • 12 Application platforms targeting enterprise (B2B) developers often provide services for managing database connectivity. RhoMobile offer the RhoConnect mobile app integration server, which provides data synchronisation by pushing out updates to the device as they happen on the backend. CPT offered by Antenna, Feedhenry, and Worklight provide similar integration middleware. Other notable cross-platform tools dedicated to enterprise development are Stackmob, Oracle (ADF), Aperra and Sybase (Unwired Platform). 3. Build. The build stage is where the cross-platform “magic” occurs. There are a number of different approaches for building the application. The two most popular are: compiling the code and UI templates directly to native platform binaries; or, packaging code in a native shell and interpreting through a runtime, which could be a ‘naked browser’ packaged with the code, or even the device’s own browser rendering engine. A number of different technology approaches for building cross-platform apps are discussed in the next section. 4. Publish. Publishing an app involves submitting it to the native app store (e.g., Apple App Store or Android Market) or publishing internally with the option of hosting on a private enterprise app store (e.g., with Feedhenry, Antenna, RhoMobile or Worklight). Many CPT products help to manage the App store publishing process to some degree; these include Sencha 2.0, AppMobi’s PhoneGap XDK, and RhoMobile’s RhoHub. Some vendors such as Appcelerator LiveCode and Corona will showcase apps on their websites, while Unity (with ‘Union’) also provide support for publishing to additional platforms. 5. Manage. “App management” functionality is typically offered by enterprise-targeted CPTs (e.g., Worklight, RhoMobile, Antenna, Feedhenry). It may include push messaging and data flow management, along with remote (un)installation, policy management, and inventory management. Management of commercial apps adds performance tracking (i.e., analytics tools) that may be provided by vendor partners. For example, Appcelerator deeply integrates its own analytics into Titanium, while Ansca Mobile integrates Flurry’s analytics APIs into its own Corona SDK. Technology approaches in cross-platform tools In our analysis of cross-platform tools, we have identified five distinct technology approaches being used: JavaScript frameworks, app factories, web-to-native wrappers, runtimes and source code translators. Each technology targets a slightly different developer audience - from non-developers to seasoned programmers - and address different application use cases. These technology approaches are not mutually exclusive; many tools use a combination of technologies. For example some runtime-based CPT solutions are adding a webview component, which enables them to create hybrid web app wrappers. JavaScript frameworks are code libraries designed to speed up complex web development tasks like managing touch-screen interactions, building cross-browser user interfaces, or managing games sprites. Example vendors are jQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, Cocos2D, DHTMLX Touch, Zepto JS, Impact.js, iUI and Wink. JavaScript frameworks target web developers looking to create touch UIs, achieve cross- platform browser compatibility, deliver native look and feel, or deliver complex game functionality. App factories are code-free, visual design tools for quickly building simple mobile applications. They consist of a development environment (installable or cloud-based) that uses template-based, drag and drop or wizard-based capabilities to generate the app code. At their simplest, app factories can be used to create RSS-based news readers or no-frills branded apps. At the next level up they provide a basic drag and drop designer. At their most advanced they provide a code-free, component-based design approach that includes device and cloud integration. App factories allow non-developers to “create their own app”. Some app factories allow developers to view and tweak the code generated by the tool. Others include a range of post-download services including analytics, push notifications and ad management. Examples include AppMkr, AppsGeyser, Wix Mobile, Tiggr, Mobile Nation HQ, Mobjectify, Red Foundry and Spot Specific. 22
  • 12 TECHNOLOGY APPROACHES IN CROSS PLATFORM TOOLS Type Description Examples Target Authoring Use cases audience language JavaScript JavaScript code jQuery Mobile, Web JavaScript Create touch UIs, frameworks modules delivering Sencha Touch, developers achieve cross- time-saving user Cocos2D, DHTMLX platform browser interface or other Touch, Zepto JS, compatibility, components ImpactJS, LimeJS, deliver native look iUI, Wink and feel, or deliver complex game functionality. App factories Code-free, visual AppMkr, Wix Non- Visual, “Create your own design tools for Mobile, Tiggzi, developers code-free app” easily building Mobile Nation HQ, tools mobile applications. Mobjectify, Spot Specific, Red Foundry, Games Salad Web-to-native Solutions to deliver Adobe (PhoneGap Web HTML, To convert web wrappers native apps using Build),Uxebu developers JavaScript, apps to native for HTML and (Aparrat.io) Sencha CSS app store JavaScript. The web (Touch v2) distribution, or to code is packaged MoSync access native device with a library that (Wormhole) functionality and bridges web code to optimisations. native functionality - all inside a native app shell. Runtimes A runtime execution J2ME, Adobe Air, Software Any Apps targeting a environment Ansca Mobile developers supported wide reach across abstracting the app (Corona), AppMobi, language platforms or across from the underlying Antix, Unity, screens platform. Appcelerator, Xamarin Source code Takes platform- MoSync, Eqela, Software Any Applications with translators independent source Marmalade, developers supported complex logic and code and converts it Bedrock, XMLVM language high performance to the source code of or optimisation the native requirements platform(s), or the source code is compiled directly into a binary. source: VisionMobile research Web-to-native wrappers are solutions to deliver native apps using web HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. The web code is packaged with libraries that bridge web code to native functionality – all inside a native app shell. Apps are written in web languages, and access a webView (a “chromeless” browser component) already on the device, plus JavaScript API extensions that let the app use platform capabilities beyond those normally exposed by the browser: notifications, accelerometer, compass, connectivity, geolocation, and the filesystem. The prime example of web-to-native wrappers is PhoneGap, as well as Uxebu’s Apparat.io and Sencha v2, which adds this wrapper functionality to the JavaScript framework. Another example is MoSync Wormhole, which delivers a greater set of API functionality than PhoneGap. Web-to-native wrappers target web developers who need to convert web apps to native for distribution through an app store, or access native device functionality and optimisations. 23
  • 12 Runtimes. A runtime is an execution environment and cross-platform compatibility layer that sits atop the native operating system. A runtime essentially shields the app from differences between underlying platforms. Runtimes vary in size and complexity, and execute code on the device using several different methods – virtualization, interpretation, just-in-time compilation or ahead-of-time compilation. Java ME, BREW, Flash Lite and Openwave MIDAS were early runtime pioneers. These heavyweight execution environments seemed half way between a browser and a full operating system. They lost popularity in the late 2000s due to their poor developer story (platform fragmentation and no direct route to market), poor handset OEM proposition (integration complexity), and competition with Android, iOS and HTML5 browsers. Today’s cross-platform runtimes offload complexity from the device software layer to the design-time development tool. Often, part of the cross-platform translation happens at design-time (through translation into bytecode) and part at run-time (by executing that bytecode). Examples of runtimes are Appcelerator, Adobe Flex (and AIR), Corona, AppMobi, Antix and Unity. Runtimes target software developers looking for broad reach across native platforms or across screens (mobile, PCs, games, TVs). Source code translators These solutions translate (cross-compile) the source code into an intermediary bytecode, native language (e.g., C++, Objective-C, JavaScript) or directly to lower level machine code (assembly language). Source code translators are often used in combination with a runtime element. For example, Metismo (now Software AG) converts J2ME applications to C++, ActionScript and JavaScript, and compiles for ARM, MIPS, PowerPC and x86 devices. Similarly, Eqela takes an app written in a C-like language and translates the source code to match the target platform: JavaScript for web browsers, Java, C or assembly. Haxe/NME converts the ActionScript-like “Haxe” source language – which features an API similar to Flash – to either Shockwave or C++ source code with native standard libraries. XMLVM uses Java, .NET or Ruby code compiled to byte code level which is then cross compiled to Javascript, C++ or Objective C. Other examples of tools with an element of source code translation are MoSync, Marmalade and Xamarin’s Mono. They target advanced software developers who need to create cross-platform apps with complex logic and high performance or optimisation requirements. Cross-platform tools going vertical In addition to the above five technology approaches, cross-platform tools vendors have already began differentiating by verticals, targeting their solutions towards enterprise, game or media app developers and their particular needs. Enterprise Application Platforms are cross-platform tools that support the full application lifecycle (develop->integrate->publish->manage) with database connectors, middleware, and cloud services such as app hosting, policy management and push messaging. Many of these target enterprise, rather than consumer applications. Notable mobile application platforms include Worklight, Kony, Antenna Mobility Platform, Application Craft, RhoMobile and Verivo. Games tools are complete development environments specifically targeted at games developers. The games engine is a more heavyweight runtime component; the app typically consists of low level code (e.g., C++) plus a scripting language (e.g., Lua) for coding the game logic. Unreal and Unity are the outright market leaders for advanced 3D games. They offer a host of integrated tools and workflow plus collaboration management. Moai, SiO2, Antix and Shiva3D are also operating in similar game tools markets. Marmalade and Corona have developed from a games engine legacy, though have extended support for broader use cases with features such as native UI elements. There are also lighter-weight games tools like GameSalad, which is positioned as a ‘games builder’ combining the no code approach of 24
  • 12 an app factory with the tools of a games engine. Lightweight JavaScript libraries like Impact JS and Lime JS are positioned as HTML5 game frameworks. The next table lists over 50 cross-platform tools by technology approach, authoring language and deployment format (web vs. native). MAJOR CROSS-PLATFORM TOOLS & APPROACHES Vendor (Tool) Technology approach Authoring language Deploym. format Adobe (AIR) Runtime Actionscript Native, Hybrid Adobe (Flex) SDK addition to AIR MXML Native, Hybrid Ansca Mobile Runtime Lua Native (Corona) Antenna Software HTML5, CSS and Runtime Hybrid web apps (Mobility Studio) JavaScript Antix Labs (Antix Runtime C/C++ Native Games) Appcelerator HTML5, CSS and Runtime Native apps (Titanium) JavaScript Web-to-native wrapper WYSIWYG, HTML, Application Craft Web apps, Hybrid (PhoneGap) Javascript, CSS, jQuery Runtime (Mobius) Web-to- HTML5, CSS and AppMobi native app wrapper Web apps, Hybrid JavaScript (PhoneGap) Web-to-native app wrapper HTML5, CSS and Backelite (BKrender) Web apps, Hybrid (PhoneGap) JavaScript DHTMLX Touch JavaScript framework HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Web apps Didmo (Magmito) App Factory WYSIWYG Web apps, Hybrid Elements Interactive Runtime C++ Native Mobile (EDGELIB) Enough Software Source code translator, Java Native (J2ME Polish) Runtime Web-to-native app wrapper Exadel (Tiggzi) WYSIWYG, JavaScript Web apps, Hybrid (PhoneGap) Web-to-native app wrapper FeedHenry HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Web apps, Hybrid (PhoneGap) Runtime, Web-to-native app Web apps, Hybrid, IBM (Worklight) HTML5, CSS, Javascript wrapper (PhoneGap) Native iBuildapp App Factory WYSIWYG (templates) Web apps, Hybrid Ideaworks3D Source code translator C++ Native (Marmalade) 25
  • 12 iFactr / iFactr Source code translator, C# .NET Native Monocross Runtime Web app, Hybrid, impact.js JavaScript framework HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Native iUI Framework HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Web app Jo App JavaScript framework HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Web apps, hybrid JQuery Mobile Framework HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Web apps WYSIWYG, HTML5, CSS, Kony Web-to-native app wrapper Hybrid, Native Javascript Mobile Nation App Factory WYSIWYG Web app, Hybrid (MobileNationHQ) WYSIWYG, HTML, Mobjectify App Factory Web app JavaScript, CSS Source code translator, C++, HTML5, CSS, MoSync Native runtimes JavaScript WYSIWYG, HTML5, CSS, Netbiscuits Framework / App factory Web app, Hybrid Javascript, BiscuitML C++ QML (Qt Meta Nokia (Qt) Runtime Native Language) PhoneGap (Nitobi- Web-to-native app wrapper HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Hybrid Adobe) Pyxis (now Verivo) App factory WYSIWYG Native Radical Breeze (Illuminations Source code translator WYSIWYG Native Software Creator) Red Foundry App builder WYSIWYG Native RhoMobile Runtime HTML, JavaScript, Ruby Native (Rhoelements) WYSIWYG, LiveCode RunRev (LiveCode) Runtime Native (natural-like language) Sencha (Touch, JavaScript Framework, Web- HTML5. CSS, JavaScript Web apps, Hybrid jQtouch) to-native app wrapper (2.0) Seregon Solutions App Factory WYSIWYG, Lua Native (DragonRad) SIO2 Interactive Runtime C/C++, Lua Native Smartface Runtime WYSIWYG Native Native C++, Software AG Source code Translator Java ActionScript and (Bedrock) JavaScript 26
  • 12 Runtime or Web-to-native WYSIWYG, HTML5, CSS, Spot Specific Web app, Hybrid app wrapper Javascript Strobe / Sproutcore Framework HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Web apps (acq. by Facebook) SuperWaba Runtime Java Native (TotalCross) JavaScript framework, Web- The M Project HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Web apps, Hybrid to-native app wrapper Unity Technologies Runtime C# .NET, Lua Native (Unity) Unreal (Unreal Runtime UnrealScript Native Engine) Uxebu (Aparrat.io, Frameworks, Web-to-native HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Hybrid Storage.js ) app wrapper UXplus (Aqua WYSIWYG, JavaScript, Runtime Native Platform) C++ JavaScript Framework, Web- Wink to-native wrapper HTML5, CSS, JavaScript Web app (PhoneGap) Wix Mobile App factory WYSIWYG Web app Xamarin (Mono Source code translator, Touch, Mono for C# .NET Native Runtime Android) Java Bytecode, .NET .Net, Java or Ruby XMLVM Source code translator CIL, JavaScript, Bytecode Python, Obj. C C++ Zipline Games App factory, Runtime (for Lua Native (Moai) Lua script) source: VisionMobile research The full list of 100 cross-platform tools that we have tracked as part of our research appears below. FULL LIST OF CROSS-PLATFORM TOOLS The Dojo Foundation The jQuery Project (jQuery Adobe (AIR) RunRev (Livecode) (dojo toolkit) Mobile) Sencha (Touch, Adobe (Flex) Seregon (DragonRad) Kony (KonyOne Platform) jQtouch) Innaworks Elements Interactive Vexed Digital (Kirin, NB FOSS Stonetrip (ShiVa3D) (Alchemo) Mobile (EDGELIB) project) Antenna Software SIO2 Interactive Emo-Framework.com Kyros (Velocity) (Mobility Studio) (SiO2 Engine) Antix Labs (Games Enough Software Mobinex Inc Digital Fruit (Lime JS) Development Kit) (J2ME Polish) (Smartface Platform) 27
  • 12 Job and Esther The Game Creators Service2Media (App Lifecycle Technologies Ltd Spot Specific Ltd (App Game Kit) Platform) (Eqela) Appcelerator Expanz (Expanz Didmo (Magmito) StackMob (Titanium) Platform) Facebook (Strobe, Geniem (Appever) FeedHenry Ideaworks3D Ltd (Marmalade) Sproutcore) SevenVal, YOC Group Sybase (UnWired Application Craft Zipline Games (Moai) (Fitml.com) Platform) Lifecycle Mobile Mobile Nation Pancoda (The M AppMobi (Fivespark) (MobileNationHQ) Project) Gamebuilder Inc. Xamarin (MonoTouch, Mono Deutsche Telekom Apps-Builder (Gamebuilder Studio) for Android) (The Unify Project) UX Plus Inc. (Aqua GameSalad Inc Exadel (Tiggr, now MoSync Platform) (GameSalad) Tiggzi) Battery Powered SuperWaba Games Artech (GeneXus) NeoMades (NeoMAD) (TotalCross) (BatteryTech) Software AG Unity Technologies Gideros Mobile Netbiscuits (Bedrock) (Unity) Backelite SpringSource, VMWare Unreal (Unreal Octomobi (BKrender) (Grails, SpringMVC) Engine) OpenText (Mobile Wave Qualcomm (BREW) HaxeNME Uxebu (Bikeshed) Platform) Brightcove (App iBuildapp Inc (iBuild Oracle (ADF) Uxebu (Aparrat.io) Cloud) App) Department of Papaya Mobile Behaviour and ITR Mobility (iFactr) Vaadin (Social Game Engine) Logic (Cabana) Trigger Corp Canappi Edhouse (IPFaces) Adobe (PhoneGap Build) (Trigger.io) Radical Breeze Cellsdk.com Sideshow NetQuest (Proto.io) IBM (Worklight) (Illuminations) Cocos2D PhobosLab (impact.js) Verivo Software (ex Pyxis) wxWidgets Conduit Ltd FlexyCore (In-the-box) Nokia (Qt) XMLVM (Conduit Mobile) Ansca Mobile iUI Quickconnect Family XUI.js (Corona) CoStore ++ Technologies JMango Red Foundry (Pixelspark) (XPower++) Motorola, Solutions YoYo Games (YoYo DHTMLX (Touch) Jo App (RhoMobile) Games Maker source: VisionMobile research 28
  • 12 Deployment formats: web or native? The perennial question for many developers is whether to use a web-browser approach to deploying mobile apps, or whether to create native applications. Web apps provide a large addressable market, at the cost of web-only distribution and a comparatively shallow experience. Native apps allow for much deeper device integration and experiences, but at the cost of a platform-specific addressable market. Cross-platform tools have blurred this distinction, with tools (notably Appcelerator) allowing web developers to create native applications. Web-to-native wrappers such as PhoneGap allow web developers to access native device functionality while still running within a browser. But the native vs. web question still applies in the case of deployment formats. Whether the final app is web code or a native application has many ramifications in terms of the distribution channel (website vs. app store) and depth of experience (shallow vs. engaging). HTML5 does advance the capabilities of web browsers, for example allowing precise visual layout (Canvas element) and inherent support for video, persistent storage, geolocation, access to contacts, sensors and SQL database access. At the same time, web developers have to deal with the immense level of variance with how differently web browsers implement the HTML specifications. Across all mobile phone browsers, Firefox Mobile 10 scores highest in terms of HTML5 compliance, closely followed by Apple’s iOS5 platform. At the opposite end is the Windows Phone 7.5 browser, which is roughly half as compliant as Apple. Desktop browser and TV browser compliance to the HTML5 standard is equally diverse and polarised. A list of HTML5 browser compliance scores for mobile platforms is shown on the previous chart. 29
  • 12 The result of this “compliance fragmentation” is that web app developers have to spend copious time and resources in cross-optimising their web apps for the major smartphone platforms. Perhaps most notable is the case of Assanka, makers of the Financial Times popular HTML5 app, who took 24 man months to create the news reader HTML5 application for the iPad, and another 12 man months to port that same application to Android. Web Hybrid apps to the rescue So should developers choose web or native? The hybrid app approach tries to combine the best of both worlds. A number of cross-platform tools already produce hybrid apps: PhoneGap, BKRender and Sencha v2, as well as Worklight and Appcelerator. From the user’s point of view, hybrid apps are just like native apps: they are discovered and downloaded using native platform app stores, and installed on the device using the familiar process. After installation, hybrid apps can be launched from the home screen (iOS) or app drawer (Android), and can often work without the need for data connectivity. From the developer’s point of view, the workflow for making hybrid apps resembles that for making native apps, with one exception: developers can use HTML, CSS and Javascript to write most of some parts of the apps. Since the hybrid app development model is supported by all major mobile platforms, this allows reusing the HTML, CSS and JavaScript code between versions of the app that target different platforms. Hybrid apps consist of a native code shell (or wrapper) containing HTML, CSS and JavaScript. When a hybrid app runs on the device, the wrapper starts an instance of the web browser (WebView) and loads the HTML, CSS and Javascript. The WebView instance is usually “chromeless”, i.e., it does not have web browser controls, therefore allowing the hybrid app to look just like a native app. 30
  • 12 The next table compares native, hybrid and web app approaches across key technical and commercial aspects. As shown in the table, hybrid apps combine some of the characteristics of native apps with those of pure web apps. Easy of discovery and reach. Hybrid apps are discovered by users in the same way as native apps. Separate versions of the app need to be maintained to reach users of multiple mobile platforms. Depth of experience. Hybrid apps offer an important trade-off in the depth of experience that can be achieved. They allow the HTML code to have access to native APIs (therefore delivering richer experiences), although at the cost of a non-native UI, due to the web technologies involved. Customer ownership and terms for hybrid apps are exactly the same as for native apps. Developers transact with the users by means of native platform app stores, and must to comply will all the terms and conditions imposed by the app store itself, including approval policies. Engagement. Since hybrid apps are installed on device and are shown in home screen or app drawer, they are identical to native apps in being able to drive engagement and recurring use. Users can launch hybrid apps as easily as they launch native apps without the need to remember any long URLs or explicitly making a shortcut on the home screen, as is required for pure web apps. Monetisation Developers of hybrid apps benefit from the same monetisation mechanisms as developers of native apps, including paid downloads and in-app payments. 31
  • 12 Finally, for some app types, mainly apps with information-rich user interfaces, hybrid apps allow significant sharing of UI resources and ease of web development. However, as was shown earlier, there is significant fragmentation across web browser implementations of different mobile platforms. As a result, advanced apps that use the capabilities of web browsers to the fullest will require adaptations to fully support different mobile browsers. Which tool should I use? The 100+ cross-platform developer tools we’ve tracked come in all shapes and sizes. Despite their variance across authoring languages and target platforms, we see somewhat of a convergence in the categories of apps that are being developed with CPTs. Our developer survey suggested “enterprise apps” are the top category, with 35% of respondents, irrespective of primary tool. Productivity, games, education/reference and utilities complete the list of top-five categories. At the same time, tools can’t be “boxed into” specific app categories; rather, a developer must to consider their background and needs before deciding which cross-platform tool to use. The next table provides some guidance. If you are.. And you want to.. Then use.. CIO wanting to mobilise Xamarin (MonoTouch / Droid), Re-use existing .NET applications enterprise applications iFactr, Expanz Consumer brand, new to app Easily create your first brand App factories like Spot Specific, development affinity app Tiggzi, Mobile Nation HQ Developer newbie Create 2D games Games Salad, Corona, AppMobi Extend your web content across App factories or web to native Publishing company all major smartphone platforms wrappers, e.g., PhoneGap Appcelerator (Titanium), Verivo, Small to medium enterprise Want to create enterprise apps Netbiscuits, DragonRad, Expanz, Xamarin (MonoTouch) Prototype ideas with a rapid Software developer RunRev LiveCode, Proto.io development cycle Marmalade, SiO2, EDGELIB, Software developer Write a 2D game Cocos2D Seasoned game developer Create engaging 3D games Unity 3D, Unreal, Marmalade Gamesalad, Cocos2D, AppMobi, Designer in a digital agency 2D games ImpactJS, LImeJS Rich multimedia experiences Designer in a digital agency Adobe AIR, Corona, Appcelerator deployed through an app store. source: VisionMobile 32
  • 12 33
  • 12 Cross-platform tools: Separating Truth from Myth Cross-platform Tools Mindshare This report is backed by an extensive survey of 2,406 developers, in 91 countries, using dozens of different cross-platform tools. As with our Developer Economics 2010/2011 reports, we attempted to measure developer mindshare across the most popular CPTs. The “Cross-Platform Tool Mindshare Index 2012” shows the list of cross-platform tools being used the most by developers, irrespective of their primary tool. PhoneGap and Sencha shine at the top of the Mindshare Index, used by 32% and 30% of CPT developers, respectively. These are followed by Xamarin’s MonoTouch / Mono for Android, Appcelerator and Adobe (Flex). The second half of the top-10 CPTs in terms of current use are Unity, Corona, AppMobi, RunRev and MoSync. Missing from this list are Marmalade (which comes in at number 11), and Qt, which was not present in our questionnaire, and therefore may have been under-represented in our top-10 list. Unreal and Worklight were also in the top- 15 vendors not shown in this chart. For the research methodology behind the Mindshare Index, see the Methodology section at the beginning of this report. 34
  • 12 Volatility abundant What’s striking, in comparing the cross-platform tool Mindshare Index with our Developer Economics 2011 report, is that developers’ tool preferences are ambivalent and very much in flux. Consider PhoneGap, which tops the CPT mindshare with 32% use, against Android and iOS, which topped our mobile platforms Mindshare Index several months ago with twice as much mindshare: 67% and 59%, respectively. The cross-platform tools market is in a state of abundant developer volatility. Comparing the CPTs developers are currently using vs. planning to use or abandoning, we see continual flux, as developers try a tool, and then churn to a different one. This is a market with no clear winners or losers. It’s a market where there is little developer loyalty, and perceptions are still being formed. This is a great time for well- funded vendors to establish a beachhead of developer marketing and inch themselves apart in terms of mindshare. Evidently, a high mindshare does not currently guarantee a steady pool of loyal followers. Volatility – developer turn-around – is very high when it comes to PhoneGap. It is the most widely used tool, and it also turns up as the number one tool developers intend to use in the future. However, it is also being dropped: 27% of developers (normalised) said they are planning to stop using it. By taking a closer look at its current users’ perceptions, we can see that there are areas where PhoneGap scores very highly, and others where it scores low. This seems to explain very high adoption coupled with very high abandonment rates. PhoneGap is largely perceived as supporting a wide range of platforms. Also, it is loved for being free - zero cost is actually by far the main reason cited for selecting PhoneGap as a primary tool, followed by its perceived better access to device or hardware APIs. 35
  • 12 On the other hand, PhoneGap scores very poorly with respect to development and debugging experience, UI capabilities and runtime performance. These three, along with limited access to device or hardware APIs, were the major turn-offs reported by those who used but dropped PhoneGap in the past. Developers are picking up and putting down Appcelerator too: the tool has medium-to-high current and intended usage, along with the second-highest reported abandonment rate. Sencha and Corona follow a similar though less intense churn pattern. Sencha, the second most-used tool in our survey, will be adopted by the same percentage of developers that plan to drop it, our results suggest. Those who have dropped Appcelerator in the past reported key turn-offs as: problems with debugging, dissimilarity to other tools in terms of development skills needed and performance issues. Current Appcelerator users also assign it a relatively low score in debugging. That leads us to conclude Appcelerator can substantially reduce its attrition rate if it manages to successfully address debugging issues. Much like PhoneGap, Appcelerator is highly appreciated – and often selected as a primary tool – for being free. Other top selection triggers include better access to device or hardware APIs, and rich UI capabilities. Xamarin’s Mono appears to be gaining developer favour, ranking high in both current and future IntentShare. Unity is gaining ground too; it currently ranks sixth, but should climb higher, since it came third among tools developers intended to use next. Furthermore, as the ninth most abandoned tool, Unity appears to be avoiding significant losses. 36
  • 12 Adobe Flex and AppMobi, meanwhile, score low on the IntentShare index. Flex actually has moderate usage, taking fifth place in the Mindshare index. However, it is reported as the number one tool being abandoned, with 42% of users indicating plans to let it go. This decline of Flex is to be expected, since it is a UI library being phased out by Adobe in favour of direct ActionScript 3 development and deployment through Adobe AIR to multiple devices. AppMobi is already low on the scale of tools being used, and it’s right at the bottom of the top-10 tools to be adopted, with only 7% of developers considering it as their next tool. Its churn rate, however seems to be stabilizing, as it holds the seventh place in the tools-being-abandoned ranking. Key selection criteria: platforms, skills and cost With all the flux in the cross-platform tools market, the question arises: how do developers select a cross- platform tool? What are the most important selection criteria? The results from our survey have been quite revealing. Access to additional platforms The most important CPT selection criterion is the breadth of platforms that the tool supports, cited by nearly 60% of respondents. Runtimes and source code translation tools have the broadest platform reach. Sencha and jQuery Mobile score top marks for platform reach – based on our developer survey – thanks to the ubiquity of JavaScript frameworks. RunRev’s Livecode which is deployable to web and desktop (though only iOS and Android on mobile) comes next. These were followed closely by Marmalade, MoSync and PhoneGap, which reflects their broad mobile platform coverage. It’s also worth noting Unity, which supports an impressive range of desktop and game console platforms. Meanwhile Netbiscuits, as with other solutions leveraging web apps and PhoneGap, is very well rounded in terms of its mobile platform support. Chapter 4 provides a detailed analysis of 15 cross-platform tools vendors, including the list of platforms supported. Developer selection criteria are heavily skewed towards the breadth of platforms supported by each tool. This is the picture at the onset of 2012, and it will change considerably as tools vendors advance their tools to cover all the major platforms. In other words, we expect that in 12-18 months, the platforms covered will move from a point of differentiation to a point of parity. In that timeframe, we see the areas of differentiation move to the completeness of the tool offering across the cross-platform app lifecycle. Specifically we expect the points of competition to move to later stages of the app lifecycle, with vendors offering component marketplaces, end-to-end workflow tools, device adaptation tools, app publishing services and post- download services (see Chapter 5, Trend 03 for analysis). ‘Use existing skills’ is the second most important reason for tool selection. It goes without saying that developers see CPTs as a way to reach additional platforms without learning new programming skills, be that a new authoring language or a new development environment. Today’s cross-platform tools address an impressive range of authoring languages. Seasoned developers can use low level programming languages like C, C++ (e.g., Aqua Platform, MoSync, Expanz or Edgelib), or higher level languages such as Java (e.g., XMLVM, In-The-Box) and C# (e.g., Xamarin’s MonoTouch, Axiom 3D and iFactr). Developers with scripting level skills can use LiveCode - or Lua as used in Corona, DragonRad and Unity. Web developers familiar with HTML and JavaScript can use a variety of tools, for example leveraging UI frameworks like iUI, or games frameworks like Lime and Impact. They can access device hardware APIs and wrap apps using solutions like PhoneGap Build or Sencha Touch. Designers and non-programmers also have a variety of cross-platform tools at their disposal, including App factories like Tiggzi, GameSalad or iBuildApp. 37
  • 12 Low cost, rapid development process and an easy learning curve come in at third, fourth and fifth place in top selection criteria for CPTs. The primary purpose of cross-platform tools is to reduce the incremental cost (effort and money) spent in catering to a new platform, so this finding should come as no surprise. At the same time, it is difficult for a developer to compare and contrast tools in terms of the development speed, the learning curve, or the total cost of ownership without first developing an application on it. Experimentation is therefore used as the main means to select a cross-platform tool – which also explains the volatility and continual tool “hop-on-hop-off” that we‘ve seen among cross-platform developers. As notes Alcatel-Lucent’s Guilhem Ensuque, "Only about 10% of users who register for free go beyond just creating a "hello world" app and can be counted as active users. Your mileage may vary, but most give a try and then leave. The key for CPT vendors to successful freemium offerings is then to increase retention through a lower learning curve and developer education; and to find up-selling opportunities to monetize their minority active user base, e.g., through web app hosting “The key for CPT vendors or cloud PaaS subscriptions." to successful freemium A rapid development and seamless debug process offerings is then to does pay dividends with developers. Qt’s satisfied increase retention developers again praised the framework, which scored top through a lower learning marks in the development and debugging experience in comparison to other tools vendors. RunRev’s LiveCode visual curve and developer development environment and compile-free development education” process also seem to be paying off in developer satisfaction. On the low side of developer satisfaction ratings with Guilhem Ensuque development and debugging is Appcelerator. This, despite Director, Product Management Alcatel-Lucent 38
  • 12 the acquisition of Aptana, a popular Eclipse based IDE including code assist and an integrated debugger. Cost is of course a major differentiator among cross-platform tools. Tools that scored the highest developer satisfaction were often freely available under an open source license – notably jQuery Mobile, Qt, Sencha, PhoneGap and MoSync. These are all released as open source projects and set the bar high with free versions available on varying licensing terms – from permissive (PhoneGap under Apache license) to weak copyleft (Qt under LGPL) to strong copyleft (MoSync under GPL). Rapid development, low cost and an easy learning curve are three areas where CPT vendors could improve, by focusing on the incremental effort and money cost as a competitive advantage, and communicating that clearly as part of their product proposition. Rich UI capabilities and access to device APIs are the only other two selection criteria to be selected by over 10% of respondents, normalised across top tools. Real native UI capabilities are offered by a small set of CPTs currently, with many vendors like Appcelerator, MoSync and Marmalade pushing their offerings towards this direction. What’s also notable is that monetisation opportunities are the least important selection criterion. It is therefore evident that developers consider CPTs as a technical means to cross-platform portability, and not as a way to make money. Vendors such as Appcelerator, Moai and AppMobi provide billing facilities or advertising APIs, although this is clearly not seen a priority for most developers. Naturally, developer criteria for selecting different tools do vary. Marmalade scored significantly higher than other tools for selection on performance criteria (36% of respondents), as did Qt (32%). Being well suited for games development was unsurprisingly a priority selection criterion for Unity (52%) and Corona (45%). In line with its simplified language and development environment, RunRev LiveCode stood out for selection on the basis of the rapid development process, with 69% of developers selecting this as criteria. Similarly, in line with the company’s positioning, Xamarin (MonoTouch/Droid) stood out with 80% of developers selecting that as a primary platform that allows them to use their existing (C# and .NET) skills. Value – being low cost or free – was a key selection criteria for MoSync, (68%) Sencha Touch (60%), PhoneGap (59%) and Appcelerator (56%). For more details on the top selection criteria for each tool, see the vendor profiles in Chapter 4. Market gaps in cross-platform tools Our survey confirmed market gaps in cross-platform tools offerings later in the app lifecycle. We found that CPTs are used fewer than 50% of the time for cloud API integration and back-end business logic, even when the developer had responsibility for those areas. We did find CPTs are used prominently in core application design and UI design. This points to a major gap: CPT features designed for cloud API integration and back-end business logic. Love or Hate? Why Developers Avoid Cross-Platform Tools Steve Jobs once gave one of the most damning and damaging indictments to cross-platform tools in his infamous “Thoughts on Flash”. Written in April 2010, those words and the legacy of the Apple-Adobe dispute will continue to resonate in the minds of developers considering cross-platform tools. “We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers. This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross-platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of 39
  • 12 their supported platforms. Hence, developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms. Flash is a cross-platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross-platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.” In his open letter, Jobs criticised cross-platform tools for lack of performance and sluggishness in adopting the latest platform features. Indeed, the same issues highlighted in Jobs’ letter were cited by developers as some of the most important reasons for dropping a tool. Performance was the top reason for dropped a tool, cited by 29% of respondents. More importantly, the perception that “cross- platform tools are always a step behind native” was selected as a top-2 reason for not using CPTs in the first place. Meanwhile, slow tool updates was one of the least-cited reasons for dropping a tool. Overall, the most important reasons cited for dropping a tool were the breadth of platforms supported, steep learning curve, restricted UI capabilities, and no support for existing development skills. These match almost identically with the reasons for tool selection, meaning that these factors catalyze both entry and exit to a cross-platform tool. 40
  • 12 Performance was noted as a particular issue for PhoneGap, cited by 36% of those who had used and dropped the tool. Those who had used and dropped Appcelerator (34%) also cited performance issues. PhoneGap showed significantly higher response rates for performance challenges, with some noting that the tool raised “challenges to debugging”. Meanwhile, Qt gained the top score for runtime performance against other tools, with Marmalade, a solution using compilation to native machine code coming second. Developer feedback in our survey was illuminating, with some respondents noting “lowest common denominator problems” and finding that the tool “does not enable per-device customisation and max user experience”. Several respondents expressed scepticism towards the cross-platform approach. Others noted that the tools were immature or buggy, lacked the design tools they were looking for, raised “platform related software licensing issues” or “potential legal issues (patents)” and did not live up to expectations of the “write once” mantra. The learning curve appears among the top five reasons cited for dropping a CPT, and also in the top five for selecting a CPT. Our research suggests that on average, cross-platform tools carry a significant learning time, with 38% of developers taking one to four weeks, and 28% of developers taking more than three months to master their tool, irrespective of the actual tool being used. Overall, the median time taken to master a cross-platform tool was three to four weeks: 4-5 times faster than the time it takes to master Android or iOS development, but still a substantial effort nonetheless. Restricted UI capabilities rank fourth in the list of top-10 reasons for dropping a cross- platform tool. CPT vendors have been using one of two approaches to provide a better (‘native’) user interface. The first approach is for the app to invoke the native UI controls (also called widgets) that provide a native experience, sometimes at the cost of performance. The second method is to replicate native user interface elements using a cross-platform framework itself, which is more efficient performance-wise, but results in imperfections. 41
  • 12 It’s instructive to look not just at the exit factors (the reasons for dropping a tool) but the also the entry barriers. There were two “Most cross-platform main reasons cited by developers for not yet using a cross- frameworks need more platform tool. First, the fact that developers already had access to tweaking” native development skills, and therefore did not need a CPT in order to target a new platform. Second, that CPTs are always a Hobbyist developer step behind the native platform in terms of features and Canada capabilities. Both factors point to how the biggest barrier to mass adoption of cross-platform tools is feature parity with the native platforms. This of course will always be a speed race, as Apple, Google, Microsoft and the other native platform vendors will be motivated to continually evolve their APIs to avoid the “dilution” effects of CPTs (see introduction to Chapter 1). Other developers who have yet to adopt cross-platform tools cited the lack of maturity, limited access to device APIs and poor performance as reasons for stalling their adoption. Characteristic rants voiced by developers were “I had to push the hardware to the maximum. I prefer to have things under MY control” or “Most cross-platform frameworks need more tweaking”. Cost is surprisingly not amongst the top-5 of reasons stopping developers from using cross-platform tools. The up-front costs are a limiting factor in adoption for 22% of developers, with maintenance costs being less visible and cited by 13% of non-adopter respondents. 42
  • 12 Most-wanted device features Developers have high expectations in terms of the device APIs that cross-platform tools should provide access to. The top-10 types of native device functionality that developers need to access are fairly sophisticated, as shown in the next chart. Nearly half of developers need access to the device filesystem and notification system, irrespective of the type (category) of app they are developing. Next in the top-10 list of most-wanted device features are GPS (47% of developers) followed by background running, and multi-touch screen input (40%). Other features in the top-10 list are: native media playback/recording, SMS/MMS send/receive, accelerometer access, address book or call log access and the ability to invoke another app. There is, of course, a long tail of device API requests – for example, secure storage, native map support, secure FTP, vector graphics, data consumption, barcode scanner support, and low level TCP-IP access. Naturally, developers working on different app categories have varied requirements for access to native device functionality. Games developers prioritise multi-touch input and accelerometer access significantly more than most. The vast majority (83%) of developers working on navigation apps want access to the cell ID and GPS, but only a minority (24%) prioritise access to the compass. 43
  • 12 Better integration with device APIs, native UI and platform optimisations were also, hands down, the most important future features developers are asking from cross-platform tool vendors. Interestingly, publishing across multiple app stores and cloud API wrappers are features completing the top-5 wishlist, being requested by 25% and 23% of developers, respectively, independently of the primary tool. The uncertainty of a vendor’s future is evidently a top-10 concern for both developers dropping a CPT and those not adopting one in the first place. Christopher Kassulke, CEO of veteran games company Handy Games, notes characteristically, “We are still doing backfills and updates on titles from several years ago – and if a vendor is no longer around or has been bought out, we will need to redevelop from scratch. The challenge is for developers to know which of the platforms they are developing for will survive. At least with open source projects with an active community, I know the tool and my app will not be dead if the vendor goes”. The influx of web developers to mobile In our research we have tried to answer two key questions: who is using cross-platform tools, and where. Our survey showed that cross-platform tool users come from both ends of the mobile experience spectrum; 36% of CPT users have less than one year experience in mobile, while 31% have file years and more. What’s striking is that the majority of cross-platform tool developers have a solid background in website development. As the next heat-map shows, 60% of CPT users have more than five years experience in web development. The results are quite revealing: cross-platform tools have triggered an influx of web developers into mobile. 44
  • 12 So where are developers using cross-platform tools? With such a broad variety of cross-platform tools, we would expect developers to use them at varying stages of their application projects. Yet, the overriding use case was from start to finish, to fully develop an app for multiple platforms. More than 75% selected this, regardless of their primary tool. At a distant second are using CPTs to prototype or create an app for a single platform. Whereas this may sound counterintuitive, it actually reflects a level of practicality and commercial acumen in the use of cross-platform tools; developers are now using CPTs at the very beginning of the app lifecycle – to create cross-platform apps from scratch or to prototype – and not to retrofit an app onto a new platform. The main exceptions to the rule are Qt and Xamarin’s MonoTouch, which are used more than others in to port an existing app to a new platform (Qt: 44%, Mono: 41% versus an other tools average of 19%). 45
  • 12 46
  • 12 Tool Vendor Shoot-out This chapter presents detailed profiles for 15 major vendors of cross platform tools. We begin by listing the key characteristics of each vendor, the platforms they target and the developer sentiments towards each tool, based on our developer survey. CROSS-PLATFORM VENDORS REVIEWED Company Product Founded Tool Type Authoring Output Adobe PhoneGap 2008 Web code HTML5, CSS, JS Hybrid web apps (Nitobi, 2011) wrapper Adobe Flash 1982 Runtime ActionScript swf Flash player Platform Framework files Ansca Mobile Corona 2008 Runtime Lua, Corona API Native Appcelerator Titanium 2007 IDE, Runtime HTML, CSS, Native (primarily), JavaScript Hybrid and Web apps (beta) Seregon DragonRad 2001 Runtime WYSIWYG, Forms, Lua IBM Worklight 2006 Enterprise app HTML, CSS, JS Native, Hybrid, (Worklight) platform Web Ideaworks Marmalade 1998 Source code C++ with Native 3D, Ltd. translator Marmalade APIs (compiler) MoSync MoSync 2004 IDE, Runtime C++. HTML5 Native Motorola Rhodes 2008 Runtime HTML, Ruby, Native (RhoMobile) Rhodes APIs Netbiscuits BiscuitsML 2000 Framework Templates, Web apps, Hybrid Platform services WYSIWYG HTML, CSS, JS, BiscuitML RunRev LiveCode 1997 IDE Visual design, Native Runtime LiveCode language Qt Qt Trolltech Framework, C++ with Qt Native, Hybrid Development 1994 Nokia Runtime APIs, QML, Frameworks acq. 2008 HTML (Nokia/Digia) Sencha Touch 2007 Framework, JavaScript Hybrid, Web apps Webcode wrapper (v2.0) Unity Unity 2004 Games engine C#, JavaScript, Native Technologies Boo, creative tools Xamarin MonoTouch 2011 Runtime, OS C#, .NET Native Mono for abstraction libraries Android source: VisionMobile research 47
  • 12 SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS - MOBILE Black Vendor Product Android Bada iOS MeeGo Symbian WP7 Berry Adobe Phone ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ (Nitobi) Gap Adobe Flash QNX ✔ ✔ ✔ Platform only Ansca Corona ✔ ✔ Mobile Appce- Titanium ✔ beta ✔ lerator Seregon Dragon ✔ ✔ ✔ Rad IBM Work ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ light Ideaworks Marma- QNX ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ 3D lade only MoSync MoSync ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Motorola Rhodes ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ RhoMobile Net-biscuits Biscuit ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ML RunRev LiveCode ✔ ✔ Qt (Nokia) Qt ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Sencha Touch ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Unity Tech Unity QNX ✔ ✔ only Xamarin Mono ✔ ✔ ✔ source: VisionMobile research 48
  • 12 SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS – NON-MOBILE STBs Win Mac Linux Web PS3 Xbox Wii Flash Vendor Product PC 360 Adobe PhoneGap (Nitobi) Adobe Flash Platform ✔ ✔ ✔ Ansca Corona ✔ ✔ ✔ Mobile Appcelerator Titanium Seregon DragonRad IBM Worklight ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Ideaworks Marmalade ✔ ✔ ✔ 3D MoSync MoSync Motorola Rhodes (RhoMobile) Netbiscuits BiscuitML ✔ ✔ RunRev LiveCode ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Qt (Nokia) Qt ✔ ✔ ✔ Sencha Touch ✔ ✔ ✔ Unity Tech Unity Roku ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Xamarin MonoTouch/Droid source: VisionMobile research 49
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS Develop Support Platform Runtime Learning Device UI Sample Cost & Publishing & Overall Breadth Perform Curve Access Capability Size Debug Services Adobe Flex 3.5 3.8 3.5 3.9 4.0 3.3 4.0 3.5 3.6 3.7 141 Appcelerator 3.9 3.8 3.6 3.7 3.2 3.9 3.9 3.7 3.5 3.7 171 Corona 3.8 3.9 3.9 4.3 3.8 3.4 3.5 3.8 3.8 3.8 31 Marmalade 3.7 4.4 4.3 3.4 3.9 3.9 3.4 4.0 3.7 3.9 40 MoSync 4.6 4.4 4.1 3.6 3.5 3.8 3.9 3.7 3.9 4.0 49 MonoTouch/ 3.4 4.1 4.0 4.2 3.7 4.1 3.9 3.8 4.0 3.9 547 Droid OpenPlug 4.3 3.8 3.9 4.0 3.8 3.7 3.8 3.4 3.4 3.8 20 PhoneGap 4.5 4.4 3.4 3.9 3.2 3.6 3.3 3.6 3.4 3.7 182 RhoMobile 3.8 4.1 3.7 3.3 3.5 3.9 3.7 3.8 3.6 3.7 18 RunRev 3.5 4.5 4.0 4.2 4.1 3.3 3.8 4.0 4.0 3.9 178 LiveCode Sencha 4.3 4.1 3.6 3.5 3.4 2.9 4.0 3.7 3.6 3.7 107 / jQTouch Unity 3 3.5 4.3 4.1 3.8 3.6 3.3 3.3 3.8 3.8 3.7 62 Qt 4.5 4.0 4.5 3.9 4.1 3.9 4.4 3.4 3.6 4.0 54 jQuery 4.7 4.5 3.6 4.4 3.6 2.6 3.8 4.0 3.5 3.9 18 Mobile Avg. across 3.8 4.1 3.8 3.9 3.7 3.7 3.8 3.8 3.7 3.8 1950 all tools * Average rating per tool, from 1=Unacceptable to 5=Excellent source: VisionMobile developer survey We ‘ll next look at detailed profiles of 15 major cross-platform tools vendors: Adobe (PhoneGap), Adobe (Air / Flex), Ansca Mobile (Corona), Appcelerator (Titanium), Seregon (DragonRad), IBM (Worklight), Ideaworks 3D Ltd (Marmalade), MoSync, Motorola Solutions (RhoMobile), Netbiscuits, RunRev (LiveCode), Qt (Nokia), Sencha, Unity, Xamarin (MonoTouch and Mono for Android). For each vendor we provide a company review, a factsheet and a list of output platforms, based on our vendor interviews and secondary research. In addition, for vendors who formed part of our developer survey we provide developer satisfaction ratings and developer sentiment indicators (selection criteria, top app categories and most-wanted features), but only for vendors for which we had a large enough sample. 50
  • 12 Adobe PhoneGap (Apache Cordova) PhoneGap, one of the most popular cross-platform development tools, has been maintained by Nitobi, a Vancouver, Canada-based web and app developer with around 20 employees. The PhoneGap project was born at an iPhoneDevCamp event in 2008 as a way to use web development skills to deliver native apps. In 2009, PhoneGap won the Web 2.0 Expo LaunchPad competition, and the code was released under a permissive open source (MIT) license. Following Adobe’s acquisition of Nitobi in October 2011, the project was renamed to Apache Cordova, and the code contributed to the Apache Software Foundation. Partners and major contributors to the project include IBM, Sony Ericsson, Symbian, Palm, RIM and Sencha. Products & Tech PhoneGap targets web developers who want to create native smartphone apps (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Bada, Windows Phone 7) and distribute them through native app stores. PhoneGap applications are, at the core, HTML, CSS and JavaScript developed in standard development environments like Dreamweaver or Eclipse. The developer can use JavaScript to call native platform APIs. The build process packages the web code, together with the PhoneGap library, into a native application execution shell. PhoneGap apps are therefore hybrid web apps. App UIs are rendered as “webViews” by the native platform’s javascript engine and browser (which run “chromeless”). The app payload comprises web code, the native wrapper plus an API bridge between the web code and the native platform. Market traction By November 2011, Nitobi claimed 600,000 plus downloads of PhoneGap, and thousands of apps created with the SDK. Standouts include Netflix, LinkedIn and the Ars Technica Reader for iPad. Based on a balanced sample methodology, PhoneGap is the most widely used tool in our survey, reported as the primary cross-platform tool by 12% of respondents. PhoneGap appears to have strong traction in Asia, where 22% of its users are based, compared to an average of 12%. Since pioneering the hybrid web app paradigm, PhoneGap has become a core component of many cross- platform tools, including AppMobi, BKRender, Feedhenry, The Unify Project and Worklight. However, alternative hybrid wrappers are beginning to appear, including those used by Sencha 2.0 and Antenna Mobility Studio. PhoneGap has been integrated with popular emulators, debuggers, game libraries, UI libraries (notably Sencha), persistence and testing libraries. Positioning PhoneGap covers all major smartphone platforms, including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Bada, and Windows Phone 7. “Access to target platforms” was cited as the key reason for tool selection by 61% of our survey respondents. Low or no cost availability is also a significant reason for tool selection by 59% of respondents. PhoneGap’s spread across app categories is fairly standard, with enterprise apps dominating, and slightly elevated numbers of media apps (20% against an average of 13%). PhoneGap is limited to some extent by the programming power of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and the reliance on the native browser-rendering engine. In our survey, native UI capabilities were the feature most requested, by 49% of PhoneGap developers, while better device API integration is nearly as high on the priority list. This is followed by requests for better device-specific optimisations (43%). For most platforms, PhoneGap supports features including storage, accelerometer, camera access, compass, contacts, file, geolocation, media capture and playback, network connections, notifications alerts, audio and vibration. 51
  • 12 With the announcement that Adobe will halt development of the Flash mobile browser plug-in, PhoneGap (now Apache Cordova) will likely form a cornerstone of Adobe’s mobile strategy. We expect Adobe to integrate PhoneGap tightly within its professional development tools, starting from Adobe Flash Builder, which already has the required compiler and debugger support. This development should also address one of the major shortcomings of PhoneGap: the lack of streamlined build and workflow tools. FACTSHEET Company Nitobi (acquired by Adobe 2011) Founded 2008 Product release 2008 Tool Type Web code wrapper Funding Publicly listed Authoring language HTML5, CSS, JS Dev. environment Web development tools Deployment format Wrapped hybrid web apps Target Apps Rich internet applications Min cost to publish N/A Website www.nitobi.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 52
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) PhoneGap tools Cost 4.5 0.6 Number of platforms supported 4.4 0.3 Runtime performance 3.4 -0.5 Learning curve 3.9 0 Development and debugging experience 3.2 -0.6 Access to device and hardware APIs 3.6 0 UI capabilities 3.3 -0.5 App publishing process 3.6 -0.1 Vendor support and services 3.4 -0.4 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use PhoneGap as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: Selection criteria - Low cost or free (59% vs. 29% on avg. for other tools) - Access to device or hardware APIs (19% vs. 10% on avg. for other tools) Developers who use PhoneGap as their primary tool, use it more than other tools to develop apps of the following categories: - Communications and Social networking (e.g., Skype): 19% vs. 12% on avg. Top app categories for other tools. - Media, including News, Sports, Weather, Magazines (e.g. The Economist): 20% vs. 14% on avg. for other tools. Users of PhoneGap primarily look for: - Better device API integration (49% vs. avg. of 37% for other tools) On the wishlist - Native UI capabilities (49% vs. avg. of 37% for other tools) - Better platform-specific optimisations (43% vs. 34% on avg. for other tools) 53
  • 12 Adobe Air / Flex Founded in 1982, Adobe is based in San Jose, California and has become renowned for its creative tools. Adobe is publicly traded on the NASDAQ with almost 10,000 employees and annual revenues of over US$4 billion in 2011. Adobe’s core business is producing professional design and creative tools such as Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and cross-platform digital presentation solutions including Acrobat PDFs and Flash, the latter being brought in with the acquisition of Macromedia. Products & Tech Adobe’s cross-platform products are the Flash Player, AIR runtime and Flex. , a framework allowing enterprise developers to create AIR apps. AIR has been designed for desktop (Windows and Mac) but has also been ported to mobile and STBs to allow developers to target iOS, Android and Blackberry 10 devices, along with set-top boxes and TVs. Flex is a UI framework, simplifying development of enterprise applications for quickly building database-connected applications. AIR is essentially a browser-less Flash player - developers design the application in Adobe’s drag & drop IDEs (Flash Builder, Flash Professional, or Dreamweaver) and code using ActionScript (a flavour of JavaScript). The AIR runtime can be embedded within the native applications, allowing developers to target iOS, Android mobile platforms, BlackBerry tablets, and Windows and Mac OS on desktop. AIR allows apps to access legacy code, native extensions, 3D graphics acceleration, web connectivity, local databases and background operation. AIR apps can also utilise WebKit, allowing development in HTML and JavaScript. While AIR (and Flash) are intended for designers, Flex is intended for enterprise developers who want to quickly build data-centric applications in a simplified language (MXML). MXML code is converted to ActionScript 3 and then to bytecode, which is in turn interpreted by Adobe AIR and Flash Player at runtime. Flex is essentially an SDK add-on to AIR, which speeds up development of database-driven enterprise applications. The Flex SDK includes a compiler, which translates MXML (a simplified markup language) into ActionScript, UI components for datasets, charts and grids, and a debugger. Flex applications are built using the Adobe Flash Builder. The Flex SDK is open source and isfree to download and use. Charting components have a premium license. Note that Flex is being been gradually phased out by Adobe in favour of native ActionScript 3 and HTML/JS/CSS development. In October 2011, Adobe acquired Nitobi, the driving force behind PhoneGap, the web-based cross-platform framework. Following the acquisition, both PhoneGap and the Flex framework were handed over to the Apache Foundation and released as open source projects. Market Traction Adobe’s Flash Lite was once the second widest deployed runtime after Java ME with an installed base of over 1 billion mobile devices. Unfortunately the large installed base came at the cost of a severely fragmented platform and developer story, which made Adobe reboot its mobile strategy in 2008 in the form of AIR. Today, AIR is mostly deployed in Android devices and is not optimised for lower-end smartphones limiting its reach to Android devices 2.2 and above. Adobe notably hit problems when the Flash and Flash Lite runtimes gained a reputation for making high demands on system resources – and the ban on the Flash runtime by Apple, with Steve Jobs’ notorious “thoughts on Flash” post outlining reasons why they would not support Flash causing significant damage. A number of popular apps have been created with AIR or Flex, including native iOS apps such as Machinarium, desktop apps such as eBay and browser apps like the BBC iPlayer. Adobe focus in AIR and Flex is now on 3D games and premium video applications, particularly on transferring desktop browser games to mobile - 9 out of 10 of the most popular Facebook games are developed using Flash according to Adobe. 54
  • 12 Positioning AIR (and Flash) was originally positioned to target creatives and designers, with ActionScript handling the business logic. On the contrary, Flex is designed for back-end application developers who are familiar with C++ or PHP. Flex does appear to have a slightly longer learning curve than other platforms with 37% of Flex developers in our survey (against an average of 24%) taking more than 3 months to feel they had achieved mastery with the tool. It is also notable that some 39% chose Flex for its rich UI capabilities – well above the average response rate of 15%. Enterprise apps, followed by education apps, are the most popular application types targeted by 40% and 24% of Flex developers in our survey (compared to an average of 16% across all respondents). The Appcelerator / Aptana consolidation poses a specific competitive challenge to Adobe by combining an IDE with major market share with a cross-platform deployment solution. The breadth of tools already available within Unity and Unreal are also likely to dominate the 3D market where Adobe is only recently focusing. Flex also needs to improve native UI elements with 48%Flex respondents identifying these as priority enhancement to the tool. FACTSHEET Company Adobe Founded 1982 Product release Flash 1996, Flex 2004, AIR 2008 Tool Type Runtime Funding Publicly listed Authoring language Designers, Actionscript, JS HTML Dev. environment Authoring and design tools, IDEs Deployment format .swf Flash player files, native apps wrapping .swf with AIR runtime Target Apps Rich, multimedia applications Min cost to publish Free Website www.adobe.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ QNX only ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 ✔ ✔ Other: set-top-boxes 55
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) Adobe Flex tools Cost 3.5 -0.5 Number of platforms supported 3.8 -0.4 Runtime performance 3.5 -0.4 Learning curve 3.9 0 Development and debugging experience 4 0.3 Access to device and hardware APIs 3.3 -0.3 UI capabilities 4.1 0.3 App publishing process 3.5 -0.2 Vendor support and services 3.6 -0.2 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use Adobe Air / Flex as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: Selection criteria - Rich UI capabilities (39% vs. 14% on avg. for other tools) - Rapid development process (38% vs. 31% on avg. for other tools) - Ease of debugging (13% vs. 8% on avg. for other tools) Developers who use Adobe Air / Flex as their primary tool use it more than other tools to develop apps of the following categories: Top app categories - Education & Reference (e.g., Learn Thai): 24% vs. 17% on avg. for other tools Users of Flex primarily look for: - Better device API integration (50% vs. avg. of 37% for other tools) - Native UI capabilities (48% vs. 38% avg. for other tools) On the wishlist - Publishing across multiple app stores (30% vs. 22% on avg. for other tools) - Better platform- specific optimisations (40% vs. 34% on avg. for other tools) 56
  • 12 Ansca Mobile (Corona) Based in Palo Alto, California, Ansca Mobile was founded in 2008. It launched the Corona product in mid- 2009. Ansca Mobile employs around 15 staff, with a background in creating tools for Adobe and Apple, including Photoshop, and Flash Lite. The company is VC-backed, having raised a series A round of $1 million funding from Merus capital in 2009. Products & Tech Corona is a platform abstraction runtime; it works by compiling Lua code into native packages for iOS and Android apps. Applications are written in the Lua language. Apps use a proprietary API with over 500 calls to access hardware, or native UI elements like games features (e.g., physics and animation) and third party features (e.g., Facebook integration). The Corona SDK includes app templates, API libraries, sample code, a debugger, simulator and APIs for using the Flurry analytics platform. Applications are written in Lua using a text editor. The code is then compiled into Lua bytecode packaged in a native runtime shell, which bridges to the underlying operating system. The runtime payload is around 9MB, but under the commercial license, redundant libraries are removed from the project, greatly reducing this overhead. Corona UI elements are implemented atop an OpenGL engine packaged within the Corona runtime. This method does not always produce a precise match to true native elements, and can affect the user experience; 61% of developers request native UI support as a new feature, according to our survey. Corona is available under a free trial, or a full annual license for $350. The paid license provides access to all target platforms. Additional premium support services are mainly taken up by larger enterprises. Ansca does not have a full direct publishing capability, but offers a Launchpad service that helps developers with promotion opportunities and sales analytics reports. It’s worth noting that Corona lacks a full IDE, GUI based tools or other authoring environment. The leading features sought by Corona developers in our survey include: additional platform support, native UI capabilities, better device API integration and wrappers for cloud APIs. Market traction Despite the relatively small size and funding of the company, Ansca has attracted significant developer attention, particularly from games developers. Ansca claims Corona has been downloaded over 100,000 times, with over 6,000 published apps developed using Corona. Ansca claims Corona-based apps have been downloaded over 35 million times in 2011. These include chart-topping titles like The Secret of Grisly Manor, Bubbleball and Unicorn Studio. Positioning Corona supports a limited number of target platforms (iOS and Android 2.2+, including the Kindle Fire and Nook Colour). Partly thanks to use of the Lua scripting language, Corona provides for a fast learning curve, a selection factor cited by 42% of developers (compared to 25% on average for other tools). Conversely, it also appears to be dropped as a result of a steep learning curve. This may reflect the fact that apps are written through a text editor, rather than a fully integrated development environment. Corona is positioned as a Flash alternative for independent games developers, mid-sized studios and digital agencies. Ansca targets developers migrating from the Flash platform. As such, it positions Lua as an easy transition from Adobe’s ActionScript, and even offers migration tools. Reflecting the game-centric positioning, 61% of developers using Corona target games. Some 45% selected the tool due to its suitability for developing games (against an average of 6%). Education apps are also important (27% against an average of 16%). Ansca are less focused on the market for enterprise apps, but 57
  • 12 do claim that up to 25% of Corona developers are creating business/enterprise apps using Corona, which is near the 21% figure generated by survey respondents. While Corona has some utility and traction for building games, it is not intended as a 3D games engine in the same line as Unity (which also use Lua scripting). Rather, it suits 2D games and rich Internet applications. Gideros and Moai provide a similar Lua-based development platform. However, Moai directly targets games, while Corona aims to broaden its game-centric developer base. In other markets, it competes against the likes of LiveCode, which is often used for creating educational apps. LiveCode provides an even higher-level language, with a more complete development environment, but offers with fewer APIs. Corona is also broadly moving to better compete with tools for developing rich-media applications, particularly Flash / AIR. FACTSHEET Company Ansca mobile Founded 2008 Product released Mid 2009 Tool Type Runtime Funding VC Backed by Merus Capital Authoring language Lua, Corona APIs Dev. environment Text editor Deployment format Native Target Apps Games, native UI framework available Min cost to publish US $349 per year for iOS and Android, US $199 for single platform Website www.anscamobile.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 Other: B&N Nook Color, Kindle Fire 58
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) Corona tools Cost 3.8 -0.2 Number of platforms supported 3.9 -0.2 Runtime performance 4 0.1 Learning curve 4.4 0.5 Development and debugging experience 3.8 0.1 Access to device and hardware APIs 3.5 -0.1 UI capabilities 3.5 -0.3 App publishing process 3.8 0.1 Vendor support and services 3.8 0 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use Corona as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: - Well-suited for games development (45% vs. 5% on avg. for other tools) Selection criteria - Easy learning curve (42% vs. 25% on avg. for other tools) - High performance / low runtime overhead (15% vs. 10% on avg. for other tools) Developers who use Corona as their primary tool, use it more than other Top app categories tools to develop apps of the following categories: - Games (e.g., Angry Birds): 61% vs. 20% for other tools Alongside support for new platforms, users of Corona primarily look for: - Native UI capabilities (61% vs. 38% on avg. for other tools) On the wishlist - Support for this platform (27% vs. 18% on avg. for other tools) - Wrappers for cloud APIs (30% vs. 23% on avg. for other tools) 59
  • 12 Appcelerator (Titanium) Founded in 2006, Appcelerator is based in Mountain View, Calif. The core product, Titanium, provides an OS abstraction runtime and IDE, and was released in 2008 for PC, Mac and Linux. In 2009, Android and iOS were added. Appcelerator has raised US$30 million over three funding rounds from investors that include Storm Ventures, Sierra Ventures, eBay, Mayfield, Red Hat and Translink. Appcelerator has taken an industry consolidation role through three recent acquisitions. It acquired Aptana in January 2011, gaining an Eclipse-based IDE with 1.6 million users. Particlecode was acquired in October 2011, in order to extend target platforms to the gaming and mobile web realms; web support is due out in the first half of 2012. Appcelerator also acquired Cocoafish in February 2012, with the aim of integrating a host of cloud based platform services, including storage, push notifications, messaging, user management and social integration connectors. Products & Technology Titanium applications are written using HTML, JavaScript and CSS, with development tools and support for PHP, Ruby and Python. Applications can use Appcelerator APIs to access native features, user interface constructs, and optional modules like analytics. Titanium links javascript to native libraries, then compiles it to bytecode. The iOS or Android SDK compiler then builds the package for the target platform. Appcelerator claim over 80% of code can be re-used across mobile platforms. Titanium can also target desktop platforms. The output application contains mostly native code, and rendering is executed natively. In addition, the output application contains a JavaScript interpreter runtime and a Webkit rendering engine. The runtime payload – including the WebKit rendering engine, API libraries and JavaScript interpreter – is claimed to be just 10% the size of Adobe’s AIR runtime. Appcelerator Studio (based on the Aptana acquisition) is the add-on IDE. It offers an integrated editing tool with Git integration for source control and productivity features like code completion and inline debugging. Appcelerator provides a choice of output formats, including fully native (the most popular format by far), hybrid apps and mobile web apps. Appcelerator’s target mobile platforms are limited to iOS, Android and mobile web platforms, with more complete mobile web support planned for the first half of 2012. BlackBerry support is also in beta. The Titanium SDKs are offered under the Apache 2 open source license, for both free community projects and commercial products. Community license holders can purchase Appcelerator modules in the Open Mobile Marketplace. Enterprise licenses offer a more complete mobile platform, with integration into backend and third-party systems, development support, production support, and enhanced analytics. Appcelerator also has pricing options for agencies and development shops building mobile applications for enterprises Appcelerator has gained traction from its low-cost barriers to entry. The ability to use the tool at a ‘low cost or free’ was chosen as a top-three reason by 56% of those using Appcelerator as their primary cross- platform tool (compared to 31% on average). This could indicate high use of the community edition among respondents. The company also runs the Open Mobile Marketplace, which resells extensions to the Titanium platform, sample apps and design elements. The infrastructure behind the Appcelerator marketplace is provided by AppDirect. Market traction Appcelerator reports that 35,000 apps have been published and deployed on 40 million devices. Appcelerator claims a developer client base of 250,000 mobile developers, and with the Aptana acquisition, an additional 1.6 million web developers. Customer references include the NBC iPad App, Legoland Zipcar and PwC’s MyTravel app. 60
  • 12 Positioning Appcelerator is designed primarily for information-rich, interactive applications, rather than graphics- heavy games. Our survey found that nearly twice as many Appcelerator developers target media, entertainment and education apps, on average. Appcelerator’s Titanium is currently geared towards web developers. Appcelerator developers target primarily iPhone (97%) and Android (92%), followed by iPad (85%) and Android tablets (60%). Support for additional platforms is a popular demand, requested by over 60% more developers than our survey’s platform average. Appcelerator is attracting developers who are fairly new to developing for mobile, with 80% of tool users reporting two years or less mobile experience. There are no significant differences from the average between the categories targeted or ways the tool is used, such as to target specific parts of application development. Appcelerator mainly competes for developers using web technologies, though it should deliver better performance than hybrid solutions using frameworks like Sencha and PhoneGap. Through its series of acquisitions, Appcelerator is creating an integrated mobile development platform for enterprises. This aligns it more closely with the Mobile App Platform solutions (like Worklight), although it is suited more broadly to developers producing a range of rich applications, rather than focussing on large corporates and enterprise apps. FACTSHEET Company Appcelerator Founded 2007 Product release 2008 (Desktop), 2009 (Mobile) Tool Type 2009 (Mobile) Runtime Funding $31.2M in VC funding Authoring language HTML, CSS, JavaScript Development env. Eclipse based IDE Titanium Studio (acquired from Aptana) or other IDE Deployment format Native (primarily), Hybrid and Web apps (beta) Target Apps Information-rich and rich media apps for B2C, B2B and B2E Min cost to publish Free (limited APIs) Website www.appcelerator.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ (beta) ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 ✔ ✔ ✔ 61
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) Appcelerator tools Cost 3.9 0 Number of platforms supported 3.8 -0.4 Runtime performance 3.6 -0.2 Learning curve 3.7 -0.2 Development and debugging experience 3.2 -0.5 Access to device and hardware APIs 3.9 0.3 UI capabilities 3.9 0.1 App publishing process 3.7 0 Vendor support and services 3.5 -0.3 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use Appcelerator as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: Selection criteria - Low cost (56% vs. 29% for other tools on average) - Access to device or hardware APIs (19% vs. 10% for other tools on avg.) - Rich UI capabilities (23% vs. 15% for other tools on avg.) Developers who use Appcelerator as their primary tool use it more than other tools to develop apps of the following categories: - Media, including News, Sports, Weather, Magazines (e.g.The Economist): Top app categories 24% vs. 13% on avg. for other tools - Entertainment (e.g., Fatbooth): 16% vs. 8% on avg. for other tools - Education & Reference (e.g., Learn Thai): 23% vs. 17% on avg. for other tools Alongside support for new platforms, users of Appcelerator primarily look for: On the wishlist - Better platform specific optimisations (51% against an average of 33% for other tools) - Support for this platform (29% against avg. 17% for other tools) 62
  • 12 Seregon (DragonRad) DragonRad was originally founded as Seregon in Ontario, Canada, in 2001. Seregon original provided professional services and software development to enterprise customers across Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices. Confronted with massive development costs, the company decided to invest in creating its own cross-platform tools, which it later productised by launching the ‘Seregon App’ in 2007. The fourth version of the product was released under the new DragonRad brand in September, 2010. To this date, the company revenues remain split between the tools and professional services business. The company is funded by Purple Angel, the Ontario Government, and ZIM Corporation, with Corel Founder Mike Cowpland being among the investors. Products & Tech DragonRad is aimed at enterprise developers who are targeting BlackBerry, Android, iOS or Windows Mobile handsets. Applications are built in DragonRad Designer, a WYSIWYG drag-and-drop, form-based environment with Lua used for scripting the business logic. Applications are compiled into Lua bytecode, which is executed by the interpreter in the DragonRad runtime environment. The application can then be published to DragonRad Host, a server that also manages synchronization to back end databases and devices in the field. The tool offers device integration features, as well as enterprise connectors to Lotus Notes, MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, Postgre SQL and Sybase database systems. DragonRad offer a free trial with deployment limited to two devices, with commercial licenses starting at US$4,900 a year and a range of services that complement the product. Market traction DragonRad claims 3,000 registered users, including Intergraph, creators of a Blackberry app for police cruisers, and Scotia Bank, who are developing a tablet app for credit applications. Positioning DragonRad plays in a similar market to Netbiscuits, RhoMobile or enterprise app builders like Worklight (acquired by IBM), Pyxis (now Verivo) and Antenna Mobility. DragonRad simplifies development of data-driven enterprise applications, with many out-of-the-box integration options with back-end email and database systems. The tool is squarely aimed at enterprise developers targeting all major smartphone platforms: BlackBerry, Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. It provides for an easy learning curve, with development done in a WYSIWYG editor and Lua scripting language. At the same time, the drag-and-drop development approach will have limited appeal to IT departments, where control of code or design flexibility is paramount. In the cross-platform tools space, DragonRad faces competition from the range of free or low-cost tools available with more powerful programming paradigms. 63
  • 12 FACTSHEET Company Seregon Founded 2001 Product release 2007 Tool type Runtime Funding Private Authoring language WYSIWYG, Forms, Lua Dev. environment Drag and drop designer Deployment format Native Target Apps Data driven Enterprise apps Min cost to publish $1400 per year Website www.dragonrad.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 Other: Windows Mobile 64
  • 12 IBM (Worklight) Worklight was founded in 2006 by Shahar Kaminitz, previously founder of the eBusiness Applications Division at Amdocs. The company is based in New York with an R&D centre in Israel. The first product was launched in 2007 as a solution for enabling access to enterprise systems and data via remote desktop and mobile devices. In 2009, Worklight launched a full mobile enterprise application platform and app lifecycle management solution. Investors including Index Ventures, Genesis Partners, Pitango Venture Capital and Shlomo Kramer, the co-founder of Check Point Software. The company was acquired in February 2012, by IBM, who also was a strategic sales partner. Products & Tech Worklight is a platform for developing and managing enterprise apps. Applications are written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and deployed as desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux), web (incl. Facebook), native (iOS, Android, RIM and Windows Phone) or hybrid applications. Developers can also combine Worklight web development with popular JavaScript frameworks like jQuery Mobile, Sencha and Dojo. The native runtime can also be written and modified using native code. Worklight provides a comprehensive enterprise offering including a development environment, back-end integration, plus deployment, run-time and in-life app management including analytics and provisioning. The platform is available for a free trial for evaluation purposes only. Worklight hybrid apps are packaged with the modifiable runtime shell, which includes a JavaScript-to- native device API bridge, and runtime libraries. Worklight uses a ‘quality assured’ subset of the PhoneGap library to enable access to native features. Market Traction Worklight claims clients across a range of verticals including financial services, hospitality, media, healthcare, technology, and energy industries. These include - in the company’s own words - one of the worlds leading financial institutions, one of the worlds largest healthcare providers, a major international telecommunication service provider, a prominent international hotel and one of the largest technology companies in the world. Positioning Worklight targets large enterprises, system integrators and software vendors with in-house development teams producing B2B apps. Worklight competes in the market for enterprise applications targeted by RhoMobile and Xamarin, or web code based solutions such as Sencha, but competes most directly with other Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms such as Pyxis (now Verivo), Kony, Feedhenry, and Application Craft. The platform caters to all major mobile platforms, namely iOS, Android, RIM and Windows Phone, plus mobile web and Facebook pages. The Worklight approach provides a range of options for deployment across web-only, native and hybrid (i.e., web apps in a native shell). A hybrid application can mix web code with native extensions, thereby allowing projects to be structured according to the native vs. web skills available and the best return on investment for the company. 65
  • 12 FACTSHEET Company Worklight, Acquired by IBM in February 2012 Founded 2006 Product release 2007, 2009 Tool type Enterprise Application Platform Funding US $21M in VC funding Authoring language HTML, CSS, JS plus PhoneGap APIs and native code Dev. environment Eclipse based IDE Deployment format Native, Hybrid, Web Target Apps Key targets are B2C, B2B and B2E Enterprise apps and Rich Internet Apps Min cost to publish Not available Website Worklight, Acquired by IBM in February 2012 SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 ✔ ✔ ✔ Other: mobile web, web 66
  • 12 Ideaworks 3D Ltd (Marmalade) Ideaworks3D Limited, the company behind Marmalade, is based in London, UK. It started in 1998 as a software studio focusing on graphics and networking apps. Having licensed products to Intel, Autodesk and Nokia, the company evolved into a cross-platform mobile games development studio (which remains today as Ideaworks Game Studio), delivering to major publishers including EA and Activision. The original Airplay cross-platform SDK was developed as part of that process between 2005-2008 and released commercially in 2009, before rebranding to Marmalade in 2011. Ideaworks is privately funded with ARM being a minority shareholder. Products & Tech Marmalade works by turning C++ into native code for a wide range of platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry Tablet,, Symbian and Bada. To code, the developer uses standard C++, OpenGL ES and cross- platform Marmalade APIs, which abstract the native device APIs. Standard compilers convert this to ARM- level machine code, in addition to platform-specific code which is executed by a native abstraction layer packaged with the runtime. The baseline memory overhead of 400kb compares favourably with other solutions. Marmalade applications are developed using Microsoft Visual Studio, or Xcode desktop development environments. The SDK consists of a number of tools including a Simulator, Desktop ARM debugger, UI builder, Deployment tool, Remote Control facility for device controls testing and an Extension Development Kit allowing native code extensions to be written and exposed to the app through a C interface. Marmalade is available in range of versions, starting from a $149 version for indie developers (which attaches a Marmalade splash screen) through to enterprise and publisher accounts. OEM-level services include optimisation, bespoke enhancements to the SDK, co-branded SDKs, and managed porting of apps to new platforms. Ideaworks also run an Apps Program that provides a distribution mechanism for Marmalade apps to multiple app stores, covering all of the platforms that the SDK supports. The company also curates a GitHub space, where there are currently more than 60 open source C++ modules and extensions that have been tweaked to work with the platform. Market Traction Marmalade claims an installed base of around 50,000 developers including major games studios such as EA and PopCap. Notable software titles based on Marmalade include Plants vs. Zombies, Call of Duty: Black Ops: Zombies, Need for Speed Shift, Cut The Rope, Lara Croft Guardian of Light and Sim City Deluxe. Positioning Marmalade mainly plays in a similar market to the 3D games engines such as Unity and Unreal. They are more specifically designed to facilitate first person shooter creation while Marmalade provides a more flexible development tool. Other development tools with C++ at the core include BatteryTech and EDGELIB, which are similarly targeted at games production, and to some extent MoSync, though that is not targeting games development. Developers leverage the broad platform support to reach the less popular platforms and use Marmalade to target Bada (32%), BlackBerry (27%) and Symbian (29%), as well as iOS (93%) and Android (85%). Windows Phone support, along with better desktop deployment options (currently in Beta) are often requested by developers according to our survey. Ideaworks has historically focused on targeting games developers from major studios to independents, with additional services targeted at OEMs and large publishers. As a result, Marmalade includes 3D graphics and animation tools, 2D/3D geometry support and lately native UI components, which broadens 67
  • 12 the target market to non-games production. This legacy reflects in the target developer market; 81% of Marmalade developers produce games, with only 19% producing enterprise apps based on our survey. Performance was cited as a developer criterion for tool selection significantly more than average. Developers also cited that they have dropped a tool due to it not supporting the platforms they are targeting significantly more often than the average (32% against 18%). This does not fit with Marmalade’s broad platform support for mobile - though given that this competes against other games engines this may derive from the lack of support for web and games console platforms as provided by games engines like Unity and support for new platforms was requested by 29% of Marmalade users against 17% on average for other tools. This (and the broader potential app categories compared to Unity) may also be reflected in the elevated level of responses citing that they had dropped tools including Marmalade, as they were ‘not suited to games development’ Marmalade attracts primarily seasoned mobile developers working on high-profile apps. This was reflected in our survey where developers using Marmalade had significantly more experience of mobile development than for other environments, while there were 2-3 times more seasoned (5+ years) mobile developers than on average. Marmalade developers were also three times more likely to be working on high-profile games with 100K to 1M users. What Marmalade says: “The Marmalade SDK is a cross-platform development environment for rich apps and games on smartphones, tablets and other embedded platforms. Marmalade has been adopted by leading publishers worldwide enabling a number of high profile, high performance AAA titles four #1 games on the Apple App Store.” FACTSHEET Company Marmalade (trading name of Ideaworks3D Limited) Founded 1998 Product released Marmalade SDK (formerly Airplay SDK) - 2009 Tool Type SDK with full cross-compilation to machine code. Funding Privately held with ARM an investor and minority shareholder since 2009. Authoring language C++ with Marmalade APIs abstracting target platform APIs Dev. environment Microsoft Visual C++ or Xcode, opening up soon to web development tools Deployment format Native Target Apps Games and intensive apps Min cost to publish US $149 – iOS and Android only, adds Marmalade splash screen Website www.madewithmarmalade.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ QNX only ✔ ✔ 68
  • 12 Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 ✔ ✔ ✔ Other: LG TV DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) Marmalade tools Cost 3.7 -0.2 Number of platforms supported 4.4 0.3 Runtime performance 4.3 0.4 Learning curve 3.4 -0.5 Development and debugging experience 3.9 0.2 Access to device and hardware APIs 3.9 0.4 UI capabilities 3.4 -0.4 App publishing process 4 0.2 Vendor support and services 3.7 -0.1 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use Marmalade as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: - Well suited for games development (33% vs. 5% on avg. for other tools) Selection criteria - High performance / low runtime overhead (36% vs. 10% on avg. for other tools) - It supports the platforms they are targeting (76% vs. 59% on avg. for other tools) Developers who use Marmalade as their primary tool, use it more than other tools to develop apps of the following categories: Top app categories - Games (e.g., Angry Birds): 81% vs. 19% on avg. for other tools. - Entertainment (e.g., Fatbooth: 21% vs. 8% on avg. for other tools. Alongside support for new platforms (29% against 17% on avg. for other tools) users of Marmalade primarily look for: On the wishlist - More flexible licensing options (32% against 17% on average for other tools) 69
  • 12 MoSync MoSync was founded in 2004 as Mobile Sorcery, a development studio producing and publishing mobile games and is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Recognizing that writing games for additional platforms was very high cost, MoSync was created to bridge across-platform fragmentation and productise cross-platform development tools. The tool started as a way to address the hundreds of Java ME device variants through a single C++ codebase and over the years evolved into addressing most smartphone platforms. MoSync has raised an undisclosed Series A funding from MySQL founders David Axmark and Michael Widenius and STING (Stockholm Innovation and Growth) Capital private equity fund. Products & Tech MoSync allows developers to use C++ or (as of recently) just HTML and JavaScript to target iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, Symbian, Java ME, Windows Mobile and Moblin platforms, with BlackBerry support under development. Developers can access native APIs through abstracted MoSync libraries while the app design can use native UI widgets. When targeting Android, MoSync can generate Dalvik bytecode, but can work directly at the C++ level using the Java-Native interface and NDK. MoSync is integrated into the Eclipse IDE with planned support for Visual Studio. The MoSync IDE allows developers to target a broad spectrum of over 2,400 devices, with most of these being Java ME variants. Developers can use any emulator including the native platform emulators, or the dedicated MoSync Reference Environment. MoSync uses a custom C++ compiler, which outputs MoSync Intermediate Language. This is fed into the ‘pipe tool’, along with the application resources and the MoSync libraries. The ‘pipe tool’ builds code trees, analyzes, optimises and outputs either C/C++ source code, MoSync bytecode or Java bytecode. This is then packaged with the appropriate runtime for the platform, which MoSync claim has a footprint of about 100Kb. What’s notable is that MoSync can create binaries for most platforms, including Android without their respective SDKs. MoSync is available under an open source (GPL v2) license, a free “indie” license and two commercial professional licenses starting at EUR199. Developers value the free licensing options with 68% noting this as a key criterion for selecting MoSync (against an average of 31%) according to our survey. Market traction According to MoSync, the tool has seen 180,000 downloads and 20,000 registered users. Clients include Gemalto, Stockholm City, Penvision, The BS Group (Banking), Intel and Navtech. MoSync note that their first major release was in September 2011 and expect to see many more apps coming to market over the next 2-4 months. Positioning MoSync mainly targets developers of enterprise apps and high logic centric and therefore plays in the same market as the likes of Xamarin (MonoTouch), though leveraging C++ rather than C# .NET, and potentially Appcelerator though with a greater focus on programming logic enabled by C++ programming. The Aqua Platform provides a C++ based development platform with the non-game apps they showcase showing a broad range of functionality suited to different app categories. By leveraging web technologies MoSync will become more competitive with the likes of Sencha 2.0. While targeting similar app categories, MoSync is not a full platform solution along the lines of Worklight, or a code-light web app solution such as Netbiscuits. The tool boasts one of the broadest ranges of mobile platform coverage, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, Symbian, Java ME with BlackBerry “coming soon”. In our survey, 70% of MoSync developers noted platform coverage was a tool selection criterion. Beyond the popular iOS and Android platforms, 70
  • 12 MoSync developers are twice as likely to target Windows Phone and four times as likely to target Symbian than other developers, according to our survey. MoSync has the programming power of C++ at its core – and has recently added HTML and JavaScript support to appeal to a broader developer base. The tool sees broad use across app categories and is notably used for communications and social networking apps with twice the average number of developers targeting the social networking app category. Our survey indicates that MoSync often attracts seasoned developers - 19% of MoSync developers have 7+ years of experience compared to an average of 10% across other tools. FACTSHEET Company MoSync Founded 2004 Product released 2009-2010 (Beta), September 2011 (Commercial) Tool Type IDE, Runtime Funding Private with some VC funding Authoring language C++ with layers of JS, HTML5 and other languages possible including Lua, Ruby, Python Dev. environment Eclipse based IDE Deployment format Native executables / Xcode projects, Hybrid apps Target Apps Logic centric apps Min cost to publish Free Website www.mosync.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ QNX (TBA) ✔ ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 Other: MeeGo/Tizen, J2ME, Windows Mobile 71
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) MoSync tools Cost 4.6 0.7 Number of platforms supported 4.4 0.3 Runtime performance 4.1 0.3 Learning curve 3.6 -0.3 Development and debugging experience 3.5 -0.2 Access to device and hardware APIs 3.8 0.3 UI capabilities 3.9 0.1 App publishing process 3.7 -0.1 Vendor support and services 3.9 0.2 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use MoSync as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: - Low cost or free (68% vs. 30% on avg. for other tools) - It supports the platforms Im targeting (70% vs. 59% on avg. for other Selection criteria tools) - Access to device or hardware APIs (20% vs. 11% on avg. for other tools) - High performance / low runtime overhead (18% vs. 10% on avg. for other tools) Developers who use MoSync as their primary tool, use it more than other tools to develop apps of the following categories: Top app categories - Communications and Social networking (e.g., Skype): 26% vs. 12% on avg. for other tools. Users of MoSync primarily look for: - Better device API integration (57% vs. 38% on avg. for other tools) On the wishlist - Native UI capabilities (51% vs. 38% on avg. for other tools). - Support for this platform (27% vs. 17% on avg. for other tools) - Publishing across multiple app stores (29% vs. 22% on avg. for other tools) 72
  • 12 Motorola Solutions (RhoMobile) Founded in 2008, RhoMobile is based in San Jose, California and employs 26 engineers. The company provides Rhodes, a development and deployment tool for creating enterprise apps for all major smartphone platforms. RhoMobile was VC backed by VSpring Capital and Alta Ventures. The company was acquired by Motorola Solutions (the non-mobile, enterprise and government oriented division not acquired by Google) in July 2011, who have continued developing and supporting the products. Products & Tech Rhodes developers write in Ruby language to generate native applications for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Win Phone and Symbian platforms. Rhodes allows smartphone apps to be developed using a Model View Controller (MVC) architecture, cleanly separating the visual design (written in HTML) from the business logic (written in Ruby). The apps generated are compiled into Ruby 1.9 bytecode, which is then interpreted by the Ruby Virtual Machine for the target platform. RhoMobile claims that apps written in Rhodes are faster on Android than an Android Java app, since Rhodes itself is written in C++ with the Android NDK). Rhodes provides access to native device features through an abstracted set of Ruby APIs. JQTouch is supported out of the box for creating touchscreen UIs. RhoMobile is targeting squarely enterprise application development and as such provides a suite of tools to integrate, deploy and manage corporate apps. RhoConnect connects to enterprise databases - and through the RhoSync server pushes out updates to the device and provides a synchronized data capability for transparent access to data when the device is offline. RhoHub also provides a cloud-based (install-free) development environment that also comes with Git-based source control and team collaboration features (this also allows Mac-free iOS development). RhoGallery is part of the hosted RhoHub service and is positioned as an enterprise app store – facilitating app management with automatic provisioning, update push and de-provisioning capabilities. Finally the RhoStudio IDE is designed to make development with Rhodes easier with build tools, templates, simulators and debuggers. Rhodes itself is available under the open source MIT License. Rhohub, the cloud-based development environment is also provided for free. Access to the RhoSync server is charged at $5,000-$10,000 per year and comes full access to the enterprise app store. Following the acquisition, Motorola released RhoElements in October 2011 which leverages Motorola’s PocketBrowser product for creating connected, hybrid web apps. Rho-elements supports web code based development of enterprise applications on Motorola industrial devices running Windows Embedded 6.5, CE 5 and 6 and Compact 7, or the Android based Enterprise Tablet 1. Market Traction RhoMobile reports that there have been over 100,000 unique downloads of Rhodes and hundreds of Rhodes-based apps on the Apple App Store. However it’s difficult to assess the true user base of Rhodes given that the framework is open source and under the permissive MIT license allow liberal re-use. Positioning RhoMobile targets enterprise developers producing enterprise and B2B apps. On that basis, It plays in the same market as Xamarin, but it is most closely competing with web technology based solutions - such as Appcelerator and Sencha - and with platform features as seen in Worklight. Ruby bytecode and the VM should offer superior performance to hybrid apps rendered using the native browser. Rhodes covers all major smartphone platforms - iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone 7 - and offers a well-rounded suite of tools to integrate, deploy and manage enterprise apps. Rhodes requires knowledge of the Ruby language, although this comes with an easy learning curve that should appeal to web developers. 73
  • 12 FACTSHEET Company Rhomobile, acquired by Motorola Solutions July 2011 Founded 2008 Product release 2008 Tool Type Runtime Funding VC backed Authoring language Ruby, HTML Dev. environment IDE or hosted cloud development Deployment format Native apps using webviews Target Apps Enterprise applications Min cost to publish FOSS under MIT license for non-commercial products, Website http://rhomobile.com/ SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 Other: Windows Mobile 74
  • 12 Netbiscuits Netbiscuits was founded in 2000 and initially operated as a development house for WAP portals, and moved to productise cross-platform tools in 2007. The company is based in Kaiserlautern, Germany with around 125 employees at 8 offices around the world. Netbiscuits is founder-owned and VC-funded by Creathor in 2006 and T Ventures in 2010. Netbiscuits has been profitable since 2003 with revenues of $10 million in 2010 and rapid (50%) growth in 2011. 75% of revenues come from providing SaaS licenses for the platform, cloud software and development tools, while 25% comes from additional platform services such as training and development. Products & Tech Netbiscuits is a platform for building cross-platform web apps using HTML and JavaScript. Developers can code in HTML/JavaScript using Eclipse or Visual Studio plugins, or Sitebuilder, the Netbiscuits web-based drag and drop authoring tool. The BiscuitML markup language simplifies creating common web app functionality such as navigation, menus, RSS feed reading, location and points of interest. There is also a range of templates to further simplify web application creation. Netbiscuits provide software-as-a-service tools including a media repository, coupon tool, message campaign suite and analytics reporting. To deliver a cross-platform solution, Netbiscuits maintains a device database that optimises web apps for the target device on the fly. Netbiscuits developers can use PhoneGap to create natively wrapped web apps, although the PhoneGap tool is not integrated into the toolchain as is with for example Worklight. Netbiscuits is provided as a service under three license options - a developer edition which includes access to all ‘Netbiscuits’ and is free for non-commercial use, but limited to 5 mobile web apps, 10,000 served pages, 5GB storage and 1GB outbound traffic. Standard edition is licensed on a rolling monthly contract and allows commercial use prices starting at US$69 per month with a 99.0% SLA and upping the pages served each month to 25,000. Enterprise edition is licensed on an annual negotiated contract with standard 2 million pages served a month, 20GB storage, 200GB outbound traffic, messaging and couponing services, Sawmill reporting, full support and other services. These include DRM, SSL, Server Monitoring, Testing Service & QA Form Data Download & Form Data to Webservice. Market traction Netbiscuits claim around 15,000 active mobile developers with around 27,000 web apps and sites having been built on the platform. Netbiscuits list clients including CBS Mobile, PayPal, Yell, eBay Mobile, Bild, Philips, 1&1, Screwfix and the Kingfisher Group. Positioning Netbiscuits could be described as an enterprise web-app builder tool (compatible with PhoneGap for wrapped hybrid apps) with platform services, and plays in a market similar to DragonRad, FeedHenry, Fitml, Antenna Software, Pyxis (now Verivo) Worklight and Application Craft. Netbiscuits also competes directly with mobile development agencies but “allow clients to take control”. The tool is designed for creating mobile web apps and subject to their limitations - as such Netbiscuits is not suited to application types such as rich games or apps requiring background operation. The main take up for the platform is seen from media, commerce and consumer applications developed for brands, agencies and service providers. 75
  • 12 FACTSHEET Company Netbiscuits Founded 2000 Product released 2007 Tool type Framework / platform Funding VC backing for expansion, not revealed Authoring language Templates, drag and drop, HTML, CSS, JS, BiscuitML Dev. environment Proprietary IDE Sitebuilder, Visual Studio, Eclipse Plug in Deployment format Web apps, (Hybrid, using PhoneGap) Target Apps Brand extensions, mobile websites Min cost to publish Free for non-commercial use Website www.netbiscuits.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 ✔ Other: mobile web 76
  • 12 RunRev (LiveCode) Founded in 1997, RunRev (Runtime Revolution) is based in Edinburgh, Scotland with around 20 employees. RunRev’s LiveCode cross-platform tool is based on MetaCard, a multimedia authoring tool and GUI based development environment for creating Windows and Mac apps. RunRev acquired the language and other MetaCard technologies in 2003. This was led by CEO Kevin Miller, a long time user of MetaCard, with backing from private investors including Mike Markkula the second CEO of Apple and Robert Cailliau, credited as one of the inventors of the World Wide Web. RunRev launched LiveCode for iOS in 2010 and for Android in 2011. Products & Tech Applications are built in the LiveCode language, a natural programming language, which RunRev claims is far easier to learn and use than traditional languages and even high levels script like Lua. Supported target platforms are iOS, Android, as well as Mac OS X, Windows and Linux desktop platform. The LiveCode tool works by turning the high level ‘natural language’ into bytecode ,which is packaged with an interpreter runtime into a native executable. The IDE also offers visual design tools and compile-free testing to speed up app development and debugging. The tool allows the developer to access native mobile device features, although Android features currently lag behind those available for iOS. LiveCode supports 2D OpenGL graphics acceleration however currently lacks support for 3D graphics and a full games toolkit. The runtime is fairly lightweight with a memory overhead of 3MB according to RunRev. LiveCode pricing ranges from US$99 per platform for personal or non-profit use up to US$499 per platform for commercial use. These are available as perpetual licenses although several paid-for upgrades are released throughout the year. Market Traction While not providing exact figures, RunRev state that tens of thousands use the platform and hundreds of apps have been created using LiveCode. RunRev’s client base is small and medium size businesses without in-house programming skills. LiveCode is notably used in the education market both for application development and teaching programming, Showcase apps include a Malawi education project from Eurotalk, The Forest Guide (Germany), HIV and Your Heart and Galactic Gauntlet. Positioning LiveCode operates in a market similar to app builders, which allow development without coding such as Illuminations Software Creator, Tiggzi, iBuild App and Mobile Nation HQ. It is however more extensible than that through the LiveCode language. Our research suggests that LiveCode is used as a desktop-first cross-platform tool with 75% of LiveCode developers targeting Windows PC and 78% Mac desktop, significantly higher than other solutions. It is also notable that 75% of developers targeted the iPad while only 69% targeted the iPhone and 53% Android phone / 48% Android tablet platforms. The LiveCode language is squarely positioned as an easy to learn programming language with high readability targeting largely at novice developers looking for an easy-to-learn cross-platform development tool. As a result, LiveCode has gained some traction in the education sector - reflected by significantly more (37%) developers producing education apps than average (16%) in our survey. At the same time, our results indicate that for most (65%) developers LiveCode takes months rather than weeks to learn - often a little longer than most other tools. This is despite the fact that most LiveCode developers in our survey (83%) had more than seven years software development experience. This likely reflects not any inherent difficulty of the language, but is most likely due to its positioning as novice developers first programming experience. The experienced but largely non-pro developer target audience appears not to progress to more complex programming paradigms and tools, suggesting LiveCode likely meets their requirements as occasional programmers. 77
  • 12 Mobile applications built with LiveCode tend to fall into simple multimedia applications, with some exceptions as the platform is reportedly used in mission-critical applications such as flight booking system for a European airline. What RunRev says “The LiveCode app environment is the easiest path to creating killer apps for small business and education. LiveCode’s ease of use brings app development to a broader audience than any other platform”. FACTSHEET Company RunRev Founded 1997 Product released 2010/2011 Tool type IDE Runtime Funding Private Authoring language LiveCode, a natural-like proprietary language Dev. environment LiveCodeIDE Deployment format Native Target Apps Simple multimedia, esp. education apps Min cost to publish $99 (personal or non-profit use) Website www.runrev.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 ✔ ✔ ✔ Other: web 78
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) RunRev LiveCode tools Cost 3.5 -0.5 Number of platforms supported 4.5 0.4 Runtime performance 4 0.1 Learning curve 4.2 0.3 Development and debugging experience 4.1 0.4 Access to device and hardware APIs 3.3 -0.3 UI capabilities 3.8 0.1 App publishing process 4 0.3 Vendor support and services 4 0.3 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use RunRev as their primary tool collected it for the following reasons: - Rapid development process (69% vs. 28% on avg. for other tools) Selection criteria - Easy learning curve (37% vs. 24% on avg. for other tools) - It supports the platforms Im targeting (67% vs. 58% on avg. for other tools) Developers who use RunRev as their primary tool, use it more than other tools to develop apps of the following categories: Top app categories - Education & Reference (e.g. Learn Thai): 37% vs. 16% on avg. for other tools. Users of LiveCode are generally satisfied with the platform support with only 10% looking for greater breadth of platforms compared with an average of 18%. The features they would like to see next are: - Native UI Capabilities (55% against 37% on avg. for other tools) On the wishlist - Better device API integration (49% against 37% on avg. for other tools) - Other idea (26% against 13% on avg. for other tools) - e.g., documentation, more advanced programming paradigms, graphics, audio and video handling. 79
  • 12 Qt (Nokia) Qt (pronounced ‘cute’) is a platform abstraction layer originally developed by Trolltech in 1994. It is used widely as a basis for desktop and embedded apps, such as Google Earth to Skype and the Roku set-top box. Qt was acquired by Nokia in 2008 in order to deliver a consistent programming environment for its own and third party apps across its Symbian, Maemo and Series 40 platforms. Having given up Symbian, MeeGo and partnered with Microsoft, Nokia is likely to adopt Qt for its ‘next billion’ strategy. It is worth noting that during 2008-2011 Nokia abandoned the Qt desktop and embedded platforms, selling off the commercial licensing unit to Digia, a Finnish system integrator. Qt is available under three licenses, including two open source (LGPL v2.1 and GPL v3) and one paid-for commercial license. Qt Development Frameworks is the division within Nokia responsible for maintaining and developing Qt. Since November 2011, Nokia has reduced its level of control over Qt, allowing third parties to contribute to the roadmap and features on a more equal footing. Products & Tech At its core, Qt is a C++ UI and application framework that has been ported on a wide range of platforms including iOS, Android, Symbian, Tizen (MeeGo), Windows Mobile, Mac OS, Windows, Linux, plus many proprietary embedded environments. Besides C++, developers can use QML (Qt Meta Language), a declarative language using some JavaScript elements, to easily code the application UI and logic. QML can be extended with Qt C++ or through bindings to C#, .NET, Java, Lua, Perl Python and PHP. Note that the Qt library does add around 12 MB to the app payload and WebKit doubles that. This will be reduced in Qt 5, which introduces modularity, taking out unused components of the framework. Developers can also code with HTML, JavaScript and CSS to implement the user interface rendered via a WebKit engine. Mixing programming languages and using WebViews may introduce some performance overheads. Otherwise performance is claimed to be on par with native apps, and should be faster than Java when using compiled C++ with abstraction layers interfacing with the OS for the core app. Qt developers are more likely to choose performance as one of their selection criteria -- 32% of the time compared to 10% on average, and satisfaction with performance is high. The Qt SDK comprises a set of code libraries, the Qt Designer and Quick Designer visual editors, development tools such as the Qt Quick UI Creation Kit, mobile APIs, and simulators for Symbian and Meego devices. There are also plugins for Visual Studio and the Eclipse IDEs. Market traction Nokia estimates that there are around 500,000 developers using Qt, and over 20,000 applications released since the platform was first introduced, half of those being for desktop platforms. Qt has been used as the programming platform for mobile (incl. Symbian and Android), desktop and embedded devices, up to air traffic control, car terminals, set-top boxes and printers. Moving forward, with Qt being in an uncertain state of transition to Nokia’s Series 40, its future potential for traction remains to be seen. Positioning Qt is perhaps the only pure-play application framework to survive the arrival of Apple/Google, with Java ME and Flash both being in a state of continual decline. This is reflected by the marginally higher experience in mobile development than stated by other tool respondents -- 30% of Qt developers have more than five years experience compared with an average of 17%. They also show less website development experience, with 42% (compared to an average of 66%) recording more than five years involvement in website development. Qt developers can mix C++ programming with HTML/JavaScript and QML alongside rapid development tools. Besides desktop and embedded systems, Qt is now used for creating cross-platform applications on Android and iOS, even if they are ‘tier 3’ and do not have mainstream support. Android is available under 80
  • 12 the Lighthouse project, while the iOS community driven project has the Qt Core running, but not the GUI. Our survey indicates that 48% of respondents selecting Qt as their main tool identified Android as a key platform target and 18% iOS. Significantly more Qt developers are targeting MeeGo /Tizen (80%) Symbian (73%), Windows PC (55%) and Mac (36%) than average. Qt developers’ main target app types are more mixed than most, but led by Utilities (38% against an average of 18%), Enterprise apps (29% against an average of 39%) and productivity tools (25% against an average of 25%). FACTSHEET Company Nokia / Qt Founded Trolltech founded in 1994, acquired by Nokia 2008 Product released Nokia Qt SDK released June 2010 Tool Type SDK with code library runtime implementation Funding Open source project led by Nokia Authoring language C++ with Qt APIs, QML, HTML Dev. environment IDE plug ins for Eclipse, Visual Studio Deployment format Native application Target Apps Varied Min cost to publish Free under LGPL or GPL restrictions Website www.qt.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 ✔ ✔ ✔ Other: MeeGo/Tizen 81
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) Qt tools Cost 4.5 0.6 Number of platforms supported 4 -0.1 Runtime performance 4.5 0.7 Learning curve 3.9 0.1 Development and debugging experience 4.1 0.4 Access to device and hardware APIs 3.9 0.3 UI capabilities 4.4 0.7 App publishing process 3.4 -0.3 Vendor support and services 3.6 -0.1 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use Qt as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: - High performance / low runtime overhead (32% vs. 9% on avg. for other Selection criteria tools) - Rich UI capabilities (38% vs.15% on avg. for other tools) - No vendor lock in issues (15% vs.4% on avg. for other tools) - Low cost or free (39% vs.31% on avg. for other tools) Developers who use Qt as their primary tool, use it more than other tools to develop apps of the following categories: Top app categories - Utilities (e.g., Torch): 38% vs. 17% on avg. for other tools. - Maps & navigation & LBS (e.g., TomTom): 16% vs. 9% on avg. for other tools. Users of Qt primarily look for: - Support for new platforms (52% against 17% on avg. for other tools) On the wishlist - Publishing across multiple app stores (39% against 22% on avg. for other tools) 82
  • 12 Sencha Based in California, Sencha began life in 2007 as a community effort to combine Ext JS, jQTouch and Raphaël, three popular UI libraries. In June 2010, the company renamed itself to Sencha, raising US$14 million in a series A round from Sequioa Capital and Radar Ventures. Only a year later, it added another US$15 million in a B round of funding led by Jafco Ventures. While Sencha is the commercial entity, Sencha Labs is a non-profit entity that owns the intellectual property for the open-source software elements. Products & Tech Sencha produces a range of tools that help JavaScript developers create rich web applications more quickly. There are two product lines targeting developer and designer audiences. The first set of products is frameworks for JavaScript developers including Sencha Touch (for mobile), Ext JS (for desktop browsers) and Ext GWT (for browser apps based on the Google Web Toolkit). The second set of solutions targets visual or IDE-based designers, including the Sencha Animator which helps create CSS3-based animations for multiple devices, essentially targeting the Flash designer market. Sencha Touch includes components useful in turning mobile websites into web apps, including support for touch interactions, animations and data manipulation. The platforms supported are Android, iPhone and Blackberry touch devices. Sencha 1.0 based apps have a web code payload and run in a browser window. Apps only have access to APIs exposed via the Android, iOS or BlackBerry browser. Version 2.0 of Sencha Touch is in preview and adds support for wrapping web apps within a native executable, much like PhoneGap but with a 1-click build process. Sencha products are available under a zero-cost license (for free apps only), a commercial paid-for license and an open source (GPL3) license. Additional revenues are generated from support and add-on tools such as Designer, Animator and Charts products, and in the future the app deployment services currently in beta. The availability of free or low cost tools is particularly valued by 60% of the Sencha developers responding to our survey. With Sencha having been funded to the tune of US$29 million, generating profits does not seem to be a focus for now. Sencha notes that it is already breaking even, with revenues doubling each year. Market traction Sencha claims an addressable base of 1.6 million JavaScript developers, and boasts 300,000 registered community members. Example apps which have been built with Sencha are the Direct.TV app, Tours in Malta, Bugs in the Garden and Just One More by Ribbit. Positioning Sencha’s desktop browser tools target the enterprise market, while the mobile products are more targeted at the consumer apps space. This was reflected in our survey, with developers using the Sencha Touch and jQTouch frameworks targeting the enterprise apps category (51% of respondents using Sencha compared to an average of 39%), followed by productivity (25% the same as on average) followed by apps for business and Government (20%). Sencha developers are also twice as likely to target the Blackberry platform as our respondents on average. Sencha developers have levels of experience in line with the average - 70% have two years or less experience in mobile development, 92% have more than two years experience and 77% more than five years involvement in software, 87% more than two years involvement in websites and 69% more than five years. 83
  • 12 It should be noted that the main performance bottleneck is the device browser. Significantly more developers who had tried and dropped Sencha noted that they had dropped tools due to performance issues (39% against an average of 28%). Sencha developers are typically after better device API access and native UI support, according to our survey. FACTSHEET Company Sencha Founded 2007 Product released October 2010 Tool type JavaScript Framework, webcode wrapper (V2) Funding US $29M Authoring language JavaScript Dev. environment IDE, visual designers Deployment format Web apps, hybrid Target Apps Enterprise and rich web apps Min cost to publish Free (framework) Website www.sencha.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 84
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) Sencha tools Cost 4.3 0.4 Number of platforms supported 4.1 0 Runtime performance 3.6 -0.2 Learning curve 3.5 -0.4 Development and debugging experience 3.4 -0.3 Access to device and hardware APIs 2.9 -0.7 UI capabilities 3.9 0.2 App publishing process 3.7 -0.1 Vendor support and services 3.6 -0.2 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use Sencha as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: Selection criteria - Low cost or free (60% vs. 30% on avg. for other tools) - Rich UI capabilities (40% vs. 14% on avg. for other tools) Developers who use Sencha as their primary tool, use it more than other tools to develop apps of the following categories: - Enterprise Applications (e.g., sales support tools): 51% vs. 38% on avg. for Top app categories other tools. - Maps & navigation & LBS (e.g., TomTom): 15% vs. 9% on avg. for other tools. Users of Sencha primarily look for: On the wishlist - Better device API integration (56% against 37% on avg. for other tools) - Native UI capabilities (52% against 38%on avg. for other tools) 85
  • 12 Unity Founded in 2004, Unity Technologies is based in San Francisco with offices in Europe and Asia, and is purely focused on producing development tools. Unity 3D is a platform for developing video games and interactive media for all major desktop and gaming platforms, as well as iPhone and Android and browser- based Flash. Unity is a privately held and has taken two rounds of venture capital financing. Series A in October 2009 raised US$5.5 million led by Sequoia Capital and in July 2011 Series B raised US$12 million led by WestSummit Capital in China and iGlobe Partners in Singapore who also bring their experience to help with further expansion focused on Asian markets. Sequoia Capital also participated in this latest round. Unity report that 70% of company revenues and rising are game-related. Products & Tech Unity games and applications are developed in C#, UnityScript (a flavour of Javascript), or Boo (a language inspired by Python). The compilation process changes based on the target platform. On PC, Mac, and Android platforms, the game code is compiled into bytecode and executed with JIT compilation at runtime. On all other platforms, the game code is pre-compiled to machine-native code at build time. The Unity platform includes visual development tools and an IDE (based on MonoDevelop). There’s also a 3D rendering engine, a scripting environment, and a system for workflow and team collaboration with revision control. Unity runs the Asset store, a marketplace of over 2,000 developer tools and games assets (artwork, code, sound). A number of starter assets are provided for free with the base product. Unity also offers Union, an app publishing division that brokers deals in return for a 20% profit cut. Unity users can access operating system functionality and third-party libraries outside of the Unity API by writing native-code plugins for all platforms (except web browsers). Dependent on the target platform, the size of the Unity runtime (not including user assets or game code) ranges from 6MB to 20MB. On mobile platforms, Unity currently exposes a range of device APIs, including accelerometer and multi- touch with better device API integration being a requested feature for only 25% of Unity developers, compared to an average of 38% in our survey. Cloud APIs are available for Facebook Connect and iAd from third parties. Unity is available as a free version, while professional licenses add features including: custom splash screens, code optimisation, video playback, audio filters, light and shade tools, low level rendering, performance profiling, and asset bundles. Deployment to mobile platforms (iOS and Android) requires paid licenses for $400 per platform or $1500 for pro licenses. All licenses are royalty-free and allow unlimited application deployment. Market traction Unity claim 800,000 registered developers, with 200,000 developers active every month. Support for iOS and Android platforms has helped growth significantly and delivers around half of revenues. Clients include Bigpoint, Cartoon Network, Coca-Cola, Disney, Electronic Arts, Lego, Microsoft, NASA, Nickelodeon, Ubisoft, the US Army and Warner Bros. Cumulative installs of the Unity web player jumped from 35 million in October, 2010, to 87 million in 2011, according to the company. There are reportedly more than 1,500 Unity-based games in the iPhone App store, including the best-selling Shadowgun, Battleheart, Gears, Samurai II and Snuggle Truck. Positioning Unity plays in the same 3D gaming market as Epic Games and its Unreal Engine, but also targets the gambling segment. Unity covers an impressive range of desktop platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux), game 86
  • 12 consoles (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, ), browsers (its own web player, Flash), the Roku Set Top Box, LG TV and a modest number of mobile platforms (iOS, Android and BlackBerry Playbook). Unity is used mainly for 3D games development and targeted at the full spread of games development teams. In our survey, 72% of respondents identifying Unity as their primary tool selected games as one of their primary application categories. Respondents using Unity notably targeted desktop platforms around half the time, significantly more than average. Other verticals where Unity caters well to are architectural visualisation, military simulations and education. Unity developers show a slight bulge in the middle of the mobile development experience curve with a slightly higher than average 21% (against 14%) reporting 3-4 years experience. They are less likely to report any involvement in web development, and when they do, they report less experience with 31% (against 49% average) reporting more than 7 years involvement in web development. Unity provides a broad range of tools and this is probably reflected by the slightly extended learning curve with 66% of developers stating that it took them more than a month to feel they had mastered Unity compared with an average of 45% for the other tools. FACTSHEET Company Unity Technologies Founded 2004 Product released 1.0 2005,  iOS 2008, Android 2010, PS3 2011, Xbox 360 2011 Tool type Game engine Funding Privately owned, US $17.5M raised in two rounds of VC funding Authoring language C#, JavaScript, Boo, creative tools Dev. environment MonoDevelop based IDE Deployment format Desktop, game consoles and mobile Target Apps 3D Games Min cost to publish Free Website www.unity3d.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ QNX only ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Other: web 87
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) Unity tools Cost 3.5 -0.4 Number of platforms supported 4.3 0.2 Runtime performance 4.1 0.3 Learning curve 3.8 -0.1 Development and debugging experience 3.6 -0.1 Access to device and hardware APIs 3.3 -0.3 UI capabilities 3.3 -0.5 App publishing process 3.8 0.1 Vendor support and services 3.8 0.1 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use Unity as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: Selection criteria - Well suited for games development (52% vs. 4% on avg. for other tools) - High performance / low runtime overhead (19% vs. 10% on avg. for other tools) Developers who use Unity as their primary tool, use it more than other tools to develop apps of the following categories: Top app categories - Games (e.g., Angry Birds): 72% vs. 19% on avg. for other tools. - Entertainment (e.g., Fatbooth): 14% vs. 8% on avg. for other tools. Users of Unity primarily look for: On the wishlist - Collaboration features (NB which Unity has) 25% vs. 10% on avg. for other tools) 88
  • 12 Xamarin (MonoTouch and Mono for Android) Founded in 2011, Xamarin is based in Boston, Massachusetts. Xamarin produces the MonoTouch (iOS) and “Mono for Android” cross-platform tools that are based on the Mono open source project. Xamarin is privately funded with its revenue arising from product licensing and consulting services. MonoTouch was first released in 2009 (under Novell) and Mono for Android followed in May 2011. The Xamarin cross-platform tools trace back to the open-source Mono project, which was established in 2001 as a open source version of the Microsoft.NET runtime. Mono was led by Miguel de Icaza, founder of Ximian to provide a cross-platform C# compiler and runtime library across Windows and Linux. Ximian was acquired by Novell who invested in Mono as both a desktop and server technology. When Novell was acquired by The Attachmate Group in late 2010, Mono development did not fit into their plans and the Mono team was laid off at the start of 2011. Xamarin regrouped the Mono team from Novell and now employs more than 20 developers from the team that built Mono and a growing staff of about 35 employees. Products & Tech Xamarin tools allow Microsoft .NET developers fluent in C# and .NET libraries to write applications for iOS (MonoTouch) and Android (Mono for Android) platforms. While Xamarin does not provide direct Windows Phone support, C# and .NET application code can also run on Windows Phone 7. Desktop platforms are also supported by the broader Mono project. Xamarin does not intend to support Blackberry, citing lack of demand - both Blackberry and Windows Phone support were specifically requested by around 5% of developers using Mono. Applications built with MonoTouch are pre-compiled to native iOS executables. MonoDroid for Android uses Just in Time (JIT) compilation by deploying an embedded runtime embedded within the application. Xamarin supports the MonoDevelop IDE on Mac OS for iOS (MonoTouch applications). Developers targeting Android can use either MonoDevelop or Visual Studio. Xamarin also plans to release a new Android UI designer tool said to offer a native look and feel on Android devices. Many of the existing component libraries for .NET are available for MonoTouch and Mono for Android, with Xamarin actively supporting creation and integration into the ecosystem. These provide solutions including graphics, analytics and data abstraction layers. Additionally, native iOS and Android libraries will be available as drop-in solutions for their respective SDKs. These would include Google Analytics, Urban Airship, Cocos2D, Steema and Parse.com. MonoTouch and Mono for Android are available as a free, perpetual trial that does not permit app publishing. Professional versions start at US$400 a year per product. Market traction According to Xamarin, the products have “thousands of paying customers and probably in the thousands on App store releases”. MonoTouch apps include the iCircuit for iPad, while clients for Xamarin include Novartis, 3M, AOL, Target, Monster, Accenture, Raytheon, HP and Medtronic. Positioning C# and .NET have significant hold in enterprise development and Xamarin is targeting such developers who need to port to iPhone, iPad and Android devices. This is reflected by the survey results, which show that 80% of developers (against an average of 49%) choosing the tool do so to leverage their existing skills and access new platforms (68% against 59%). Xamarin also sees an uptake from smaller software vendors and moonlighting professionals, .NET developers making apps in their spare time. Mono developers are aligned to the average of our respondents in the years they have been involved in mobile, the web and software development, but showed a slight skew to indicate they had mastered the tool more slowly than 89
  • 12 average. Our survey found that 47% of developers using MonoTouch and Mono for Android target enterprise applications and significantly elevated numbers (92%) use Xamarin to build the core application as opposed to the UI or middleware. Xamarin compete against the other enterprise app focused solutions. The most direct competitors are iFactr and Expanz (in beta), which offer a similar C# .NET based framework for mobile targeting a similar market for enterprise apps. Other, non-.NET solutions targeting enterprise apps include RhoMobile, Worklight and Application Craft. What Xamarin says: “Xamarins cross-platform mobile app development software allows .NET/C# programmers access to all native APIs with their existing skills and tooling to cut 70% of app development time and costs by sharing up to 90% of high-performance mobile app code running on iOS, Android and Windows phones, tablets and embedded devices”. FACTSHEET Company Xamarin Founded 2011 Product released 2009 (iOS) 2011 (Android) Tool type OS abstraction layer runtime Funding Private Authoring language C#, .NET libraries Dev. environment MonoDevelop IDE, Visual Studio, XCode Deployment format Native apps Target Apps Enterprise Min cost to publish $400 per year Website www.xamarin.com SUPPORTED OUTPUT PLATFORMS Android Bada BlackBerry iOS Symbian WebOS WP7 ✔ ✔ Flash Linux Mac PS3 Wii Win PC Xbox 360 via Mono via Mono via Mono 90
  • 12 DEVELOPER SATISFACTION RATINGS vs. average of other (1= Unacceptable, 5= Excellent) Mono (Touch/Droid) tools Cost 3.4 -0.5 Number of platforms supported 4.1 0 Runtime performance 4 0.1 Learning curve 4.2 0.3 Development and debugging experience 3.7 0 Access to device and hardware APIs 4.1 0.6 UI capabilities 3.9 0.2 App publishing process 3.8 0.1 Vendor support and services 4 0.3 DEVELOPER SENTIMENT Developers who use Mono Touch and Mono for Android as their primary tool selected it for the following reasons: - Allows me to use my existing development skills (80% vs. 36% on avg. for Selection criteria other tools) - It supports the platforms Im targeting (68% vs. 56% on avg. for other tools) - Enterprise Applications (e.g., sales support tools): 47% vs. 36% on avg. for other tools. Top app categories - Business and Government (e.g., card scanner): 24% vs. 15% on avg. for other tools. - Productivity Tools (e.g., Analytics Pro): 31% vs. 23% on avg. for other tools. Users of MonoTouch and Mono for Android primarily look for: - More flexible licensing options (27% vs. 14% on avg. for other tools) - App update and management services (22% against 16% on avg. for other On the wishlist tools) - Other idea (19% against 12% on avg. for other tools), for example debugging and diagnostics tools 91
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  • 12 The outlook for cross-platform tools 01. Cross-platform tools evolve from productivity to strategic assets for platform vendors Cross-platform tools will evolve from productivity tools for developers to strategic assets in the battle of ecosystems. At present, cross-platform tools are mostly viewed as cost-effective tools for extending software re-use across multiple, incompatible software platforms. The success of a mobile platform today squarely depends on the health and size of its developer ecosystem. Platforms win or lose by their level of developer adoption, measured in terms of the number, quality and diversity of apps developed for the platform. Apple iOS, Google Android, Samsung Bada, Microsoft Windows Phone 7 and RIM BlackBerry platforms fiercely compete for the developer mindshare. iOS, as a mindshare leader, is most successful in creating developer lock-in – that is, having the most innovative and gifted developers creating new apps exclusively for iOS. Google’s Android, a market share leader by device sales, competes with iOS through its open source mantra, powerful programming paradigm and easy application submission. Microsoft, the challenger in the three horse race, needs to lure developers to port their apps to Windows Phone, and this is where CPTs are positioned to help. As cross-platform tools enter the mainstream of mobile development, they will have a significant effect on these three leading ecosystems. Once most developers are able to create apps that “run anywhere” with minimal incremental effort, it will become much more challenging for platform owners to create developer lock-in and ensure exclusivity of apps for their users. Similar or identical apps will become readily available on multiple platforms, including less popular platforms like Bada, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. This presents a very interesting dilemma for Microsoft. We took part in discussions with CPT vendors who find it difficult to integrate with WP7 and gain access to low level APIs. Microsoft’s reluctance here may stem from its wish to promote its own .NET toolchain. And here lies the dilemma. With Microsoft currently playing catch-up to Apple/Google in the mobile platforms race, they can use cross-platform tools to disrupt the duopoly by allowing Apple/Google developers to code for WP7 concurrently with their native platforms. At the same time however, by supporting CPTs, Microsoft would weaken the developer story of its own .NET toolchain. This is a tough call for Microsoft to make, but we believe sacrificing a pawn is necessary for winning the game of mobile ecosystems. 02. Cross-platform tools will become business as usual As the platform landscape remains fragmented for the foreseeable future, cross-platform tools will become “business as usual” for most mobile developers. iOS and Android will maintain their leadership in the foreseeable future, due to the insurmountable barriers to entry created by their network effects. Apple and Google have the potential to create a duopoly not just in mobile but also connected devices. iOS is focused on high-end mobile and connected devices, while Android is catering to the mass market of less-demanding or more price conscious users. Bets are up on whether Microsoft with the help of Nokia will be able to wrestle its place as a third ecosystem - when currently its behind both Samsung’s Bada and RIM in quarterly device sales. Either way, the future of mobile developers is multi-platform – fewer and fewer developers will be able to afford to be confined to a single platform with the limited user reach and monetisation opportunities that implies. The adoption of cross-platform tools will be driven by the ability to reach masses of users, which is the primary consideration for many developer segments, based on the findings of VisionMobile Developer Economics 2011. User reach is especially important for developers of free media apps and casual games 93
  • 12 that are monetised through in-app payments, a revenue model that continues to trend upwards. Cross- platform tools are indeed the only cost-effective vehicle for these developers to reach a wide mass of users, and we expect CPT usage to become commonplace a result. 03. Cross-platform tools vendors will differentiate by reaching across the app lifecycle Presently, most of the cross-platform tools focus on code authoring, UI design and production of the cross- platform application; in the app lifecycle (develop, integrate, publish, deploy and manage) this presents just the first stage. In other words, most CPTs differentiate in their choice of authoring languages (from HTML to C++), their choice of UI design tools, or choice of target platforms (native smartphone platforms, web, or hybrid). At the same time, we see authoring languages and target platforms shift from points of differentiation into points of parity. As such, we expect the differentiation to move to later stages of the app lifecycle (integrate, publish, deploy and manage). We see CPT vendors starting to offer the following differentiating features: - Component marketplaces where developers may buy software assets that speed up the development process, including UI templates, social connectivity APIs, training videos and games design tools and assets. Appcelerator, Corona, Marmalade and Sencha all operate similar component marketplaces as a complement to their core CPT licensing business. - End-to-end workflow tools for enterprise and games developers will become must-have for those developer segments. Unity already offers a comprehensive toolchain for games developers, including graphics texture mapping, terrain creation, audio filters and scene constructors. Appcelerator has built a product portfolio that integrates the toolset from SDK to development environment, analytics and cloud services. Similarly, RhoMobile offers end-to-end workflow tools for enterprise developers, including a custom IDE (RhoStudio), backend integration server (RhoConnect), source control and collaboration tools (RhoHub) and a white label enterprise app store (RhoGallery). - Device adaptation tools will provide further differentiation. BKRender, Bedrock, Enough Software, Kony, MoSync and Antenna Mobility Platform provide a device profile database that helps developers manage feature variances and content adaptation across devices. - App publishing services help developers streamline the process of submitting their app across multiple app stores. Cross-store publishing will again become a must-have CPT feature to address the thorny issue of app store fragmentation. Currently cross-platform tool vendors like AppMobi and Spot Specific automate the submission by integrating with the build process to produce graphic assets and the binaries for app store submission. Other vendors provide hosting and direct publishing to the web or enterprise app stores (e.g., RhoMobile, Feedhenry). - Post-download services, from analytics and social integration to push messaging and cross- promotion, are provided by some cross-platform tool vendors to help developers increase engagement and revenues in the post-download phase of the app lifecycle. Appcelerator’s February 2012, acquisition of Cocoafish to integrate social sharing and push messaging features confirms this trend. 04. Specialisation and segmentation in cross-platform tools In the sea of 100+ cross-platform tools, vendors are beginning to differentiate by targeting three distinct developer segments: those working on games, enterprise or media apps. 94
  • 12 Developers in these three segments face distinctly different challenges, work in distinctly different environments and, as such, need very different CPT solutions. Games tools – led by Unity and Unreal – are usually complete development environments with a heavyweight runtime component and a host of integrated tools, including workflow and collaboration management. Enterprise app tools - led by RhoMobile, Worklight, and Verivo - focus on the complete app lifecycle, including integrating, deploying and managing apps. Some tools have a natural fit with specific verticals due to their language; for example, Xamarin sees uptake from enterprise developers, due to penetration of C# .NET in that segment. Cross-platform tools for media companies focus on an easy learning curve and rapid app creation with broad platform coverage. Netbiscuits is a typical example of this vertical. As tool vendors try to survive in the “red ocean” of dozens of cross-platform tools, we expect CPTs to become increasingly specialised, and target specific vertical markets. We expect to see cross-platform tools emerge for the financial sector (e.g., Mobinex, Smartface), media publishers (e.g., Presspad) and healthcare/medical companies. 05. Cross-platform tools will complement, not compete with native development iOS, Android and Windows Phone have been constantly evolving, adding hundreds of new APIs from each major version to the next. Due to the rapid advancement of platforms, tools vendors will always be one or two steps behind in terms of features and access to the complete set of device capabilities. In addition, certain features are limited to specific platform versions - for example the gyroscope is supported by iPhone 4 and 4S, while it is only available on some high-end Android models. It’s difficult for vendors of cross-platform tools to support features that are only available on a subset of devices and ensure graceful degradation. Developers that create demanding applications like games or advanced multimedia apps will have no choice but to resort to the native SDK. Similarly, apps requiring intense user interaction, exceptionally deep user experience, or apps relying on specific features not available on all platforms (e.g., Android background services and broadcast intents) will need to be developed using the native SDK. Cross-platform tools will therefore be complementary to native SDKs, providing effective solutions for developers making less demanding apps that can perform well while not having access to bleeding edge features. 06. Cross-platform tools are taking HTML further than browsers can The purpose of HTML5 has been to extend the capabilities of web apps (those developed using HTML, JavaScript and CSS) to more closely match the capabilities of native apps. HTML5 introduces multiple enhancements across the user interface, performance, location and off-line operation of web apps. Led by Apple and Google, the open source WebKit rendering engine is the industry-leading implementation of HTML5. Since both iOS and Android browsers are based on WebKit, the open source engine has become the almost universal web run-time for HTML5 apps supported by a growing share of smartphones and tablets. 95
  • 12 Despite performance disadvantages and fragmentation across different Webkit versions, HTML5 has emerged as the most widely supported authoring technology for cross-platform apps. HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, together with vendor-specific HTML5 extensions, underpin the toolset of Appcelerator, PhoneGap, Worklight, RhoMobile, Netbiscuits, Sencha and others. Moreover, such tools as MoSync and Qt, which traditionally focused on C/C++ development, have added support for web technologies. There is clear trend towards HTML5 becoming the ubiquitous app authoring technology for all but the most demanding or game-oriented cross-platform tools (e.g., Corona or Unity). Even gaming market segments are gaining HTML5 frameworks like Impact JS and LimeJS. Cross-platform tools bring web technologies much closer to native than can pure web approaches. Cross-platform tools are taking HTML further than web browsers can, by unifying the authoring side, rather than the runtime side of the app. 07. Component marketplaces will become a must for successful cross-platform tools Sharing of code and assets has become an established practice in traditional developer communities, across desktop and website development, in the last 10 years. In the cross-platform tool space multiple tool vendors are building, extending and commercialising component marketplaces. Marketplaces provide a portal for buying software assets that speed up the development process, including UI templates, social APIs and training materials. More importantly, component marketplaces provide a single point of reference around which developer communities begin to form. Appcelerator, Corona, Marmalade and Sencha all operate similar component marketplaces as a complement to their core CPT licensing business. Component marketplaces have multiple advantages for tool vendors. Not only can they generate revenues, but more importantly they can create network effects between developers using the platform. With more components available in the marketplace, more developers will use the tool, and more developers will publish more components in the marketplace. Network effects can help the tool vendor to gain market share as well as foster developer lock-in. Due to these strong competitive advantages we see component marketplaces becoming an essential feature of successful cross-platform tools. 08. The democratisation of app development Cross-platform tools allow developers to reach platforms they otherwise could not. CPTs lower entry barriers, for example allowing web developers to create native smartphone apps using only HTML and JavaScript. They can provide easy-to-use languages and development tools, and facilitate modular development and software component reuse. The result could be termed a “democratisation” of software development (in the words of Unity’s Dan Adams): cross-platform tools let more people develop more apps, across more platforms, and reach more users in more verticals. Democratisation is happening in many forms: tools that enable HTML developers to create native smartphone apps (e.g. Appcelerator, PhoneGap, Sencha Touch 2), template-based or drag-and-drop tools that allow designers to create a complete media application (e.g. Spot Specific, Tiggzi), and tools that simplify enterprise app development (e.g. Antenna, RhoMobile or Xamarin’s MonoTouch). The trend toward ‘democratisation of development’ is strengthened, as web technologies become the main app authoring technology. Masses of web developers new to mobile development can now extend the reach of both the mobile ecosystem, as well as the reach of cross-platform tools themselves. 96
  • 12 09. Multi-screen is the next frontier for cross-platform tools The battle of the software ecosystems is raging across many screens - mobile, tablet, PC, and soon smart TV devices. However, the complexities of cross-platform development in a multi-screen environment are growing exponentially and beyond the simple sharing of the code between multiple platforms. Different screen types have different interaction models, input methods, screen sizes, go-to-market channels, pricing models and are used by consumers in different ways. Mobile, desktop and TV app developers work in very different environments, tool-chains, development cycles and collaboration processes Yet, with the proliferation of “connected screens”, app developers will need to provide apps with a cross-screen experience to their users. The next frontier for cross-platform tools - and the next major point of vendor differentiation - will be catering to multiple screens. 97