Appcelerator Premium Modules Offer Mobile Mashups-in-a-box

Daniel Luxemburg, March 16th, 2011

AppceleratorAppcelerator, a company focused on cross-platform development tools, has started extending itself into the world of APIs by offering mobile developers drop-in tools for integrating their applications with popular web services. Appcelerator recently announced a new offering called Titanium+Plus, a set of premium modules that developers can purchase to incorporate into applications built using Titanium Mobile, Appcelerator’s open source mobile development platform. Rather than mainly providing new or deeper access to the core functions of devices, the new Titanium+Plus modules are focused outward—or maybe upward—towards the cloud. In fact, the announcement came with a new tagline: “The cloud starts here™”.

Titanium Mobile applications are written in JavaScript and can be compiled into versions for iPhone as well as for Android. BlackBerry capability is currently in a Beta restricted to paying subscribers.

Even though Titanium applications are developed with JavaScript, they are not browser-based. Titanium provides developers access to device functionality through an interface exposed in a JavaScript runtime environment outside of the browser. This allows developers to build native applications using a widely known scripting language rather than the more specialized Objective-C (for iPhone) or Java (for Android and BlackBerry).

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Nolan Wright, the company’s CTO, gave a webinar last week to provide more details on Titanium+Plus, including a technical demonstration for developers. During his presentation, Wright explained how the new features pushed Titanium towards being a “mobile cloud platform.” The premium modules are being built by Appcelerator in cooperation with partners like PayPal (for payments), Brightcove (for streaming video), Urban Airship (for push updates), among others and with more on the way. According to Appcelerator, Titanium+Plus lets these companies “bring their capabilities natively into Titanium”, and by extension put them in front of over a million Titanium developers for quick and easy integration.

While language or framework libraries that abstract web APIs for a particular development environment are nothing new, offering them for sale as premium products is a fairly novel business model. All three of the above examples of Titanium+Plus partners have listings in our API directory, and there are plenty more where they came from. With both the mobile app and the web service API ecosystems blossoming, positioning itself as a “mobile cloud platform” seems like good move for Appcelerator.

For a more in-depth explanation of Titanium+Plus, take a look at the video of last week’s webinar and and the accompanying slides at the Appcelerator blog.

Tags: Mobile, cloud
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