Yesterday, I received an email from Appcelerator, informing me of a new product of theirs called Titanium. Appcelerator Titanium is an open source RIA platform for developer desktop web apps, similar to the Adobe AIR platform, in that it uses standard, common web languages such as html, css, and javascript. That is what caught my eye, as I’ve read a few books on flex and messed around a bit, but I already know the ins and outs of html/css/javascript. Thats my everyday toolkit for building websites and user interfaces. I ventured onto their website, and watched a few screencasts and then downloaded the demos, which included a twitter and youtube demo.

After checking out the demos sourcecode, I was pretty damn impressed. I thought to myself, “What’s next? How do I start? “. I found the SDK, but just the word SDK can be a little daunting for a web developer, I like to think of it as more of a WDK or Web Development Kit. So I downloaded it, installed it, and followed a screencast from their website to generate my first app. It took about 20 min from start to finish, and Voila! I had a sample app running from an installer. Amazing!

My past experience with Ruby on Rails also helped, as the setup of the app is very similar to that of a ruby on rails project. The terminal commands were easy, and the ability to create installers for OSX, Windows, and Linux were kickass! The documentation was also excellent for such an early release, I only ran into one bug on windows, but I think it had to do with Chrome support for my code, so it could have been a self-inflicted bug and not a Titanium bug.

One of the most desirable things about Titanium is that it has the jQuery library built-in, AWESOME! So I decided to dedicate 2 hrs to messing around in Titanium to see just how far I could get. Well, in 2 hrs I built a little desktop app that allows you to play 6 videos through a custom flash player that are streamed from the web. I basically re-used code from another project that utilized flash, jQuery, and html/css to see if it would work and how fast I could get something up and running. Its not anything I would release to the world, but it really opened my eyes up to how fast I could get something done and the possibilities that Titanium have opened for me.

I’m ready to sell my books on Flex, remove Flex builder from my desktop and go all out on Titanium. What does Flex give me that Titanium doesn’t, and if there is something – then Im sure the guys at Appcelerator will be adding soon enough, as this is just a Preview Release.

So if you haven’t yet checked out Appcelerator Titanium, I highly encourage you to do so.

Thank you Appcelerator!

Also, today someone posted great article on The similarities/differences of Appcelerator Titanium and Adobe AIR


13 thoughts on “Appcelerator Titanium – The Future of Open Souce RIA”

Jeff Haynie · December 10, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Wow, thanks for such a nice compliment. We’re really very excited about the possibility of Titanium and comments like yours really encourage us to work even harder. We love open source because it gives everyone a chance to participate at some level.

Keep spreading the word and let us know how we can improve and do better. We are planning on getting PR2 out in January with packed set of features, improvements and bug fixes that are really very very exciting. We’ll be publishing the roadmap before the end of the week on our community site.

Thanks!
Jeff Haynie
CEO, Appcelerator

Simon · December 10, 2008 at 9:00 pm

“except that it uses standard, common web languages such as html, css, and javascript.”

Adobe AIR allows you to deploy applications on the desktop using HTML/CSS and Javascript. AIR uses webkit (Chrome, Safari etc) to do all the HTML rendering.

http://www.adobe.com/products/air/develop/ajax/

Cheers,
Simon

Jake Rutter · December 10, 2008 at 9:04 pm

But its a proprietary platform, whereas Titanium is open source, plus its already integrated with jQuery.

Mukul · December 11, 2008 at 10:02 am

Hi Jake, I think it is a little misleading when you say “except that it uses standard, common web languages such as html, css, and javascript.” AIR allows the use of these in addition to Flex/Flash. The fact that it’s proprietary does not change that.

Jake Rutter · December 11, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Mukul,

Thanks for pointing that out, I went back and fixed that typo. Have you had a chance to check out Titanium yet? Its pretty awesome!

Stephan · December 15, 2008 at 3:12 am

Correct me if I’m wrong…

AIR also requires the user to have a 22mb plug-in pre-installed before using an application? Does Titanium?

Jake Rutter · April 24, 2009 at 6:52 am

No plugin is required!

Subhashini · August 26, 2009 at 8:03 am

Hi Jake,

I am php programmer. I am new to Titanium i don't know where to start I have checked the site appceletor. but still can't a way to start. I am new to Ruby but know js,css,html,ajax,jquery etc. Please let me know the technology to be known to start on with titanium.

Jeff · August 31, 2009 at 9:24 pm

It doesn't require a plug-in, but from what I heard (and it stands to reason) there is a platform specific layer that is compiled into the executable. As if the AIR or flash plugin was compiled in and delivered in each executable.

Which is an interesting approach. How's the executable size?

Matthias · September 28, 2009 at 12:39 pm

What about combining Titanium with Rails? Is it possible? I would hate to go back to building all my html views without my rails form builder, view helpers and so on…

AGuest · January 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I agree a very impressive product…but…

Titanium Desktop Apps (specifically for OSX) seem to rather large. I create a simple .html layout of a single screen and the app was 90MB installed..yikes! Hopefully their mobile compiles are more reasonable and acceptable to their respective app stores.

Podcycler · January 31, 2010 at 8:13 pm

FYI AFAIK You can chose to

1) Have your desktop app executable contain the runtime in your app.

OR

2) Chose to just distribute your bits and have your program check to see if the [required version] runtime is already on the user's machine and download and install if necessary,

If I were distributing my app on DVD or related media, I'd probably throw the runtime on it. If I were distributing my app via the web then I'd give the user the option of just my app or my app+runtime. People that have 3G or other internet access that may have a cap on their montyly usage may appreciate the thin version of my app if they already have other Titanium apps and know they have the runtime.

@podcycler

Srini · March 17, 2010 at 2:42 am

I have another questions.
can i use the same code base (that I developed for a desktoop app) and build a mobile app (iPhone/Andriod)?. or do I have to develop a seperate code for that is targeted for a mobile platform?

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