Appcelerator Titanium

Posted on:December 11 2008

Looks like Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight are getting competition: Appcelerator Titanium has been released as public preview version. Basically it works similar like AIR: It's a native browser client running the web app. The difference to AIR: it's open source and your app can be distributed as single package, without the need of installing something like the AIR runtime before this. But I guess it will still need an installed flash player if you plan to include an .swf file in that package, unfortunately (unconfirmed yet), otherwise Titanium would be the perfect tool for distributing flash games as standalone versions on end user PCs, IMO.


I dont understand what it does. "It's a native browser client running the web app." Whut? Also, what's AIR and Flex? They do have something to do with each other right? ;)

Why do you need anything for standalone versions of flash games? Can you not just let people download the .swf?

Is Titanium something specifically for flash?
2008-12-11 19:32:00

Titanium uses WebKit and the supported Flash plugin for webkit so flash apps will work out of the box just like they do with Safari.
Jeff Haynie
2008-12-12 00:17:00

If we're going to compare technologies, let's at least get our terms straight: Adobe Flash ~= MS Silverlight, in that they are browser-based plugin runtimes. Adobe AIR ~= MS WPF ~= Google Gears ~= Appcelerator, in that they are desktop-based runtimes.

AIR contains both the Flash Player runtime and the Webkit engine with SquirrelFish JavaScript JIT, including Acrobat plugin access if you already have it installed. The AIR runtime also includes a SQLite database with optional encrypted store. The AIR runtime is separate, but it's installed seamlessly the first time a user tries to install an AIR app without the runtime, and both the AIR runtime and AIR apps can auto-update.

Flex is both a component framework which can be deployed for either the Flash Player or AIR, and not to be confused with Flex Builder, which is an eclipse-based editor which uses the Flex SDK.

Appcelerator is interesting in that it leverages existing browser-based technologies, but that ground has also been covered by Gears and AIR. AIR does require an installable runtime, but you also get a hell of a lot more functionality out of the box. So it's all relative. And for a desktop installation, deployment footprint means little.

Where Appcelerator has potential is that it's open source, and seems to have different out-of-the box language interactions and bundled frameworks geared more towards AJAX developers, whereas I think it's assumed that with AIR you're going to create AJAX-ActionScript hybrid applications, even though you don't need to use Flash at all. Whereas AIR's strength is in the leveraging of the built-in runtime features, its totally seamless integration between JavaScript and Flash runtime capabilities (a Flash filter effect on an AJAX widget, for example), and its tight workflow integration with Adobe Creative Suite tools for creating rich UI.

If anything, AIR is more capable than Appcelerator from a runtime perspective, but Appcelerator has a slight advantage in language integration and bundled frameworks, depending on what technology you're most comfortable working with. WPF is not even in the running AFAIK, since it's solely Windows-based, which is hardly cross-platform, and JavaFx doesn't really even exist yet.
2008-12-28 01:46:00

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