We wrote quite a bit about the architecture of the new VM we built for iOS and why we built it. Up until recently we always viewed it as a Codename One specific tool. Something that would only be useful for us. We used open source because "that is our way" and didn't give it much thought after that.
It started to dawn on us recently that this tool could be useful for other developers that might take it in a different direction from our original intention. We also came to the conclusion that this might not be a bad idea altogether.
So we are are effectively launching the Codename One VM as ParparVM and it includes a lot of interesting benefits.
I've written open source software since the 90's both for my own projects and for Sun Microsystems. When we founded Codename One open source was the only option!
We didn't choose open source with the goal of receiving code contributions. Contributions are pretty rare even in highly visible projects. We saw the true benefits of open source for a project like Codename One: trust.
After a discussion with some members of the community we decided to shift the weight of our support efforts to StackOverflow from our existing google group discussion forum. Notice that we will still answer questions in the discussion forum but we strongly prefer using StackOverflow (don't forget to use the codenameone tag).
There are issues with StackOverflow which is why we are keeping the existing group and will still answer questions/issues there but the benefits far outweigh the issues:
Sizing images for multiple DPIs and device sizes is challenging. There are image quality and bandwidth considerations, especially when loading images over the network. The new Cloudinary cn1lib simplifies this process by preprocessing images on the server side, so that they can be delivered to the mobile app in the exact correct side and quality.Read More
We became infatuated with icon fonts a while back and used them quite a bit, recently we added the FontImage class that made them really easy to use.
However, up until now you had to download a font. Look up the value and enter it in. This was OK but not ideal in terms of syntax/availability especially for simpler apps.
We really depend on JavaFX at Codename One, our simulator needs it. Our desktop build uses it and our designer tool is based on Swing. We want it to succeed, its important to our business!
We are not alone, even if you are a Java EE developer and don't care about desktop programming, keep in mind the fact that todays desktop technology is tomorrow's server technology.
Today we dealt with some push messages overloading our servers, some of the apps developed in Codename One are remarkably successful and as a result our push servers got bogged down.
To mitigate that and prevent service interruptions we moved all push activity to the new servers, this effectively means that a push operation on the old servers will map to the new servers seamlessly. This also means that we no longer support the null push target even for the old push servers. Its just too expensive to support on scale of 150M+ devices.
I've spent a lot of time working with and reviewing other cross platform tools this past month, mostly with Cordova due to our recent announcement that we support Cordova.
I hope it doesn't come off as too arrogant but our "onboarding" experience is pretty amazing in comparison to pretty much everything else. Just install IDE, type in Codename One and follow wizard for new app. The only tools that are simpler than that are the rather limited web based solutions.
But we do fall short in one major way, our "hello world" apps look bad by default when compared to pretty much any tool out there. There are a lot of reasons for this but none of them are good reasons and this gives a horrible first impression to any developer picking up Codename One for the first time.
We just released the first version of the open source CN1Cordova project on github. This means you can take a common Cordova/PhoneGap app, import it into NetBeans and build a native app using our cloud build servers without any changes!
Before we delve into the exact process of converting an app lets start by reviewing the exact benefits PhoneGap/Cordova developers can gain from Codename One. You can also check out the video tutorial and slides below.