Embarcadero Appmethod Framework Strikes a Mobile Computing Balance

Michael Vizard
Mar. 17 2014, 12:00PM EDT

One of the unfortunate choices that developers have been required to make over the years is deciding whether to take advantage of the native capabilities of a mobile computing platform or rely on a Web-based approach that makes it simpler to leverage one code base across multiple platforms. Looking to put that issue to bed once and for all, Embarcadero Technologies today announced Appmethod. Appmethod is an application development platform that makes use of objects to allow developers to invoke the native capabilities of any mobile computing platform within the context of a single code base.

Steve Haney, vice president of marketing for Embarcadero, says Appmethod generates what Embarcadero refers to as “super object” that compile directly on the processor; thereby eliminating the need to rely on runtime Javascript interpreters or virtual machines. That approach means developers can more easily maintain a single code base without having to sacrifice performance on any given mobile computing platform, says Haney.

Those applications, says Haney, can then make use of Enterprise Mobility Services within Appmethod that provides the middleware required to access RESTful cloud services, data and API hosting, and enterprise database connectors. That approach, adds Haney, isolates the developers from the API vagaries of various mobile computing platforms. Appmethod provides a full IDE, high performance tool chains, integrated remote debuggers and analysis tools alongside the extensible user interface components needed to create a user experience.

Given the number of mobile computing devices that organizations need to support, Haney says it’s not cost efficient to develop a mobile computing application that is optimized for a specific platform. Naturally, that pushes organizations towards methodologies that allow them to support multiple classes of devices from a single code base. The problem is that historically the performance penalties associated with those approaches can not only be severe; it may also mean that certain functionality on a particular device won’t be available to the application. Appmethod solves that problem by compiling code on the mobile computing devices in a way that allows that application to run anywhere from five to 20 times faster than it normally would, says Haney.

The existence of application development frameworks such as Appmethod may not put an end to what has become a very partisan debate among developers over the years. But for those developers that are looking for the best of both world it’s starting to look like some viable alternatives are finally starting to manifest themselves.

Michael Vizard

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