Software firm Embarcadero Technologies this week announced a major release for its Appmethod platform, which enables developers to build natively compiled applications for connected devices across multiple platforms using a single, shared C++ codebase.
According to Michael Swindell, Embarcadero's senior VP of products, Appmethod solves some of the greatest development challenges developers face in building apps for the Internet of Things (IoT). "We designed Appmethod to make it incredibly simple to build powerful cross-platform apps with C++ that easily connect with and include a wide variety of consumer and industrial devices, sensors, enterprise data and cloud services. Appmethod is designed as a complete end-to-end platform that can rapidly open the IoT door for developers building the next generation of device-extended applications," he explained.
Using Appmethod, which counts Motorola, GE, Cisco, Visa, Siemens and NASA as customers, developers can create Windows, OS X, iOS and Android apps that interact with the IoT through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tethering.
The latest release of Appmethod offers a number of key features, including FireUI, a multidevice UI designer that comes with a collection of prebuilt layout components and helps developers design user interfaces for multiple devices with optimization for various form factors. For developers building apps that target corporate environments, Appmethod has introduced Enterprise Mobility Services, a middleware solution that offers application functionality such as authentication, storage, API management and database connectivity.
Appmethod is available under a multitiered pricing structure. Individual accounts, which are available to individuals and businesses with up to five employees and allow apps to be deployed in public app stores, are $299 a year per developer per platform, or $1,099 a year per developer for all platforms. Business accounts, which allow apps to be deployed in both public app stores and in enterprise environments, are $999 a year per developer per platform, or $3,599 a year per developer for all platforms. Appmethod also offers a free plan that provides a 30-day trial after which developers can continue to develop for the Android platform at no cost.
An Expanding Ecosystem
The IoT opportunity has become one of the most talked about, so it's no surprise the ecosystem around it is growing rapidly. Commercial solutions are becoming more prevalent, as are open source tools like Node-RED, which was created by IBM to ease the process of designing IoT flows.
Appmethod is trying to address one of the more pressing issues developers are grappling with: How do we efficiently create high-quality, performant apps across multiple platforms for potentially billions of devices?
It's a challenge not unfamiliar to mobile developers, of course, and in the mobile space, companies like Appcelerator and Adobe (through PhoneGap) have stepped in with cross-platform solutions that also promise a write-once, run-everywhere development path. If Appmethod and others are successful in extending this approach to IoT-focused development, it could help accelerate the IoT's rise.