API Development

From the Appcelerator Engine Room: Engineering Update

Create and Distribute Apps through the Mac App Store

It’s been a couple of months since my last update and I’m happy to announce that we delivered our 2.0 release on schedule. This was a significant release and there are a number of things you should be aware of as developers:

  1. A new layout engine that minimizes cross-platform discrepancies: if you are using absolute positioning in your app and are updating to 2.0 then you need to read this. You basically need to excise almost all uses of ‘auto’ or 0 for your width and height fields and use Ti.UI.SIZE or Ti.UI.FILL appropriately. You may have also worked around some issues with the older platform that you have to now discard.
  2. Mobile Web: a new platform increases your reach as a developer and allows you to make your application available to Windows Mango and Blackberry 7 users through the web (2.1 CI build). Check it out here.
  3. Cloud Services: we had a surge in use after just a few short days after launch for ACS. We currently have over 23,000 apps that have been enabled for ACS usage. The tremendous demand shows that we have hit a  nerve here with developers wanting to cloud enable their applications with minimal setup and overhead.
  4.  New look and feel for our documentation. We borrowed from an open source engine to provide quick look up, open tabs of items that you’ve viewed, and a snappy new look and feel. Arthur has been very diligent about reviewing every API, checking with the developers, and rewriting and adding samples for clarity.

Last time I mentioned our plans to build a rock solid platform, establish a predicable release cadence, and create a scalable QA organization. I believe we have made good progress in each of these areas:

  1. We have fixed over 640 platform bugs since the start of the year. That’s not unexpected given that we scaled out QA (see below). We’ll continue to emphasize this moving forward–we want to provide you with a platform that you can count on!
  2. We delivered the 1.8.1 and 1.8.2 services packs at the end of January and February respectively. The 2.0 release was officially launched on 4/17 although the software was ready to go and out on github on 3/31. We delayed while we revamped the web site and got our billing back end polished off for launch. The next service pack (2.0.2) is on track for the end of this month and 2.1 is in active development. Note that with the launch of 2.0 we have officially stopped supporting 1.7.x. If you haven’t already considered upgrading your app to the latest 2.0 release then now is the time. I want to thank the team and especially my leadership: Chung, Ingo, Neeraj, Thomas, and Wei for pulling out the stops and marching everyone to the same drumbeat. It isn’t always easy!
  3. Thomas has been busy scaling out QA and has established a partnership to do regression testing which has resulted in a surge of bug reports. This is a good thing as I’d rather know what bugs we have rather than not. We’ve done more testing than ever before on our applications and platform and put in place an awesome test case management system in order to measure and manage our work.

What’s going on with our platform support? Jeff stood up on stage at BlackBerry world and announced support for BlackBerry 10 OS. We’re furiously at work on this and are integrating UI functionality as fast as RIM can throw SDKs at us. What about Windows Apollo, you ask? It’s very strategic for us so stay tuned.
In the end, I still have a burning need for talent here in the Bay Area. We’ve added many folks but are still eager to expand our team. I need iOS, Android, Blackberry Playbook, or Javascript developers and cloud, mobile, and automation QA engineers, and admins for ITOps. Snacks and drinks are free, the fun is liberally available, and we work hard on good code. Send us your resume. Did I mention the fresh churros at the last beer bash?
Carl Orthlieb is Vice President of Engineering at Appcelerator.  Carl is responsible for all product engineering for Appcelerator including the Titanium SDK and Studio, Analytics, Cloud Services, and IT Operations.