With a new integrated development environment (IDE), Embarcadero Technologies is hoping to ease the burden of application developers who must prepare their creations for more than one operating system (OS).
"Appmethod is designed for developers who have to support more than one OS. Generally speaking, that is most developers today," said John Thomas, Embarcadero director of product management.
On Tuesday, Embarcadero will launch the first version of Appmethod, which the company previewed at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music and interactivity conference held earlier this month in Austin, Texas.
Appmethod will allow developers to write and maintain a single code base that can run on Apple iOS and Mac, Android, and desktop Windows platforms.
This initial version of Appmethod uses the Object Pascal programming language. In its first scheduled update for June, Appmethod will also allow programmers to use the C++ language.
In many cases, today's enterprises programmers are expected to write mobile applications for both Apple iOS and Android devices, in addition to writing desktop applications for Windows and possibly Apple Macs as well, Thomas explained.
In many cases, this means that applications must be written from scratch for each OS, and often in different languages and libraries. "They end up having to manage multiple teams and code bases, and it is very costly to keep up the quality and features across the platforms in this way," Thomas said.
Embarcadero is not the first tools vendor to attempt to offer cross-platform development environment targeted for mobile platforms. Xamarin offers a plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio for instance. Oracle offers a cross-development extension for its Application Development Framework as well.
Appmethod provides a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) that provide the common functionality across the different platforms. This allows the developer to compile the same source code for different platforms, though the programmer can customize each program to a platform's specific look-and-feel.
If a programmer wants to use a feature that one OS has but the others don't, he or she can call that OS's native API directly from within Object Pascal
In many cases, this won't be necessary, as Windows, iOS, OSX and Android all offer similar functionality, even if accessing this functionality differs syntactically from platform to platform.
"In theory, you could write an application that has 100 percent code comparability between all of them," he said. "We present a common paradigm between them."
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