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WorkLight Adds BlackBerry Support to its All-in-One Development Platform

Developers can use a single platform to create and manage apps for BlackBerry phones, Apple and Android devices, as well as Windows and Mac desktops and notebooks.


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Targeting the legions of developers who want to build one app and deploy it across the major mobile operating systems -- instead of building multiple versions of the same app -- WorkLight has added Blackberry support to its WorkLight Mobile Platform.

Now, developers can use a single platform to create and manage apps for BlackBerry phones, Apple and Android devices, as well as Windows and Mac desktops and notebooks, and the web. The WorkLight platform enables developers to use popular technologies, notably HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

[login] "As RIM continues to launch new devices and technologies, with the release of Torch and recent talk of an upcoming BlackPad, we are seeing increasing demand from companies looking to reach BlackBerry's large installed base of users worldwide," said Shahar Kaminitz, CEO of WorkLight.



"To help companies benefit from this opportunity, our mobile platform now offers full lifecycle support for rich, capable BlackBerry apps across the WorkLight Studio, Server, Console and SDK," he added.

The WorkLight platform allows us to create apps very quickly and inexpensively across major mobile platforms, said Jim Saleh, CTO, Chaikin Stock Research, a US-based financial software company.

"We can build one app using HTML and it will have the same look and feel across various mobile OSes, or we can use JavaScript libraries to create richer, more channel-specific apps," said Saleh. "Using WorkLight probably saves us thousands of dollars per app."

WorkLight offers developers free access to an evaluation version of its multi-platform development suite.

Key tools in the suite are: the WorkLight Studio, an Eclipse plug-in that lets developers marry web-based code with native code across multiple platforms; the WorkLight Server, which offers caching, clustering, and load balancing; and the WorkLight Console, a web interface for tracking and managing applications.

WorkLight does not recompile web languages into native code. Instead, it marries the web code with pre-built adapters that connect to native APIs across various environments.

The platform also offers Objective C libraries, JavaScript libraries; and Objective C and JavaScript templates.

WorkLight's suite is available through its WorkLight Dev Zone, which also offers a community forum, training resources, sample applications, and documentation.

"WorkLight is one of those all-in-one platforms that offer companies a solution to enhance their developers' productivity by targeting multiple devices in a single effort," said Al Hilwa, program director of application development software at IDC.

Other all-in-one solutions come from Appcelerator (Titanium) Rhomobile (Rhodes) and Sybase (Sybase Unwired Platform).

Titanium is an open-source application development platform that lets developers create native mobiltablet and desktop applications using existing such technologies as Javascript, HTML, CSS, Python, Ruby, and PHP.

Rhodes, also open source, allows developers to build native mobile applications for all smartphones. These are true native device applications (not mobile web apps) which work with synchronized local data and take advantage of device capabilities such as GPS, PIM contacts, and camera.

The Sybase Unwired Platform enable enterprise developers to build applications that connect business data from multiple sources, including SAP applications, to mobile workers on any device. The platform supports mobile applications for most major device types, including iPhone and iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Windows, Symbian. The vendor plans to support Android devices soon.

Despite the benefits of all-in-one platforms, they are not without their shortcomings.

"As the all-in-one concept is still new, it can be tricky for developers to find the right platform," said Hilwa. "As well, most apps still need a lot of customization."



   
Herman Mehling has written about IT for 25 years. He has written hundreds of articles for leading computer publications and websites.
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