App development progression

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App development progression

Postby Eric » 20:38, 23 Feb 2014

Considering apps as user-friendly special-purpose computer software, what's your view on the methods for developing them today and how will this progress?

I want to start with expressing both hope and worry. There is much fragmentation in app development tools and methods today and it might become even more fragmented as e.g. Tizen and Firefox OS is being pushed out to the market, which worries me. Hope comes from the constant progression and adaption of web technologies as tools for cross-platform app development.

I read these 2 news articles today which made me write this post:
Samsung drops Android for Tizen in new Gear 2 smartwatches

Firefox OS grows up with bigger, better phones and much faster software
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Re: App development progression

Postby alex » 23:35, 27 Feb 2014

I share this worry, at the same time I'm a bit of a Darwinist when it comes to software. And luckily, many times there are clever ways to squirrel away some of the peculiarities of a specific computer language, in the form of high-level libraries and functions.
Nowadays you can't tell what language lies lurking behind the curtain when you see something like this:

Code: Select all

somevariable = trickyFunction(parameter1, parameter2);

Another exciting line of business is controlling one platform from another, like the EvoThings demo for programming and controlling an Arduino from javascript, thereby moving some of the logic somewhere else, other than the self-contained environment that was first intended; the traditional "write on the IDE on a PC -> attach USB cable -> upload software -> see it run -> repeat", which was the main idea from the start. Another step on the way was to run the Arduino via MAX or bespoke PC-ridden solutions, where perhaps some of the functions like networking is run via an attached host computer.

There is much ado about development, and not enough about maintenance, and here is where the issue you brought up Eric gets really acute. Imagine someone running around with a laptop, uploading new builds to tens or maybe hundreds of single-chip computers in the course of a working day, in a special version of c with some special dialect few people use after ten years of service. Sure, the infamous over-the-air uploads will eventually offloads some of the grieve involved, but "there is more to it", he said after sending 10.000 buggy uploads, rendering the OTA functionality dysfunctional....

Projects involving webkit and chrome into embedded systems is a light in the fog, allowing web technologies to be used also away from PCs and smartphones. We'll see more of that, and my hope is these technologies will help bridge the web, the phone and all the other things around us!


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