Codename One turned out to be a bust. It’s been two days since I submitted my simple ‘hello world’ app to them and its status still says ‘building’.
So I’ve been looking around at other alternatives. There’s nothing free – nothing, that is, except PhoneGap. Everyone talks about phonegap on all these app-building sites, and they always say ‘poor performance’ so I dismissed it out-of-hand.
But what is phonegap? I thought it was a developing environment, but really its a service that turns web-based code into something that can run on Iphones or Android phones. Any phone, really. It is a compiler.
There’s a fundamental problem with any app-building endeavor: you need a computer. You cannot code or (easily) test your code on your phone. It’s too hard to get the app onto your phone. Especially Iphones. Apple has made it so a Mac is required to compile any app for Iphone. Why? Because they are greedy. They have made it so you have to use a certain program, and only that program, to compile Iphone apps. And this requires you to buy a developer license for $99 – even for a simple hello world app.
Google phones are sightly more developer-friendly, but it still a pain to get an app on the phone, and you still need a computer ie. something with a keyboard. This creates a new problem: Finding a way to make and test an app on your computer. Computers are different operating systems. Even a Apple Mac computer uses a different operating system (OS X) than its Iphone (iOS). So to make any app on your computer, you have to basically have some kind of phone emulator. And this is not an easy thing to ask for. Hence, anyone who made one also wants you to pay.
Codename one promised to be free, and it is, until you need to get it to the phone. You have to compile it. And only they can compile projects created with Codename one. Gotcha! They have a free service where you submit it online, but its limited to 100 uses, and as I have just reported, it takes too long for a simple compile.
So there must be a new solution, something to run and test code on a computer, and a way to compile it and get it to your phone.
I zipped up the code and uploaded it on the phonegap site, and voila, it automatically compiled it for every phone operating system it could (meaning everything except Apples IPhone). WOOHOO!
Problem is, I don’t have a phone to run it on! I will try to get ahold of a cheap android phone and see if it works.