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Mobile apps can feature ready-to-use cloud services

Cloud-based app features and services now can quickly be included in mobile apps, with an improved toolset from Appcelerator.

The vendor's Titanium 2.0 release offers to mobile developers a range of cloud services like push notification or photo sharing without having to write server-based code. Instead, the new release lets them set up connections to Appcelerator's hosted services for their apps, from any of several popular development language or tools, including Objective-C, HTML5 and tool kits from PhoneGap and Sencha.

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Developers can choose from about a dozen key services to start with including access, authentication and cross-platform controls for user management; storing and sharing photo albums from within the mobile app; location data; integrating with social networks via login and authentication via a user's Facebook or Twitter accounts; creating and analyzing data pulled from search fields in the app, such as location or user interactions, to optimize an app's features; pushing messages to end users on any device; and embedding instant messaging in the app to support several user and user group threads.

Titanium consists of a development toolkit, Titanium Studio, which is based on the open-source Eclipse integrated development environment, and Appcelerator Mobile SDK, specifically for creating a single code base that can be deployed as native iOS or Android, or mobile Web, apps. Also part of the package: Appcelerator Analytics, which is an application that gives developers a wide-range of data about the app's performance and use; and Market0place, which is an enterprise-based app store, with device management features and support for commerce features, security and access controls.

The new Appcelerator Cloud Services are intended to extend Titanium with an array of desirable, ready-to-use "connected features" that can be quickly rolled into mobile apps without requiring developers to code or maintain a back-end infrastructure, according to Jo Ann Buckner, vice president of product management for Mountain View, Calif.-based Appcelerator. Appcelerator hosts the infrastructure via Amazon Web Services.

"In Titanium 2.0, you're able to, for example, add a photo service to your app, which lets the user capture photos from their mobile device, and access them across multiple devices," Buckner says.

The 2.0 release with Appcelerator Cloud Services (ACS) is available now. Titanium Studio is free to download and use; the vendor offers subscription-based support, "premium integration," and other services for developers. ACS is free to start, but Appcelerator will charge for storage, API calls and push notifications.

Buckner acknowledges that estimating what these charges will be for a new customer can be a challenge, as the number of app users, and the way they use the app, change over time. Appcelerator is developing a set of metrics to guide developers in various vertical segments, such as retail or insurance or media/entertainment.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World. Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww Email: [email protected] Blog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed

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