Feature Article

Free eNews Subscription>>
April 23, 2013

Embarcadero Technologies Unveils True Native Multi-Platform Mobile App Development Suite

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in San Francisco, Embarcadero Technologies is a veteran player within the enterprise application and database development marketplace, with a customer base that encompasses 90 of the Fortune 100, as well as an active worldwide community of more than three million users worldwide. On Monday of this week, the company announced its official move into the enterprise mobility space through its announcement of Embarcadero RAD Studio XE4.

RAD Studio XE4 is a multi-device/multi-OS platform, true native app development suite for developers that need to create applications across the entire spectrum of enterprise computing platforms – from full desktops and laptops to today’s now well-entrenched tablets and smartphones. RAD Studio includes the award winning Delphi, C++Builder and HTML5 Builder development environments.

The new mobile development platform is designed to be used by enterprise developers who specifically need to quickly create – or only desire to create - true native apps. RAD Studio XE4 lets users manage one true codebase, one team, and one schedule without ever sacrificing performance of any sort. Although there are various approaches for achieving one codebase capabilities for building mobile applications, most of them involve writing to a meta language than then translates this meta code to each particular platform an enterprise is looking to target.

Alternatively, HTML5 is now being touted as the latest means to achieving a write once, deploy too many capability. That said, no matter how good HTML5 is becoming, it can never quite achieve the performance levels of native-built applications.

Embarcadero’s description of “true native apps” is any application that runs directly on the device hardware with no scripting or interpretive layer what so ever. Native apps give developers more control, tighter security and especially a better user experience. Many multi-device solutions today rely on virtual implementations or are interpreted at run time and are not true native apps.

It is interesting that Embarcadero has chosen to focus on delivering such a native code development platform at a time when most companies within the mobile app development space are looking to focus their offerings on hybrid apps that combine some form of native app development with HTML5/CSS/JavaScript development. This can be traced to Embarcadero’s extensive 20 year history in delivering high end enterprise-grade development and programming tools.

Michael Swindell, Embarcadero senior vice president of products notes that, “This year nearly a billion smartphones will be shipped, and for the first time tablets are also projected to outsell PCs. At the same time, ISVs and enterprises are under tremendous pressure to quickly deliver a great user experience across multiple device platforms. Unlike HTML5 and JavaScript-based mobile development solutions, RAD Studio XE4 enables organizations to deliver script-free, true native apps across smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Macs with a single codebase.”

Embarcadero bluntly makes the point that nothing will ever deliver better performance than true native code, and if the platform is able to deliver true native code across not only mobile devices but also PCs and Macs, why ever look to compromise? Of course, Embarcadero does look at the world through a prism of well-established customers (those 90 out of 100 Fortune 100 companies, among of course many smaller companies) – all of whom have well-established and very experienced C, C++ and C# development teams.

In other words, these companies have significant and well-seasoned developer resources – not to mention extensive investments in training them - already in place that will now quickly be able to deliver the same types of high performance native mobile apps they are used to delivering for tradition PC and Mac environments. This focus is directly counter to the argument that most mobile app development platform players are trying to make through their hybrid environments. These vendors look to make the case that expensive and highly trained developer resources that also possess deep programming language capabilities in hand are not really needed.

In a lot of cases this is probably true, and taking the marketing approach that less is more, these vendors find plenty of businesses who agree with the model. Embarcadero, on the other hand, is making a very large bet here on enterprises preferring to take advantage of those deep programmer resources that can in fact build out native apps.

The company’s customer base clearly has such a need – the demand has been loud and clear and Embarcadero would not otherwise have made the investments to deliver such a platform. For Embarcadero the “productivity” argument manifests itself not in switching out expensive and experienced developers for much less expensive Web developer-level resources, but rather in hugely increasing what each experienced developer can achieve within the same period of time.

Embarcadero asks: if you can significantly improve experienced developer productivity while at the same time being able to deliver true native, extremely high performing mobile apps, why would any enterprise want to make the switch? It’s a great question. The answer lies in truly being able to deliver on the promise of the high performance, true native, one code base platform.

RAD Studio XE4 Core Capabilities

Embarcadero suggests that its customers already know what its platforms will deliver. The trick is for Embarcadero to now also get new customers on board.

RAD Studio XE4 delivers multi-device development for ARM and Intel devices, including Apple iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac OS X, Windows PCs, Slates, and Surface Pro tablets. Platform features include the specific capabilities highlighted below.

Multi-Device App Development:
Developers can create apps that are compiled and optimized for multiple device platforms. Complexity is reduced with one set of development resources to create apps for multiple platforms, with only one code base, one development team, and one schedule.

Build True Native Apps: True native app development offers the best performance and tightest security without scripting engines or virtual machines, allowing developers to take advantage of the full range of capabilities available on each device to deliver the best user experience.

On Device Rapid Prototyping: Developers or designers can quickly create no-code, visual mockups with live or simulated data and deploy to actual target devices (PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet – regardless of mobile platform OS) or simulate on Windows or Mac, giving clients and team members a far more accurate and impressive prototype experience.

RAD Studio XE4 features include the following:

- Full application framework for iOS, Windows, and Mac OS X, with support for Android coming soon.

- Full visual designer for iOS, Mac, and Windows user interfaces with multiple device types, resolutions, and orientations.

- iOS native styled user interface controls and native services such as motion and camera sensors and Geo location and notification services.

- Local database support for SQLite, IBLite, and InterBase Embedded ToGo.

- Built-in multi-tier enterprise connectivity for Oracle, Sybase, IBM DB2, InterBase, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, SOAP and REST services, and more.

We certainly recommend that any enterprise that has the necessary developer sources and is not looking to downsize those experienced resources, or is looking to maximize productivity and capability in moving to a mobile world, check out Embarcadero’s new platform. Native isn’t necessary for many mobile applications, but it may just be the right approach for your business.

RAD Studio XE4 is immediately available from Embarcadero and from Embarcadero partners, and is also available as a free trial download.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

FOLLOW MobilityTechzone

Subscribe to MobilityTechzone eNews

MobilityTechzone eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the Wireless industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter