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Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Development | 0 comments

Appcelerator Titanium vs. Xcode

I’ve previously posted about my (positive) experience with Titanium. I very quickly knocked out an app that included a REST type call to a server to display data, while utilizing the GPS location functionality. And survived the code signing procedure to even get the app deployed into the app store.

Since then I have been using the Wx range of products and haven’t look at Titanium in a while. So last week I decided to go see what’s new with it, especially since I hadn’t seen it since the Aptana acquisition.

Given that I’ve since played with other technologies, I was quite frankly disappointed that Titanium still doesn’t have a WYSIWYG editor. I’ve become what you could probably term a lazy developer. I enjoy solving algorithms and focusing on the issue, I really don’t have the inclination to sit and map labels on my screen using coordinates. It’s such a core requirement for 99% of apps (um…if you have a UI), and is nothing  but tedium and routine, that any dev environment should provide this graphically.

It then occurred to me (perhaps I’m the last one to make the realization) that titanium is really all about cross platform, not about RAD. (That is, I knew its strength was xplatform but I assumed the RAD capabilities made it a top contender).

I then thought maybe I should take a look at Xcode. I had shyed away from it only in that I figured it was a case of needing to write hundreds of lines of code which would only take one in a product like titanium. Plus, if you haven’t looked at objectiveC and Xcode before, some of the directives seem somewhat daunting at first. Nonetheless I got a good book on it and started working my way through it.

I must say I have been pleasantly surprised. The actual Xcode environment clearly shows its maturity as an IDE. Objective-C is no where near as bad as I had been led to believe. And with the WYSIWYG editor and the new storyboard functionality, it’s almost as if Xcode has become a RAD environment. Plus, their are thousands of components out there you can use to make your life easier and your apps richer.

I’m now becoming an Xcode convert. The biggest drawback is of course the loss of cross platform capability, but I can survive without this.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that I think Titanium is still a good product, with a lot of potential. It does make life somewhat easier through some of its abstractions and the cross platform capability works well, including the fact that you can develop on a PC or a Mac. I think however I’ll continue on the Xcode path.

If you’ve been putting off looking at Xcode or have been intimidated by Objective-C, you owe it to yourself to take another look at it. Once you learn the proprietary directives and notations, you’ll quickly get the hang of it and even appreciate it’s elegance.

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