Review: combines mobile app builder with back-end services

The online mobile development platform crosses categories, but support for native apps and offline operation is lacking is a rather capable cloud-based mobile Web and hybrid mobile development platform with online visual design and programming tools, as well as integrated back-end services. You can think of it as a cross between an app builder and an MBaaS (mobile back end as a service).

As we can see in Figure 1 below, the app builder generates HTML5, jQuery Mobile, and Apache Cordova code, and the build server generates iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and HTML5 apps. The MBaaS provides hosting, a MongoDB NoSQL database, push notifications, JavaScript server code, and a secure proxy. can talk to essentially any REST APIs, whether or not the company has prebuilt the interface. Tying a prebuilt REST interface to a service is a matter of a few minutes. Building the REST interface yourself takes a little longer and requires knowing a little more, but it’s not a big job.

Online app builder

The app builder has tabs for the app settings, your model and storage (Figure 2), your pages as you create them, dialogs, templates, themes, CSS, whatever services you define, your JavaScript, and any custom components you define. The builder (Figure 3) uses a WYSIWYG design metaphor with a palette of more than 25 controls, including for external services such as Google Maps and Vimeo, and it displays a property sheet for each item. You can switch from design view to source code view to see your generated HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and any device-specific code: Java for Android, Objective-C for iOS, and XAML backed by C# for Windows Phone. platform overview

Figure 1. The platform centers on a hosted, browser-based app builder that generates HTML5 code, using jQuery Mobile and Apache Cordova wrappers. The system also provides back-end services, hosted build services, and REST interfaces to external databases and applications.

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