Update: You want to check out the comment section. Eric, involved in developing Corona gave some updates on the state of Corona on Android. Also, the license is 249$ now.
Edit: holy shit. I pressed publish and saw the outcome of this. I’m sorry for that wall of text. At least i now know that writting that book is not a problem… Make sure you check out the other article of today, it features a nice surprise!
After my initial contact with V8 yesterday i talked to Blitz about the possibility of developing a cross platform environment based on V8 with support for a couple of APIs. This should mainly be used in the context of game programming.
Blitz, who’s working at a mobile tech startup of course knows his shit and pointed out that there’s a couple of frameworks that do something very similar already. I’ve never been first with any idea :p
The second cross-platform mobile development framework i got to know today is called Corona. It currently supports IOs and Android, altough the Android port seems to be unusable at the moment judging from the posts on their forums. Corona takes a different approach which i’d prefer to Phonegap. They use Lua (yeah, remember Lua?) as their language of choice and actually compile to native code from what i could gather. Corona is very focused on graphically rich applications with a lot of animations. It comes in two flavors, a general SDK and an SDK specifically for 2D game programming, including a small Box2D wrapper. They also provide means to debug an application, albeit without IDE integration. The debugger is a pure CLI app which might turn off some of the potential users (i love my gdb…). They also have a simulator (which is not an emulator!) and i assume that you can only debug on the simulator. I couldn’t get my hands on the trial version as i don’t have a Mac. Oh, did i mention that you need a Mac to develop with Corona? For me that’s a no-go i’m afraid. They business model revolves around yearly subscription fees which isn’t a bad thing. Currently it’s 99$, after the beta it’s going to tbe 299$ a year. As is the case with Phonegap Corona does not support any kind of native UI elements. That might well change in the future. Given that the developers seem to be behind schedule i doubt that this will happen soon though. Still worth checking out. If you got a Mac…
For me Titanium is the clear winner. It’s also the package that seems to be the most professional. Phonegap is a very nice idea but i don’t see a lot of use for it (unless you want to sell your web app in the app stores, but who wants to do such a nasty thing?). Corona seems actually well suited for 2D IOs game development. It’s not such a great thing on Android at the moment due to performance problems.
Of course everything i said here should be taken with a grain of salt. I did not try out any of the frameworks but only summarized what i could gather from their docs and sources. I’ll stick to native code for the moment 🙂