Thanks trigger.io, but we’re sticking with Appcellerator

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We recently got a mailshot from trigger.io about their mobile build solution which apparently had

none of the bloat and bugginess of a compile-down solution like Appcelerator.

which made me think two things.

  1. What is the bloat and bugginess assumed in Appcellerator?
  2. Is this new solution any good

Where’s the Bloat and Bugginess?
First of all, the whole Eclipse thing (which Appcellerator is based on) is something that some folks either love or hate. Once you’ve got over the whole ‘who needs an IDE, I just use vi’ nonsense, Eclipse is at the same time one of the best IDEs and also one of the most ‘fragmented’ due to it’s plugin natures and all things to all men approach. But is it bloated or buggy? Not so much, because of it’s modular nature, it only has what it needs, and you can add the other stuff as and when you need it (so we added the Trac plugin). (Disclosure: I’m from a Java background and Eclipse always wins for me with it’s great debugging, integration with svn/git, trace, tomcat and plugin support)

None of this really applies to Appcellerator as it is packaged as one download for you and off you go – Eclipse is stable. Appcellerator on the other hand may be where the trigger.io guys were aiming at – bloat from the bundled libraries, and bugs in the toolchain.

Fixing Bloat and Bugginess
Appcellerator includes all libraries (+200) which act as the bridge between your javascript and native. This can be reduced by removed the libraries you don’t need for a project – not pretty, but this may help http://developer.appcelerator.com/question/45861/reducing-apkapplication-filesize

Switch to Trigger.io?
Should we switch to Trigger.io? Here are my top 5 reasons why not:

  1. It’s not mature right now.
    You’ve got to start somewhere, but trigger.io are still working on some native components, so if we did switch to this kind of tech, we’d probably go for PhoneGap
  2. Internet Connection
    Cloud based builds are a dependancy on my internet connection, which means I can’t build and compile in the deepest countryside (or 5 miles outside the M25)
  3. Opaque toolchain and dependancy on Trigger.io
    What if trigger.io goes down? I can’t even see how their toolchain works, much less still try and fix any problems with it.
  4. Native Modules . Sorry guys, but if I need to add a new module and expose it in javascript I can do this in Appcellerator. I can’t do this in trigger.io, and neither can anyone else so I can’t benefit from their efforts either.
  5. Pricing
    Maybe I’ve got this bit wrong, but nobody else does Per-App Pricing (what? I’ve just discovered that Appcellerator now do the same) – $299/month for a Pro account is madness https://trigger.io/pricing/

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