There’s a recombinant quality to the platforms that mobile developers can employ to build new applications and services. A case in point is Appcelerator’s acquisition of Aptana, which represents a definite upgrade by adding an “integrated development environment” (IDE) specifically for Web applications.,
Appcelerator has already lured over 1.5 million developers to use its flagship Titanium “enterprise-grade, cross-platform development solutions” to power more than 10,000 apps – which run “natively” on the most popular smartphones (meaning Apple’s iOS and Android-based devices) and desktop (meaning MacOS, Windows and Android). The acquisition of Aptana anticipates a shift from a three-tiered approach (where apps running on devices interact with apps and data residing “in the cloud”) to a two-tiered approach where apps running in the cloud are delivered “as a service” to mobile subscribers though a browser (most likely conforming to HTML5).
The entire Aptana development team will now join Appcelerator with the objective of providing an integrated development environment for “native, cloud-connected applications” targeting a beta product this quarter (Q1 2011). That means that “Aptana’s millions of developers,” who had thus far focused on Web services, will use a familiar interface to build Web-aware mobile apps as well.
The press release hints that the company “will also be making additional product roadmap announcements over the coming months.” In TechCrunch, reporter Leena Rao asserts the company “is apparently in the midst of another acquisition, [and] says that it is poised to become one of the largest mobile app publishers in Apple’s App Store this quarter.”
Yet the most important aspect of this acquisition is its potential impact on the long-standing “App versus Browser” debate. When a mobile app developer acquires the tools for Web services development, you can see that the trend is toward “Web-aware apps.” Think of it as 2-and-a-half tiers.
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