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I’m continually impressed at the quality of cloud based applications for web development, so when I came across rich internet application – Tiggr from the guys at Exadel, I simply had to take a closer look at their offering. At first glance, Tiggr comes across as a mockup tool for mobile development, but when you get into the nitty gritty of the product you realise that its a whole lot more than that, and offers developers a great way to rapidly prototype an application AND actually get some code that can be used as a baseline for the development process.
When you first log in, and start project creation, Tiggr offers two templated choices. You can either choose a Mobile Application or a Native one. The difference being, that the code generated from each will be either a zip with web resources, or a Phone gap project ( Android and iOS). Tiggr will also have the ability to generate an Android binary with this functionality coming in about a month from now.
The application in the browser uses a combination of Flash / Flex, and Java based server side technologies to allow for the creation of your prototype, and you can simply drag and drop ready made UI components onto the mobile canvas to layout your app. When you’ve mastered that step, the real genius comes when you click on the ‘Export’ option, which automagically behind the scenes generates perfectly formed HTML representations of those components which render perfectly across mobile devices.
This ability alone, for me, makes the application worthy of praise, as it often takes a while to create your own code that follow the same look, feel and UI design typically found in native mobile applications.
A number of testing options are available along the way, with the ability to email yourself a link to the URL you are working on, show a QR code that you can point your mobile device at , or simply a standard issue browser window that gives instant feedback on how the app is coming along. A variety of ‘themes’ for these components are also available, so whether you are an Apple fanboy, or an Android geek, there are colour schemes for a variety of tastes, again all rendering as you’d expect across a variety of devices.
Another bonus, is that there are actually programmatic features that you can implement to take standard issue HTML and add interactive functionality to it. Some of the starting templates provide a baseline to work from for this, and you can see how you can quickly code up a mobile Twitter search application that talks to the Twitter API.