Speed Up your App Development: Upgrade to Titanium SDK 8

Using Crash Analytics with Titanium Apps
Using Crash Analytics with Titanium Apps

We’re constantly updating and improving the Titanium SDK, adding new features, addressing any issues raised, and supporting new OS features for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

There’s good reason to keep your apps up-to-date with minor and major releases of Titanium. Not only does this improve performance and quality — it also exposes new APIs and capabilities that deliver a better, native experience.

In March 2019, we released Titanium SDK 8, a significant upgrade providing many new features that brings parity between iOS, Android and Windows Mobile allowing developers to use fully native UI components to get the best possible native experience.

So why should you consider updating to SDK 8?

Firstly, and as I’ve wrote about last year, you want to take advantage of performance and quality improvements we’re making all the time. But, there are also some great new features of SDK 8 that will optimize the amount of code you write, and give your users a faster, smoother native experience.

Ti.UI.NavigationWindow for all platforms

In SDK 8, Ti.UI.iOS.NavigationWindow is now deprecated in favour of a new cross-platform version Ti.UI.NavigationWindow. Typically, developers wanting to emulate the NavigationWindow component of iOS had to either ignore it and create their own navigation manager OR emulate it using views, animations and other components.

This approach meant more code, more potential issues and challenges.

With this new cross-platform implementation, the same XML and code you write for iOS now works for Android and Windows. Plus, it uses fully native components on each platform, significantly reducing the complexity of your app, streamlining code and improving quality and performance.

Ti.UI.TabGroup updates for Android

Alongside typical updates and improvements, a big update for Android users of TabGroups is that the cross-platform native TabGroup has been updated to support a new style: bottom tabs!

So, you can now develop an application with Titanium that has a TabGroup that looks almost the same in iOS and Android (while keeping with the OS way of styling things).

Again, this is going to reduce the need for custom TabGroup components (like the ones I’ve written myself), reduce code, complexity and help your apps run smoother and faster.

Ti.UI.TabbedBar for Android

Before SDK 8, anyone wanting to implement the Ti.UI.IOS.TabbedBar segmented component on Android would have to develop their own custom version.

This meant writing a Widget or custom views that could simulate the way the iOS version worked. Styling, event handling, sizing and other aspects of the control would have to be fully simulated in order to allow code designed for the iOS version to work on a custom Android version.

In SDK 8, Android now has a Ti.UI.TabbedBar component that works the same way as iOS but is fully styled for Android. Again, just like Ti.UI.NavigationWindow, this new component should significantly reduce the amount of XML and JavaScript code in your app.

iOS — Swift Native Module Support

Up to now, access to native code in iOS has required developers to write native modules in Objective-C OR JavaScript using Hyperloop.

With SDK 8, Titanium developers can now write native modules in Swift, encapsulating iOS SDK frameworks, third-party SDKs or CocoaPods directly into their Titanium applications.

This is great news for JavaScript developers that are now learning Swift and want to implement Swift code into their Titanium apps.

LiveView is now integrated into the SDK

LiveView is a powerful tool that allows you to instantly refresh your app when you make code changes, reducing the need for a full build. It can significantly speed up the development process.

Up to now, LiveView was shipped as a separate tool that was installed via Axway Appcelerator Studio IDE.

With modern developers using their own, favoured IDEs like Visual Studio Code, Atom etc., we recognized the need to support LiveView updates in an easier way and simplify the setup and update process.

As of SDK 8, LiveView now comes in the SDK, so it’ll be much easier to use updated versions of LiveView via the CLI, your own IDE, or Appcelerator Studio.

Other notable mentions

As I said before, keeping SDKs up-to-date is a great way to ensure you take advantage of all the performance updates and bug fixes we release through the year. SDK 8 is no exception with other improvements such as improvements to Intents on Android, Geolocation updates, new animation curves for Android, etc.

SDK 8 is a big update, and we’ve already released 8.0.1 and 8.0.2 with 8.1 around the corner.

Check out the latest 8.0 release notes. Dive in and update those apps!

6 COMMENTS

  1. Jason — this is a super recap and really helped highlight the important things that have changed. Because this wasn’t too deep in the code, I was able to pass this on to my designer as well for him to study what these changes mean for what we do in the future with the Titanium apps we maintain. Thanks for putting this in the format you did. Look forward to future posts.

    • Thanks for the comment, Beau! We have a pre-release build with a proposed fix. It’s now merged into the 8.1.X branch, so you can install it with the usual “appc ti sdk install -b 8_1_X -d”. The fix appears in 8.1.0.v20190801142345 or later.

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