I interviewed Adam Blum, the CEO of Rhomobile, ahead of the Web 2.0 Expo announcement of Rhodes 2.0 which provides developers free enterprise level mobile application development across all the major smartphone platforms.
Previously I covered Corona from Ansca Mobile which provides an excellent cross mobile platform gaming development while Rhodes focuses on enterprise & informational applications such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
Flash development is not supported perhaps having something to do with being headquartered in Cupertino, California but there are several key differentiators:
- Broad smartphone support for Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7, & WebOS (based on the direction HP takes with Palm)
- Provides full access to mobile device GPS, camera, native mapping, PIM contacts, as well audio & video
- Only MVC or Model View Controller framework for mobile app developers
- Only ORM or Object Relational Manager for mobile app developers
- Only mobile framework to support synchronized offline data
- Only mobile hosted development service
- First mobile Ruby on Rails application development service
Most web application developers with business logic should be able to develop with Rhodes 2.0 but optimally those with MVC experience such as using Python, ASP.NET, or Ruby will excel.
Ruby was chosen as the mobile application development controller over Python or Lua solely in that it had a larger & faster growing user base.
What also helps is that the inventor of Ruby on Rails, Yukihiro Matsumoto (Matz), is on the Rhomobile advisory board which is the only one he advises on.
Rhodes 2.0 is fully MIT licensed and currently has over 3,000 developers alone using the hosted service with over 10,000 Rhodes downloads in total.
There are no fears of being banned in iPhone 4.0 as the backend coding is in C++ as it is for Android, Windows Mobile, & Symbian.
Java was originally the backend for Android but the conversion to C++ made it MUCH faster – now only Blackberry has Java as its backend code.
Windows Mobile 7 will be using C#.
Examples of cross platform mobile applications built in Rhodes are the Wikipedia app & SugarCRM.
What I found most interesting is that Adam feels MeeGo mobile Linux from Intel & Nokia will eventually grow to be a viable player in the mobile space within a few short years.
Adam also shared that he personally prefers Android due to its relative openness & growing surge of developer demand while in the end he feels he has all the major smartphones covered with Rhodes 2.0 paving the way.