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RhoMobile Blogs

3 Posts authored by: Adam Blum

We are excited to announce the final feature complete beta for RhoMobile Suite 4.0 (including RhoElements 4.0 and RhoConnect 4.0).  Please find it available for download here .

 

As the release number implies, RhoMobile Suite 4.0 is a huge step forward for the product.  Beyond just aligning release numbers between RhoElements and RhoConnect, it offers a rationalized API that will be easy to take forward into the future (we not plan on any significant changes to the existing API for quite some time).

 

Specifically the biggest feature in RhoElements 4.0 is support for JavaScript as a peer to Ruby.   You can now perform device capability calls in JavaScript.  See our JavaScript API guide for details.

 

We also now have a Common API for consumer devices (from iOS to Android to Windows Phone) AND industrial devices (Motorola ruggedized devices running Windows Mobile and Android).  Previously RhoElements had a single API for consumer devices. But similar functionality for Motorola devices could often require a different API call.  Highlights of the Common API simplification include Barcode (combining Barcode and Scanner), Application (combining RhoApplication and Application), and Network (combining AsyncHttp, FileTransfer and Network). Details are available in the Release Notes. Note that RhoElements 2.2 APIs are still available but they are deprecated.  On Windows Mobile only the deprecated APIs are supported.

 

We also have support for iOS7 and Android JellyBean (including forthcoming MSI Android JellyBean devices). We also have support for Windows Phone 8.  This includes providing a new way to write RhoMobile apps: our Visual Studio plugin.  Also note that on Android we now using the stock browser for rendering (instead of Motorola WebKit).

 

RhoConnect, our app integration and sync server, includes several new features including using JavaScript to write source adapters, a new Model-Controller capability for Ruby source adapters (separating routes from implementations), and support for multiple Redis instances (providing horizontal scalability across multiple Redis servers).

 

We plan to release the final version of RhoMobile Suite in late September. In the meantime, we encourage you to try the feature complete beta and file specific issues on GitHub. More general discussion should be on the RMS 4.0 Beta Launchpad section.

 

We will be holding a webinar on the RMS 4.0 Feature Complete Beta next Wednesday at 8:00am PST. Register for it here.  Please attend and participate if you have further questions about RhoMobile Suite 4.0.    We look forward to talking to you more about RhoMobile Suite soon.

Today we are excited to announce the release candidate of RhoMobile Suite 2.2 and RhoElements 2.2 (it should be announced as final early next week). RhoElements 2.2 continues to expand the JavaScript support that we offer. It also expands the exciting array of device capabilities that we offer access to. It offers formal support for our own push service: RhoConnect Push.  The RhoMobile Suite 2.2 release also provides the RhoConnect 3.4 release with several other improvements.    All of this comes only three months after the RhoElements 2.1 release, demonstrating that the RhoMobile Suite is maintaining its track record of industry leading innovation, only accelerated by its acquisition by Motorola Solutions.

 

JavaScript

 

On the JavaScript front we have added many new device capabilities in JavaScript. RhoElements had many capabilities available in JavaScript for Motorola devices with the Motorola WebKit browser that is included with the product.  This of course did not allow developers to use JavaScript on consumer devices such as iOS and Android.    We now have support for all of the historical Rhodes and RhoElements Ruby APIs in JavaScript.   Specifically you can call web services with AsyncHttp, take pictures with Camera, store information to the Database, determine your position with GeoLocation, and get information about the device and environment with System.

See the RhoElements API matrix for more details. 

 

This is what we have found more than sufficient for most consumer apps.  So now customers have the capability of writing entire apps with JavaScript only and not learn Ruby if they so choose.   This gives us the focus on JavaScript that some JavaScript only frameworks offer but with the additional major benfits that RhoElements offers over those frameworks: synchronization, scaffolding and app generation, an Object and an IDE.

 

In the next release we will offer the robust set of JavaScript APIs available for Motorola devices on all consumer devices.   We will also be adding support for JavaScript controllers (MVC with JavaScript) and JavaScript use of the Rhom Object Relational Mapper. 

 

Device Capabilities

 

We are also adding several exciting new device capabilities: audio capture and playback, video capture and playback, accelerometer and magnetometer.    As devices become more powerful and bandwidth increases, mobile devices to document events in the outside world through video and audio are exploding.    We now offer AudioCapture APIs via JavaScript and Ruby on all popular smartphone operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows Mobile and even Windows desktop apps) and Motorola devices.  We also have video capture for Motorola devices and will add for consumer devices in the near future.  

 

Mobile devices are becoming as sentient as human beings. Motorola Solutions and other mobile device makers are investing in a powerful array of sensor on devices.  Today that is location, position and direction (geolocation, magnetometer and accelerometer). In the near future Motorola plans to offer pressure sensors (for touch screens), light sensors and temperature sensors.   RhoElements will of course track all of these capabilities and provide a powerful programming model for all of them. Today that means we have added accelerometer for detecting device orientation and movement and magnetometer for determining the direction the device and user are facing. We provided those capabilities across all operating systems as the RawSensor API. 

 

RhoConnect Push

 

The RhoConnect Push service, introduced as a beta in RhoElements 2.1, now is formally supported.  We have also improved the configuration process for it.   RhoConnect Push allows you to send push alerts to users, just as iOS push and Android push (Google Cloud Messaging) services let you. RhoConnect Push lets you do this without using a service in the cloud or requiring a gmail account. Most enterprise customers cannot live with either the iOS push or Google Cloud Messaging and we now offer a compelling option for them.   Plus of course we offer it to provide push notification to Windows Mobile devices, who currently have no cloud based or device provided service for push notification.   All of this is provided at no additional charge as part of the RhoConnect server offering.  

 

Using the common RhoElements APIs for push customers can mix and match, using RhoConnect Push to reach Windows Mobile and Android devices, and iOS Push on iOS devices, all from one RhoElements app source code, running on all three operating systems. RhoConnect Push also enables push synchronization, which allows enterprise app data and other data from backend system to be delivered near real-time to user’s devices. 

 

RhoConnect 3.4

RhoConnect push synchronization capabilities insure its lead as the most powerful mobile synchronization server on the market.   RhoMobile Suite 2.2 includes the RhoConnect 3.4 release (in the future RhoMobile Suite 4.0 to be released next year will line up all the version numbers).   RhoConnect 3.4 includes major performance improvements.   We provide reports and analytics that demonstrate this performance.  And we offer recommendations for how to size your own RhoConnect server deployments for your app with our sizing calculator. 

 

RhoMobile Suite in the Future

 

We are very excited about RhoMobile Suite 2.2.  But we have even more exciting features in store.   We will be providing JavaScript for all capabilities of the framework including MVC, ORM, sync and everything offered by Ruby APIs today.  We will continue to track the exploding array of device capabilities with new sensor APIs for things like pressure, ambient light and temperature as they show up on devices. We will continue to lead in security capabilities by providing FIP 140-2 compliant encryption (no other mobile platform or framework does so).   In close partnership with Microsoft we will offer the most advanced framework for Windows Phone 8 development.   We will continue to expand the offering to new mobile and desktop operating systems.  

 

Come to Motorola LaunchPad

 

Please give RhoMobile Suite 2.2 a try by downloading here.  This is a great excuse to spend time on Motorola Launchpad.   We want to know how the framework works for you today and what features you would like to see.   But you will also get direct support from other RhoElements developers and even directly from the product developers.  

RhoElements 2.1 Released!

Posted by Adam Blum Aug 28, 2012

We are excited to announce that RhoElements 2.1 and RhoConnect 3.3 were released this week.    We have a host of new features including support for building desktop (“Big Windows”) apps, more advanced security with PKI encryption, expanded device capabilities, an advanced bundled push notification service, better performance and metrics of RhoConnect, and groundbreaking enhancements to the RhoStudio IDE.


More Operating Systems

RhoElements 2.1 takes the value proposition of Rhodes and RhoElements: “use your web skills to write native apps” to desktop apps for Windows.  And it brings along the “best of breed HTML5 user interfaces on all platforms” by providing WebKit based views for those apps.  In addition to formally supporting building Windows apps, we have other updated operating system support including iOS 6, Android and Windows CE.  


High Security

We continue to lead the industry in advanced security for mobile apps. In addition to being the only framework with automatic data encryption (automatic encryption of all data with no explicit code), we have added public key encryption as an option for even greater security.   This is important in many scenarios in medical, government and financial apps. RhoElements is the only framework with PKI encryption built in. 


Expanded Device Capabilities

We also provide device capabilities for a host of new devices: the Motorola Solution ET1 barcode scanner and mag stripe reader.  And we are expanding the universe of device capabilities offered.  For example we now also support a mobile payment API on Motorola devices via JavaScript calls. Rich device capabilities are a key them of RhoElements: in our next release we will offer a host of new sensor APIs (accelerometer, magnetometer, ambient light) for Motorola devices and consumer devices as well. 


RhoConnect Push Service

In addition to updating RhoElements we have also released RhoConnect 3.3.   The most exciting new feature is RhoConnect Push.   The new RhoConnect Push server capability provides a notification service that works across all devices (unlike iOS Push, BlackBerry Push and Google Cloud Messaging which are tied to specific operating systems).   RhoConnect Push also works “behind the firewall” inside a company’s private networks.   Most companies cannot use public push services such as iOS or Google Cloud Messaging for their mission critical and private enterprise apps.  RhoConnect Push provides a highly scalable, simple and inexpensive (free with RhoConnect) option for providing notifications to devices. The primary use of RhoConnect Push is to make push synchronization better, cheaper and more acceptable for more apps, resulting in faster data updates and lower battery usage.  But it can also be used for basic push notification of information to users without sync.   RhoConnect Push has clients available today for Android and Windows Mobile (where this is otherwise no easy option for push notification besides unreliable SMS).   But we plan to open source push client APIs for all operating systems.  This is another feature that only RhoMobile has: you will not see other frameworks offering push servers.

 

RhoConnect Performance

RhoConnect in general continues its industry-leading position in featureset and ease of use.   We have added bulk synchronization of images and selective model by model bulk sync. We are also providing an analysis framework for RhoConnect performance and a plethora of performance data.  We are publishing RhoConnect performance numbers with varying data points along several major dimensions that affect performance: number of devices, number of data objects and attributes, server cores and memory,  backend app performance, network speed, and frequency of synchronization and updates. This data bears out the advantage of RhoConnect’s unique position as the only sync server with a NoSQL database at its core (Redis) that is, as well as significant improvements to our data caching algorithms.  


RhoStudio Enhancements

RhoStudio is also moving forward as the most advanced mobile focused IDE of all of the frameworks.    Its embedded RhoSimulator continues to offer the fastest debug/build/run experience of any tool (generally sub one second for full build and run).   RhoStudio now offers highlighted prompting of methods and arguments for the Rhodes and RhoElements APIs (autocompletion).  It also allows you to edit and run your tests for your apps within the tool (no other framework emphasizes Test Driven Development like Rho). It also lets you build your apps on RhoHub without leaving the RhosStudio IDE. Just select the remote build option when building in RhoStudio and RhoHub will perform the build for you. 

 

We are excited about all of the new capabilities of the RhoMobile Suite. RhoMobile continues to make it easier to build secure, scalable, enterprise-ready apps with a great native user experience, all with your existing web skills.  The latest releases of RhoElements and RhoConnect demonstrate our continued commitment to providing ease of development and modern software approaches to the hard problem of building mission-critical enterprise mobile apps.  

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