In this post we’d like to update you on the latest news in the Tabris (previously RAP mobile) developer preview. We’ve just released Version 0.5.4, marking the beginning of a simultaneous release schedule across all our mobile clients.
Here are the most interesting new features:
The Startup page provides shortcuts to access the demo applications
Previously, to access the application demos you needed to manually update the connection urls. With this release you can easily jump into a particular demo when you start the application. Alternatively, you can input a RAP application server URL to access another application. Of course, this “frontend” is designed to showcase the Tabris technology but in a production scenario you would jump right into your own application.
Added support for the Toolbar widget
The android client adds support for the org.eclipse.swt.widgets.ToolBar widget. You can easily place toolbars on any Composite and add ToolItems to it. We currently support the ToolItem styles PUSH and SEPARATOR but more types are planned for the near future. As with all our widgets we closely resemble the holo theme even on older Android 2.x devices. Newer features like a fadeout animation when pushing a tool item are only available on newer Android versions.
Changing the bounds of a widget can now be animated
You can now apply client side animations to a widget by setting the special custom variant “ANIMATED”. Enabling this property will animate all subsequent changes to the bounds of the particular widget. So for example changing the order of widgets on a composite would nicely slide the widget to its new target position. Also changing the width or height of a widget would animate the change in size. To set the custom variant you need to call:
control.setData( WidgetUtil.CUSTOM_VARIANT, "ANIMATED" );
Updated client to an optimized RAP protocol
The underlying communication protocol between RAP server and clients has been optimized further. The amount of data transferred has been reduced by almost 30%, which results in smaller protocol messages and thereby shorter load times. In fact, the messages now often fit into one “regular” sized TCP package thus requiring even less bandwidth.
Set hints in Text fields via setMessage()
The content hint in a Text field can now also be set via the SWT method Text.setMessage().
Retina Display, GEOLocation, plus all of the above
Ditto on the features listed for Android – these features and more, are available in the latest iOS client. We’ve added support for the recently released iPad Retina display as well as support for the GEOLocation API. You’ll find better error handling with support for the new RAP Server/Session timeout as well as better MulitCore performance with GrandCentralDispatch. And, the latest version is still a svelt 0.5 MB.
You might have already worked with this feature in the previous version of Tabris but we’d like to say a little more about this for those who haven’t started working with it yet. The client provides support for the UI paradigms found in most mobile applications, in our case through
SWT.Shell. These include fullscreen, sliding areas, user actions and alert/notification dialogs. In an upcoming post we’ll go into detail about how these behaviors look and how you can integrate them into your app.