Tabris – iOS and Android apps written in Java

Tabris – iOS and Android apps written in Java

Industry experts have predicted that mobile computing is going to have a huge impact on the software industry. I agree. That’s why we asked ourselves if OSGi, RAP and Eclipse RT can help overcome some of the challenges in mobile app development.

Some of the most common problems involved in mobile development include dealing with multi-platform, security and maturity of the available platforms. But does multi-platform really matter with iOS breaking adoption records? I am sure that Google and Microsoft believe that their platforms will become breakthrough successes as well. While no one can make a definitive statement about their future success, I don’t think that anyone would bet a fortune on their failure either. This leaves us with three options for addressing multi-platform: HTML5, development for each platform or making a bet on which will be the most successful.

HTML5 is great technology – not only for mobile – but there is a growing body of lessons learned the hard way. Our own experience revealed that it is easy to get started with HTML5 and that the state-of-the-art JavaScript libraries look really great. But when it comes to running and using the apps the excitement mostly turned into disillusion. The other two options did not seem like good solutions for us, so we decided to add another option: Tabris (previously RAP Mobile).

Tabris gives us some key advantages over the alternatives. First, it allows multi-platform development in Java. It uses the iOS and Android native widget toolkits for rendering the user interface with optimal performance and native look and feel. And, it provides a mature and Open Source platform for writing and deploying business applications on standard JEE servers. It also provides a solution for common data security concerns with mobile devices.

If you are curious about how Tabris works and what it has to offer visit

  • Mark
    Posted at 01:48, 2012-02-01

    Sounds very intriguing. How does it handle “transitions” and swiping? That is something that is expected of mobile platforms.

  • Mark
    Posted at 02:05, 2012-02-01

    Obviously I did not watch the tree demo.

  • Philipp
    Posted at 09:44, 2012-02-01

    I see that the native clients are only available on request as a developer preview. I didn’t find any information if they will be open source at a later time or if this will be a commercial offering. Could you shed some light on this?

  • Posted at 18:04, 2012-02-01

    What about persistence and data cache on the client? In the demo it looks like the client always need a connection to the server.

    What about client usage if there is no connection to the server? (Caching, DataSync, logic programming)

  • Zach Lendon
    Posted at 18:37, 2012-02-01

    “When it comes to running and using the apps the excitement mostly turned into disillusion”- what does that mean? Are you saying most mobile web apps aren’t well built, aren’t performant, what? And more importantly, why? Just because you are using Sencha Touch 2 or JQuery Mobile with HTML5 doesn’t eliminate the need for understanding those technologies to the degree necessary to be able to create a well-designed and well-built application. Mobile sites the quality of (for example) exhibit that non-native mobile apps can be *really* good – and are bound to only get better. And they are accessible via all phones browsers without the need to download an app. If the argument is that those quality of mobile apps are too challenging to build and RAP mobile makes it easier (and even produces results greater than existing solutions) – than that could be valid, but demonstrating it is better than making vague claims. Discussions of the trade-off of those purported claims would be much more valuable information to those of us who are at the ground level using these technologies to create compelling mobile websites for clients both today and into the future.

  • Posted at 00:07, 2012-02-02

    Can you blog about a side-by-side comparison with Phonegap?

  • Zach Lendon
    Posted at 07:25, 2012-02-02

    Hi Jochen –

    Thank you for your reply. I do believe one key flaw we see in many mobile web-apps is this desire to “emulate” native apps – the desire to simulate a native widget whereas mobile web-apps should have their own look and feel – which can often provide the same functionality but not have the performance impact which you readily and correctly pointed out. If in the end you want to create a mobile webapp that looks, breathes and smells like a native app then well yes, a native app is going to obviously act better.

    One of the key decisions for businesses to make will be what technologies they wish to build their mobile solutions on. Does it make sense to leverage multiple native technologies (Obj-C, Java, Silverlight, etc)., use HTML5/Javascript (web-app or via Titanium/Phonegap type native solutions), or something like RAP. The earlier options are already on the table at most companies – if RAP proves itself I look forward to it having a seat at that table. Competition should only help to make the other solutions better as well.

  • Mark
    Posted at 16:04, 2012-02-02

    Does “the browser implementation of the client (which can also be used on mobile devices)” function like a standard [desktop] RAP app in a mobile device? Or more like a “native” client?

    I mean does it look/work like this -
    Or like this –

  • Mark
    Posted at 17:35, 2012-02-02

    So if we want “mobile apps” that are not native apps but function like them, then we cannot use RAP. Correct? Just want to make sure. I am trying to figure out what path i should take. The mobile world is currently a mismash of choices. And people though the Java web-framework world was crazy.

    I really like the option of coding in Java and having it run on the mobile device (native or browser). But I have a shoe-string (well basically none) budget. So i guess I will see how much the license for RAP Mobile is.

    One other question. iOS is pretty restrictive. So how will the RAP Mobile apps work for Apple products – how will the client be delivered?

  • Posted at 19:22, 2012-02-17

    Hai Jochen,

    Please can you answer my below questions ?

    Can you differentiate the performances of RAP with Native Android,IOS,JQueryMobile,Sencha.?
    Can we achieve all sort of native programming with RAP related to Android /IOS ?
    Is this similar to PhoneGap or how does it differentiate from the Phonegap?