On September, 10, 2013, we released the Intel® XDK NEW, our initial release of a new version of the Intel® XDK. I want to let you know why we did this. As you probably know, Intel acquired the appMobi* HTML5 development tools last February, which included the then appMobi* XDK and Dev Center (the build service.) We re-launched it as the Intel® XDK shortly thereafter.
Our goal with getting into the HTML5 tools business is to help promote and enable cross-platform HTML5 app development – for all platforms, not just Intel’s. It’s very important to us that HTML5 reaches its promise of a true cross-platform, responsive, run-anywhere language and runtime, and which is based on standards. We found that to fully enable that goal, we needed to extend the Intel XDK’s abilities in the app “creation” (UI design and editing), testing and debugging (emulation, on-device testing and debugging), device API support, and build targets – pretty much everything. We needed more flexibility to add new tools and capabilities, including that from open-source and third-parties.
So, we rebuilt it. Here’s what we did:
- Eliminated the dependence on Java* and Chrome* (not that there’s anything wrong with them!), and replaced it with node-webkit. Now we can run the Intel XDK on just about any host platform, and gives us the ability to have better local file management in addition to cloud. These are the biggest complaints/requests we’ve heard over the past several months from our customers. (BTW, big kudos to Roger Wang for creating and maintaining node-webkit – he’s done a great service to web/HTML5 developers with this project.)
- A new UI builder – App Designer – and integrated it with Intel XDK NEW. It supports more frameworks (jQuery Mobile*, Twitter* Bootstrap, and App Framework) for more UI design choices, as well as allowing “round-trip” design, edit, re-design within the tool. In this initial release, App Starter, the fast prototyping, UI building tool for App Framework specifically is only available in the cloud; we’ll be integrating it back into the XDK as soon as we can.
- A new editor – Brackets* – you can go back and forth on files created in the UI builder or just use this great editor. Our kudos to the contributors behind www.brackets.io – it offers great developer help like syntax highlighting, auto-completion, JSLint*, and more. Of course, you can still choose to use your own favorite editor and import files, but if you do not have a favorite, try it.
- A new emulator based on Ripple* – appMobi had done a great job with the emulator in the current Intel XDK, but we wanted to add Cordova support in addition to appMobi device APIs. This offers more flexibility in adding APIs and gives you more device/platform simulation.
- A new User Interface – we rewrote everything based on web technologies. This allowed us to create a new UI to make the tools a bit easier to access and hopefully make it easier to create and manage projects and files all the way through to the build service.
- More host platforms – Intel XDK NEW will run on Ubuntu* Linux* in addition to Windows* and OS X*. As of September 10, though, we only have the Windows*-hosted version available; we’ll get the OS X* and Linux* ones out over the next couple of months.
- Cordova 2.9 support – you can now create, test, emulate, debug, and build Cordova-based apps in addition to appMobi device API-based ones.
We are releasing Intel XDK NEW as a technology preview now. Here’s the link to it. We’ll greatly appreciate any feedback you can give us so that we can address it while we polish it toward becoming our main product later in the year, replacing the existing Intel XDK. We have set up a new user forum just for Intel XDK NEW issues and suggestions.
So, give Intel® XDK NEW a try, and please, let us know how we did!