Cross platform mobile development: Appcelerator is changing with the times

It’s usually not a good sign when a company announces that it is cutting thirty percent of its staff, as cross platform mobile development company Appcelerator did in March. Even though the company was quick to explain to TechCrunch that the changes were necessary in order to reach a larger market in a more cost-effective way. The record customer adoption and expansion that was announced days later and the release weeks after that of a new platform suggest that Appcelerator means what it says.

Open Source Cross Platform Development

Appcelerator’s mobile development environment, Titanium, was built on open source and allows for native, hybrid, or mobile apps to be build across platforms with a single JavaScript code base. Titanium contains over 5,000 APIs for iOS, Android, Windows, and more. When supporting multiple platforms, it provides 60-90 percent code reuse, allowing cross platform app development at the fraction of the time.

Rapid Growth

As stated in a March 17 press release from the company, Appcelerator raised $22 million in one month of 2014 and subsequently saw an increase in new customers, as well as an increase in the use of its platform. According to Jeff Haynie, Appcelerator’s CEO, it’s a sign of the times: businesses who are searching for new tools to use in a world where people turn to their mobile devices first for access to information and services.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, Appcelerator saw 150 percent more new customers than in the previous three quarters combined, including big names like Cintas, AmerisourceBergen and Family Dollar, the company stated. Appcelerator also met the needs of financial institutions, powering the majority of the mobile banking apps in North America, and saw expansion into the federal and pharmaceutical markets.

Currently, Appcelerator powers over 100,000 apps available in public app stores as well as others in private enterprise stores, the press release noted. More than 300 million mobile devices run apps powered by Appcelerator. Nearly 700,000 mobile developers use Appcelerator, the company stated.

“Changing the Way It Does business”

Appcelerator’s recent reorganization involved cutting about 20 employees in the U.S. and 10 in Asia, the article from TechCrunch reported. The Chief Revenue Officer, Brian Carr, was also fired, and has been replaced by Andy Zambito, Appcelerator’s VP of North America Sales.

Carr had been largely responsible for the direct sales model that the company has used for a few years now, the article stated — a model that Appcelerator is now going away from. It’s now choosing to focus on a SaaS/ self-serve model that it believes will bring cost effectiveness.

The VP of the company’s customer success team, Mark Pecoraro, was also released from his duties as the company attempts to narrow the gap between product teams and customer support.

Meet the Arrow

The newest version of Appcelerator features Appcelerator Arrow, intended to address the problem of data integration in mobile apps, reported CMS Wire earlier this month. According to Haynie, data is the slowest and most costliest aspect of mobile app development and Arrow provides a framework for creating and running mobile-optimized APIs. The company officials call it the “skeleton key” for unlocking the data sources needed for mobile apps, the article stated.

The system provides two main compenents: the Arrow Builder for assembling APIs and data models; and the Arrow Cloud for running APIs and analyzing their use, the article explained.

More Info: Appcelerator’s announcement of the Arrow.

What Lies Ahead for Appcelerator?

Appcelerator is going forward with its new on-demand sales model and Arrow’s ability to, as the company puts it: “Mobilize any data source in minutes.” Arrow was initially introduced for public preview, with plans to make it generally available within weeks.

Additionally — as announced in January — the company is currently working with CACI International to offer secure mobile app solutions via the Appcelerator platform for the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

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