Telerik wants to reinvent cross-platform mobile development. This week, the provider of software application and content management solutions released Icenium, which they describe as the industry’s first Integrated Cloud Environment, or ICE, combining the cloud with a local development environment.

With an ICE -- a contrasting reference to a traditional IDE or integrated development environment -- Telerik said that developers can forget targeting a single platform. Instead, they can code on Mac OS X or Windows for all iOS or Android devices.

One Dev Environment to Manage

The company said that Icenium does not require developers to manage a variety of development environments, juggling multiple SDKs, compliers and other tools in order to accommodate the variety of mobile platforms and devices. Telerik said that, by exposing SDKs through a cloud service, Icenium has “decoupled the coding environment from the platform dependencies.”

With Icenium, developers utilize HTML5, CSS and JavaScript to create hybrid apps that run natively on iOS and Android devices, utilizing device APIs with support from Apache Cordova.

While native apps are written to a specific platform in order to optimize performance and the ability to access device capabilities such as a camera, hybrid apps use web technologies like HTML5 and run inside a native container, with a web-to-native layer that enables access to the device resources. (Related: Mobile Apps or Mobile Web? Siteworx's Tim McLaughlin Speaks Out)

Telerik Launches 'First Integrated Cloud Environment' for Mobile Development

Learning Opportunities

View Changes in Real Time, Across Devices

Participating developers receive access to the Icenium Graphite toolset, which is the installed version for PCs, as well as Icenium Mist, the version for browsers. The toolset contains syntax coloring and formatting, real-time error detection, refactoring, code navigation and integrated version control, as well as app publishing assistance.

In addition to Cordova, the cloud environment provides Icenium LiveSync, which allows changes to be reviewed in real-time across connected devices without recompiling for every change, and the Icenium Device Simulator, so that app behavior can be tested across multiple device platforms before deploying to actual devices. There’s also Icenium Ion, which allows apps to be installed on iOS devices by scanning the project QR code, and Telerik’s Kendo UI Mobile Integration, which utilizes a single UI codebase to target various mobile platforms through adaptive rendering.

Telerik isn't the only vendor offering a cloud environment for mobile apps. Adobe recently announced PhoneGap Build, its cloud-based development environment for mobile apps on any device. PhoneGap build use the PhoneGap framework which is also a distribution of the Apache Cordova project). The big difference we see here between PhoneGap Build and Icenium is that PhoneGap Build is purely cloud-based, where Icenium is an integration of cloud and on-premises development environments. 

Telerik said that, as a “special introductory offer,” Icenium is available for free through May 1, 2013.