Appcelerator Eyes Big Fish in Mobile App Dev Space

Appcelerator, a Gartner mobile app developer leader, released a platform today that allegedly solves a pain point for mobile developers: integrating data into mobile apps.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based provider released Appcelerator Arrow, a framework for building and running mobile-optimized APIs. The feature is an addition to the two-year-old Appcelerator Platform.

"Data is the slowest, costliest and most complex aspect of mobile development," said Jeff Haynie, CEO of 70-employee Appcelerator, founded in 2006.

"Building a coherent, compelling and rich app experience means orchestrating data from a wide range of backend sources, which right now is Wild West of legacy formats and integration protocols. Arrow eases this data problem for mobile app developers."

Gartner Attention

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Appcelerator plays with the big boys among the Gartner leaders. The research firm named SAP, IBM, Kony, Adobe and Pegasystems fellow leaders in September.

Appcelerator is Gartner's smallest leader -- the rest have at least 1,000 employees.

But Appcelerator, according to Gartner analysts, has a full portfolio of mobile back-end services and front-end tools and frameworks.

It also addresses diverse scenarios. And it can respond fast in a changing market.

Gartner analysts cautioned that Appcelerator is "relatively small compared with established enterprise software vendors." This, they reported, poses challenges for selling at the strategic level.

Fast forward to today's Arrow release. Appcelerator officials called it a "skeleton key that unlocks the many data sources needed for great apps."

"For developers," Haynie said, "it dramatically reduces development time while dramatically improving user experience. With Arrow, developers can connect, model, transform and optimize data for any app client -- whether native or web -- in minutes."

Inside the Tech

Arrow has two primary components: Builder and Cloud.


Arrow Builder is the latest version of the company’s API Builder. It lets developers assemble APIs, data models and data connectors via either visual wizard or programmatically.

Arrow Cloud delivers a scalable cloud service for running APIs and analyzing their use, as well as support for push notifications and ArrowDB.

Arrow is part of the Appcelerator Platform 4.0.

"It’s all part of our mission to enable mobile innovation everywhere it’s occurring, whether you’re part of the Fortune 500 or the broader emergent class of entrepreneurs -- the 'Fortune 5 Million' -- who are reframing business problems through mobile apps," Haynie told CMSWire.

Why Appcelerator?

In a land of giants, what stands out at Appcelerator?

"While the mobile dev space is flooded, no one is offering anything like Arrow," Haynie said. "Integrating data into mobile apps is an absolute necessity to create an engaging experience, yet it’s not easy in the current Wild West landscape of varying protocols, integration formats and myriad data sources. Appcelerator Arrow has the potential to be as revolutionary for mobile backend integration as Appcelerator Titanium has been for native, cross-platform app development."

The new on-demand model includes three levels:

  • Indie: $39 / month, single-seat only
  • Team: $259 / month / seat, buy as many seats as your org needs
  • Enterprise, custom: which allows for private deployment options and elite support

Asked about integrations, Haynie said the Appcelerator Platform is built on open standards, and is fully extensible.

"For example, if a customer has chosen a different (Mobile Backend as a Service, MBaaS) or analytics solution, they can still use other parts of the Appcelerator Platform, such as app development and testing," the CEO said. "Reciprocally, customers can choose a different app development solution, and still use the platform’s app testing, crash detection, MBaaS and/or analytics capabilities."

Appcelerator Arrow and on-demand access to the Appcelerator Platform are available now in public preview and will be generally available in the coming weeks.

Appcelerator performs updates to its SaaS capabilities approximately every two weeks using a continuous delivery model. Major innovations and announcements of the cumulative updates are made approximately every six months, with the most recent platform announcement in July 2014.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by glen edelson