New Component Marketplace for Mobile App Dev Opens
Many developers having been building mobile applications for years; probably a larger percentage, though, is just starting to experiment with mobile development. For both groups, there's a new resource: Developer Garden, created and run by Deutsche Telekom.
Developer Garden is primarily a marketplace to buy and sell components. It also contains APIs, SDKs and various frameworks (note that the Web site says it's still in beta, so proceed cautiously).
Four primary mobile platforms are targeted: iOS, Android, HTML5 and Windows Phone. Similar to other mobile marketplaces, Deutsche Telekom takes 30 percent of the revenue from app sales, so developers keep 70 percent of the money.
Not surprisingly, the market for iOS- and Android-based components is much larger than for Windows Phone or HTML5. Currently, there are nearly 1,000 components listed for iOS, about 600 components for Android, a little more than 200 for Windows Phone, and only about 100 for HTML5. Components run the gamut: UI designers, social gaming networks, mapping utilities, image editors -- pretty much anything a developer would need for each platform, even for the smaller Windows Phone and HTML5 frameworks.
There are many API offerings. One, for example, from the HTML5 section, is called the "Click and Buy API." It allows for customization of individual payment systems through "50 national and international payment methods in 120 currencies."
UK-based mobile app developer Simon Judge listed some warnings for developers considering using Developer Garden. He wrote:
- What happens if there's a problem, for example a bug in the component?
- What happens if the 3rd party goes out of business?
- What happens if the component becomes incompatible with future released devices?
- What are the costs? Is there a per-user/device cost? Do the costs scale well?
Prices for the components are all over the map: some are free, but many are paid. A quick check of about 10 components from across the range of platforms shows pricing anywhere from $50 to more than $500. An iOS image-editing component from Wenpo Sun, for example, is about $106 US. Wijmo, a kit of more than 40 jQuery-based UI widgets for HTML5 development, is $299, and $499 with premium support.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.