This the first of a series of blog posts sponsored by Intel. Over the next three months, they will examine the many opportunities opened up to developers by the app revolution and the convergence across smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices.
There is a saying: to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
It is easy to get caught in the trap of using the tool you’re most familiar with, rather than the best tool for the job. Sometimes you can, admittedly, get quicker results that way: there’s no learning curve, and the tool’s already to hand.
But it can miss the opportunity to create more elegant code, and produce more manageable software.
The best developers have a few tools at their disposal, so they can draw upon the best one to meet any given programming challenge.
App development, for example, can go down a number of different paths:
You might have a project that would benefit from the image manipulation you can easily do from code in Adobe Flex.
While Flash is visually-led, Adobe Flex is a more code-led way to create Flash content that can also run outside the browser in the Adobe AIR runtime. It provides access to powerful image manipulation capabilities among many other features.
Or perhaps you’re working on a simple game, and want to use something like Dark Basic which can enable you to bring your ideas to life much more quickly than a lower level language would.
Dark Basic is a game development kit for PCs, based around a version of the Basic programming language that has been tailored for game programming.
It provides an easy way for developers to write Direct X-compatible games, and has a price point that is affordable for every developer.
Alternatively, you might want to dig deeper into the platform’s capabilities and use C++.
This provides greatest command over the machine, but has a steeper learning curve than the other tools mentioned above.
The right tool depends partly on what you want to achieve.
If you’re working on several apps, perhaps it’s worth making the investment in learning a whole new technology to improve your productivity in future.
As you probably know, Intel has created an app store called AppUp, currently available for netbooks and with plans to extend into tablets, smart TV, in-vehicle infotainment and other devices.
One of the ways that the Intel AppUp developer program has differentiated itself is that it’s empowered developers to use their preferred tools.
You can develop for Windows or the Linux-variant MeeGo; you can use C/C++, .Net, Java or Adobe Flex. Dark Basic is supported too, so new developers can quickly get results.
All of this means that developers are free to choose whatever tools they want to work with. If you use several tools, you can switch between them on an app-by-app basis.
If you only have command of one programming language, you can probably use it to create apps for the AppUp store now.
For a limited time registration in the Intel AppUp developer program is free, so if you’ve got an idea for an app, dust off your tools, and get started today.