360iDev: Ansca Mobile's Corona SDK

Mike Schramm
M. Schramm|04.14.10

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360iDev: Ansca Mobile's Corona SDK
There are always a few SDK vendors lurking around any developer convention, and 360iDev is no different. However, unlike a lot of programs that work as a go-between for the iPhone Software Development Kit and some other language ("middleware," in developer-speak), Ansca Mobile isn't worried about their SDK at all. While there was a bit of a scare about non-Apple development kits earlier this week, Ansca assured us that Corona SDK is good to go; it allows a developer to write up an application directly in Corona with Lua (which is very similar to ActionScript), and then the app will deliver an iPhone, iPad, or even an Android application that is ready to go on the App Store.

What does this mean for us gamers? It doesn't mean much -- there's not a lot of difference between a game written in Flash and ported across (like TapDots, out on the App Store right now) and a game written natively in Apple's Xcode, according to the Ansca folks (who actually worked as engineers on the original Flash Mobile implementation). The difference is much bigger for developers, though; they basically have to write just one app, and they can then port it across to another platform in just a scant few hours.

Like many of these SDK apps, Corona's developers originally wrote the application to solve a problem; they had a lot of Flash developers who wanted to write apps for the iPhone, but didn't know how to write in Objective-C, the language that Apple's official kit uses. The folks at Ansca had already done exactly that, because they wanted to get their own Flash apps on the platform, so they spruced up their own code and released it as an SDK. We were also told that they've made plenty of changes and updates on top of the core functionality, so that developers have all sorts of bells and whistles to play with while building apps (including a built-in animation and graphical engine), and users can appreciate faster performance and quicker releases.

Again, Ansca said that despite Apple's issues with Flash, their SDK isn't a problem. The code their app creates "looks just like Apple's code," so the programs that can be created with the SDK have the same structure and setup that big game developers already use. An outlet like this gives experienced Flash developers an avenue to bring their apps over to Apple's platforms, without having to figure out a whole new code system.

The SDK is available for a free trial over on their website, and then can be purchased and used under a subscription plan, where one price gets you all of the updates available for the next year. Developers interested in a smooth and fast solution to porting Flash apps to the iPhone, iPad, and Android phones should definitely give it a look.
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