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5 new ways to build apps for iPhone, Android and web browsers

Jon Brodkin | March 2, 2011
Five start-ups unveiled services for building mobile applications and Web services this week at DEMO Spring 2011, bringing application development capabilities to the masses - or, at least, to people who lack traditional programming and mobile development skills.

The Bizness Apps process has five steps: edit tabs, edit content, edit appearance, preview the application, and finally pay and publish. Users building apps can pull in content from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, RSS feeds, as well as forms to gather feedback and customer information. Gazdecki also showed off a FourSquare-style check-in service with rewards for checking into places a certain number of times.

Innovation is often spurred by youth, and Gazdecki emphatically fits that category. "We're all college students and we're pretty excited about the open bar, so come have a beer with us," he told the audience.

Cloud 9 IDE

Cloud9 IDE from the vendor Ajax is a platform-as-a-service focusing both on mobile apps as well as Web tools that run on desktops.

"We have the first commercial platform-as-a-service for HTML5 and JavaScript development," said CEO Ruben Daniels. "This will impact everyone building cloud, mobile and social apps. Everyone here releasing an app will do so with Cloud9, and do it in half the time."

Daniels has teamed up with Mozilla, and claims to have interest from IBM (IBM) and a company from Mountain View, Calif., home of Google and other tech vendors. Unlike MobileNation and Bizness Apps, Cloud9 looks like it will require some real programming knowledge, but could be more convenient than existing models.

"The first-ever cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE) for JavaScript developers, supporting HTML5, Python, Ruby and PHP, Cloud9 enables Web developers to access, edit and share projects anywhere, anytime," says the DEMO blurb about Cloud9. "Using this next-generation technology, developers can build, test, debug, and deploy millions of applications."


ApSynth targets development of Web applications, rather than mobile, and provides its own market for users to publish their apps.

"Once published, applications can be embedded and spread to other Web sites, blogs and social networks," the company says. "App authors deliver either free apps or set a price for a monthly number of displays on tiers Web page. With ApSynth Web apps become a monetized Web content just like text, video, etc."

ApSynth will have to compete against existing platform-as-a-service offerings such as and Google App Engine. ApSynth says it can lure users who need to build SaaS applications but lack IT skills. Bloggers and Web content creators are among the target users. The service is in a private beta. 


Rather than help customers build stand-alone applications, ScreenReach gives them a way to develop "real-time interactive experiences," which can then be consumed by end users through ScreenReach's own Screach mobile application.


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