Feeds

Is SproutCore worth the Flash and Java iPhone snub?

Shows promise, reveals limitations

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A little-known open-source project became the subject of intense interest recently, following a session at Apple's developer conference in San Francisco, California. That project? SproutCore.

Apple offered to show WWDC attendees a way to deliver a "first-class user experience and exceptional performance" in web applications using HTML 5 and SproutCore, a platform-independent, Cocoa-inspired JavaScript framework.

Put this together with Apple's aversion to Adobe Systems' Flash or Sun Microsystems' Java on the iPhone, and it seems plausible SproutCore will be Apple's official route to Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) on its increasingly popular phone. There's even more room to conclude this, given SproutCore appears to be used in Apple's MobileMe service.

It's time to take a look at SproutCore.

It turns out that SproutCore is not just a JavaScript framework. It is also a set of development tools, written in Ruby, that generate HTML and JavaScript from templates. The project also includes a test framework and a build tool that generates optimized code ready for upload to a web server. A SproutCore application is deployed as static files; Ruby is not used at runtime.

Apple's MobileMe

SproutCore in Apple's MobileMe - is it for you, too?

OK. Let's not get carried away with the facts SproutCore is open source, it uses JavaScript, and Ruby, and that it works on the iPhone. SproutCore is a work in progress. Internet Explorer is not properly supported, and although IE7 at will be supported soon, SproutCore framework co-founder Charles Jolley has said IE6 may never be catered for. That is understandable, bearing in mind the quirks of IE6, yet Microsoft's obsolete browser still has a 27 per cent market share, according to the latest figures from HitsLink.

Windows is not ideal for developing with SproutCore either, because of differences in the build environment, path structure, and the use of symbolic links. I used Ubuntu Linux, running as it happens on Windows Vista in VirtualBox. The prerequisites are Ruby, Rubygems, and a standard set of build tools, all of which let you install SproutCore with a single command: gem install sproutcore. Alternatively, it runs nicely on a Mac.

That aside, creating a "Hello World" application in SproutCore is a trivial task. A single command generates a skeleton application, with resources neatly arranged into several folders. SproutCore uses a Model View Controller (MVC) architecture. Each web page has its own folder, with sub-folders for models, views, controllers, tests, and language resources. A SproutCore page may be an entire application, since it leans towards the desktop model, in which many actions are possible within a single window.

In the language folder is body.rhtml, where you can start adding content. Here is a label:


<%= label_view :my_label, :tag => 'p', :bind => { :value =>
'Example.detailController.sMessage'} %>

This code is actually embedded Ruby syntax, which SproutCore parses using the Erubis library.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.