A Switch in the Grassroots? to Mobile?

It’s no secret I’m an Android fanboy, of fanbois, or what have you. I’m not sure why. I guess what really sold me was the ability to run it in an emulator on my laptop before it was even available in phones. It was exactly what I was looking for in a mobile/embedded target so I could play there and learn what application developers need out of their IDE, or in my case, the CDT. Yes, iPhone was already out but I didn’t have a Mac so Android sold it for me. If I had a Mac, who knows, maybe I’d be an iPhone fanboy with the rest of them.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I’ve been busy doing “real” work here at Wind River and now have finally got a chance to stick my head up and see what the CDT needs from me. My efforts in the CDT in recent years is all about getting the CDT into the hands of the grassroots of software developers, people who are hobbyists or students who are looking for a free IDE they can use on their projects. The commercial theory behind that is to make the CDT ubiquitous so that when we go to sell them our high value products based on the CDT, they have less of a learning curve and barrier to adopt those tools. Can’t say whether that’s been working or not, but there is no doubt that the CDT plays a major role in the embedded space where I work.

But, now, I am starting to wonder if my past focus on the grassroots needs to change. Previously, it was all about supporting Windows development with the CDT. Linux too, but that was generally taken care of without my help. The Wascana project was born out of that and with Helios it reached it’s 1.0 version. You look at it, though, it only has 10,000 downloads which is actually half of the previous 0.9 version I released 2 years ago and that release had nowhere near the advertising I have tried to give Wascana 1.0, even with a prominent mention on CDT’s download page. Maybe the grassroots has switched. And I think I know where I need to focus next.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the geek news but Android 2.3 was released yesterday. As @sogrady correctly pointed out, there’s not much exciting there, at least not for the consumer. But if you’re an Android app developer, especially one who’s been trying to write games and multimedia apps using C++, it is a revolution. The Android NDK team has finally provided APIs for audio and input events that have made life pretty difficult for these guys. Not only that, they’ve added a framework that allows you to create an Android app without writing a single line of Java code. It’s awesome :).

And that has me thinking now. We’ve had repeated asks and attempts from users trying to use CDT for iPhone development. And we’ve seen developers in the Android community using straight CDT or with the plug-ins that currently reside in the Eclipse Sequoyah project. I firmly believe that this is the next grassroots. As the computer industry changes, so do the developers and I need to make sure that the mobile app devs have a low barrier to use the CDT for their projects. Sorry Wascana and Windows, I need to change my focus.