Icenium taps the cloud for cross-platform hybrid app development


Credit: Icenium

While mobile developers are increasingly connecting their apps to a cloud backend, the actual act of building an app still follows the old route of downloading an integrated development environment and building from one computer. But Telerik, a maker of Microsoft (s msft) developer tools, is launching a new product Monday called Icenium, an “integrated cloud environment” that allows developers to access cross-platform developer tools in the cloud as services.

Icenium combines a cloud-based development environment with Apache Cordova, which powers the mobile development framework PhoneGap. But instead of requiring developers to download xCode, Eclipse, or the Android SDK (s goog), Icenium is able to move all of the tools to the cloud, so developers can conduct coding, simulating, debugging, deploying to devices and publishing apps from a Mac (s aapl) or PC.

What this means is that web developers can use Icenium to create cross-platform hybrid apps that are built in HTML5, CSS and JavaScript and can run natively on iOS and Android, for smartphones and tablets. But they have the freedom to choose what computer they build on and what platform they build for. Meanwhile, they don’t have to download bulky IDEs. Icenium will be available for free until May 31, 2013.

Icenium, mobile app developmentWith Icenium Graphite, an installed version for PCs, and Icenium Mist, which lives in a browser, developers can  access an array of tools such as syntax coloring and formatting, real-time error detection, refactoring, code navigation, integrated version control and app publishing preparation.

One of the cool tricks of Icenium is a feature called LiveSync, which allows developers to immediately see changes in real-time on an integrated device simulator and across any connected devices without having to recompile  code. Icenium Ion, another feature, allows testers to scan a QR code on their iOS device and get an app installed quickly without the need for provisioning.

Doug Seven, Telerik’s executive vice president who is leading Icenium development, believes this is the kind of tool developers, especially web developers need, allowing them to focus on building ideas and testing them out quickly instead of managing a lot of development environments.

“Icenium is a game changing solution that gives developers the access and ability to innovate quickly and easily, without being tethered to a place or specific platform,” Seven said in a statement.

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