EclipseSource Ships Tabris 1.0 Java Tool for Building Native Mobile Apps

EclipseSource announced the availability of Tabris 1.0, a new toolkit for Java developers to build native mobile apps.

EclipseSource, a provider of software development tools for Eclipse users, has announced the release of Tabris 1.0 for mobile cross-platform development.

With the explosion of mobile apps, developers are looking to cash in on the opportunity to deliver apps to an increasing pool of users that are always looking for the next new thing. With Tabris, Java developers can work in the language and environment they know to develop mobile business apps. Tabris enables developers to create native iOS and Android Apps, and can be flexibly extended to additional platforms, even legacy device inventories, the company said. There is a client for Windows RT under prototype.

"Tabris is the first Java toolkit for the cross-platform development of native mobile apps," said Holger Staudacher, a software engineer at EclipseSource, in a blog post about the 1.0 release. It enables you to write iOS and Android Apps completely in Java with a single code base.

Tabris uses platform-specific concepts and widgets to help create user-friendly apps that satisfy end users. EclipseSource officials said Tabris is targeted for developing mobile applications with an emphasis on data security; these applications include health care, government, insurance and finance, and trade and logistics.

"Tabris gave us the opportunity to quickly and efficiently develop a cross-platform mobile solution for electronic patient education," Thomas Pettinger, project manager of E-ConsentPro at Thieme Compliance, said in a statement. "Doctors who are used to working on paper hence gain access to the possibilities of an electronic system for exactly the platform they have the most experience with."

Tabris is a commercial extension of the Eclipse RAP Open Source project which was first introduced in January 2012. Tabris' server components can be seamlessly integrated into Java EE and OSGi environments and are open-source. The product's close integration in the Eclipse ecosystem enables developers to easily use other mature components and offers a great deal of sustainability, the company said.

"Tabris sits on top of Eclipse RAP," Staudacher said in his blog post. "RAP provides a UI Toolkit to write Web applications using Java. This UI toolkit is based on widgets, so you don't have to mess around with HTML. To be able to display those widgets in a browser, RAP uses a protocol which is based on JSON [JavaScript Object Notation].

"Within this protocol are messages that instruct the browser, e.g., to display a button, or a tree, and so on. What Tabris does is to provide two alternative clients which are an iOS and an Android client. Those clients simply understand the RAP protocol messages and display widgets using the native counterparts," Staudacher continued in his post.

Tabris is a server-side tool. Apps are written in Java and the UI is written in SWT, the Standard Widget Toolkit. The product is extensible for enterprise developers. Any Java integrated development environment (IDE) can be used to develop Tabris apps. However, EclipseSource recommends using Eclipse. A trial version of Tabris 1.0 can be downloaded here.