No Flash Required: SproutCore Project For Rich Browser Apps


Apple has done it again. This time with SproutCore, a JavaScript framework that simplifies development of native-looking Web-based applications without the need for Flash or any other specialized runtime. Apple has reportedly contributed loads of resources to the project, which was originally developed by SproutIt creator Charles Jolley. He now works for Apple’s MobileMe service (formerly known as .Mac).

Though most of the reports I’ve read about SproutCore are calling it a Flash killer, the SproutCore demo applications I’ve seen make it look more like an Ajax than Flash. And comparing it with Microsoft’s SilverLight makes even less sense; Flash at least uses ActionScript, which is based on JavaScript. There are other parallels.

Like Flash, JavaScript is ubiquitous, perhaps ever more so than Adobe’s plug-in. With Apple developers no longer dependent on the Flash runtime, they are free to build apps intended for both Mac OS X and iPhone, for which only Flash Lite is available. And like Flash apps, those built for SproutCore will run just about anywhere, provided there’s a browser with JavaScript.

According to the SproutCore help page, “SproutCore is a framework for building applications in JavaScript with remarkably little amounts of code. It can help you build full 'thick' client applications in the web browser that can create and modify data, often completely independent of your web server, communicating with your server via Ajax only when they need to save or load data. JavaScript applications are faster, easier to use, and a lot easier to write than complicated Ajax-driven applications. When you use a framework like SproutCore to help you, they can also be a lot of fun to write."

What’s more, Apple no longer as has to wait for Adobe to get around to releasing updated Flash players and plug-ins for its platforms.

An excellent AppleInsider article calls SproutCore “Cocoa for the Web,” referring to the native development environment for Mac OS X. The SproutCore download page also includes a tutorial, excellent documentation, a blog, Google group and IRC chat.

About the Author

I am Technical Editor of the [url=]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=][/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].

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No Flash Required: SproutCore Project For Rich Browser Apps

Thanks for the article. I never heard of SproutCore til now. I might test this out.

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