The Next Revolution

written by SproutCore

Every so often a few technology trends converge that yield results much greater than their individual parts.  I think we have reached one of those moments with mobile devices (like the iPad) and HTML5.

In many ways, the iPad is the perfect web device.  It’s a lean-back experience optimized around consuming content. With HTML5 (which mobile Safari does better than just about anything else), the kind of experience you can create on these devices is just really spectacular. You only need to use the NPR demo we wrote earlier this year for a few minutes to realize this is obviously the future of software.

For this reason I decided about a month ago to leave Apple and form a new company centered around helping companies bring great native-style app experiences to mobile device.  The center of this company, of course, is SproutCore.  Monday was my last day at Apple.

This change may seem big to some of you so i want to make a few things really clear up front:

First, SproutCore is now and will always be totally free and open source. I think this business of charging for a commercial license is not an effective way to grow a project. Sure you make a little cash, but at what expense to the community? My goal is to make SproutCore and all of the developer tools that surround it totally free to everyone. All I ask is that you participate in the community somehow to make things a little better for those who come after you.

Second, now that I am no longer held back by big-company legal restrictions, I am going to be much more involved with the platform. Very soon I will post some new example code. Some others are working on new documentation and build tools to ease that pain as well. Starting this fall, my new company will also start to offer online and in person training and mentoring courses to your team get up to speed quickly.  We can also finally get started in that book.

My goal is that by the end of the year, any average developer can pick up SproutCore, build, and deploy a basic app without feeling lost. This is open source and I can’t usually guarantee timelines but at least now we can do what we need to make it happen.

Finally, I want to be totally clear about this: I started working in SproutCore almost 5 years ago because I believe the future of software development lies in native-style apps in the web browser. It is the platform of the future and when that shift change happens, I want to be there with the technology. Now, I believe that time is almost finally upon us.  It’s time to double down, and that is why I am leaving Apple.  

As for my new company, it is called Strobe Inc.   We are currently focused on the digital publishing vertical (and supporting SproutCore as a platform).  You can find a not very interesting landing page, but otherwise I am not ready to share more details just yet.  Rest assured, we will be putting a lot back into SproutCore.

We’ve come a long way.  It’s time to grow up as a platform. I can’t wait till what comes next…