Use these free, locally built tools to make building mobile apps easier - Technical.ly

Software Development

Use these free, locally built tools to make building mobile apps easier

Developer Michael Raber believes the next step in mobile apps is building tools like these, which speed up the development process. "These frameworks reduce the low level plumbing knowledge necessary for building enterprise-grade applications," he said.
Updated 7/30/14 12:42 p.m.: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Michael Raber's job. He recently left Artisan Mobile to pursue his own startup.

Michael Raber wants to make mobile app development easier.

That’s why Raber, a former developer at Old City mobile app optimization startup Artisan Mobile, released two free, open source tools for iOS developers: ClearCache and ControllerContext. Raber is using both while he works on his own soon-to-launch startup Boxly, he wrote to us in an email.

Here’s what they do:

  • ClearCache makes it easier to manage caching layers in iOS apps. It’s something developers spend a lot of time writing code for, Raber said. “Caching is a very important part of building a native mobile app. If we didn’t cache, every request for data or images would make a round trip to the server, potentially impacting the user experience.”
  • ControllerContext makes it easier to pass data back and forth between screens in your mobile app. “This sounds like it should be simple but most developers write a lot of boilerplate code to accomplish this, forcing rigid dependencies between screens,” he said.
Get the tools

These are two problems Raber has been thinking about for roughly a year, he said at a Walnut St. Labs meetup — but they only took him a few days to build. It’s part of his mission to innovate mobile development.

I believe the next step in native mobile app development are the frameworks enabling us to speed up the development process while bringing stability and core feature sets to all apps,” he said. “These frameworks reduce the low level plumbing knowledge necessary for building enterprise-grade applications.”

Releasing open source software is a lot like building a startup, said Raber, whose sold his company, UXFlip, to Artisan Mobile in 2012.

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“You need to identify a problem, validate others have the same problem, test your solution, execute on the implementation, and market your product,” he wrote. 

Watch a Walnut St. Labs video of Raber, who presented the tools at a May 2014 meetup at the West Chester coworking space, below.

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