The Importance of Keeping Up-to-date with the Latest Titanium SDK Releases

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Axway is constantly working on improving and adding to the Titanium SDK with minor releases coming out regularly throughout the year, plus major updates every year in line with releases of new iOS and Android operating systems.

New updates can apply to different components of the Titanium toolset: Studio, the CLI, the SDK, Alloy, and tools like the new Atom plug-in. The most significant releases are typically for the CLI and Titanium SDK itself, where updates could be adding new API endpoints, new features or tooling changes.

Most of the time, these updates are small — bug fixes, performance improvements or deprecation of old API endpoints, and some new ones. But sometimes, they can be for significant. In the past, we’ve had changes from 32-bit to 64-bit builds on iOS, Java run-time changes for Android and many more. We’ve also situations where there were changes to the platform SDKs; minimum APIs for Android, or a requirement from Apple to build with newer iOS SDKs and support specific devices, like the iPhone X.

Typically, you can update the Titanium SDK version in the tiapp.xml file and recompile your app without any issue. Sometimes, however, changes can have a larger impact – usually when there’s a significant version bump, like going from 6.0.0.GA to 7.0.0.GA for example. In these cases, apps might need much more thorough testing to ensure everything is working as expected and could require some additional development to ensure the update is successful.

In my experience, I’ve seen a few situations where apps are not updated for a while, and then either new features, or App Store / Play Store changes require an app to be updated. At this point, you could be updating an app that could be several versions old in terms of the SDK it’s built with.

It’s understandable that this can happen — if an app isn’t being regularly updated with new features, it’s easy for it to get out-of-sync with the latest versions. That’s why as part of any app development, there should be a long-term plan to maintain and update the app, even if it’s just for annual iOS, Android, or Titanium SDK updates. I’ve found in the past that keeping up-to-date with the latest point releases of SDKs, and then bumping to the next major version when it happens reduces the effort required to keeps apps updated to a few hours or days a year.

Maintenance Plans

If you’re building your own apps, keeping them up-to-date should be straight-forward. But, what if you’re developing for a 3rd-party or client? In these cases, having a maintenance plan in place can help manage these updates.

Typically, a maintenance plan could consist of a few hours a month, or a few days of time per year, and could encompass minor app updates and fixes and/or SDK updates. At most, it should include the latter, and allow time to update to minor SDK releases. At minimum, it needs to support the major releases each year that come out along with updates to iOS and Android. In addition to SDK updates, you may also have module updates to deal with — for example TiMaps or Google Analytic modules. These could be due to changes to third-party APIs or SDKs or because certain modules have been deprecated and are not being maintained.

With that in mind, it’s worth considering a maintenance/update plan that includes both SDK updates and module updates on a regular basis or at least once a year.

In some cases, I’ve seen developers build a 1-3 year update plan into their initial costs to build the app, so they are quoting for the app build, submission to store, and 2 years of updates to major SDKs. Obviously there can be a risk to this, as you may not know what’s involved. But, in my experience, I found that keeping apps updated to the latest SDKs and updates as they are released, reduces the time to jump to the next major version.

Updating Titanium and Staying Informed

Updating Titanium is pretty straightforward.

If you’re using the CLI, you can update it with:

  • Appcelerator CLI:
    appc use latest
  • Titanium CLI:
    ti sdk install latest

Alternatively, if you’re using Appcelerator Studio, you can launch Studio and will be told if there are any updates to install. Once updated, open your app in your favourite IDE and update the tiapp.xml file with the latest SDK version and build.

Titanium updates are posted to this blog, plus release notes are published to https://docs.axway.com/category/appdev. Subscribe to our blog (see box on this page!) to keep in the know or check those sites periodically to see if there are any changes or updates that could affect specific apps you’re working with.

Enjoy the latest Titanium SDK updates and happy coding!

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2 Comments

  1. Raymond Verbruggen

    I wished updating to the latest SDK was easy. Especially when breaking changes are encountered. For example no support for “old” android modules when going from SDK6 to SDK7.

    This is the case for both commercially modules (Bluetooth module from Logicallabs) and also the Ti.UDP module (from Appcelerator)…
    It seems that nobody is taking the effort of updating….

    • Hey Raymond,

      you are right, upgrades take time. For major releases (6->7, 7->8), breaking changes are planned and required to keep the platform modern and scalable. The V8-changes on Android guarantee a continuous performance improvement on Android and should be worth updating the apps.

      For closed-source modules, it is really up to the vendors to update it, especially for commercial ones. For open source modules (like Ti.UDP), the community is able to update them if required. Having 198+ Appcelerator-curated modules makes it impossible to upgrade every single one at the same time and that’s where a community is able to help (and also does). In our last major update (6->7), we also started to provide a detailed module migration guide and built-in migration scripts to make updating modules as easy as it could be.

      We are still open for suggestions to improve this process, so let us know your thoughts! Thx!

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