I have been busy building a new kind of mobile application development platform over the last six months. Today is the day Canappi launches officially.
Why did I build Canappi?
Building mobile solutions is hard, way too hard for the functional scope of a typical app. It doesn't have to be that way. I meet every day entrepreneurs who are struggling to bring their great ideas to market. They spend months and thousands of dollars with a contractor to get pretty much nowhere.
There is also a wide variety of businesses and IT shops who would have the need to build mobile solutions for small groups of users (10-10k) and they just can't because the cost of building a cross platform mobile application is still way too high.
I also meet a lot of developers who are tired of writing boiler plate code from back-end to front-end and are looking for ways to spend their time on writing valuable code, not plumbing.
What does Canappi do?
Canappi lets you create a simple mobile solution descriptor (in mdsl, Canappi's Mobile DSL) and generate most of the code for you, for the entire solution stack from the MySQL schema, to the PHP services to the iPhone mobile client. How simple is Canappi? We wrote this application in 175 lines of mdsl code.
Canappi is more than just a simple code generator, it is a "development hub":
With Canappi, you can use Interface Builder to create Android Activities. Nobody does that today. Not even close. You can also create an RFML file and immediately see your application running in Red Foundry's Viz. We have also integrated many of the popular mobile libraries like Bar Code Scanner or Core Plot as part of our DSL. We also integrate readily with pretty much any Web API (formerly known as Web Services).
We do most of what you see here today. Sencha, Android and Mobile 7 are still in Alpha and we are working very hard to deliver them as quickly as we can, other than that everything else is available today.
We are currently at Beta 3, getting ready to produce our Release Candidate after we finish our current quality cycle this week. We expect that v1.0 will be available at the end of may.
The pricing is as follows. V1.0 will be free to use for one month after it is released. We will charge a subscription of $30 for 3 months after that. This is an incredible deal compared to the time and money you save or dealing with a contractor. You can basically do 80 to 90% of the work yourself and then hire a contractor to productize your application. After the first quarter we will re-evaluate our business model and possibly move to a pay-per-use business model. We will keep it in that price range.
The first ten people that use Canappi to publish a mobile application on the Apple App Store get to use Canappi free for life !
How does Canappi do it?
The core technology of the platform is the Xtext Language Workbench. Xtext is quite a remarkable technology. I know there are several others, such as MPS or Spoofax, but I really didn't have the time to explore them.
In the process of developing Canappi, I also developed a Cloud-based, elastic, Code Generation platform. This was such a fun part of the project. I'll talk to you some more about it in a couple of weeks, introducing CloudGen.org ...
I couldn't have got there without the two people that joined me in this adventure, Kurt Schmidt, as a Director of Client Solutions and Arno T. Ruebel as the Director of Quality and Support. I couldn't have got there without the dozen or so of beta customers who have provided incredible advice, insight and encouragement.
We'd be honored if you'd give us a try. We are open for business.
Canappi | mobile application simplified