Ubuntu's single platform SDK to be ship shape by October

Canonical reveals more details of its roadmap for its Ubuntu SDK, which will allow developers to use the same code base to create apps for Ubuntu running on phones, tablets and desktops.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

The Ubuntu SDK that will allow developers to build apps that can run across phones, tablets and desktop PCs should be mature enough to build most applications by October this year, it was revealed yesterday.

When it is complete the Ubuntu SDK, released in Alpha earlier this year, will allow developers to use the same code base to create apps that run on Ubuntu across multiple form factors. It ties in with the plans by Canonical, the organisation which develops Ubuntu with the community, for Ubuntu to be a single OS that runs across phones, tablets and desktops.

Apps created using the SDK are primarily built using QML, a Javascript-based language for designing application interfaces that can use C++ for the heavy lifting. Ubuntu apps built using QML can have UIs that can scale across different form factors. The dimensions of these UIs can be defined in grid units, which will translate to a different pixel values depending on the device and screen size.

Canonical is aiming for the SDK to be complete enough for most applications to be written by the time Ubuntu 13.10 — Saucy Salamander — is released in October, according to Florian Boucault of the Ubuntu SDK team. Boucault was speaking during a session at the Ubuntu Developer Summit yesterday.

The beta version of the SDK will be released in July this year, and will include new widgets that can be used within applications and a responsive design.

These new widgets will include a menu for sharing content with social network integration, a content picker, a text search box, an options button, combo button, and date and time picker.

Canonical first showed off its smartphone and tablet plans at the beginning of the year, but the company has yet to announce any hardware partners for its tablet or smartphone projects.

Performance enhancements to forthcoming versions of the Ubuntu Unity UI were also demonstrated online yesterday.

Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon showed the smooth performance of Unity 8 running on a MacBook Pro Retina with a 2880×800 resolution screen and using Intel HD 4400 graphics and a Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

Both demos were showcasing the performance of Unity running on the new Mir display server, which will replace the X Window system in Ubuntu 13.10.

Speaking to ZDNet last month Canonical CEO Jane Silber said that switching to the MIR display server would make for a streamlined code base that could more easily be updated to support a range of devices. MIR is available as an option for developer testing of Ubuntu.

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