Yesterday was about making our nickname official and about our new web site.
Now it’s time to talk shop. What’s going on in Corona-land?
First off, the new public release of Corona SDK is just around the corner. The currently daily build 2012.833 is our “Golden Master” candidate for the next public release.
Let us know in this forum if you see any showstopper issues with it. If all goes well, we’ll be making it available to all developers (not just subscribers) early next week.
Feature Cycle and API Docs
Once the public release is out, we’ll be starting our first feature cycle. In addition, we’ll be checking in various improvements that we didn’t get in before we locked down the code base, e.g.
tile culling performance improvements additional improvements to tile culling (see thread), missing events for the new sprite API, etc.
A big goal for the first feature cycle was to make documentation snapshots available on a per-daily-build basis. In anticipation of that, you’ll notice that all the pages of the new Corona Docs API reference use 2012.833 as the revision. We’re now in a position where we can update our documentation in real-time. We’ve added a feedback system that allows us to track improvements where you can click “Love it”, “Like it, but…” or “Hate it”.
Based on the feedback we’ve gotten, we’ve already made over a 100 small tweaks since we launched the new docs yesterday.
And just so you know we’re listening, we had a lot of folks say they liked the old API index page better. One developer was not shy at all about expressing feelings on the matter:
“The new API style is, to be honest, crap. It’s not benefiting the end user at all. The old style was fast and efficient, and since every API reference was on one page one could search every single keyword with Ctrl+F. Having to navigate forth and back to find what one’s looking for (if it’s to be found at all) is just frustrating and a waste of time! Please bring back the single page reference in addition to the new fancy one.”
Many others also expressed the need for an improved API index page, so we fixed it. If you now go to http://docs.coronalabs.com/api, you’ll see an old-style reference with a fresher look. You can see every single API, and there’s also a handy sidebar on the left, for all the top-level categories.
We’ve heard from a lot of you asking for more options on ad networks. I have news on that front! We plan to add AdMob soon. I can’t promise delivery dates yet, as we’re still trying to figure out how to squeeze this in. At the very latest, we’ll add it in the 3rd feature cycle (3 months out).
Based on our research, whatever monetization strategy you choose — paid, ads, in-app purchase, etc. — the only way to really make money is to get lots of customers engaging with your app. It’s a tough problem. We’re still working on the best ways to Coronify the distribution and go-to-market process. When we’re ready, we’ll share more details. Stay tuned!
In the mean time, we’re putting together resources to walk you through the best practices on how to think about the lifecycle of your app.
The ability to extend Corona has been a really hot item. Many of you want to be able to access new functionality that we haven’t exposed yet.
I wanted to let you know what we’re doing here, as it’s not obvious from looking at our web site.
Our first step is offering the Enterprise product. Corona Enterprise is based on the same core engine of Corona SDK, so as we add more features to core Corona, both SDK and Enterprise benefit. The big difference is that with Enterprise you’re coding in Objective-C/Java. The gist is you wrap your own native code as a Lua library. Your native code can be some proprietary library or it could call out to OS API’s we haven’t exposed yet. We’re currently in a private beta, but if you’re interested, you can send an inquiry via the contact form on the Corona Enterprise page. Once Enterprise ships, I’ll be able to share more details on how it all works.
We realize that the Enterprise product isn’t suited for everyone for a variety of reasons, whether it’s because you don’t want to learn Objective-C/Java or the costs of paying for support don’t fit your budget. So we’re working on ways to give SDK developers access to almost the same thing — just without the complexity.
We’re going to do this in two ways:
First, we’re working on giving you access to a greater number of 3rd party services. However, if we bundle every service into the core, we risk bloating the core engine. For example, the size of the Corona core doubles when you use OpenFeint. To scale this up, we are working on a plugin system so that 3rd party services can expose their services as Lua libraries that you can use.
Second, we’re investigating how to give you access to OS features on iOS or Android that we haven’t exposed through the Corona API. It’s still too early to share details, but I will say this is not quite the same as Corona Enterprise. You will not have to write Objective-C or Java code!
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Okay, a lot more to talk about, but I’m almost at a 1000 words, so I’ll stop here. In the mean time, happy coding!