Apache Pivot: a lesser-known member of the tribe

The trouble with open source is that it can be a huge place to explore. Actually no, that’s the same problem you get when you go scouting around the Microsoft or IBM websites and find that there is actually just too much information sometimes — but you know what I mean.

Take Apache Pivot for example — it hasn’t made a huge amount of tech headlines as yet. This is an open-source platform for building installable Internet applications (IIAs). Basically, IIAs sit as client-side apps using the Internet as an oxygen pipe without the need for the constant presence of a browser.

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What Pivot does it to provide the enhanced productivity and usability features of a UI toolkit alongside the Java platform.

As Apache puts it, “Pivot allows developers to easily construct visually-engaging, cross-platform, connected applications in Java or any other JVM language, such as JavaScript, Groovy, or Scala. Pivot is also the only truly open IIA framework: it is completely open source, and is driven entirely by the software development community.”

Developers seeking to explain IIAs to less technical members of staff might perhaps use the example of an Instant Messaging client, or even iTunes — both of which are essentially IIAs.

Pivot and Java are a great alternative for building these types of applications, especially for projects that don’t have the budget or resources to produce multiple OS-native versions.”

But why do we need IIAs at all?

The Apache website puts it very succinctly, “The web has become the de facto standard method for application delivery. However, functional requirements for many web applications have begun to scale beyond the capabilities of the browser. Even with the addition of scripting support, dynamic element manipulation, and asynchronous server communication, it is still difficult to create a user experience in HTML that is truly on par with that of a desktop application.”

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