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My experience with C2 exporting to mobile in general

  • Hi.

    So I have this popular app that almost topped some of the Google Play charts here in Poland. Nevermind the name (that's not the point) but it has 60k+ active users and growing.

    I selected the Intel XDK/Crosswalk as my exporter of choice and it seems to have done a relatively good job. The app works for most people, with a couple of bumps along the way:

    • the apk size is too big - a native app would be some 5 mb at the most; Crosswalk is 50 mb after installation,
    • a lot of one star reviews: "doesn't work", "crashes", "says too little free space when I have 2gb" etc. - disabling some old devices and limiting to Android 4+ helps but it still happens,
    • the performance could be better, and this is a simple app,

    All in all I doubt I could achieve better results with any other export option.

    Now I would really like to get my app on the Apple AppStore. To do that, I purchased the developer account and... it proved impossible.

    My first choice - the XDK had some problems with certificates but when I finally got the export to work, the app only displayed a white screen. Then someone in another thread told me that C2 doesn't really support exporting to iOS via the XDK.

    My second choice was Ejecta, as it seems this is currently considered *the* iOS exporter. Unfortunately though my app really needs textboxes, xml and other stuff that Ejecta just doesn't support.

    Sooo... right, CocoonJS. I got the premium account, exported, opened with XCode and launched. Starts slow, displays splashscreens. Then it turns out the textboxes are gone, my swipe gesture for some reason only works on one side of the app, the scaling is screwed (displays things outside of the layout no matter what scaling settings I choose in C2 and CocoonJS.)

    So as you see, I'm starting to think I'm beating a dead horse.

    Now, the funny thing: my app works perfectly well on any device in the browser. So one would think 'hey, then maybe the best option would be to have a version of Chrome without toolbars disguised as the app.' But wait... isn't that how these exporters actually work? So I'm wondering... why is it so problematic to create a working wrapper if the devices are already capable of running the apps smoothly on their browsers? I mean really.

  • Thank you for sharing. I still waiting for new solutions, because the actual exporters are not working as intended.

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  • iOS has always been problematic because they've imposed severe restrictions on apps implementing browser features, and then provided very slow built-in browser features for apps (UIWebView).

    This all changes with iOS 8: the UIWebView will have the full performance and features of the browser, as well as WebGL support. You should then be able to get great results with PhoneGap. Until then Ejecta is about as good a stepping stone as can be made with Apple's tight restrictions, and it does have its limitations, but it should be workable if you design from the start with those limitations in mind.

    iOS 8 should be out in a couple of months and luckily iOS is pretty good at quickly getting a majority of devices on the latest version. So hopefully by the end of the year the picture will be very different.

  • Does this mean PhoneGap will be a truly viable option to use once that happen? I hope there'll announce when the time comes, or a blog post about it.

  • That's GREAT news Ashley. Can't wait!

  • pirx

    2013 - Scirra is waiting for CocoonJS improvements

    early 2014 - Scirra is waiting for Crosswalk improvements

    late 2014 - Scirra is waiting for iOS/Android improvements

  • pirx

    2013 - Scirra is waiting for CocoonJS improvements

    early 2014 - Scirra is waiting for Crosswalk improvements

    late 2014 - Scirra is waiting for iOS/Android improvements

    And yet each time, the result becomes better and more stable

    The option to go directly html5 for mobile still is a niche however...

  • Thanks pirx for sharing your experience! (I feel the pain since I try to publish on iOS too)

    Have you tried to export now that iOS 8 GM is out?

  • I still love C2 for the ease of creating games and I will definitely continue using it. Working in C2 does give me genuine pleasure.

    However, I don't have the time nor desire to put up with the perks, limitations and issues of wrapping the applications so that they sort of work on mobile, maybe. This is simply too much of an issue: should be one-click-ish thing. So for the time being I'm leaving C2 to desktop HTML5 development, which is where it excels.

    In short, I gave up and I rewrote my app in native code for both Android and iOS.

    That said, things are getting better. I've just noticed that the new beta has AdMob support which is great. With the new iOS 8 and when the Build Service is supported it will all be WAY less painful. If you have trouble with getting your app to work on iOS try the Build Service. Apart from the lack of Admob support it was the only wrapper that didn't mess up my app.

  • pirx

    2013 - Scirra is waiting for CocoonJS improvements

    early 2014 - Scirra is waiting for Crosswalk improvements

    late 2014 - Scirra is waiting for iOS/Android improvements

    Glad to say XDK/Xwalk is finally awesome for Android.

    iOS is still iffy, Ejecta is just broken for me and others (seems some get it to work fine, while some can't get their game started at all!).

    Yes, looking forward to phonegap for iOS8! Luckily most Apple users update quickly so a few months from now, iOS8 will reach 70%+ coverage. If the JIT JS engine is faster than Chrome, it's gonna be even better than XDK.

  • Thank for your share

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