Tony Lukasavage is a Platform Evangelist for Appcelerator Developer Relations Team, he is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA & can be found helping out regularly online with the Titanium community.
Interview with Tony Lukasavage
How did you get involved with Titanium?
Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly enamored with mobile development. In particular, cross-platform mobile development really caught my eye. If you’ve done any comparisons of cross-platform mobile frameworks in the past year or so, chances are you’ve come up on one of my blog posts from savagelook.com. It became a bit of an obsession of mine for a while.
“.. Titanium was the only solution that was going to allow me to leverage native UI and performance…”
After all my research, Titanium was the only solution that was going to allow me to leverage native UI and performance. These were critical to a project I was working on at the time. Shortly after, not wanting to sit on the sidelines of the mobile frontier, I began talks with Appcelerator about joining the team. The rest, as they say, is history.
Whats your role within Appcelerator & what do you do?
I am a Platform Evangelist with the Appcelerator Developer Relations Team. This basically means my entire job function is to make sure developers in the Appcelerator community are as successful as possible with Titanium. Our team’s success is measured in the community’s success.
Rather than drone on in paragraphs of self-important descriptions of my day-to-day activities, here’s a basic breakdown of what I do:
- Code, code, code – My favorite part of the job. I love writing code. Most of my Appcelerator work can be found in the following repositories:
- Forging Titanium – probably my most visible contributions are these screencasts showing off best practices and cool techniques in Titanium
- Developer Blog – Other than Forging Titanium, I do a lot of other content on our blog. This includes snippets, tutorial, and community announcements found here
- IRC and Q&A – I do my best to get IRC and in the Q&A forum and answer developer questions whenever possible
- Webinars – You can hear my voice weekly in the “Office Hours” and “Titanium for New Developers” webinars
- Presentations – While you’ll most often only hear me in Appcelerator webinars, I also occasionally take the stage for presentations as well
- Twitter – I think I spend more time on Twitter than I do with my family. I do my best to handle all the Titanium-related tweets I can from @appcelerator and @tonylukasavage
The Forging Titanium series is great, what gives you inspiration for these?
The inspiration comes from different sources depending on the type of episode we’re doing. When we do the instructional episodes, we tend to get the ideas from the community. We identify areas where developers are struggling and we try to create educational content to make it easier.
“.. We identify areas where developers are struggling and we try to create educational content to make it easier…”
When we’re not pursuing existing pain points, we are proactively trying to prevent them with best practices episodes. These ideas are usually generated internally. We identify the best ways to leverage the Titanium platform, as used by our own developers, and pass these tips and techniques to the community. In this way we more than remove roadblocks, we empower developers to take their app(s) to the next level.
My favorite episodes, though, are the “Hey, look what Titanium can do!” episodes. That inspiration comes from seeing the cool things others have done. The most recent “Path-like Menu” episode is a great example of that. I kept hearing on Twitter how everyone was so in love with the fancy, animated Path menu. So I downloaded the app for Android and iOS and immediately thought, “I can do that cross-platform with Titanium… in a single codebase… and not lose any performance.” And sure enough it is now done and available for all to see, and use.
Can you give us some details about your Pathmenu interface please?
The goal of the Path-like menu was to show that Titanium can create eye-catching, engaging UI just like native development. The source code is open source and available here and original Appcelerator blog post here.
The key concept here is that with just Titanium’s basic ImageView and its powerful built-in functionality, you can create awesome custom interactions. If you augment that functionality with native extensions, you can create something truly unique. In the demo I make use of things like:
- 2D transforms (rotating and scaling)
- Property and transform animation
- CommonJS modules
- Native iOS module to leverage CABasicAnimations
- Multiple cross-platform development techniques from a single codebase
So as you can see, the Path-like menu was not only about what Titanium does well out of the box, but also about how it is nearly infinitely extensible. In short, Titanium can do whatever its native counterparts can do, except it can do it in a single codebase.
“.. In short, Titanium can do whatever its native counterparts can do, except it can do it in a single codebase…”
There’s a lot of ins, a lot of outs, and lot of what-have-yous with the Path-like menu Titanium code. That’s kinda the reason I did a whole screencast about it. That said, if anyone has any specific questions about it, they can feel free to hit me up on Twitter.
Do you have any more upcoming treats for the Ti community?
I’m always working on more stuff for the community. I really enjoyed doing the Path-like menu, and I think that’s going to lead to me doing more screencasts like that. In fact, I found myself wondering how hard it would be to implement, in Titanium, a certain iOS todo application that’s been getting a lot of press lately. <cough>Clear</cough>
Other than that, though, I’m keeping my eye out for the next exciting thing in mobile development to bring to the Titanium community. That, and it’s always nice to get ideas from the community as well. You guys know where to find me.
A big thanks to Tony for taking part in the interview!