We know plenty of people who have built great apps thanks to our pals at Appcelerator. We’re big fans of their Titanium mobile dev platform. We also work with their solutions directly, and recently had a cool CSI-style breakthrough, writing a plug-in to document an Appcelerator feature. The breakthrough was beneficial in and of itself, but what’s extra sweet is that now we can apply the same thinking to other mobile app dev platforms like PhoneGap, and even retrofit other APIs.

Getting there was a challenge, to be sure. As I explain in detail on the Appcelerator Developer Blog:

In the end, what I wanted to implement was a JavaScript-ish callback associated with a native App47 Agent call. Alas, it took me a lot of digging to achieve this goal.

It started with some scrutiny of the source code. After thorough reading of their docs and forums, we were able to develop very pure source code, which in turn translated into an unexpected API we can use to capture and record analytics. What we like almost more than the functionality, however, is that it fits in naturally with the code language. As opposed to forcing something in that doesn’t quite mesh, this plug-in integrates with welcome simplicity. Usage of the Appcelerator API with App47 to get end-to-end mobile application management (MAM) is definitely, as the kids say, slicker than your average.

The key to making the API this straightforward was using JavaScript. Most plug-ins are like reading the translation of a great book, or watching a foreign film with subtitles. Yeah, you get the gist of the story, but part of you knows that if you spoke the native language, you’d pick up a lot more nuance; it would be a much richer experience.

Same goes for the humble goal of plug-in development. If you can read it in the original language, rather than using something clunky and translated that’s been hammered in, you get something that looks and behaves native, even though it was developed by a third-party provider.

This way of thinking is now informing our entire approach to plug-in development. We’re staying developer-focused, and constantly working to engineer elegant answers that optimize their compatibility with the end-of-the-line platform.

So thanks, Appcelerator! We figured out a way to play well with you guys, and got a more enlightened plug-in development mindset as a result.