Developers get the full support they need


on 15 February 2013

An interview with David Planella, Ubuntu Community and David Pitkin, Online Services Native and HTML5 apps

Ubuntu gives developers a running start on creating new apps for smartphones with a set of tools and APIs that make it simple to convert existing web or desktop apps or create new applications from scratch.

Web apps are first-class citizens, with an API that provides seamless integration with the OS. HTML5 is fully supported in Ubuntu, blending the boundaries between native and the world wide web, and enabling developers to port their existing apps for other platforms with minimal effort.

When you need to take maximum advantage of the hardware though, native apps unleash the full power of the system, and full support for ubiquitous technologies such as OpenGL enables users to enjoy the latest top games and content-rich apps.

All this is underpinned by a comprehensive set of APIs and tools which are part of the recently released Ubuntu alpha SDK. Technologies such as the QML declarative language, Javascript, and C++ for more demanding apps, are at the heart of Ubuntu’s developer offering. A solid framework, stunning design, and the ability to write once and run across a diversity of devices and form factors make the SDK the best combination to rapidly bring apps to an audience of millions.

The SDK is being continuously improved and updated, and the latest version is shared openly online at This sets our developer program apart from other open source platforms, as we share our toolkit development in real time.

“Developing for the Ubuntu platform isn’t just about the design – apps will be able to access other services, such as the user’s personal cloud to become even more powerful. The compelling Ubuntu experience is easy for developers to bring to phone users,” says Canonical’s David Pitkin.

Core apps team

The app developer community has been quick to embrace the exciting new possibilities that Ubuntu on phones brings. Just days after its launch, Ubuntu attracted more than 2,000 developers wanting to be part of the mobile story by contributing to the construction of a core set of apps.

“We’ve whittled that list down to around 70 volunteer developers willing to donate their time to contribute to the success of Ubuntu on phones. We’ve created the industry’s most capable development resource, all working to get the core apps up and running. We’re planning 12 core apps to be built into the phone, with a team of developers dedicated to each one,” explains David Planella of Canonical.

The list includes calendar, clock/alarm, weather, calculator, e-mail client, RSS feed reader, file manager, document viewer, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a terminal app. As well as the selected core app developers, there is an open invitation to all developers, visual designers, interaction designers and even hobbyists to contribute suggestions for the apps.

In-depth support

There’s a wide variety of support resources, from Q&As to real-time support, for developers no matter what their level of experience with Ubuntu:

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