Rhomobile is priming up its Rhodes open-source mobile development framework for the enterprise market with a solution for writing reusable applications to synchronize smart phones with back-end systems.
The release also introduces new technology for building conferencing applications.
Rhomobile, which was founded in 2008 by Mobio and Systinet alumni, released a public beta of Rhodes 2.0. Rhodes is available for free under the MIT software license with copyleft requirements.
Rhodes 2.0 introduces a metadata framework that enables mobile applications to communicate with enterprise CRM deployments that have changing schemas. Changes that are made to schemas are immediately reflected in any mobile applications that are built using Rhodes.
“All forms are dynamically generated,” explained CEO Adam Blum. Most smartphone applications are customized and built for a given company’s CRM application, he added. “This is the biggest stumbling block I think enterprises have to getting [CRM solutions] to the smartphone.”
Rhomobile is also targeting the enterprise with bidirectional audio and video streaming, which requires customers to purchase a media server. Streaming capabilities can be embedded into CRM and customer-service applications or enterprise helpdesk applications, Blum said.
Rhodes applications are written in HTML and Ruby, but run natively on Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. The framework includes binaries that abstract away each underlying platform, and developers use a single API to access native resources.
This release includes updated styling libraries for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile applications.
A SaaS edition of Rhodes that has preconfigured SDKs for each supported smartphone platform is available starting at US$20 a month. The final release of Rhodes 2.0 is due out later this month.
A server that synchronizes offline data with applications costs $5,000. The media server price has yet to be determined.