Modern, Cross-Platform Application Framework

npm install blossom
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Blossom - Modern, Cross-Platform Application Framework

Note: This is a developer preview. Not all functionality is present. The code is being released now to get feedback from the SproutCore community.

The beta release of Blossom with all features enabled is scheduled for March 1, 2012.

Blossom extends the reach of traditional SproutCore applications beyond the web browser by re-architecting the view layer to be HTML and CSS-independent.

Blossom also extends the kinds of apps that can be written in JavaScript by implementing an easy-to-use, high-performance animation subsystem that leverages hardware acceleration on the GPU whenever possible. The API is roughly based on Apple's Core Animation framework, and provides similar capabilities -- even in modern web browsers.

Since SproutCore's HTML and CSS dependencies were removed, Blossom can support native runtimes on the desktop (Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux) and on mobile devices (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone) and tablets (iOS, Android) -- and that's in addition to modern web browsers, all with the same API.

Blossom's native runtimes are not "WebView" wrappers like PhoneGap or Cappuccino's poorly named "NativeHost". A "WebView" wrapper simulates a web browser inside of a native, double-clickable app, so the performance is just as poor on mobile devices and tablets as a web app running in a mobile browser is today. (In many cases, it's substantially worse.)

Blossom is different: instead of simulating a web browser, Blossom's native runtime has high-performance, platform-native implementations of the various Blossom and SproutCore classes, such as SC.Request (for networking), SC.Layer (for animation), as well as the various JavaScript runtime objects such as CanvasRenderingContext2D, Float32Array and ArrayBuffer that are exposed to Blossom developers. This is similar to Node.js, another JavaScript runtime based around Google v8 that also does not support HTML or CSS.

One of Blossom's key innovations is its drawing model, which is modeled after Mac OS X's "Quartz 2D" API. This PDF-compatible drawing model is used for all of Blossom's native views. Most importantly, drawing is GPU-accelerated even on mobile devices, and views draw identically on every host, including modern web browsers. This feature alone eliminates one of SproutCore's long-standing problem areas: quickly creating custom views that render fast.

Blossom is a modern application framework especially well-suited to apps running full screen on tablets and mobile devices, with rich animation and effects. In addition, modern operating systems including Mac OS X 10.7 and Windows 8 have moved strongly towards full-screen, single-window, immersive applications with heavy use of animation. This app model is also compatible with Blossom's capabilities when running in a modern web browser, making a Blossom app feel at home in all of these environments.

Blossom's developer tools run on Node.js, and Blossom is licensed under the GPLv3 for non-commercial use; commercial licenses will be available soon from Fohr under terms similar to what Sencha offers for Ext.js.

Getting Involved

Watch this repository on GitHub to follow development, or fork it and submit a pull request to help contribute to it's evolution.

Blossom was conceived and written by Erich Ocean at Fohr, and is based on the SproutCore version 1.4.5 release.

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