Every few months Carlos Icaza, co-founder and Chief Evangelist of Ansca Mobile, starts teasing people with hints about what’s coming in the next release of Corona SDK. This time around was no exception, but the teasing stopped today with the release of v591 of Corona SDK.
Some Of The Coolest Stuff
I was able to get my hands on the release only a couple days early, so I’m still digging through all the changes, but at first glance these are the things I’m looking forward to using the most:
Widgets – Previously known as Corona UI, these interface elements will help create non-game apps as easily as we can now create games. Well, that’s the promise. Widgets are a big step in the right direction although I don’t think we’re there yet — but I’m really looking forward to making some of my “business app” ideas come true.
Credits (Virtual Currency) – This is one of those things that’s useless. Unless you need it, and then it’s a lifesaver. Until recently I’d see these kind of additions to Corona SDK and think, “Meh.” And then I started working on an app that needs in-game currency and realized I don’t have to build that functionality from scratch — it’s already in there waiting for me to implement. (Note: SuperRewards capability was available before, but now there’s an actual virtual currency API.)
Lion Compatibility – I’ve been holding off on upgrading to Lion on my dev machine since the last version of Corona SDK didn’t support that.
(Yes, some of those things have been available in the daily builds, but even though I’m a subscriber I don’t use (or even download) those – I only do my development work on the last stable release.)
Lots of other fixes and features are in place that I’ll get to later.
One of the biggest changes that affects me directly is the addition of 3rd-party tools to the Corona SDK package. A 30-day trial version of Corona Project Manager now comes bundled with the download, as well as trial versions of Kwik (plug-in for Photoshop) and Spriteloq (Flash SWF exporter).
It’s cool that Ansca Mobile is showcasing some of the 3rd-party tools in this way — it’s good for all of us. Ansca Mobile lets people know about tools that help make Corona development faster/easier, and the tools vendors get exposed to more potential customers.
We now have another month or two before Carlos starts teasing us again — in the meantime, let’s code some apps and games!
Sheesh, I can NOT believe I forgot to mention LaunchPad! That is arguably the biggest new feature in this release of Corona SDK!
LaunchPad isn’t just a “thing,” it’s a set of services that make it easier to promote your app. Part of it includes being seen in the Ansca Mobile Showcase, part of it is a way to get more exposure for your apps, and part of it is…
…analytics, being able to understand your users.
You’ll be able to use Ansca Mobile’s cloud servers to see data on how many people are using your app, how long each session is, etc. And you can build your old apps with the latest version of Corona SDK and submit them to the App Store as updates and start getting data — no other changes are necessary.
Basically, you automatically get analytics unless you opt out (no, you don’t have to allow Ansca Mobile to collect data if you don’t want that).
I’ve been using Flurry for analytics and have liked it, and I’m not really sure what the difference is (yet) between the two, but having analytics built-in to Corona SDK is only a good thing.