Orange Script could be fruitful for Android app development

Android developers, particularly those with JavaScript, C, and C++ skills, have another option for mobile apps

Orange Script, a JavaScript-like language, could soon give Android application developers another programming option.

The language is suitable for developers with JavaScript, C, and C++ programming skills, according to its inventor, Stone Zhong. "If you're familiar with JavaScript, then there's almost no learning curve there." He acknowledges Orange Script is not the first language built for the JVM (others, such as Groovy, predate it), but he sees an advantage. "It's sort of like Groovy, but Groovy is too big. You cannot use Groovy to write Android apps."

Plans for Orange Script, which was made available in a preview format about a week ago, call for the addition of Android application development support in February. Orange Script programs would run with the Dalvik virtual machine featured in the Android platform. The current preview release, however, concentrates on development of database connections.

With Orange Script atop the JVM, developers will be able to leverage existing Java libraries, offering functionality like RESTful APIs and XML parsing, says Zhong. Orange Script will support dynamic typing, prototype-based object-oriented programming, and functional programming, and it will feature closures support, enabling easier programming of tasks like writing anonymous functions. Developers can use Orange Script with such frameworks as Spring MVC and Struts.

Zhong is a senior developer at technology business management vendor Apptio, but Orange Script is his personal project. Interested developers can access Orange Script Zhong's website.

Zhong plans to offer Orange Script via an open source format once the code matures. While Android developers commonly leverage Java programming, the Scala language, another JVM language option, also has been applied to Android development.

The Discobot project, meanwhile, has been an attempt to provide for Groovy development on Android. But the Discobot blog appears to be dormant, having no new posts for several years; the last post, from 2009, noted the project was in its early stages of development. The Discobot project reportedly is in hibernation; it works but is not being actively developed, according to a developer familiar with Discobot. A new port of Groovy to Android is being developed, though it is not part of the Discobot project.

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