As promised, I would like to give you an update on the planning/designing/developing phases of Kwik “Next” (there is not final name yet for Kwik’s major update, coming in the last quarter of this year).
Before anything else, I am assuming you read my last posting about Kwik and Corona and know already that Kwik “Next” will still be available for Corona SDK only.
What are the major goals for Kwik “Next”?
I have set 3 main goals for the next major release. They are:
Phase 1) Code Infrastructure:
Some of you probably noticed that large projects may stuck when pages have more than 200 layers/variables (a limitation from Lua). Some developers may need to work with Storyboard API for scene management (Kwik 2 uses Director). Also, global audios and variables require lots of code to be persistant between pages, meaning they use more memory than they should, and the list goes on.
Corona SDK has improved a lot since Kwik 2 was written. Also, common libraries, like Director, that were standard in the past, are not anymore (in fact Director has not been updated for more than one year). Corona has changed also the way it handles variables, transitions, etc, improving memory management and performance.
Although the list above is not a top priority for the majority of current users, those limitations make the arrival of new features much longer than necessary. For example, the next releases of Corona will allow 2.5d effects, like page curl transitions between pages. However, this will work only with Storyboard API.
Fact is, in the mobile development world, one year difference means a lot in terms of, what I call, “code infrastructure”.
For Kwik “Next”, I am retiring Director and welcoming Storyboard API. Also, users will be able to create huge projects without worrying about the “200 variables limit”. Code performance and memory handling will be updated as well.
A subgoal here is to make the new generated code as much compatible with Kwik 2 code as possible. This alone is a huge task, as thousands of users are using Kwik 2, and hundreds of apps are already developed with the current bits. It would be a dream to have only new apps being made with Kwik “Next” but in reality is, most of you will use the new product to update your current apps.
When this phase ends, I will open a beta program (by invitation only) for those braves ones willing to test/update their current apps with the new export format. Of course I will post more on that when time comes but, do not expect any new features or interface improvements at this phase. Everything will happen in the “back-office” only. No need to say this may be the longer phase in the process.
Phase 2) Ease of Use, Better User Experience:
Due the current “nature” of being able to do any kind of app, Kwik 2 interface may scare some new users. I am planning/designing a new interface (yet familiar to current users) and documentation that, hopefully, will be easier to use and improve the experience for new and previous users.
Also, depending on Corona Labs support, I plan to have a much better workflow while installing, configuring, updating and previewing Kwik+Corona projects (in fact, beta 2.6 already bring some previewing improvements for Mac users). Again, this is something that will require Corona assistance, and I will do my best to get that.
As expected, this will be the first time some of you will see changes in the interface.
Phase 3) New features:
As you know (and shared your suggestions in the forums), the list of potential new features for Kwik “Next” is enormous. Although not of them will show up in the next version, I will work hard picking up the most requested ones and improving some of the top used ones currently. You should expect better ways to animate layers, social integration, monetization, hardware access and several other things. When this phase approaches, I will provide more details.
I am so excited! How can I become a beta tester?
When closer to finish phase 1, a beta program will be announced. Due the nature of a beta program, not everybody will be accepted. Usually, we have worked only with users with published with Kwik 2 apps. The reason for that is they know already about the product and will provide input only about the issues (not about “how do I do this and that”). Anyways, we will keep you posted.
So, what do you think about the news? Anything else I should know or am I missing? Looking forward to have your comments!