Write Windows 8 Apps in Native Java

Developers use Codename One to create all components from scratch, instead of using native widgets, to avoid fragmentation.

If you're a Java developer but want to write apps for Windows mobile devices, you have a new option.

With Windows 8 due out in late October, and with it a slew of Windows 8 phones and tablets, developers can target a platform that has much less competition as compared to Android and iOS.

Codename One, an Israel-based startup founded by two former Sun Microsystems engineers, said this week that its new mobile, cross-platform software development kit (SDK) is now compatible with Windows Phone and tablet devices. When the beta was announced in July, the toolkit already supported development on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows 7. The company released the SDK in August.

The company's Java-based, open source SDK is a lightweight tool designed to allow Java devs to create native apps for multiple mobile and tablet platforms with a single code base. The SDK combines an IDE plugin, a visual designer tool, a client library, simulator environments for phones and tablets, a build server, and cloud provisioning services. The company describes its API as "a vast abstraction of mobile device platforms" combined with "rich portable functionality."

Developers use Codename One to create all components from scratch, instead of using native widgets, to avoid fragmentation. The company argues that this approach also supports more accurate desktop simulation of mobile applications.

The company's two founders, Chen Fishbein and Shai Almog, both worked for Sun Microsystems. Fishbein began developing the Lightweight User Interface Toolkit (LWUIT) as an internal project for Sun. The project was launched to address the challenge of writing "appealing cross platform mobile applications," according to the project summary. Almog joined the effort, which was announced in 2008. Sun open sourced the project, licensing it under the GPL with ClassPath Exception. LUWIT, better known as the Lightweight UI Toolkit for Java ME, is now a subproject of the Mobileandembedded project. 

The Codename One SDK is open source and free for commercial use. It can be downloaded now from the company website.

In related news, Codename One this week disclosed a new partnership with, a mobile advertising network for application developers. "We believe that Vserv's ability to seamlessly enable app monetization without any coding effort is an invaluable feature for developers," said Almog in a statement. "Our aim is to jointly bring a truly differentiated value proposition to accelerate the innovation cycle in the mobile ecosystem."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].

comments powered by Disqus


  • What's New in TypeScript 5.3

    Microsoft advanced TypeScript to version 5.3 with a bevy of changes affecting everything from import attributes to interactive inlay hints for types, along with multiple optimizations.

  • Finally Go Eyes On with Upcoming Visual Studio 2022 UI Refresh

    Six months ago, Microsoft teased Visual Studio 2022 developers by announcing an upcoming UI refresh, which they can now finally get their eyes on in the new v17.9 preview 1.

  • DBSCAN Data Clustering from Scratch Using C#

    Compared to other clustering techniques, DBSCAN does not require you to explicitly specify how many data clusters to use, explains Dr. James McCaffrey of Microsoft Research in this full-code, step-by-step machine language tutorial.

  • GitHub Copilot Leads Productivity Gains in New Visual Studio 2022 17.8

    In announcing Visual Studio 2022 17.8 today, Microsoft emphasized community-driven productivity gains among the new features and functionality.

  • Microsoft Ships .NET 8

    In announcing .NET 8 today, Microsoft emphasized the cloud, performance, full-stack Blazor, AI and .NET MAUI as major highlights of the latest edition of the company's free, cross-platform, open source developer platform.

Subscribe on YouTube

Upcoming Events