Multichannel Development Platform Simplifies App Creation

Optimizing mobile content is becoming an important issue for Web developers, which presents a need for a product that is able to competently utilize popular existing technologies and deploy a single application across multiple platforms.

This week Yahoo! launched Livestand for the iPad. This product is powered by "an exciting new technology" for Web developers called Yahoo! Cocktails, a mix of HTML5, Node.JS, CSS3, JavaScript and some additions by Yahoo! engineers. Soon, the company is looking to turn over its first two Cocktails, Mojito and Manhattan, to developers so that they, too, can leverage this mix of Web technologies.

For the unfamiliar, Livestand is "a personalized living magazine optimized for the iPad" that is made for users to have a tailor-made content-aggregating experience that promises "beautifully presented articles, photos and videos that bring your favorite topics to life."

In order to create this rich content-consuming experience, Yahoo! turned to some of the most prominent Web technologies available, combining them to form the aptly named Cocktails that support features from a variety of sources. Mojito is an environment-agnostic JavaScript Web application framework; Manhattan is the hosted platform for applications that are based on the Mojito framework.

As a framework, Mojito allows developers to run their apps on both the browser and server sides, meaning there is no need to write different code for the backend and frontend. This does away with issues like Web pages saying that "JavaScript enabled is required," because apps built in the Mojito framework can simply run on the server side on the same code base.

This Cocktail is a unique mix of module, as it is a self-contained package of business logic, and widget, because it appears as a visual element of the UI with which users can interact. By building upon various proven technologies, Mojito is able "to run equally well" on browsers, hybrid native/Web runtime or servers using Node.JS.

Manhattan is the server-side hosting environment run by JavaScript that houses Mojito-based apps that run on Yahoo!'s Cloud. In extending Node.JS, Manhattan is able to provide fault-isolation, fault-tolerance, scalability, availability, security and performance and provides a simple interface for developers to manage and deploy "multiple versions of their Mojito-based applications" using the massive tech infrastructure that belongs to Yahoo!

The current plan is to release Mojito as an open source through the Yahoo! Distribution Network in quarter one of 2012. The company wants the Cocktails to become "one of the leading Web frameworks going forward" so that developers can start creating applications that work well on both browsers and servers.

With the release of these Cocktails, Yahoo! is attempting to establish a unified framework and deployment platform that can create and host almost any necessary Web applications to be run on desktop and mobile browsers. Should the experiment prove to be successful, it could have big ramifications on the future of Web development, especially as users continue to go mobile and developers increasingly need to build comprehensive apps that will work adequately on browsers across mutliple platforms.