Featured Developer: Marcel Pociot of TiFiddle

There has been a lot of fuzz about TiFiddle last weeks. As the entire community is praising Marcel on his work I thought it was time to feature him on this blog with an interview.
Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Marcel Pociot, I recently turned 30 and I’m working as a PHP / mobile developer at ORT interactive GmbH in Krefeld, Germany. 
When I’m not enjoying my spare time with my family I try to contribute a lot to the Titanium and Laravel community.
How did you get into Titanium development?
Back in late 2010 / early 2011 the company I was working for at that time decided that we need an app for one of our customers. 
At first I tried to get my head around Objective-C, but as time went by (and my skills didn’t improve as fast as I wanted) I started looking for solutions where I could use my existing skills as a web developer. That’s basically when I started using and loving Titanium. 
A few years and a lot of open source modules later my Objective-C skills have finally improved ;)
What are the apps you worked on and are the most proud of?
Nearly all of the apps I worked on with Titanium are enterprise apps that didn’t go through the official AppStore / Playstore. That’s why I can’t really show off my cool projects.
But apart from that, what really makes me proud is when people get in touch with me and tell me: “Thanks for making this great module. Go ahead and take a look at this cool app I’ve built using it!”. Unfortunately for every open source developer, this happens not very often.
Why did you start TiFiddle?
While looking around on Twitter I found a similar project for ReactNative. It wasn’t possible to execute and modify the code directly on the website, but you could simply “run” the example in the simulator. So I basically just thought to myself “You should do that with Titanium and improve it” and it started out more as a proof of concept, than a real service. 
The initial prototype was built in a few hours using the TiShadow app and a Laravel powered PHP backend. 
What are the next plans with TiFiddle?
First of all, I need to see if this service gets widely accepted and used by the Titanium community. The underlying iOS and Android simulators are from a third party company called Appetize (http://www.appetize.io)
which costs per minute of usage. So right now I got in touch with Appetize and they were really accommodating and provide me with some extra minutes per month for free, because they like the service. 
But if the free minutes will be used before the end of the each month I need to start looking for sponsors.
Other than that I have some ideas on integrating a lot of the widely used modules into the tiFiddle app, to use native modules as well as the existing widgets.
I also have some plans that will make it easier to use tiFiddle especially for educational purposes.
Do you have any plans of making a company out of it?
No, currently not. I think it’s pretty hard to monetize a service like tiFiddle. But as I said – if Appetize starts to want cash, I will definitely look into sponsorships.
Who knows – maybe a bright company idea starts out of it. But currently the focus of tiFiddle is the community.
Are you planning to open source it?
Yes I do – at least the tiFiddle app. 
I was thinking of a service to load your own custom tiFiddle app, that uses your own module and use it within tiFiddle.
This way it would be quite easy for third-party (commercial) module developers to showcase their modules.
If you could change one thing about Titanium or the eco system what would it be?
Delete all those Google links that compare Titanium to HTML and CSS. Really – after so many years there are still people who don’t get Titanium right.
Apart from that it’s the integration of native Objective-C and Java code, which is quite complicated / hard to debug right now. But things will get a lot better with TiNext / HAL.
How do you see the future of Appcelerator Titanium?
I still see a bright future for the SDK. I just hope that Appcelerator’s step to a paid-only service was the right choice and people don’t turn away from using Titanium because of it. 
Let’s see how much of a game changer ReactNative might become – which will hopefully also be a good thing for Appcelerator Titanium.
We thank Marcel and if you have any questions or comment let them know below!

Comments

  • Manuel Conde Vendrell

    Very interesting interview. I also followed the Objective-C starting path and, viewing all that complications, I started to search for another options, choosing finally Titanium. I think I did the right choice then, and even with all the little problems we always face in form of bugs, the product is better and better with each version. And soon we will get the 3-in-1 full support for the main mobile systems.
    Congratulations for Marcel and the TiFiddle, It’s great tool.

  • Gilbert Smith

    Great tool. Nice to see that experienced developers are embracing Appcelerator/Titanium.