As one of the major distributions of the Linux operating system, the Ubuntu project understood that it is important to maintain a vibrant and enthusiastic development community — not just for the core system but also for applications built to run specifically on Ubuntu. For this purpose, the Ubuntu App Developer web site was introduced in July of last year. The Ubuntu App Developer web site provides resources, tools, and how-to’s that make the application development process faster and easier for both the complete novice as well as seasoned programmers.
Built much like the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), the Ubuntu App Developer web site includes tracks that developers can follow for creating an application, packaging it for the Ubuntu platform, and then uploading it to Launchpad for version control and bug tracking purposes. There are also resources that detail the process of submitting an application for acceptance into the main Ubuntu repositories.
You may have never heard of the Ubuntu App Developer web site. While it is an official part of the Ubuntu project, a link is nowhere to be found on the main page or any of its sub-directories. As this web site is partially volunteer-based, then it could be that the site itself is still awaiting further articles and guides for its official release. The way I found this site was by checking in on an idea I was working on several years ago. I am doubtful if anyone would remember when I was promoting the Ubuntu Developer Network a while ago. However, when I found the website through a Google search I went to the Ubuntu Brainstorm site, found my idea submission from over two years ago and saw that last Summer the idea had been approved and completed. At the bottom of the page, a moderator simply wrote, “This idea has been implemented.”
The Ubuntu App Developer site is more than I could have imagined. There is a tool released some time ago that has reached maturity and is now promoted on the UAD site as the easiest way to build, package, and upload Ubuntu applications. This program is aptly named, “Quickly.” Quickly uses Python as the programming language and PyGTK for the application design. Run from the terminal in a set of extremely simple commands, Quickly simplifies the application development process on Ubuntu tenfold. That’s not just a guess, as a man who tried his hand at packaging some time ago with OpenProj, Quickly is a much easier route than trying to configure everything by hand, typing the make command, and praying everything compiles correctly. Some developers may not want to use Python, and for that the Ubuntu App Developer site has tracks for other programming languages such as Java, C(/++/#), and Vala, as well as other languages.
The Ubuntu App Developer web site is unique in the fact that it is the only web site like it — focused solely on Linux application development for the Ubuntu platform. This development community will become ever more important as Ubuntu finds itself being placed on more desktops and on a broader range of devices. Perhaps other distributions will take notice and will provide their own developer network as well. If any single Linux distribution encourages developers then it helps Linux in it’s entirety. There is a need application developers to help continue making the user experience better. Now with the Ubuntu App Developer web site this process has become much easier.