Platform guides - frameworks

Frameworks are contracts between applications and the platform: a list of APIs and libraries your application can use. Their role is to ensure that your app is compatible with Ubuntu devices. Since Ubuntu 13.10, several frameworks were made available and each new version of Ubuntu brings updated ones. You should know which one to use depending on which language your application is built in, this is the focus of this article.

A framework for each supported language

When you develop an application, the SDK allows you to pick which framework you want to use. It’s a one-click step that should be very straightforward. Note that in most cases, the SDK will automatically pick the right one for you. For example, Ubuntu 14.04 provides all frameworks available in the previous version and the following new frameworks :

  • ubuntu-sdk-14.04-qml, for QML applications
  • ubuntu-sdk-14.04-html, for HTML5/Cordova applications
  • ubuntu-sdk-14.04-papi, for C/C++ applications
  • ubuntu-sdk-14.04, a meta-framework containing all the other ones. If you are unsure about which framework to use, use this one

These screenshots show the framework picker in the “Publish” page of the SDK and the complete list of available frameworks.

Which framework version to target?

When a new framework version is available, you don’t necessarily have to update your application to use it: successive framework versions coexist on Ubuntu devices and older ones will be supported as long as possible. Nevertheless, newer frameworks provide more features and enhanced performances for existing APIs.

Changes between versions

You can find the list of supported APIs for the latest stable frameworks and the ones being currently worked on, in the QML and HTML5 API docs. Note that a command line tool to list all changes between versions of a framework is coming soon.

Target a framework newer than the version of Ubuntu you are running

The SDK allows you to run your app with any framework, regardless of your development environment and version of Ubuntu. See the “Device kits” section of Running apps from the SDK.

Going further

Now that you are familiar with frameworks, you should probably read another short article on Security Policy Groups. Another piece of the platform that defines what your application is allowed to do and the many ways you can bring more features and security to your users. For an in-depth look at frameworks, you can read the complete documentation.