The Kirin Challenge


Kirin is a second generation cross-platform toolkit for iOS and Android development.

Building mobile apps is what we do. As clients started to commission apps across iOS, Android, Qt, WebOS (RIP) and Windows Phone 7, we used PhoneGap, we played with Sencha and Titanium and we launched mobile web apps.  We had a few successes, but reached the conclusion that the first generation of cross-platform technologies have fundamental limitations:

  • Getting the desired level of polish can be hard work or just impossible
  • Mobile OSs have different UI patterns – we do not want the same UI across all platforms
  • Performance and/or app size are just not good enough

Kirin is based on a simple idea: sharing the app logic across platforms and build the UI natively. We achieved that by writing all the application logic in Javascript and running it within a hidden WebView. The advantages:

  • Build mobile UI with the best tools in the business (the SDKs provided by each platform vendor)
  • Let the OS handle device fragmentation
  • Enforce a cleaner business layer – presentation layer architecture
  • Reduce overall development effort

Tried and tested on our own skins, Kirin has been used to build apps for Orange (Glastonbury 2011), and Domino’s Pizza amongst others. We open-sourced Kirin because we want to remain focused on our client work and believe that a wider community will enhance the toolkit faster and better than us on our own.

The Challenge

In 24 hours, write an Android or iOS app that uses the Kirin tools.

We will judge your entry based on:

  • size and complexity of the resulting app (i.e. the more screens the better);
  • number of APIs you glue together;
  • hilariousness of your presentation.

Serious extra points will be awarded to teams that build apps on both platforms.

Because this is a technology challenge, we would encourage you to use your hack to win other challenges (e.g. the Facebook challenge).

To win, we expect you’ll need a team of people:

  • a developer who knows what a UIViewController is;
  • a developer who knows what an Activity is;
  • a developer who knows what a node.js and npm is;
  • a designer who knows that back buttons are hard coded on some platforms.

Of course, we know that there are people out there who are able to do all these things, so if you’re a smaller team, then this will be taken in to consideration in the judging.

If you’re really keen, you can go look at some of the things that have started to appear on our documentation site. If you have any questions, drop us a line @futureplatforms or email us at

The Prize:

An Amazon Gift Voucher worth £25 for each member of the winning team.