About 8th

Learn about our flagship product.

8th™ is a secure cross-platform development environment. It lets developers easily create applications for mobile and desktop, server and embedded platforms using the same source code and with the same UI. It is perfectly suited for those applications where a slightly non-standard UI is acceptable.

When Ron Aaron was looking for a development tool to use to write an application which he wanted to deploy on a variety of popular platforms, he searched far and wide for something appropriate. He tried a number of products, and found all of them lacking for his particular needs. So he started writing his own solution, basing it on ideas from his previous Reva Forth and from his decades of experience in the software field. The result of his efforts is 8th.

With 8th, your product can be developed using any desktop platform, and produced for any of the platforms 8th supports. No longer do you need multiple tool-chains.

It allows you to develop applications and bring them to market in a much shorter time than is usual today, with lower costs, while helping make your product more stable and secure.


Pillars

One effort: Program code is only written once, in 8th, regardless of how many platforms are targeted. The code is then packaged to run on the target operating system, which may currently be any combination of Windows, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android or iOS. Differences between operating systems are handled by 8th, letting the developer leverage existing knowledge across all platforms.

TCO: “One effort” leads directly to a lower “total cost of ownership”; far lower than alternate development technologies can provide. Developers and testers can leverage their skills across platforms without getting distracted by system-level differences.

Security: 8th uses various cryptographic techniques to protect the final executable code against hacking. The runtime-package, which includes any support files, may be encrypted and signed (in Professional and Enterprise versions). This prevents undetected modifications, and helps keep your IP secure from reverse engineering and malicious tampering.

Stability: “One effort” also directly improves the delivered system’s stability, since code improvements and bug fixes, once added, benefit every supported platform. In addition, 8th performs extensive run-time tests: among them type and boundary checking, and automatic handling of memory allocations.

Validation: 8th lets the programmer interactively validate code while writing, thereby helping eliminate many kinds of errors. An application can be validated even before passing it to the testing team.

Interactive: 8th is a development environment which can be learned within a very short time frame. Its interactive nature makes it easy to learn by exploration, and encourages developers to test as they write the code.

Quality: 8th enables the developer to embed automatic tests in the application. This improves the efficiency of the QA effort, and helps eliminate regression errors. It also makes it possible to add scripting support so QA can write additional tests.

Flexibility: 8th allows you easy access to third-party libraries and the device’s hardware. It gives you safe, easy and cross-platform access to both of those, as needed.

Cross-platform

If you’ve ever needed to produce the same application for different platforms, you’re aware of just how frustrating and time-consuming that process can be. With existing solutions, you need to have expertise in all the platforms you wish to target and re-write your application’s code multiple times. 8th is different.

With 8th you write your code just once. Once you’ve tested on a convenient platform, and want to test on the other platforms, you just “press a button” and within a few minutes you’ll have a version of your application for each platform you’ve targeted.

8th application can run on Windows, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android or iOS — with no changes in source code, for the most part.

How does 8th compare?

As you might expect, there are quite a few competitors in the cross-platform development arena. Here’s a short list of the major ones compared to 8th:

Cross Platform Support

Only 8th allows you to produce apps for all these systems using the exact same source code.

Clearly, you will save on a per-platform basis by not requiring a different expert for each platform. So how do we compare to the other cross-platform solutions in terms of cost? The following data do not include the competitors’ prices for “enterprise” packages, which are considerably more expensive:

Product
Cost

8th
No cost if not producing packaged executables. Otherwise, $129 per year for up to 3 seats (includes all platforms). By “seats”, we mean specific computers used to produce packaged executables, whether used by one person or many people.

PhoneGap
Free for one app. For up to 25 applications, $10 per month.

Xamarin
Free with limited app size. Otherwise $25 per platform, per developer.

iFactr
No free version. Price only upon request, and only for “enterprise”

Xojo
Free unless you deploy. For one desktop version, $99 per year. Otherwise $299 per platform per year.

C++
Depends on the compiler. May need to pay for 3rd party libraries. May need experts for each platform.

If you are interested in performance comparisons, here are some benchmarks for you to ponder.

Save time

Your time is valuable, so why should you spend it writing unnecessary code? 8th simplifies and shortens the development process. It allows you to write the code once and deploy it to multiple platforms at the touch of a button, significantly shortening your product's time to market.

8th lets you check your code while writing it, before turning it over to QA. This greatly increases the robustness of your product and makes the QA process quicker and more efficient.

Because 8th uses the same code for all platforms, whenever you make an update to your product or add a feature, you only need to make the changes once and they are applied to all the platforms you want.

Unlike many other development solutions, 8th does not make you wait for a write-compile-deploy-debug cycle. Instead, you can write and debug your code immediately on your desktop machine, and deploy when you are ready. No need to fetch coffee while it compiles or deploys!

Save money

You will find that 8th is an affordable solution to your cross-platform development needs. You don’t need to hire experts for each platform. You become the expert, therefore development costs are considerably lower.

8th doesn’t require you to use other tools to get your job done. So your tool licensing and training costs are greatly reduced.

By streamlining the testing process, your quality assurance expenditures are lower. 8th makes it easier to reduce regression bugs, saving both time and money.

System requirements

8th is known to run on the following operating systems at a minimum:

  • Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 7/8/10
  • macOS 10.7 and later
  • Linux - Ubuntu 12.04 and later, and derivatives
  • Raspbian (Raspberry Pi version of Debian Linux)
  • Android 4.1 (API level 16, ARM devices) and later
  • iOS 7.0 and later
The Raspberry Pi version may also run on other ARM-Linux based boards, and the Linux version may run on distributions other than Ubuntu derivatives; however, those are not specifically supported.

Libraries we use

Software is not built in a vacuum — it depends upon the work of others. 8th utilizes some excellent libraries, and we thank their developers! The following libraries are built-in and provide their respective functionality to our product:

  • BLAKE2 the default “hash function” is BLAKE2s
  • gumbo-parse a fast HTML5 parser
  • JUCE for cross-platform graphics
  • libffi a portable, foreign function library
  • mapm an arbitrary-precision floating-point library
  • miniz a fast and small libz replacement
  • PCG an excellent RNG
  • PCRE for regular-expressions
  • SQLite for built-in SQL database
  • tlse for SSL connectivity
  • libTom for cryptographic and big-math primitives
  • yxml a small, fast and correct XML parser

About the name

We keep getting asked about the origin of the name 8th (pronounced “eighth”), so here’s the reason for the name:

As mentioned at the top of this page, Ron had written a Forth-based language called Reva Forth. The word “reva” in Hebrew (רבע) means “one-fourth” and Reva is also “one Forth”. Since we were working on a second-generation of Reva, we multiplied the 4 by 2 giving 8. So instead of “one-fourth”, we have “one-eighth”.