Introduction to Elements RTL

Elements RTL is a library that is designed to let you write code that can be platform independent and be shared across platforms.

Elements RTL does not cover all aspects of app development, and it is not aimed at building full applications cross platform – most notably, it does not cover building GUIs, nor does it cover platform-specific APIs. But it will let you write a large portion of your application logic in a way that can be shared between different versions of your app. This includes network communication, data processing, calculations, application flow, and more.

Languages

Elements RTL has been designed so it can be used from all four Elements languages – Oxygene, C#, Swift and Java. So no matter which language you work in, the aspects covered in these tutorials will apply to you.

Platforms

Code you write that uses Elements RTL will not be cross-platform by "magic", nor will deciding to use Elements RTL lock you out from accessing platform-specific features and functionality. Elements RTL is merely a set of APIs that you can decide to use in order to not rely on platform-specific classes for code that does not need to be tied to a specific platform. You can mix Elements RTL APIs and the platform's APIs as you see fit, in the same project, and even in the same class. Of course any code that uses platform-specific APIs will then be tied to said platform.

API Design

Normally, each platform comes with its own unique API paradigms – how classes and methods are named, what design patterns are used, etc.

When writing platform-specific code, Elements aims to keep you as closely to each platform's paradigms as possible. But of course that is not possible for cross-platform code – you cannot, after all, accomplish the same task in "the Cocoa way" and "the .NET way" at the same time. Elements RTL's APIs are designed in a way that aims to fit in fairly well on all platforms, but generally tries to stay close to .NET's way of doing things in most cases.

Bridging

Many Elements RTL classes bridge toll-free with their platform-specific equivalents. This means you can use Elements RTL classes where it fits, but still easily integrate that code with platform-specific parts of your apps. This is achieved by using Mapped Types, and covered in more detail in the Bridging Elements RTL and Native Classes tutorial.