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Mobile Apps, Trends / 20 Apr 2017
Ionic – Our choice for building hybrid apps

Quick Introduction

Ionic is an open-source SDK for hybrid app development, it’s basis is Apache’s Cordova and AngularJS. Ionic allows to use regular web programming languages like HTML, CSS ( SASS), Javascript to build mobile apps that can be distributed on the App and Play Store. Since it’s initial release in 2013, the SDK has been used to build over a million apps.

What is so great about Ionic?

  • The ability to use the programming languages that every web developer knows. So companies don’t need to hire specialised people for everything. Getting to know the CLI that comes with the SDK is easy and the application structure is very obvious. This is especially true since Javascript ( for example Node, Express ) can also be used for building backends for apps.
  • It’s fast. Cordova uses Webview, which can utilise the browser of the phone’s OS browser. For example Safari is used for the Webview on iOS. These days, Ionic apps use the faster part of Webview, WKWebView. Resulting in lower RAM use ( up to 80% ). DOM manipulation is also notably fast due to AngularJS.
  • The community is active and well supported. See for yourself.. over 6000 commits, more than 200 contributors and 29.000 stars! On Stackoverflow it’s basically the same – 23.000 topics are tagged with ionic-framework.
  • The ability to built apps fast due to components and existing UI. Especially for us this is very helpful, because we prototype fast while the design already looks quite smooth and progressive. This, together with easy integration with native elements like Camera or Bluetooth, makes development quick and gives trust on the business side of things.

Another big problem that it solves is that there is a general lack for developers, and especially iOS or Android developers. Web developers ( Javascript or the like ) that were building web applications in the past, can get familiar with ionic quite fast. Looking at the job platforms, the need for skilled iOS developers is huge, and it surges the price upwards every year. There are so many open positions that stay open, that companies start looking for alternatives.

Try looking at Angel.co or StackOverflows yearly trend report.

Especially the latter graph from this report clearly shows that iOS is in such high demand, that there is far more job ads out there then there are iOs developers.

Stackoverflow developer open jobs

Taken from StackOverflow Hiring Trends

Our choice to use ionic was based on all of those, and since we are building all our apps with ionic.

Other Perspectives

Of course, ionic is not the only option for companies to build mobile applications with the need for iOs / Android developers. ReactNative is also widely supported, and the benefit is that it’s a real native app, not an HTML5 app, so there is no need to compile. A lot of the big tech companies use React or ReactNative, but for developers it seems to be a difficult choice. It might be too early to decide.

In another light, if a company does get the right iOs / Android developers to build apps, this will be probably be the most solid choice. Ionic relies a lot on an open-source community of developed Cordova plugins, and for a big scale project this might be to much dependency.

There is always discussion those topics in the programming world what is the best to use, but in the end the business aspect is just as important, don’t you think?

 

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