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How to use Ionic framework for building native iOS and Android Apps with same source code

By Editorial Team on 2017-09-25

If you wish to design a native App for Google Play and/or Apple Store, you have few programming language choices. If you are already familiar with JavaScript, the easiest way to design a native App is via Ionic over Angular which is a popular JS framework. However, if you know Java, the best choice is to design Android Apps with Java. Lastly, if you know Swift, you can easily design iOS Apps.


As the need for mobile application development speeds to increase expands, developers have started to turn to open source libraries that enable much easier and simpler cross platform development. Many developers may turn to Xamarin or React Native, allowing either C# or JavaScript code to be written to create a native application for either iOS or Android. However, while these software development kits allow developers to create a cross platform native application in one language, it is often difficult to share code with a website, if a company uses one. The Ionic Framework enables developers to create seamless native applications for both the Android and iOS platforms using web tools such as HTML5, CSS and SASS for easy development.


The Ionic Framework is a code base that allows developers to write HTML5, CSSs and JavaScript  code and have it compiled to a native application. This is very different from React Native which uses purely JavaScript and JSX, an XML based scripting language for software component creation. This enables a much more moderate learning curve for web developers who decide they want to create mobile applications.


Ionic is built on top of AngularJS and Apache Cordova, a web application module and an open source cross platform wrapper that allows Ionic applications to be run natively. Because Ionic uses HTML, CSS and JavaScript, it enables developers to use seamless animations and canvas drawing similar to in native web development. This enables developers to do much more with their applications as such features have not been supported right out of the box for either Android or iOS.


Ionic has an innate advantage over platforms like React Native however. While React Native does allow for cross platform native application development, many features must be added platform specifically after the creation of a basic application. Ionic on the other hand has these features right out of the box, with over 120 plugins to access native features of the device. However, new software development kits released by both Google and Apple for extended functionality of an application becomes a bit of a black box situation.


Despite this, Ionic’s design pattern is purely native focused. Ionic’s design components are focused with mobile development in mind and native features come right out of the box for Ionic developers. Because of this Ionic developers can deliver a much more seamless and consistent user experience across platforms and even more easily prototype user interface changes more easily.


Because Ionic runs on top of Angular, it is ultimately dependent on its performance. Angular’s popularity has increased greatly in recent years with Google behind its success. As Angular continues to become a more efficient JavaScript framework, it will improve the performance of Ionic applications. Its use of Angular enables rapid development and prototyping of applications which would otherwise be time consuming and sluggish with bulky SDKs from Apple and Google.


Programming Languages and Resources for App Developers
Here are a brief summary of coding languages and resources for developing web Apps or native Apps without using Swift or Java. In general, you need to know common web programming languages such as  HTML, CSS (or HTML5 & CSS3) JavaScript (or JS frameworks like jQuery, Angular, React Web, Node, React Native, Ionic, jQuery Mobile or Express) and  a database  like MongoDB. Knowlege of a back-end coding in language such as PHP, MySQL, Apache or Ruby on Rails is useful but not required. For those interested in learning more about web design and development, here are a list of step-by-step training guide articles: i- Become CMS specialist, ii- Become front-end specialist, iii- Become expert SQL developer, iv- Become expert PHP developer. Lastly, you can use Java programming  or Ionic Android to design Java Android Apps while using Swift or Ionic iOS to design iOS Apps.


Swift coding is well suited for those interested in pursuing a career in mobile App design and development; however, other options are, system admin, web design and development and software engineering. It is advisable to consult with an IT career counselor to understand what career options best fits your skills. For instance, if you want to be a software engineer, learning HTML and CSS might not fit the bill. Here is an excellent article for learning more on coding and technology career roadmap. Once you know what career path you wish to pursue, you can make a plan on what, when, and how to learn. There are lots of online resources for learning coding and technology in general. For teenagers and high school students, High School Technology Services offers variety of hands-on training. For adults and professionals, Coding Bootcamps and DC Web Makers Companies offer basic to advance project-based programming and technology classes.


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