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Android Java Versus Ionic JS For Building Mobile Apps | Touchstone Words

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Native Android App Design with Java versus Ionic JavaScript Framework –What to Pick

By Editorial Team on 2017-11-10

Most people think that Java is only programming language for building a native Android App. However, this article shows you an alternative approach using JavaScript programming language. Specifically, we will discuss Ionic JS platform that is used in conjunction with Angular (a JS framework) to build native Android Apps.


The Ionic Framework was created with seamless development and minimal code generation in mind. In order to do so, its developers utilized AngularJS and Apache Cordova to use web based tools to create a seemingly native experience. This kind of development became known as hybrid applications - the ability to write an application in one paradigm and have it be ported to all kinds of platforms. Ionic enabled developers to write performant applications in native HTML and CSS code and have them run on both mobile and desktop devices.


The Ionic Framework was created with native design in mind. Its components are very similar to native components found in the Android and iOS SDKs. This enables Ionic to create an experience for App users similar to that of a native experience. Its pre styled components allow developers to create applications that look amazing from the start and don’t have an out of the box feel like many other native applications.


Nearly 88% of smartphones nowadays use the Android Operating System created by Google. Android has risen to popularity due to the wide range of devices it can run on. This is due to the open source nature of Android using Java language suggested by its developers and managers. However, this can present a problem. Because there are so many Android users, the variance in device speed is much higher. This can cause developers a lot of unnecessary stress when trying to determine if their software application can aptly run on both newer and older Android devices which can have vastly different performance specifications.


Ionic has an advantage over Android in this situation. Because Android developers are given so much control over how their applications use resources, it can often become inefficient. Ionic utilizes Apache Cordova to more easily create applications that efficiently allocate both memory and computing resources and allow for a much smoother and elegant user experience. Apache Cordova enables the ability to use web code in native applications and with the use of AngularJS, another creation of Google’s, allows memory optimized web applications to be run on a native device. AngularJS has also shown great performance improvements in recent years especially with its optimized engine.


However, while using the Apache Cordova system, developers will have a difficult time with enabling more native features. With more phones coming out with fingerprint sensors and ambient light sensors, Ionic developers rely on Apache Cordova to support them. However, with the numerous developers who create Android devices, it is hard to have a specification for such hardware and can increase the time it takes for a plugin to be created for Apache Cordova. This is not as big of a problem for iOS developers as only a handful of phones run the iOS operating system with similar enough specifications. Nonetheless, once these plugins are created, developers will have no trouble introducing native features into their applications.


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. 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 Swift, React Native or Ionic iOS to design iOS Apps.


Android 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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