Tuesday Perspectives

Invest in the Right Open Source Technology to Eliminate Duplicate Efforts
when Developing Native Mobile Applications

Published: May 1, 2018

While NativeScript can help you build cross-platform, native iOS and Android apps without web views, many organizations haven’t caught on yet. In today’s Tuesday Perspectives blog post, the Custom Software Development division of Microexcel is going to tell you more about the latest trend in single code source development of native mobile applications using NativeScript to keep your organization ahead of the game when it comes to developing your native mobile applications!

This open source technology built around JavaScript is not only fast to learn, but is highly extensible and saves time, resources, and money when it comes to developing your native mobile apps. Sounds great, right? But why else might you want to consider NativeScript for development native apps? Well, let’s start with some of the most obvious reason people are choosing to use this platform:

Cross platform is the strength

Designing and creating code takes time, effort, and various skills so for each platform, you really must have multiple sets of skills. Typically, the same software engineer has specialized on the delivery platform, say, Apple Devices, or possibly Android, etc. With NativeScript, you can really write one code base and then build it for iOS and Android (or either). Then when you go to tweak a code for a particular platform, it will work for both.

Learn new concept using reusability

If you look at the market, you will find that decided iOS developers are not that common, and with that comes added cost. But with NativeScript, coders who know JavaScript, XML, and CSS, and have the idea of native iOS and Android frameworks, can jump into NativeScript right away. You can learn the fundamental concept of the NativeScript mobile app while implementing your app ideas.

Faster access to native libraries

Unlike some hybrid development environments that only support the native components of the device they choose to support, NativeScript provides out-of-the-box support for virtually all native libraries, and plug-ins to those features through simple scripted API’s.

Open source development ecosystem

As an open source platform, developers can not only get readily available help to unique problems they discover, but they can help shape the present and future of the framework. The team of NativeScript welcomes the contributions, feedback, and features from its entire global community. This means you are not tied to proprietary products, support, or services to achieve success.

So, what are some of the key features that truly sets NativeScript apart from traditional mobile application development?

  • NativeScript is an open source framework for building truly cross-platform native mobile applications available on GitHub, with a strong and growing community. We have started to see more large organizations choose NativeScript as an intelligent, efficient, and improved way to make this move.
  • Allows developers to create native iOS and Android apps beyond just using web views and truly code the application once with the ability to deliver across both mobile operating systems.
  • Developers can use familiar web development languages, such as AngularJS, TypeScript, and modern JavaScript, to create interactive mobile apps, and NativeScript is designed to be approachable for developers from many backgrounds and skill levels.
  • Designed to give 100% access to the native platform APIs, meaning that developers can interface with the device hardware like the microphone, camera, GPS, and biometric authentication to name a few.
  • NativeScript can provide near native compiled application performance using some of the embedded tools and methodologies available to the platform, including fast load times and worker threads to provide background loading of larger data objects.

Now that we’ve provided a high-level overview of why people are choosing NativeScript and its key features, what does it have to offer in terms of important architectural components that allow NativeScript to work so effectively?

  • The runtime code required to execute NativeScript provides API level access to device specific features like the keyboard, microphone, and GPS. The runtimes enable you to call APIs in the Android and iOS frameworks using JavaScript code. To do that, they use JavaScript Virtual Machines.
  • The Core Modules of NativeScript provide abstractions for accessing underlying native platforms. For example, the gestures module defines a common JavaScript API that translates application TypeScript/JavaScript code into native gesture APIs calls.
  • Another thing the Core Modules provide is a basic XML-based way for defining UI, data-binding, and navigation. Note that this can help you truly take a Mobile First approach when creating web applications as well. When you build a NativeScript app, the navigational features native to the target platform will have the same look and feel as native apps on that operating system.
  • The NativeScript CLI (Command Line Interface) lets you create, build, and deploy NativeScript-based projects on iOS and Android devices, and is an integral part of the NativeScript Solution. Together with the CLI you get some really helpful items including:
    • Application scaffolding
    • Run/debug on device and simulator
    • Run Unit Testing
    • Build for Deployment
  • A developer can leverage a myriad of plug-ins to provide added flexibility in the interaction with device native tools and features. These are the same compiled plug-ins that pure native platform developers use.

There are also some great enhancements that are committed for this year to consider:

First, the entire process for getting started as a development, along with code samples and templates, is seeing drastic improvements. It will just be that much easier to begin your journey with Native Script.

Second, now that you are using the same tools to build mobile and web applications, NativeScript will make it easier to share actual code so that your mobile and web apps can use the same AngularJS and JavaScript code, giving you more bang for your buck.

Third, the overall development and debugging environment is getting a face lift to more closely match the developer experience in more mature development environments. Even some native support, such as Vue and Visual Studio to a name a few, are familiar to environment developers that they are already using.

Lastly, NativeScript is improving the quality of its interface code to allow for extending existing native applications and an even more robust interface to Cloud services and commonly used javascript libraries.

All of this means that the developer and application user will benefit from all the open source community’s efforts to make NativeScript mainstream and commercially viable.

Now we realize we have just begun to scratch the surface of NativeScript here and we’ve thrown a lot of information at you on what this technology can do for your organization. If you’d like more information, we do have a more in-depth, ondemand webinar, Shorten the Time Bringing Your Native Mobile Apps to Market with NativeScript, readably available for viewing that can be found here.

If you’re ready to take the next step and need consultation on how to effectively utilize NativeScript, contact Microexcel’s Custom Software Development practice at info@microexcel.com.

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