In my last post I talked about Ionic Framework for cross platform app development. I wasn’t going to post about this quite so soon but today I saw that Ionic Framework 1.0.0 has been released so seemed an apt opportunity to do so!
Ionic was recommended to me as a solution to a problem I’m sure many other people face when wanting to learn app development – should I learn to program for iOS, Android or something else? Ionic, which sits on top of Cordova, helps you quickly build apps with a shallower learning curve. Okay, so you can just develop something without any programming (although some tools are being developed to assist with that) but it’s easier to build something based on HTML, CSS and JS than learning Objective-C or Java. Ionic is a framework for building your apps with all the usual features you would expect to see in an app – scrolling, swiping, touch response etc – and still look like most apps should – with sidebars, tabs etc.
Ionic is built using AngularJS, which may seem a little bit tricky to many people, but again is well worth the investment. However, I found that it’s fairly easy to pick up what is needed from downloading the templates to see how tabs and sidebars work in practise.
How does Cordova sit in? Well Cordova essentially takes your app built in HTML, CSS and JS (like a website) and turns it into an app that can be used on iOS and Android and other platforms. Ionic is used to make everything ‘look’ nice, and Cordova does the magic transformation.
Ionic are gradually adding more and more services but here are some of the resources on offer.
Ionic Framework – the main Ionic page
Ionicons – the icon sets used within the Ionic Framework
Ionic Playground – build a test Ionic App in the browser without needing to install anything
Ionic View – an app for Android and iOS to view apps that have been shared, useful for testing on devices
Ionic Creator – a drag-and-drop interface to help rapidly build apps, can then download the source code to edit as necessary after
Ionic Platform – a fairly new development but useful for adding backend services, such as push notifications or analytics
Also not directly Ionic, but built by the guys behind it, is ngCordova , which provides Cordova extensions to use in AngularJS. This is useful when you want to use things like the Camera, or serve ads, or Touch ID etc.
So there we have a fairly rough overview of what Ionic is and what is available. I’ll post more as I get developing more and hopefully get my first app up and live before the year is out. Which is probably what I said this time last year…