When A Mobile Friendly Website Is Not Enough

When Mobile Friendly is Not Enough

So you have a great website that caters to mobile users, what’s next? Well, that all depends on your needs. Although a well-designed, mobile friendly website is sufficient in most cases, sometimes it’s just not enough. While conventional desktop web browsers are rapidly becoming more sophisticated, they still aren’t as connected to the tangible world as devices like smartphones and tablets are. Your desktop web browser may be able to use your location, but a native mobile app can access your camera, contacts and so much more! Not to mention that many native apps are designed specifically to have the ability to work offline. The below article outlines a big problem with the traditional approach to building native apps, and poses a powerful, efficient solution for building them with a more modern approach.

The Problem

Traditionally creating a mobile app and releasing it on the major platforms (ios, android and windows phone) required coding several versions of the app — one for each platform. While this allowed each platform to be easily customized, having to develop several apps (each using a different programming language) was neither cost-effective or practical for most businesses or entrepreneurs.

The Solution

Ionic Framework
Enter Ionic Framework, a front-end framework built on top of AngularJS for building hybrid mobile apps. Ionic utilizes what is known as a hybrid HTML5 approach. It allows you to use HTML, CSS, and JS (specifically angularjs!) to build a single mobile app that can be deployed to all the other platforms. Throw in a single, consistent API for accessing phone hardware via Apache Cordova and you’ve got an extremely fast way to build mobile apps. The best part about Ionic is that the workflow is so similar to that of building a mobile friendly website.

Here are (some of) the features Ionic provides:
* Great documentation
CSS-based frontend components
AngularJS Extensions / javascript components
* A command-line interface
* An awesome community

How to Get Started

Ionic has a wonderful getting started section that helps getting things running pretty quickly. At a glance, getting started with Ionic can be broken down into these parts:

1. Installing Node, Cordova and Ionic

Install dependencies for platform(s) you’d like to target
* Follow the Android and iOS platform guides

2. Create an Ionic project

This will create an ionic starter app (of the tabs variety) in a folder called myApp. Other starter app options currently include blank and sidemenu.

3. Build and Run the App!

Alternatively, you can test your app using several methods.

What’s Next?

To learn more, we highly recommend reading through The Ionic Guide. Look for future articles about tips and tricks for using Ionic in your workflow.

Comments & Questions