Hybrid Mobile Apps with JavaScript – a meetup

The ‘JS in Mobile App Development’ meetup was held on 17 March 2016 at WSO2, and I was fortunate enough to attend this event with my friends.

Colombo JavaScript Meetup

The Colombo JavaScript Meetup group is a group of JavaScript enthusiasts in Sri Lanka who host events and talk about what they are passionate about - which is JavaScript. The last couple of events that I have been attending were organized by Chathu Vishwajith who himself takes great pride in working with JS and the various frameworks around it.

The other organizers are Pasindu De Silva, Arunoda Susirpala and Nuwan Bandara. I am thankful for having found this group on meetup.com and enjoy attending it.

 The Lightning Talks

This particular event was about 'JS in Mobile App Development' and it saw a large attendance, audience from various companies and universities. Many members couldn't make it since there was limited seating capacity.

After a brief introduction by the host, Rashmika Nawathana from 99X Technology gave an insightful talk about the Ionic Framework.

This framework allows as to build Hybrid Mobile Apps using the technologies you have always been familiar with - HTML, CSS and JS. It utilizes the WebView of the Mobile Platform to render and display the App contents.

Here are some resources from this talk:

  1. Presentation: http://ionicframework.com/present-ionic/slides/
  2. Getting Started:
    1. http://ionicframework.com/docs/guide/preface.html
    2. https://ccoenraets.github.io/ionic-tutorial/
  3. Ionic Docs: http://ionicframework.com/docs/
  4. Ionic Creator: https://creator.ionic.io
  5. Ionic IO Services: http://ionic.io/
  6. Ionic Market Place: http://market.ionic.io/

This was followed by another informational talk about React Native, this time by Pasindu Rumal from from CakeLabs

React Native allows us to write our logic in JavaScript and all the View components will dynamically be generated by the platform the app is running on. Moreover, React uses the Virtual DOM, making the rendering of components that much faster. Moreover, it leverages the native APIs present on the platform and uses the JavaScript wrapper to give access for the developer to use the them. Click here for Pasindu's slides.

Both speakers were clearly talking from experience and it was apparent that they had a passion for what they were doing, which was Hybrid Mobile App Development primarily.

If the audience had burning questions, they were addressed right after the talks. The other questions were taken in this discussion. I personally liked the fast talks followed by Panel discussions. Hope to see this model in future events as well.

If the audience had burning questions, they were addressed right after the talks. The other questions were taken in this discussion. I personally liked the fast talks followed by Panel discussions. Hope to see this model in future events as well.

Conclusion

Hybrid Mobile development has clear advantages over Native Apps for individual platforms, the primary one being not needing to have platform specific expertise to develop Apps for individual platforms. You won't need to know Objective C and Java to develop iOS and Android apps.

If you want to get upto speed in a short time, try out Ionic. However, if you want more control and 'nativeness' , opt for React Native. I am excited to try both frameworks. Let's see how it goes!