The mobile development world is split into two camps. On the one hand, you have the purists who suggest that only native development can make the best use of platform-specific features. On the other hand are those who suggest that cross-platform HTML5 delivers great functionality with far greater developer efficiency. Appery wants to solve that developer dilemma by delivering the best of both worlds. But does it succeed?
Appery, the company behind the Appery.io platform, delivers both a web and a mobile development platform. The Appery approach is to combine cloud-based development alongside hosted back-end services and a catalog of API plug-ins. The upshot of all of that is that Appery promises to simplify development of applications that work on all able devices, but that also integrate with both cloud and core enterprise systems. Appery itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Exadel.
The company is today announcing the integration of the Ionic SDK that enables developers to build hybrid mobile applications with a promised high level of fidelity with native applications, thus saving costs, reducing development time, and far reducing complexity. In doing so, Appery gives a lofty promise: that developers will no longer have to make a choice between functionality and speed, and that they can develop HTML5/hybrid apps on a single code base that offer a native UX across all platforms.
The Ionic framework is an opens source software development kit that supports a broad range of common components - animations, on-board sensors, animations and designs. Ionic adds to the existing Appery support for Apache Cordova (i.e. PhoneGap), Bootstrap, AngularJS, and jQuery Mobile.
Unsurprisingly, Ionic is bullish about this integration: “We’re excited that Appery has integrated Ionic into its Appery.io platform to give developers access to a powerful way to create native user experiences with HTML5 technologies,” said Max Lynch, CEO of Ionic. “When strong companies like Appery support the web stack, we all win.”
But the jury is well and truly out. Every time I get one of these "cross-platform development toolkit" pitches, I reach out to friends and colleagues who are deeply committed native developers. Their response is always the same and basically states that there is no way that a cross-platform solution can ever come near the functionality of a native toolset. While a cross-platform solution, they say, might be able to make an application that is "80 percent there," their view is that as application consumers become ever-more discerning, the very highest levels of mobile functionality make the difference between success and failure for an application. They suggest that the functionality that a cross-platform solution supports is just table-stakes, but that it is all the extra stuff that really makes the difference as to an app's success.
What will be interesting here will be to see how many of the reported 200,000 developers who use Appery.io will leverage the Ionic integration to create cross-platform applications - while the purists might have already made their minds up, the proof of the pudding is, as they say, in the eating. Time will tell if Ionic and Appery make for a tasty dish.
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