Last updated on September 30th, 2017 |
— Jorge Vergara (@javebratt) May 5, 2015
For you my non-Spanish speaking friends that tweet says: “Watching an excellent video, wanting to try Ionic”
That was a little over a year ago when I started looking into Ionic Framework as a real possibility for moving from back-end development to mobile development.
I was checking out various options but since I’m horrible at design I chose Ionic because it gives me a lot of CSS ready to use.
So after a full year using Ionic Framework I wanted to share my experience with you:
My Ionic Framework Review
Getting started was not that easy for me, people choose hybrid development to leverage their HTML, CSS & JS knowledge when building apps, well, I had none, I was a back-end developer using Python/Django to build either the back-end side of a project without any relation to the project’s front-end or I was building APIs for mobile developers.
So the first thing I had to do was take crash courses in those 3 technologies. To this day most of the mistakes I make or the things I get stuck on are because of basic JS stuff I don’t know about, so I’m currently taking a JS course from beginner to advanced, I want to fix those shortcomings and have better foundations to become a better developer.
Once I had basic HTML, CSS & JS knowledge I jumped into Ionic full speed, just to crash and burn a few times cause I had no AngularJS knowledge 😛
But that was actually easy to fix, I went through CodeSchool’s Angular JS basic course in one morning and then started trying out Ionic.
I built my first app in about 3 weeks, it was an app for a fitness trainer in Latin America, the app got about 30K downloads and then he had me un-publish it because he was going to dedicate his entire time to launching a supplements brand so he had no time to manage it :'(
It was a bumpy start, but I was hooked.
Design has always been hard for me, mostly because I have no interest in improving that 😛
Every time I need to make something look nice I hire a freelance designer to do it for me.
When I started working with Ionic I was impressed with how my app looked without any effort on my part, the CSS components guide is really awesome and lets you build almost any kind of interface you want with predefined CSS classes.
After getting started development has been easier every day, I was blessed with a different career before moving to tech, I was a university teacher for 5 years and that taught me a lot about learning, so I learn very fast.
There are things that I still have trouble with, but quick google searches always fix everything 🙂
This is one of the things that I love the most, I can build stuff really fast, and when I say fast I mean it, I launched an MVP for a SaaS app in just a weekend, I’ve built 3 free apps in under 12 hours.
When you are a maker and you feed on making things this is great, ’cause you can just keep building new stuff, trying it out and throwing away what doesn’t work.
This was my main concern when I moved to Ionic Framework, I think everyone remembers Mark’s interview saying Facebook’s biggest mistake was betting on HTML5 for their mobile app.
But I’ve found out that most of the performance issues are now gone, and that the ones that affect my apps are mostly my fault (mostly my lack of understanding about promises and async) and I’m working hard to fix that.
A lot of native developers yell at me “hybrid sucks” or “native is always better” but they lack a very important thing, CONTEXT, you can’t just say “Hybrid Sucks” when I know many developers who make a decent amount of $$ building hybrid apps.
Guess what, regular nontechnical users can’t tell the difference between a native app and a hybrid app. They don’t even know what that is!
I’ve found that enterprises looking for an app built really love the idea of hybrid development, or at least how I sell it, because “they can capitalize in the rising dominance of mobile phones without taking the time or budget to build multiple native apps with overlapping functionality” (Liked that selling statement? Use it!)
When it comes to working, like regular full-time 9-5 work it’s 10X harder to get a job as a hybrid developer because most companies that do software development for clients still work with native platforms.
This is changing tho, I’ve been seeing a lot of jobs offers lately for Ionic/Cordova/Xamarin etc.
When it comes to freelance work you can really take advantage of it, especially if you focus on a market vertical instead of a technology.
For example, instead of focusing on Hybrid Development with Ionic Framework, I can focus on helping non-technical entrepreneurs plan and build the first version of their mobile app so they can get to market ASAP.
Guess which of those 2 positioning statements gives you more flexibility (and money).
When it comes to personal projects all of mine are built using Ionic.
I currently have 4 apps live on Google Play, 2 free apps that are getting $$ through AdMob and serving as lead capture for a 3rd app that’s a SaaS app.
And I have another free app also using AdMob and serving as a lead capture for a new offering I was thinking about last week with my wife.
I’ve killed over 5 apps that just didn’t work.
I wouldn’t be building as many things and having as much fun if I had gone with native development 🙂