What Is Ionic And How Does It Work?

Creating native mobile apps for multiple platforms is an expensive process, which also requires a lot of time and competencies. Fortunately, there is a solution which can make the process easier, cheaper and faster. The solution is to create a cross-platform app using the Ionic framework: a fully functional mobile app developed with web technologies, which looks, acts, and has the same functionalities as a native one. Let’s find out how does Ionic work and when is the best time to use it.

What Is Ionic?

Ionic is an open source software development kit (SDK) that allows developers to build mobile apps using familiar web technologies and languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Angular. The Ionic framework can be considered as frontend software, which makes it possible to build a high-quality cross-platform app.
A cross-platform app is a combination of mobile and web application. We need to develop only one codebase, and an app will perform on every platform. What is more, to write it, we have to be familiar only with well-known technologies.

We can say, that Ionic app is a web page running in a native app shell. The app created with Ionic is written as a web app, but it comes with native-styled mobile UI elements and layouts. That way it looks and feels like a native app.

How Does Ionic Work?

Ionic is built on top of AngularJS. It’s a framework created by Google, used to build reactive web apps. Ionic also relies on Apache Cordova on a backend: Cordova is a bridge to a native code, which allows us to develop an app as a native app. Cordova provides over 200 plugins that enable us access to native device’s capabilities so that we can enhance our app’s functionality using a phone camera, geolocation, bluetooth, and other hardware features.

Ionic also includes Sass, which allows us to write complex CSS rules. The framework provides various CSS components to create the proper UI and mimic the native look of an application. We can easily add headers, footers, content area, checkboxes, menus, lists, buttons, cards, and many others. Thanks to that an app looks like a mobile app, not a web app. Ionic also provides appropriate behaviors: swiping, rotation, and other gestures. What is more, the framework includes a collection of icons called Ionicons.

The Ionic platform offers specific tools which enable us to test an app directly on the device. Through the platform, we can also render an app to a final package, submit our final product to an app store and share it directly from the platform. It facilitates all the process.

Why use Ionic?

Thanks to Ionic instead of building two native mobile apps we can create just one code and run an app on different platforms. Afterwards, we also have only one code to maintain and update. The development is faster and cost-efficient, what creates an opportunity especially for startups.

Writing a native app for every platform from scratch requires a lot of time, money, skills, and effort. To create a native Android app a developer needs to know how to use Android Studio IDE and be familiar with Java or Kotlin programming language. App UI is created with a custom XML syntax. To develop a native iOS app a developer needs to know how to use the Xcode IDE, which is only available for Mac, Objective-C or Swift programming language, and Mac’s specific SDKs and concepts. Learning a lot of languages and tools, hiring specialized developers, and creating the same functionalities twice will surely last long and cost much. The same effort is needed when we have to make any change or update something. What is more, we also have separate teams building an app in parallel — it creates a lot of challenges with project management.

A solution for all these problems is a cross-platform app, which allows us to create a mobile app using well-known web technologies. But why not just create a web app and package it as a mobile app using Apache Cordova? Because the app UI and style will assemble a website: it won’t look like a mobile app. Here comes the Ionic frontend framework: it provides a native look and feel of an application created like that. We can write an app in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript but it will look like a native app, not a web page — thanks to a collection of components that look the same as native ones. The Ionic framework enables us to use appropriate styles and behaviors for each platform so that our final product looks and acts like a native app.

The cross platform approach also allows us to deliver software in an Agile way: there aren’t any problems with project management and timing, everything is planned and tested on time. At Appstronauts we always run projects in an Agile way. The Ionic framework also provides the best, consistent User Experience across platforms, which is important these days, when every user has many different devices and wants the app to work the same way on every one of them, and of course to look excellent.

If you want to create an app for multiple platforms, using the Ionic framework is a perfect solution. It allows building an advanced mobile app that looks and acts like a native one, using well-known web technologies and languages. You don’t have to develop and maintain two separate codebases to obtain two native apps. Thanks to that you save money and time, receiving an advanced, fully-functional product which will perform flawlessly on Android, iOS, and web. What is more, frontend framework allows creating an excellent User Experience.

The Ionic framework offers a significant opportunity, especially for startups, because the development proceeds rapidly and is not expensive. At Appstronauts we will be thrilled to help you with creating a cross-platform app with beautiful User Interface and cutting-edge functionalities!

RELATED POSTS

26 Sep: Real-time Communication Apps: Implement WebRTC with Ionic

WebRTC allows you to create an app that enables real-time communication between peers. Combining it with Ionic, you can quickly develop two cross-platform apps with access to the device’s features.

23 Sep: From App Idea to App Store. How to Make Your Vision Reality?

You have an idea for a perfect mobile app, but you’re not sure what steps to take to deploy it to the app store? You’re in the right place: we’ll explain it to you.

17 Sep: Stripe Is Now Available in Poland! And That’s Great for Your Business

On September 9th, 2019, Stripe started its operations in Poland. Companies registered in Poland can now use Stripe to serve payments for their online businesses.

Liked that? Share with others!