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TPDP Episode #5: Developing Mobile Apps with Telerik NativeScript

There are a lot of different ways to develop mobile applications.  On my first two podcast episodes I discussed some of these app development solutions, but this time I’m doing a followup on one in particular.  In this episode of The Polyglot Developer Podcast, guest speaker TJ VanToll and I are going to take a deeper look at Telerik NativeScript, who should be using it, and what separates it from the other frameworks that exist.

TJ VanToll is a Developer Advocate for Telerik and is working on making the NativeScript framework a success for developers and enterprises.  In Episode #5: Developing Mobile Apps with Telerik NativeScript , we’re going to cover everything that can be covered without actually looking at code.  I ask TJ questions that I often receive on my blog as well as at events.

This podcast episode can be found for free on iTunes and Pocket Casts , but in case you’d prefer to listen to it from your browser instead, it can be heard below.

For those who you that would rather read than listen, I’m going to explain some of the podcast episode here.

What is Telerik NativeScript?

NativeScript is a cross platform, single code set, mobile framework that lets you build mobile applications using common web technologies like JavaScript, CSS, and XML.  TJ discusses some best practices when it comes to developing stunning applications.  Those best practices include the use of TypeScript and eliminating the use of a web view from your mind.  After all, these are native applications, not web applications.

TJ also discusses how you can build your own NativeScript plugins that interface directly with native device SDKs and APIs.  I personally wrote a NativeScript plugin for Couchbase that lets you use NoSQL in your mobile application and I must admit, it wasn’t difficult to do at all.

What do You Need to Get Started with NativeScript?

Here we discuss any hardware and software dependencies.  This is a common question that people new to mobile application development ask.  In short, you need a Mac, Linux, or Windows computer for developing Android applications and a Mac for developing iOS applications.  This is not due to a development requirement, but more of a deployment requirement.  Since these applications are native, they still follow the same deployment rules as a native application.

NativeScript can be installed via the Node Package Manager (NPM) which is included with Node.js.  NPM is a common package manager and is used for pretty much everything lately.

When it comes to testing a NativeScript application, physical devices are not required, but they are always recommended.  Physical devices are recommended so that you can see the true experience on how your application will perform for people.  If you’d rather not use a physical device, there are iOS and Android simulators available, usually included with the native Android and iOS development platforms.

Angular 2 is Supported

As of last week, announced at ng-conf 2016, NativeScript 2.0 supports Angular 2.0.  This is huge for NativeScript because AngularJS in general is an incredibly popular framework.  In terms of popularity, it sits next to ReactJS which is what Facebook uses in its React Native framework.

Although web applications and NativeScript applications will have a different UI, the backend Angular 2 code can usually be shared between them.  There are a few exceptions to this, but for the most part you can better streamline your web and mobile development process by sharing code.

How does NativeScript Make Money for Telerik?

This is a question I always feel I have to ask and a question a lot of people think about as well.  How does an open source project like NativeScript make money for the parent company Telerik?  I mean, if the company behind the product isn’t making money, doesn’t that put it at high risk for being abandoned?

TJ says that Telerik is making money from NativeScript through the Telerik Platform and UI for NativeScript .  This sounds promising because there are many other mobile frameworks that are not making money or they are making very little.

Conclusion

Telerik NativeScript is a relatively new mobile development framework, but it has really captured my attention lately.  With it you can develop native applications that are not tied down by a web view, but still are developed using common web technologies like Angular 2, JavaScript and CSS.  With Telerik’s strong monetization strategy, NativeScript will more than likely be around for quite some time.  If you’re willing to keep an open mind and are into mobile application development, I encourage you to give NativeScript a look.

If you have questions regarding this podcast episode, you can fill out the formhere and either TJ or myself will get back to you. If you’re listening to this podcast via a service or application and it allows you to leave a rating or review, please give it a positive rating.

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