Late last week I had the opportunity to sit in on a demo for NativeScript. It’s a platform that allows you to write cross platform mobile apps using the iOS / Android native code, which gives you a lot more speed and features than the “Hybrid” platforms / tools you may have heard about. I’ve been around long enough to have heard about a lot of platforms and even dabbled a few, but this is the first one that is starting to peek my interest over Xamarin…
…and I don’t say that lightly either, considering how long I’ve been itching and finally dug into Xamarin to start off my Prayer Odyssey project. One of the things I’ve been struggling a little bit with is the “update curve” that occurs during each update. There’s a fresh compile, potentially something I missed for a specific platform, then a delay to push things to the emulator or device and then relaunch. Whoops, something was wonky so the launch crashed. now I have to start that process over again.
NativeScript has a live sync tool that allows your changes to be reflected in the emulators almost instantly. This is fabulous when you’re doing iterative tweaks to layout or just want to move fast through your changes. I realize I’m getting more and more impatient as processor speed goes up, but having a fast turnaround time on my compiles is always nice. 8^D
While I’m strong coding in C#, my XAML skills are a bit rusty, which is where I’ve had to do some “re-learning” in the fine arts of it. However, NativeScript is using web language code as it’s base, which is quite familiar to me on a day to day basis. Even more exciting is that TypeScript and Angular2 are first class citizens, and they highly encourage you to use this architecture when building your app. All of this provides more familiarity to code fast.
I also appreciate the easy breakout of OS specific code you may need. simply have a “app.android.css” and a “app.ios.css” file for specific styling needs and the compiler will do the rest to apply the specific stylings accordingly. I know Xamarin does this, and it was good to see it done here as well. I should also chime in really quick and say that NativeScript development can happen anywhere, but there is some great integration with Visual Studio Code, another tool I really like.
So here I go! Picking up yet another platform to develop with that will hopefully streamline my existing skills into doing some more stuff in a realm I’ve worked partially with and want to work with more. It’s good to never stop learning 8^D