Best open source mobile apps development

Ashley McClelland photo“Our big vision is to become the dominant mobile development platform by giving developers an incredibly well designed open source UI and app framework, along with the tools, services, and support to help them build amazing apps.”
- Drifty, developers of the Ionic Framework

Our team at Waffle generally gets pretty excited when a widely used open source project starts using our product. Naturally, when we saw the Drifty team had added a Waffle badge to their README for the increasingly popular hybrid mobile framework, Ionic, we got pretty giddy.

Ionic is a slick hybrid mobile front-end framework for developing native-style apps that work across all popular mobile platforms. With over 6, 000 stars on GitHub and over 700 forks from developers using their open source framework, Ionic has gained followers and adopters quickly.

About the Ionic Framework

Using Ionic, mobile developers can utilize HTML5 to create high quality, native-feeling hybrid mobile apps on all popular mobile platforms. Hybrid mobile apps are different than native mobile apps in that they are essentially small websites running in a browser shell within an application that has access to the native platform layer. Hybrid apps have many advantages over native apps including less maintenance (no duplicate code bases) and speed of development. Ionic compares themselves to the “Twitter Bootstrap for native development”, providing all of the slick look and feel and UI interactions that your app needs to feel high quality and native-esque.

Developers only need to know the basics around building web applications - HTML5, CSS, and some JavaScript knowledge is required. Ionic also uses AngularJS for a lot of the core functionality of the framework which can be easily utilized and extended by developers familiar with AngularJS. Lastly, a native wrapper like Cordova or PhoneGap is needed in order to run your app as a native app. Ionic uses Cordova under the covers and recommends its use.

Ionic’s Fast and Early Growth

Sometimes good ideas take awhile to gain traction, but this wasn’t the case for Ionic. The framework gained initial exposure in late 2013 when it appeared in a Hacker News post. After the initial boost of traffic, the project continued its forward momentum.

In just a few months, Ionic had gained thousands of followers and users. A recent TechCrunch article cites that the team behind the framework recently raised $1 million in seed funding for further development. They’re even hiring developers now to build out and improve the open source framework.

GitHub Issues Growing Pains

Showered with early adopters and rapid success, the Ionic team found themselves continually adding and sorting through buckets of GitHub Issues.Managing these issues was quickly becoming difficult in GitHub’s native Issue interface.


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Q&A

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Who is the best mobile app developer in Boston, MA?

Raizlabs has some great talent. Focused on quality. Particularly good at custom API integration.
Disclaimer: I used to work for them.