Top Ionic Resources to Learn Hybrid App Development

WRITTEN BY GARETH DUNNE @JSDIARIES

Hybrid app development is an extremely fast growing niche. In particular, Ionic 3 is a platform that allows you to produce and distribute your app ideas to the market without having to specialise in iOS or Android development.

We can use the latest and greatest from frontend web technologies such as Angular 4 to power these apps. If you have previously read any of the Ionic content here, such as Creating a Google Map Place or Ionic 3 whats new? then none of this will be news to you. However, I wanted to list what I think is the highest quality learning content available now in relation to Ionic 3.

While there currently isn’t a proper Ionic 3 book to use as a learning resource. This Ionic 2 cookbook covers a wide range of Ionic developing basics and more.

Content that is more practical than theoretical will always be a stronger learning asset so hopefully some of these will help to continue or start your Ionic development path.

Coursetro

Starting off with the Ionic related content on Coursetro.

I cant emphasis enough how much knowledge is gained from following any of Gary Simon’s Ionic related courses.

Starting all the way from designing a prototype in Adobe XD to implementing and developing your designed app using Ionic 3, no other content practically nails down the broader scope of full stack development by creating hybrid apps.

In particular, the course focusing on creating a gaming related app could not be more practical for creating a high quality application with solid functionality and purpose.

Just note that this tutorial in particular is behind a monthly subscription model, for one of the non premium app courses you can see the Wife Alert app which is not updated to Ionic 3 but the core fundamentals of Ionic are still there to learn.

Paul Halliday

Paul is one of the most prolific publishers when its comes to Ionic 3 content at the moment. He covers a plethora of useful Ionic 3 tutorial on his Youtube channel as well as some Udemy courses which I have no experiences with but if they are anything like his free content they are up to a very high standard of teaching.

I’m constantly learning new technologies that I can use in combination with the Ionic stack that would not know otherwise. On those terms, he is unmatched in the Ionic tutorial world.

Here are some of my favourites of his free content.

Joshua Morony

One of first Ionic tutorial publishers, Joshua provides frequent, useful and clear cut tutorials on his website and Youtube channel. There is an abundance of content that you can explore and he is up to date on the Ionic 3 front.

Joshua provides very good elements of clarity as he explains his content and has an impressive amount and experience publishing Ionic content.

Some great material here:

Raja Yogan

Raja had produce some very nice lengthy free content on Youtube. He provides very useful and fully fledged practical Ionic examples usually in combination with Firebase.

I really enjoyed his latest chat application and encourage you to check it out as its an fantastic series for building your own application using Firebase and Ionic. He is also a publisher who speaks clearly and teaches by example with no unnecessary theoretical fluff.

Exploring any of those publishers content is a great way to really get to grips with Ionic and Hybrid Web Development in general. All with their own different teaching styles, even spending a few hours will be more than beneficial to understanding various concepts for hybrid development.

Ionic 2 Hybrid Apps – Getting Started

Following on from some of our Angular 2 posts, the next logical step was to delve into the Ionic 2 framework to see what it has to offer.

 

What is Ionic 2?

Ionic allows the user to build Hybrid Mobile Apps. These apps are built with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and TypeScript and are contained in a native wrapper so the it can be installed and published on a mobile device, whether that be iOS or Android.

This is very advantageous for the developer as it allows him/her to create and publish mobile applications without having to be proficient in their native programming languages (e.g Java for Android).

You can always read up on it here.

Ever wonder where we get our icons from? Check out the Ionicons cheatsheet here.

Why Ionic 2?

Aside from the aforementioned hybrid mobile benefits there is quite a few things to get excited about here. Firstly, the documentation is very well laid out.

https://ionicframework.com/docs/

This allows us quick access to a multitude of structural components to use for an application.

For example, one of the most basic components, cards would use the following markup.

As you can see custom HTML tags can be used to generate this structure with outputting a result like so.

There is a whole host of different components like this with usage examples for most so be sure to experiment with different combinations

Getting started.

You’ll need to install the latest version of Node before installing Ionic. Once installed you will have open up your command line and type.

This may take a few minutes.

To create a blank new Ionic project in your current directory you should then use the command.

However, we also have other options to create our Ionic application. Ionic will generate some of the applications structure if we specify in a different command.

ionic-tabs-example
ionic-tabs-example

We can also generate a project that has a fully integrated sidebar using the command.

ionic menu
Generated Menu Start

Ionic menu sidebar
Menu Sidebar

These templates tend to be very useful when you want to scaffold a prototype as fast as possible.

Ionic Native

While the custom layout elements provide a variety of ways for you to creatively structure an application, the plugins or (Ionic Native) are also an extremely useful feature. They are a set of plugins that add native mobile functionality to your application. To install one simply use the command:

The plugin has now been added to the project. You can check it out in the plugins folder

Ionic Plugins Folder
Ionic Plugins Folder

Like most packages/plugins that you add in we have to import it at the top of the desired component where it will be used.

You can find a whole host of native plugins here.

I hope this post gave you an insight into how Ionic can benefit you for hybrid application development.

We’ll be sure to cover more interesting topics about it in our next post. Including how to publish to an application to the Android SDK. Be sure to have a look at our resource page for any other useful reading material.

Angular ngVikings Conference 2017

WRITTEN BY GARETH DUNNE @JSDIARIES

A Trip to the Nordics

ngVikings Building Inside

Following on from some of our Angular posts, we were itching to learn more. Where better to accomplish this than attending the most renown Angular conference in the Nordics?

The event took place in the IT University of Copenhagen. First of all, I would like to acknowledge how well thought out and structured this conference was. Going back and forth between two lecture halls was all that was necessary for the size of this conference. And the building allocated was the right fit.

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of the event was the easygoing, relaxed environment it provided to network with other Angular enthusiasts. I know there are many who, like myself, are unable to to work with Angular in our day-to-day roles so to be able to be among a whole conference of like-minded people proved invaluable and motivating.

Before covering the guests in the talks, I would like to mention that the university itself was a sight to behold. The frozen-over lakes inside the university looked spectacular. This in combination with the incredible architecture of the university made it a fantastic venue for the conference and really solidified the Nordic feel. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking here.

CopenHagen University Lake
University Lake
Copenhagen University Lake - 2
University Lake –  2

I’ll be focusing on 3  speakers in order to give you an idea what the conference was about.

Keynote: A Future Without Browsers

by Kenneth Auchenburg @auchenberg

One of the opening speakers, Kenneth, gave an insight into the future of specific browser based development(or lack there of).. You can find his slides here.

An increasing amount of the applications we are using will be able to obtain browser-like capabilities. The actual need to use a browser will diminish as time goes on. He demonstrated that originally browsers were designed to generate income through use or by providing browser start-up pages.

This is obviously not the case any more because we see that the functionality of a browser is paramount to daily web use. But as stated, this functionality is no longer exclusive to browsers.

Web applications provide just as much functionality as a browser and so the lines between the two become blurred.  An increasing amount of the applications we are using will be able to obtain browser-like capabilities.

The actual need to use a browser will diminish as time goes on. He demonstrated that originally browsers were designed to generate income through use or by providing browser start-up pages.

As web applications provide just as much functionality as a browser then the lines between the two become blurred. From this point Kenneth predicts that if any web application is a browser, then a new meta platform will inevitably arise; e.g. React apps are created and viewed using Facebook as its browser engine.

This future prediction alludes to the fact that the frontend developer role will become a more intriguing space to be working in than it already is.

It is something to be kept in mind in the future as new roles and responsibilities for JavaScript developers will inevitably be created by this migration of browser functionality .

Angular Material

by Tracy Lee @ladyleet

Material Design Pun App
Material Design Pun App

Tracy’s talk focused on Angular Material Design. While we have covered Angular Material on the blog before, I was really unaware of how powerful and seamless it is to integrate a quick materially designed functional layout.

She also has a informative series of posts setting up Angular Material here.

Tracy made an app on the fly that focused around animal puns which was quick to build due to the vast amount of readily available material design components.

Grids, sidebars, dropdown, indicators, popups, navigational components. These are all generated using a HTML tag attribute specific to the material design package.

Will generate a nicely coloured material design button.

Material Design Components
Material Design Components

For more on this you can see the component library here.

Overall, Angular material design seems to perform consistently fast as well as being fully optimized specifically for an Angular application.
I can already see myself using this to create an admin section of a website that is easy on the eyes with minimal effort.

To really simplify how Angular Material might benefit a development process, simply put, it allows you to build a structured grid quickly, with a wide variety of input components while also looking good in the process.

Angular of Things

by Uri Shaked @UriShaked

Angular of Things
Angular of Things

I was really fascinated with Uri’s talk. I had never previously seen an Angular 2 application interact with a piece of hardware. The ng-beacons not only looked great but also provided a new perspective of how Angular can connect to physical devices.

Uri also goes into more detail in his medium post here.

If you have any experience with physical computing, this was reminiscent of how a Arduino IDE would interact with an Arduino board to manipulate lights/temperature etc.

The beacon itself emits a low energy Bluetooth signal. Which is then outputted and detected.

The heat generated from the beacon is detected on a slider which is designed in material design.

ng-beacons temperature
ng-beacons temperature

3 volunteers were chosen to handle one of the beacons each. The heat generated from the participants moving was registered and updated in the sliders in real time over the Bluetooth signal.

You can find Uri’s GIT for the hot or not application here as well.

I really enjoyed this presentation. For me, it redefined how an Angular application can interact with a practical piece of hardware. I think there is a market for the ng-beacons within the Angular community as well.

ng-beacons bluetooth
ng-beacons bluetooth

There is currently no available way to purchase one of these beacons. But I’m sure the high niche demand created from the Angular community will enable this to be possible in the near future.

Although only three talks are covered here. A wide variety of Angular topics were covered throughout the duration of the conference. I hope this insight gives you an impression of what to expect next year.

The office hour segments in particular were extremely advantageous for those who took part in them.

If you missed the format of this, some of the speakers were available to speak to in an informal setting to give advice and answer your questions.

Special shout out to Leonardo @Zizzamia  and Mortem Kirstein @Mortenkirstein  for sitting down with myself @dunnedev and @mindinventive.

Both of them separately sat down with us and gave detailed explanations of a suitable freelance business model that coincided with our aims of being independant developers.

I’ll be sure to cover this in more detail in a future post. Be sure to keep an eye on ngVikings as its sure to expand bigger and bigger and become the cornerstone Angular event in Europe.

PHOTOS BY SEAN CORCORAN @mindinventive

Angular 2 – The future of component based JavaScript Frameworks

WRITTEN BY GARETH DUNNE @JSDIARIES

What is Angular 2?

Angular 2 is the latest in the growing trend of JavaScript frameworks for creating web applications. It is not an MVC framework but rather a component based framework that has been completely re hauled and revived from Angular 1. The key differences between Angular 1 and 2 are that Angular 2 is built with mobile support, heavy use of TypeScript and the $scope to glue the view and controller has now been totally removed.

The fact that Angular 2 is mobile-orientated allows Truly Native Mobile Apps to be built with technologies usch as NativeScript or Ionic.

Am I ready to learn it?

If you are eager to learn Angular 2 and have no previous experience with Angular 1 you are in luck! These frameworks differ greatly from each other so don’t be afraid to delve straight into it. There are, of course some prerequisite knowledge that I would recommend to have.

Backend

In order to create a practical application that would simulate one already in production, it is recommended to use a database instead of simulating data. You could use Node.js and MongoDB to accomplish this. By having a backend set up and ready to interact with you are enabling yourself to work on a application that is “true to life” or so to speak.

This isn’t totally necessary if you want to play around with Angular and create an application quickly. However, you will have to do this at some point as the scope of your application gets more complex so its best to establish what you will use at the beginning.

JavaScript

A good grasp of JavaScript fundamentals will obviously put you in a good position for starting an Angular 2 application. However, the real benefit of this is for the inevitable debugging sessions you will have to endure. In this case, knowing Vanilla JavaScript is extremely beneficial as the ability to trace and understand errors from the compiled TypeScript will allow you to solve problems much quicker.

I can’t recommend this JavaScript course any more:

https://javascript30.com/

Wes Bos builds 30 practical JavaScript things and with some latest ES6 practices. All these small applications built contain no additional frameworks or boiler plate code and they really indicate how much you can do without other libraries. Extremely useful down the line when debugging/implementing an Angular 2 application.

TypeScript

And who can forgot the beautiful TypeScript. Ah, bread and butter of an Angular 2 application. TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript and it allows you to write JavaScript in a class based or object oriented style. This code is then compiled to clean JavaScript output. This is why its important to know pure JS for debugging. Its hard to find a better introduction to TypeScript than this video by .NET Interview Preparation Videos

Similarly, if you were trying to find a more cohesive way to learn the basics of Angular 2 + TypeScript I would highly recommend checking this Angular 2 development book below by Yakov Fain.

You can also find Yakov’s blog here:

https://yakovfain.com/

You can checkout his training workshop here:

http://myflex.org/courseware/Angular_training_outline.pdf

MV* or Modular Architecture

If you have ever used a Modal-View-Controller or MV* system, then you will know the importance of separation of concerns . This basically means dividing your application’s business logic, data and visual markup into separate sections that are easy to navigate .  Angular 2 uses a component based architecture that would be comparable but not identical to this.

To create an Angular 2 component in your project directory run the command

or

You will now have folder called my-new-component or whatever name you specified.  

Generating New Angular 2 Component
Generating New Angular 2 Component

This folder containers the relevant typescript and styles files created in this folder. In order for us to link this new component into our app component we have to specify it in app.module.ts directives array in the @Component meta-data. We then need to put the selector of our new components into the first-apps template property in its meta data section.

App-Module Component Declaration
App-Module Component Declaration

Getting Started

Angular CLI

In order to use npm to download the Angular CLI package and install it globally on our local machine we need to install the latest version of Node.js .

You can install from their download page here.

https://nodejs.org/en/

Once installed we can type the command:

Installing this CLI allows scaffolding for our Angular 2 applications. You can see all the various scaffolding items you can create for the CLI here.

https://github.com/angular/angular-cli

Using the command:

Your project will be created in your specified directory. It takes all configuration and prerequisite steps such as:

  • Creating our app files
  • Configuring TypeScript and Typings
  • Adding script tags for
    • Angular2
    • Rx.js
    • System.js
  • Configuring System.js
  • Creating our Angular 2 component

Using the command line interface we must also install TypeScript globally on our local machine.

We will use typescript as a subset of JavaScript in order to the define the type of member variables and class method parameters used in our application. TypeScript supports new ECMAScript standards and compiles them to older targets of your choosing (such as ES3 or ES5 . This means that you can use features of ES2015 and forthcoming  versions with our Angular 2 application.

Other Versions?

So something to really try and get your head around are these will new Angular versions.  Google has stated that all forthcoming  Angular versions will be backwards compatible with Angular 2. Will Angular 2 be irrelevant in 6 months because of forthcoming versions in Angular 3 and 4? Well this depends. Angular 4 is the next major version released, not 3. The difference between Angular 2 and 3 will not be another full core change. These new versions will now be subsequently released twice a year. So with this backwards compatibility in theory, no version will be get left deprecated from Angular 2 but we’ll just have to see how this pans out.

So while these incremented versions do cause some differences in the architecture itself. What are we supposed to call Angular as its base name if it keeps getting incremented every 6 months? This is an ongoing discussion in r/Angular2

The future of /r/Angular2 — With Angular 4 now in beta and the adoption of semver, let’s revisit the unpopular decision to name this project Angular to begin with and where to locate our future reddit home. from Angular2

 

Creating a blog and building a brand as a software developer.

WRITTEN BY GARETH DUNNE @JSDIARIES

Software Developer’s Identity

In order to build a reputation as a software developer consistent blog posts are essential to build an identity. This is the main reason I have started jsdiaries.

Although I have to admit, this is something that I originally couldn’t comprehend. How will building a blog boost my career in software development?  Well providing useful information not only benefits readers of your blog but also gives the blogger the opportunity to learn by teaching.  The more content researched the more likely it is that you have learned more and built a stronger brand in the process.

This is my intention with this blog – to provide consistent content on the latest technologies focused on but not limited to JavaScript frontend libraries. I hope to bring the reader’s attention to some useful tools and news along the way and to also publish development updates from my own personal projects.

This plan I have created for jsdiaries came from following John Somez’s How to Create a Blog to Boost Your Career course.

His email course provides the stepping stones for a developer to create a blog like this. His course takes place over 3 weeks and an email with information on how to create a blog for software development is sent every Monday and Thursday. If you want to sign up just click below.

How to Create a Blog That Boosts Your Career

The emails are very direct and concise on how to create a platform like this to build a brand and identity. The most impressive byproduct of this course is that software developers that are in the exact same position with their blog can network together and support the growth of each other. John has enabled this by featuring all the bloggers that finish his email course on his website Simple Programmer linked below.

Home

Its a simple but effective way of boosting his own reputation while simultaneously helping to grow the careers of other developers.

I also hope to bring on guest bloggers to collaborate and create guest posts. I would hope this would broaden the perspective on some topics and get some more in depth technical and practical posts on latest JS technologies. I hope to feature Angular 2 and Vue.js in my upcoming content. Although this is a Javascript focused blog sometimes a JS library will be combined and featured with other languages such as C#.  This is to create a broader focus on how some JS libraries are used with some other Object Oriented languages.  New content will be featured every Sunday/Monday so be sure to check it out and comment and the blog will be sure to expand with features such as email subscriptions.