Multi-Device Hybrid Apps (Apache Cordova)

[box type=”info”]

Disclaimer

I’m not an HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript expert.

This is not a review.

I haven’t spent a whole heap of time playing around with this extension because honestly, I just don’t know enough to do so.

[/box]

I am excited about what Microsoft is doing with this extension.

The thought of developing cross platform HTML5 apps in Visual Studio, makes the geek in me squeal 🙂

To those who know me, I am in no way saying farewell to C#. I am still a C# developer at heart and I doubt that will ever change. I am a person who is always wanting/willing to learn and I believe it is good to have a solid understanding of how to develop HTML5 apps and mastering this skill can only help.

So, coming back to the matter at hand. While I have a couple of app ideas that I would like to bring to all platforms, that’s not what led me to look into this extension.

At work, a client of ours is wanting a simple cross platform app that will deliver content (mostly HTML) to their users.

Initially, I was keen to use Xamarin (remember, I’m a C# guy) but after going over the requirements, I came to the conclusion that an HTML5 app would be a better choice in this instance.

Also, if I were to honestly compare my knowledge of Xamarin to my knowledge of HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript, the latter wouldn’t be as foreign as the former.

Folks, I want to make it clear that while I consider myself to be a developer/programmer, I know I would fit the intermediate category. I know enough but there’s a whole lot I don’t know.

I digress.

Once the project was given the go-ahead, I began to look into the various frameworks and tools out there that would help me achieve this, hopefully without having to make any additional investments.

While I was already aware of the Mult-Device Hybrid Apps extension, I had never really used PhoneGap/Cordova in the real world (though I had read up a lot on/about it).

A few days ago, as I was doing more research, I came across Intel XDK and immediately downloaded it to give it a try. While I was impressed by it and was able to get started quickly (thanks to a few useful templates out of the box and the visual designer), I found out that it was quite buggy and in the back of mind, I felt like I was betraying Visual Studio. Yeah it’s funny/silly, but I’m just being honest here. Of course, it’s not the only reason. I was determined to get back into Visual Studio and to do my best to use the Multi-Device Hybrid Apps extension because Visual Studio is the best IDE hands down and I am certain that this extension would have a significant impact moving forward.

Even as I write this post, I am watching numerous videos on Chanel 9 to try and get up to speed with the Multi-Device Hybrid Apps extension.

While I’ve used HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript when working on websites and web based projects, I’ve not mastered them but I know enough to put it to use or go look for stuff I don’t know.

However, I’m struggling with piecing it all together to achieve the ultimate goal here: creating a real world cross platform app!

I appreciate the to-do samples and others that the Cordova team has put together but to be honest, someone like me (passionate and willing to learn but inexperienced and clueless) need a lot more than that to grasp the real power of this extension and explore its true potential.

So, if the Visual Studio Cordova team was reading this post, what would my suggestions (more like requests) be?

  • Starter Templates: Create templates that address the basics like navigation, web requests, local data caching, storing settings and so on – the elements that most apps would require to function correctly. It goes without saying that the templates should be built around best practices and with all platforms in mind.
  • Richer Samples: I have no issues with the current sample, but it would be great to have a few more samples on there, samples that showcase what can be done with Cordova. Again, these samples should showcase the power of Cordova and the extension on all platforms.
  • Training Videos: The templates and samples can be brought to life by training videos that supplement the templates and samples above. Perhaps, have a course over at Microsoft Virtual Academy that get into the details of Apache Cordova and what can be done with it in Visual Studio.

Overall, as I said before, I am very excited about this extension and look forward to what the team has in store.

In the meantime, I wish them the very best and would like to let them know that their current work is much appreciated and future updates, greatly anticipated.

Also, the team is keen to hear from those of us who are using the extension or keen to use it, so feel free to email them: [email protected]

Also, please encourage the team if you are already using the extension or planning on using it. I am sure they’d appreciate that.

If I have missed anything or made any mistakes or been ignorant about anything, please leave a comment or tweet me (@SrikanthNair).

Thanks for reading.

Thank Sri :)Thank Sri 🙂

2 thoughts on “Multi-Device Hybrid Apps (Apache Cordova)”

  1. Hi, Srikanth. In answer to your question: yes, the product team is reading :-). My name is Ryan and I’m the lead Program Manager working on the Tools for Apache Cordova. I totally agree with your feedback. We need more start templates, richer samples and training videos. We’re working at a feverish pace and trying to develop as much content as we possibly can. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out our documentation at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn771545.aspx. If you need help with any particular issue, I also encourage you to find us on StackOverflow (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/multi-device-hybrid-apps) where our team tries to answer every (reasonable) question within one business day. You can also find us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/vscordovatools or me personally at https://twitter.com/ryanjsalva. I’d love to see your project when it’s done and hear about your experience building an app. It’s a fun technology to build on. Happy coding!

    Reply
    • Ryan, thank you for taking the time to not only read my post, but reply to it as well 🙂 I was away on holidays and haven’t had a chance to check comments till now and boy was I pleasantly surprised 🙂 I have taken note of the resources you’ve mentioned and will use them all as I move forward with my projects. Thanks again for stopping by!

      Reply

Leave a comment