The Top Open-Source Framework for Mobile Apps


Ionic is an HTML5 Mobile development frameworkDevelopers in all industries are rapidly discovering the benefits of using Ionic's front-end framework for developing hybrid mobile apps, but for eCommerce companies, speeding app development becomes mission-critical for building loyalty, differentiating websites and staying competitive. The Ionic platform, which uses Angular JS to build frameworks that host robust functions, makes it easy to utilize libraries of code-sharing resources and build high-performance cross-platform applications. Some developers, however, worry about using open source materials for proprietary commercial apps -- especially those frameworks that use browsers to run cross-platform apps -- because of time lags, stutters, slower scrolling and other performance issues.

Ionic provides essential tools, services, preprocessors for sharing code and other options for optimizing performance, and the advantages of getting new apps into the stores faster outweighs most remaining performance shortcomings. Creative coding strategies, open source fixes and sharing insights with the greater IT community make it possible to build high-performance apps using Web technologies like CSS, HTML5, JS and Sass. Essentially using native wrapping and functionality for browser-powered applications, Ionic and Cordova accelerates development. It's just up to each developer to choose the wrapping components, compression strategy, preprocessing tools and other enhancements to balance app performance with speed-to-market issues.

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Pre-Launch and After-Launch Strategies

During the development process, programmers can take advantage of shortcuts, preprocessors like Sass, uglification and other strategies to enhance performance in multiple areas. It's important to test each app on various devices before releasing it to the Google Play or Apple App stores, and it makes sense to conduct the tests on various devices and networks to understand what kind of experience customers will have when using different connections and equipment. Getting things as tight and accurate as possible is essential for getting high ratings at the stores, but developer efforts don't need to stop after launching an app. Building the most useful apps for eCommerce customers is a collaborative effort, and savvy companies take note of customer reviews, ratings, comments and suggestions for improving app performance in upgrades and new iterations.

The best strategy is not to restrict users from sharing information socially because sharing can create buzz for an app, engage customers and strengthen loyalty when the app is updated. New iterations can fix old problems, and mobile Darwinism favors apps that can evolve. The following areas are important issues that developers can fix pre- or post-launch to enhance app performance:


Performance Testing

Developers need to understand how their systems operate on multiple networks and devices, so testing is key to determining actual speed. Emulators just don't work because they tend to be slow. It's also important to remember that customers use various devices and networks, so load testing is important for testing the performance issues of different customer profiles.


Speeding App Performance

The speed of a given app is critical because customers won't use apps that load or access features too slowly. Developers can optimize hybrid app speed by optimizing JavaScript code and concatenating and minimizing it to reduce load times. Examples of tools and strategies that can increase app speed include:

  • Native Scrolling
    Ionic offers developers an option to use native scrolling instead of its default JavaScript scrolling. The option can be enabled per view on an ion-content tag.
  • Replacing Collection-Repeat
    Replacing collection-repeat with ng-repeat can reduce stutter when used with native scrolling.
  • Defining Class Methods
    Defining class methods for each instance of baz.Bar is inefficient.
  • Compression
    Minification removes unnecessary characters but makes code difficult to read. Fortunately, customers don't read code. Developers should compress images and files as compactly as possible to reduce running and loading times. Ionic's Gulp-build system saves time but uses more space. Developers can switch to an Ionic-generator that uses Grunt JS and use less than half of the code needed for Gulp.
  • Content Delivery Networks
    CDNs include services that reduce network latency and speed up apps with various techniques like network routing optimization. CDN networks include Amazon CloudFront, Limelight, Akamai, Edgecast and telecommunications companies like AT&T and Level3.
  • Asynchronous Transfer
    Large apps can be loaded in stages when loading big data takes too long. In this scenario, the app can start using content before the whole app loads. For example, video streams use asynchronous streaming and begin playing after a little buffering. Hybrid apps can use software like Blaze FEO or Riverbed Stingray Aptimizer to optimize content based on Google's performance rules.
  • Instance Variance Declaration
    Placing the initialization/declaration variable on the prototype with value type instead of reference type prevents running the initialization code each time the constructor is accessed.
  • JavaScript Initialization
    Initialization can greatly reduce app speed, but developers can minimize this problem by moving every nonessential JS file to the bottom of the page or by using "async" and "defer" attributes.

The key to increasing app speed is to remove unnecessary characters, compress files, use third-party delivery services and access parts of images like logos for multiple purposes. Developers can search for technical coding tips to reduce code and reuse code in multiple ways to speed app performance.


Improving Design

Simple designs and architecture not only enhance app performance but also makes apps easier to use. Since hybrid apps are already hosted on browsers and connected to the Internet, there's no reason not to take advantage of external resources, but keep in mind that customers might not have fast Internet service. What appears blazing fast on a business network might look like a slide show to some customers. Avoid using too many external resources, and never use more pages, tabs and page elements than necessary.


Optimizing Third-Party Plugins

Third-party plugins comprise one of the major advantages of using Cordova's open source platform when developing apps. Developers can search for plugins for extra functionality, device-specific capabilities, native sharing and cross-platform support for Battery, Dialogs, Camera, Geolocation, and other key functions.


Optimizing Images

There's no simple workaround the fact that images use a lot of space and processing speed, but developers can compress images further with tools like compressor.io and CSS Sprites for smaller images. Photo-sharing services might be an option for saving space, but it's a tradeoff for eCommerce companies that want to differentiate their apps and websites from other companies and their resources. Net Pics allows its users to take pictures and synchronize them with online services.


Making the Most of Ionic's Services and Features

Ionic offers developers all the functionality for building hybrid apps that native coding provides, and these functions include mobile components, extensible themes, typography choices, interactive paradigms and a powerful command-line interface that allows programmers to generate custom app Icons and Splash screens, enable push notifications, build native binaries and add Cordova plugins. It doesn't really matter whether developers build hybrid or native apps -- more complex apps simply suffer from reduced speeds and performance. Each project is a balancing act that savvy developers understand requires sacrificing speed as applications become more complex.


Issues with eCommerce Software Performance

Another critical issue that parallels app performance is an eCommerce company's operating system performance. Unless this software is robust, app speed and performance won't get the results that company decision-makers want. Co-processing issues arise, and slow websites, inefficient notifications, incomplete updates and other internal software issues can nullify the benefits of a sleek, fast app. If companies use third-party services, performance is often out of their control, but their operating software affects how efficiently all areas and services integrate within the operating system.


How Clarity Can Help

Clarity's team of engineers can help your company deploy to multiple platforms and integrate apps seamlessly with inventory, shipping and other business operations like SEO and social media initiatives. We'll help you balance the benefits of iterating quickly and the demands of optimizing performance. Working with mobile apps and marketing requires frequent adjustments and iterations, and Clarity's eCommerce software accommodates changes and updates with truly modular and scalable solutions. Our experts can customize your software to meet the rapidly evolving challenges of eCommerce from mobile development to monitoring reviews and comments on your app's performance. Call or contact Clarity today for a free quote, eCommerce consultation or apt app development advice.


Please click below to contact Clarity with any questions about Ionic development or for a free consultation.