Monthly Archives: February 2016

Android Development Setup Woes

I had been testing my Ionic app on an iPhone for a while when I thought I should try it on Android, after all that is one of the main selling points of hybrid mobile app development. Setting up the development environment for iOS on Mac OSX was super simple, until the convoluted certificate, key & provisioning chores. Super simple in comparison to Android development setup at least.

First of all I had to install the Android SDK, which, of course, is fair enough. Then I had to set up a virtual device, which again is fair enough. I started the simulator, oops I meant emulator… and several minutes later… nothing. A bit of Googling led me to install all the Tools and Extras for the latest Android SDK.  Now I’m getting somewhere, very slowly, …. at least Ionic claims that that the app has been installed and launched! Well, no it hasn’t actually…”Launcher 3 has failed”! FFS! What’s up now?

It turns out I’m not the only one to have issues with the Android emulator on Mac OSX. I turn to Genymotion. I download and install Genymotion. That doesn’t work either! FFS! It turns out I need to install VirtualBox first. FFS! No, in fact first I have to “Allow apps downloaded from: Anywhere” in Mac OSX to run Genymotion! FFS!!!

Finally, I get my Ionic app running on a Galaxy S6 emulator, and to be fair to Genymotion it is pretty quick compared to the standard emulator. Happy days… eventually. Then I remember that I haven’t got as far as creating the Android equivalent of Apple’s certificates, etc…


Is AppGyver the Best of Both Worlds for Mobile App Development?

AppGyver claims that it is the “Best of Both Worlds” when it comes to mobile app development, enabling non-coders and coders alike to build and distribute apps easily and quickly.

I was hired by a client to recommend a mobile app development platform for use by people with ideas but no coding experience. A simple app builder not just for the front end but also the back end was required. I evaluated several tools from a competitive and fast moving market. AppGyver stood out as the platform that wasn’t limited by its drag and drop simplicity. In addition to a drag and drop app builder AppGyver can be extended with custom built modules allowing non-coding and coding approaches to be combined.

Composer is AppGyver’s visual app builder; part interface builder, part data source integrator and part build service. Composer is a simple and intuitive tool allowing non-coders to develop and deploy a simple data driven app to a smartphone in minutes. AppGyver uses QR codes and its own scanner app to provide the easiest and quickest method of distributing apps for review that I have come across.

Steroids is AppGyver’s command line interface for building and distributing apps. It provides a useful connect screen that allows the app under development to be connected to the AppGyver and other cloud services. A word of caution… to avoid cryptic errors use nvm 0.30.x, node v0.12.x and npm 2.14.x when using Steroids. At the time of writing npm 3.x was causing undesirable side effects when on Steroids .

Supersonic is AppGyver’s framework, a fork of the open source Ionic Framework. It adds a little bit of AppGyver magic to the mix that gives near native performance by using native UI components to give quick and smooth page transitions. Accessing data is simple through the framework, e.g.‘Beer’) gets all the beers from a configured data source.

Composer pricing will be an issue for many. I’d recommend checking it out before getting too excited, although AppGyver do appear to be flexible and open minded about pricing options. Steroids and Supersonic are free to use.

I hope this helps someone who is looking for a non-coder friendly way of developing mobile apps that also appeals to coders. It won’t be for everyone but it should do well in what I guess is a niche market.

I’ve attached a presentation that I gave recently at a smart data hack, where I was trying to convince people to try AppGyver out. Unfortunately no one did try AppGyver but that was probably down to the time constraints of the hackathon. However, it was still a bit of a pity as I think this tool really has potential.