Progress NativeScript Framework Aids Native Mobile App Dev

Progress this week released a beta version of NativeScript, an open source JavaScript framework that enables developers to invoke native APIs across multiple mobile computing platforms.

According to T.J. VanToll, developer advocate for Telerik, a division of Progress, NativeScript will allow developers to build native applications running on Apple iOS, Google Android, and down the road — the Windows Universal platform.

NativeScript, available under an Apache license, won’t replace other JavaScript frameworks but rather will allow developers to build native applications using their JavaScript skills whenever and wherever they want.

Developed by the Telerik unit that Progress acquired last year, VanToll says support for NativeScript has been added to the Telerik AppBuilder development tools.

The primary benefit, says VanToll, is that developers no longer have to learn Objective C or Java to build native applications that generally perform better when they invoke the APIs exposed on the native platform. That doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be times when an HTML5 or hybrid approach to mobile application development won’t be preferable. But it does means that JavaScript developers can more easily leverage their skills across multiple application development scenarios.

VanToll says by releasing NativeScript under an open source license, Progress is hoping to build an ecosystem that will lead to more mobile applications that will invoke backend services created by Progress or any other platform vendor that chooses to add support for NativeScript. The company claims that developers have already created more than 20,000 apps using Telerik platforms.

NativeScript, scheduled to exit beta this May, is the second major open source initiative launched by Telerik. The company also created Kendo UI Core, an open source implementation of a set of user interface widgets that Telerik developed for mobile computing applications.

In the meantime, JavaScript in all its forms continues to gain traction on both client side and server side. In many instances, JavaScript is seen as fulfilling the original cross-platform promise of Java. The challenge has been taking advantage of that cross platform capability without having to sacrifice capabilities of a specific platform or build an application that was slower than what could be built natively on that platform.

It remains to be seen how many developers will embrace NativeScript given all the other JavaScript development frameworks that already exist. But given the historical debate between native versus Web applications, NativeScript as an open source option could create an alternative framework that could put an end to a debate that is increasingly becoming more moot with each passing day.
 

Be sure to read the next Tools article: Groovy Project Joins Apache Software Foundation

 

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