NativeScript, for JavaScript-Based Native Mobile Apps, Hits Version 5.0

Development tools company Progress today announced NativeScript 5.0, its open source framework for creating native mobile apps with JavaScript.

Specifically, in addition to plain old JavaScript, developers can use the Angular and Vue.js frameworks and TypeScript, the Microsoft-backed open source take on JavaScript that features optional typing.

With the NativeScript approach, developers can create app UIs with HTML-like syntax using NativeScript XML, Angular or Vue.js, write the app logic with JavaScript, provide styling with CSS, and deploy iOS and Android packages that use JavaScriptCore (iOS) or V8 (Android) to call native APIs.

With enterprises scrambling to acquire hard-to-find developer talent in the face of growing demand for business apps, Progress and other JavaScript-based tool vendors tout the advantage of using familiar Web technologies instead of relying upon native development with languages such as Objective-C, Swift and Java. The company said that approach has proven popular as the framework, launched in 2015, has recently hit the 3.5 million download milestone.

In the new release, Progress touted new Hot Module Replacement functionality, which reportedly allows for instantaneous, stateful application updates without full page reloads, quickening development cycles. This is in beta and the company promised more details to come.

Also new is NativeScript-Schematics, developed in conjunction with Angular creator Google, to integrate the Angular CLI.

Other new features highlighted by Progress include:

  • New "Instant Start" CLI workflow said to help developers begin work on native apps in five minutes with no up-front requirements to install iOS and Android SDKs
  • Vue.js support providing a core Vue.js developer experience through a single file component in the NativeScript Playground
  • A streamlined "Getting Started" experience with the aim of easier development with Playground-compatible code samples available in the NativeScript Marketplace
  • Android enhancements such as increased animation scenarios and more material design capabilities
  • Vector type support for iOS to enable a broader set of augmented reality scenarios for iOS

Going forward, the company in a Nov. 6 blog post forecast new features coming in a v5.1 "Christmas release" such as:

  • Angular 7 support
  • More scenarios on flexible root composition with Angular
  • Fixes and improvements on Hot Module Replacement

More information will be provided in the release notes.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.