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NativeScript Gets 'Sidekick' to Boost Mobile Business App Development

Progress announced new components for its open source NativeScript mobile app development framework, including Sidekick for faster and easier development of mobile business apps.

To that end, Sidekick provides starter templates and verified plugins that NativeScript developers can leverage for functionality such as local or cloud-based builds, debugging and more.

Other new offerings include a NativeScript playground, marketplace and a free 450-page training book.

Progress said the Sidekick tool takes care of tedious tasks associated with mobile app development, letting developers concentrate on the "exciting parts" of coding in the IDE of their choice.

The lightweight GUI client companion tool to NativeScript builds on the functionality of that framework, aiming to simplify the development process and ship apps quicker.

"NativeScript Sidekick is designed to be an unobtrusive companion that complements a developer's favorite code editor, IDE, source control system or other tools," Progress said. "Offering iOS provisioning profile/certificate generation, improved LiveSync, and a preview of Visual Studio support, NativeScript Sidekick speeds development efforts, enables higher quality apps, and maximizes existing resources."

The new tool comes with subscriptions to Progress' cloud services, with pricing available here.

Other components or functionality added to the NativeScript platform -- which allows for mobile development using Angular, JavaScript or TypeScript -- include:

  • Augmented reality support preview: With NativeScript, developers can build apps for iOS and Android leveraging the latest augmented reality (AR) APIs in iOS 11 and Android Oreo. A true, cross-platform plugin for creating AR experiences that work on both iOS and Android is in the works for NativeScript.
  • NativeScript Marketplace and verified plugins: The new NativeScript Marketplace helps coders find and download high-quality plugins for mission-critical NativeScript applications. It features a new "verification" process for authors to help make their plugins stand out. The Marketplace will be expanded to include app templates, page templates and complete visual themes.
  • NativeScript Playground: A new, browser-based sandbox enables developers to experiment with the NativeScript framework to build native mobile apps for iOS and Android, which the company said will enable them to get started quickly with NativeScript, without barriers or time-consuming installs.
  • NativeScript UI is 100 percent free: Progress has freely released all proprietary NativeScript UI widgets, giving developers access to all of the NativeScript professional UI components for personal and business applications.
  • "The NativeScript Book" is Free: Through a partnership with the NativeScript community and offering more than 450 pages of in-depth training material, "The NativeScript Book" is available for free at nativescript.org/book.

Source code for Sidekick is available on GitHub.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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