Update 3/18/2016

Happy New Year!

Hope all is well! As for me, I have been very active. Recently I have released two new applications as of lately, my first iOS release and my first cross platform release. This will make three apps I have release to the app store and working on a fourth that should be done in about a month or so. Check out the new additions below:

  • A Student Information Database – The application connects to the Parse.com backend and stores information put into a form. This will be updated because Parse is on the road to sunset so currently looking for a different backend provider and it looks like it will be Backendless. This app uses Kendo UI from Telerik, Parse backend and the web stack of HTML/JS/CSS.
  • Since I am in graduate school and making the best of my time, I decided to give back to the university and my department by making a mobile application for recruiting. It will give you information about the Computer Science department as well as the College of Engineering Facebook page, AAMU School Calendar and a contact form for more info.

These new apps are apart of my new learning experience in Cross – Platform development. I am learning to develop mobile applications using HTML, Javascript and CSS. It adopts the “write once, run everywhere” philosophy. This is helpful with getting ideas to production a lot quicker and cut down cost for development teams that cannot hire iOS and Android developers. It can get pretty pricey for both platforms and it can also get “technically” overwhelming because of using two different native languages (Objective-C/Swift for iOS and Java for Android). With the cross platform style, you write the apps in the web programming languages, utilize some of the design practices such as Bootstrap and MVC from the desktop web side and send it through the PhoneGap compiler that builds the native binaries and BOOM, a mobile application. Now with everything there is a good and bad, doing the cross platform isn’t any different. There are some performance issues with cross platform. This isn’t a killer con to a project unless what you are building requires some heavy lifting on the native side then you might want to make that investment. This isn’t a hidden issue either, most cross platform developers know this. But the expansion of Javascript and the evolution of all things tech, the gap between native and cross platform performance is starting to narrow. There are also some features that may not be supported in the cross platform project. This issue is also being mitigated by Cordova APIs and plugins. Depending on the platform, they are making way for native features to be easily accessible via these APIs and plugins. I will say one BIG plus of cross platform is the support of APIs. When I use the term APIs here, I mean that there are companies opening up their systems to allow developers to use their chops on extending products/services using a current platform’s features. Companies adopting the open source/developer API route is making way for cross platform developers to build applications for a wide range of reasons. For example, one project I am working on will allow data to be parsed via an API and updated, hopefully, in real time.

Another BIG BIG BIG plus of cross platform, and something I just recently learned about, is building desktop applications using the same technologies! When I heard about this, I was floored. There is a JS framework called ElectronJS and it looks promising. According to their website, companies such as Slack, Microsoft, Facebook and more have built desktop applications using ElectronJS and succeeded. This has opened up the avenue for other developers, as well as myself. Someone who has studied your typical C#, C++, Java and etc, I am now able to use my existing skills (and career path tools) to build those same applications but adopting the same “write once, run everywhere” philosophy but for DESKTOP!! Hearing about it sparked an idea and I am putting in crazy hours to see this come to life. The above project mentioned about parsing data via an API will be built and released as a desktop application. This will be a big, big accomplishment for me. I really cannot wait to see how this will turn out. The Javascript framework  I am using is called D3.js . It is called D3 because it’s Data Driven Documents by taking a JS framework, use a .CSV or SQL script, parsing the data via a remote connect via a database or manually inputing the data via <script> tag then displaying the data in a visually appealing chart. The people who need large data sets converted will greatly appreciate this. Anywho, enough of my rambling, I am just excited about everything going on.

 

Peace and love to you!!!

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