While a large percentage of developers cite HTML & JavaScript as their preferred development languages, only a small fraction have been able to put those skills to use developing mobile (namely Android & iOS) apps. In this post, we dig futher into this conundrum, and look at how we hope to solve it.

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According to a recent Microsoft presentation on the state of the development world, HTML/JavaScript are the languages that most developers feel confident using. In a cited survey from the presentation, a whopping 42% of developers said they prefer working in HTML/JavaScript, however, only 17% of those people said that these were the primary languages they used when developing mobile apps. 

Yikes.  That’s a serious disconnect between how developers want to work and how they feel they have to work when developing mobile apps.

And it’s understandable:  iOS and Android app development through web languages (known as hybrid app development) hasn’t been perfect in the past. Tools that facilitate this type of development haven’t been perfect, and device hardware and mobile internet speeds have been legitimate concerns for those considering hybrid app development.

Recently, however, with the proliferation of 4G and similar speeds as standard for mobile internet, and device hardware leaping forward, hybrid apps began reaching performance parity with natively developed apps, removing the need for natively coding separate apps (and learning Swift/Java) for iOS and Android.

That took care of one obstacle, but we still didn’t see a great platform for efficiently developing these types of apps with “web dev” languages, namely HTML/CSS/JS.

We know you probably saw this line coming a few paragraphs ago, but:  That’s where Aquro comes in.

Our goal from the beginning has been to make it possible for every web developer to become an app developer using the languages they are already confident using.

Of course, there were already some platforms that allowed for this kind of development in its simplest form, but we felt that they left out a missing piece of the puzzle that lay in actually making an efficient interface and tools to help accelerate several of the processes involved in hybrid app creation.

Here are a few of these processes we’d like to highlight in particular:

Page Creation

Just as any other web application, most mobile apps center around the concept of pages, with each page having a specific purpose. In Aquro, we’ve worked to create a process that helps speed up page creation without sacrificing control.

Pages can be quickly mocked up and created within your app with our Visual Designer and a selection of templates, or created from scratch with your own development skills.  Whether using a Visual Designer template page or your custom made page, you’ll be able to customize every look and behavior with your own HTML markup, JavaScript codes and CSS styles.

Component Creation 

Forms, fields, images, buttons, and beyond:  To be able to quickly create and edit the components that live in your app is essential to any development platform worth its weight.

For this reason, all components created with Aquro’s Visual Designer are essentially HTML snippets with build-in Handlebars templating support.  All ready-made components are completely open source within the Aquro App Studio, meaning you can copy and modify components in any way you see fit.

Of course, you can write HTML and Handlebars markup to create your own completely new components as needed.  Again, our goal is to make processes easy and out-of-the-box, but still provide options when you need something we haven’t thought of yet.

Writing App Logic

Creating the logic that tells your app how various pages, sets of data, and components should interact is essential, though often tedious.  In order to speed up this process, we’ve created Visual Coding, a system that lets you use over 100 ready-made JavaScript blocks, and string them together with an intuitive flowchart process to quickly create app logic.

The flows you create with these blocks will be automatically generated into functioning JavaScript blocks. For more information on Visual Coding and how it works, check out these recent blog posts:

- Visual Coding, Explained

- 3 Quality of Life Updates We Just Made to Visual Coding

Of course, we also let you create your own JavaScript scripts to create any functionality you need.  You can even save your own scripts for repeated use in your apps later on.

Accessing Native Device Hardware

Accessing device hardware – camera, GPS, local storage, and more - with apps created via Aquro is easy, greatly increasing the types of apps you can create.

JavaScript libraries powered by Cordova expose these hardware features, meaning that, just like everything developed in Aquro, hardware access can be configured just once and it will function on both Android and iOS when your app is published to the Google Play and App Store marketplaces.

As with everything else, hardware access and behavior can be created either with our ready-made Visual Coding elements or with your own JavaScripts scripts.

Our Theme & Mission

As you can probably tell, we’re working hard to fill the gap between dumbed-down drag and drop platforms and their tedious native coding counterparts.  Specifically, we want to give web developers and other technically inclined individuals a way to develop apps that simultaneously increases development speed without sacrificing control and customization.

Will it work?  You be the judge - try it out for yourself for free here!

About the author
Brandon has worked in multiple customer success and marketing roles for software startups, and has a passion for community building and communication within the tech industry. In the past, he has worked as a freelance writer. In his free time, Brandon enjoys learning new things, making music, and writing about himself in the third person.

Brandon Landis
+46 (0)7-002 466 85