NativeScript deepens ties to Angular 2

NativeScript, Progress Software's framework for building native mobile apps with JavaScript, will be tweaked for performance and debugging with an upcoming upgrade. Further integration with the Angular 2 JavaScript framework is in the works as well.

NativeScript 2.5, due in January, will feature ahead-of-time compilation to improve boot-up time on Android devices, said Todd Anglin, chief evangelist at Progress. The upgrade also will be fully integrated with Chrome developer tools for debugging and working with NativeScript apps. Such capabilities as step debugging, in which developers walk through code one line at a time, and UI tree inspection will be available.

Windows 10 support will be added next year so that developers can share the same code they use on iOS and Android on Windows mobile units. Also on tap are polyfills enabling use of technologies such as the canvas 2D Web API. "We want to enable that canvas code to work inside of a native app or a NativeScript app," said Anglin.

Deeper integration with the Angular 2 framework and community, meanwhile, involves using Angular's command line interface and debugging tools, such as Augury. Angular 2 brings options for performing common tasks like navigating between views and binding views to data, Anglin noted. (Google released Angular 2 in September, and it is already planning Angular 3 for a March 2017 release.)

For performance, NativeScript builds native UIs, driven by JavaScript code running in a virtual machine. "It's not actually being cross-compiled into Swift or into Java or anything else like that," Anglin said. "It's the actual JavaScript running in this virtual machine, which actually can deliver very high performance." A native-to-JavaScript bridge translates between JavaScript and native API calls and vice versa.

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