Pepperoni spices up iOS and Android app dev

Mobile developers can get a slice of assistance from Pepperoni, which provides a blueprint for cross-platform app-building.

Also characterized as an app starter kit, Pepperoni works with Facebook's React Native JavaScript framework, to build apps for iOS and Android. Its core is an implementation of the Redux state container for JavaScript, enhanced with libraries like Immutable and redux-loop. On top of this, developers are building a modular app skeleton with capabilities like API communication, local data caching, and app navigation.

"We aim to help developers new to React Native get started building their first app the right way, and more experienced teams, such as our own, to kickstart new development projects at top speed," said Jani Eväkallio, lead developer of Pepperoni at Futurice.

Pepperoni features prebuilt components and boilerplates for common use cases; login, authentication, and user management via the AuthO identity platform; push notifications; and a cloud-ready back end. It can work with such back ends as a cloud-hosted BaaS like Firebase or a REST API, but BaaS solutions are often not flexible enough and building a new bespoke back end can take time, Evakillio said. "Mobile apps almost invariably need a back end, and since our promise is to make creating apps fast and painless, we want to help with the back end bit as well," he said.

Futurice has found that using NodeJS with the Hapi framework, paired with PostgreSQL database is a good solution. "We'll soon release a Pepperoni Back End Kit, which provides RESTful and a GraphQL APIs for seamless integration with apps created with Pepperoni."

Helping developers work with React Native is a key goal for Pepperoni. "React Native is a revolutionary piece of technology, but actually building production-grade software with it can feel quite overwhelming for the uninitiated because of the novel concepts it expects you to understand," Evakallio said. "The development landscape is something of a wild west, too, and people struggling to set up their environments, unit and integration tests, continuous integration and delivery, etc."

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