Posts tagged AppBuilder

Ionic Framework and Windows Phone 8 Debugging

I recently worked on updating the Resgrid Responder app to utilize Ionic as the UI framework and Angular for the backend JS code. You can read through the reasoning’s for the switch in our previous blog post on the subject. The downside is that unlike Kendo, Ionic doesn’t have native support for Windows Phone.

At Resgrid we have to try and support as many platforms and use cases as possible. Resgrid is a SaaS product deployed on Microsoft Azure, providing logistics and management tools to first responder organizations like volunteer fire, career fire, EMS, search and rescue, public safety, disaster relief organizations, etc. It was founded in late 2012 by myself and Jason Jarrett (staxmanade).

This (http://appfoundry.be/blog/2014/10/16/ionic-windows-phone/) is a great resource for utilizing Ionic for your WP8 app, but we discovered it was lacking in a few parts. So utilize the excellent blog post by Vincent Bouillart above to get you started.

In this blog post we will be utilizing the Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova CTP3 and Visual Studio 2013 Update 4. If your using Visual Studio 15 Preview the same should also work.

Once those are installed you can create a new project. Our current project utilizes Telerik AppBuilder, but we just copied over/referenced our existing codebase in this project. The issue with Telerik AppBuilder is there is no good way to get information back from the device for debugging.

I started with creating a new Cordova project in VS.

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After that I imported/ported over my code:

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The config.xml is your Cordova config, double click it to get into your Cordova settings view. Next setup your Cordova settings to match your existing project. You could overwrite the config.xml and plugins directory with your current data, but because we utilize AppBuilder and they use non-standard configs we have to ours by hand.

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Now we added in all of our plugins that we needed. Note on our box/VS this was a VERY slow process.

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Next I set the configuration to Windows Phone 8. For me Universal did not work properly, but WP8 did. I also ensured I was set to Debug.

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Now this is where I got lost. If you just debug on the device here you will get nothing! No output and to be honest my apps just crashed when they started up. But open up the project on your file system then navigate to the folder below:

bld\Debug\platforms\wp8

You should see another Visual Studio solution, this is the one that you will get debugging information from.

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When you open up this project this is where you will find the MainPage.xaml where you set:

this.CordovaView.DisableBouncyScrolling = true;

When you have your WP8 device hooked up now you can debug the app.

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If you open up the output window in Visual Studio you will now see error output (if you followed the above blog post).

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Debugging WP8 apps from the original VS project may work in the future, but as of right now you need to load up and use the bld\Debug\Platform\wp8 one.

From Visual Studio & AppBuilder to Sublime Text 3

I’m a die hard Visual Studio guy, it’s been my primary IDE since I started as a full time software developer. I’ve played with other IDE’s of course, Eclipse for Java and Android development, XCode for iOS/Objective-C Dev. My favorite non-VS IDE’s are usually from JetBrains so IntelliJIDEA, RubyMine and WebStorm. But I’ve always used an IDE of some sort. When I was at DevIntersection’s in Las Vegas I only had my Macbook Pro laptop, I could have used Fusion or Parallels to continue development but recently Telerik Announced a node command line interface and a Sublime package of their AppBuilder platform.

Sublime_Text_Logo

We all know ‘those’ developers, the ones that use command line for everything, can program something in Notepad and look down at us IDE users like were addicts. Look at the mouse as some kind of torture device and have command line shortcuts for every conceivable function, yea ‘them’. I’ve always looked at that as elitism but now I was going to try living in their world, if only for just a week.

So my mission, regardless if I wanted to or not, was to use Sublime Text 3 for an entire week for my mobile AppBuilder development. My setup was Sublime Text 3 with Package Control, AppBuilder and GitGutter packages installed. On the machine itself I have NPM and AppBuilder-CLI. I wanted to take a peek at OmniSharp but seeming I was only doing hybrid mobile development I didn’t get it setup.

So after a week how do I feel about it? Will I turn into an elitist jerk? Short answer no, long answer, maybe. After a week using pretty much stock Sublime Text 3 and AppBuilder CLI I can say I totally get it. My experience is that Sublime Text 3 is half text editor and half IDE, a lot of IDE style things (like the project view (file list on the left), IntelliSense, syntax highlighting I feel fall more into IDE components then a text editor

What I don’t like about Visual Studio, and I think is symptomatic of all larger IDE’s, is bloat and speed. They are rather clunky at times and contain every option under the sun. What I found was that just using Sublime Text I was quicker, the editor was quicker to respond, there were no issues with it jamming or getting stuck and I wasn’t overloaded by ‘ohh shiny’.

I was extremely productive in Sublime Text 3 working on the new Ionic Framework port of the Resgrid Responder app. Resgrid which is a SaaS product deployed on Microsoft Azure, providing logistics and management tools to first responder organizations like volunteer fire, career fire, EMS, search and rescue, public safety, disaster relief organizations, etc. It was founded in late 2012 by myself and Jason Jarrett (staxmanade). Our Responder app is geared toward first responders and intended to be used on the go as they respond to incidents.

The overall experience was quite freeing and it makes me question how many extensions and addons I need in Visual Studio. Although I won’t be replacing Visual Studio with Sublime anytime soon I may replace AppBuilder’s Windows IDE with Sublime. I can’t afford their Visual Studio extension for AppBuilder so I use the win client and although it works pretty good the editor is quite a drag and sometimes completely messes up. When I work in Sublime I have no such issues and the AppBuilder-CLI works great and their Sublime package is getting there functionality wise.

Sencha Complete Massive Price Increase

In February 2014 I blogged about a price increase for Telerik AppBuilder (at the time named Icenium) in the range of 350% for a single developer. In the post and subsequent follows ups I mentioned that how a developer oriented company, like Telerik and Sencha, should treat their single/small developers with reverence. It’s these single and small developers that get hooked on the product and eventually find jobs at larger companies where they then bring that love and pitch the new component, tool or product.

SenchaTouch_Preview

In my February blog post I mentioned that an alternative to Telerik AppBuilder & Kendo UI would be Sencha touch. Although they don’t have cloud build or a mobile development IDE you can utilize any editor, PhoneGap build and Sencha to replace AppBuilder and Kendo. My reasoning for this is that Sencha always seemed focused on the development community and supporting the small, single and open source developers. Boy what can change in 9 months.

A reader stumbled upon my old blog post and emailed me with a link to Sencha’s forums where users and outraged about the almost thousand fold price increase for a single developer! At this time it’s up to 43 pages of pissed off developers. The original OP mentioned that they could get Sencha Complete for around $695 bucks for a single developer (around $300 apparently with a ‘no support’ option).

Checking on Sencha Complete’s store I get this:

2014-11-23_11-53-18

That’s right people, if you’re a single developer, or a team of less then 5 you gotta pay almost $5,000! That’s a 600% increase for a single developer from the original $695. If you break it up, your paying $965 per developer in that which is already an increase of 140%.

My mind cannot even fathom what they are thinking. With this single move they are killing grass roots developer use of their product. They do have open source options, but a quick glance shows they have really ripped the guts from those OSS offerings, unlike Telerik that almost completely Open Sourced Kendo UI (now Kendo UI Core).

Having Open Source versions of your tools, components or controls is great. But it’s not the end-all-be-all that companies like to think it is. You also need to couple that with paid options that are attractive to single developers and small shops. Personally, I would NEVER spend $5,000 for control suite for a single developer or even a few developers. Usually your yearly maintenance is based on that initial invoice, so you’ll also be paying $500 to $1,000 a year a in maintenance.

The developer uproar should get the decision makers at Sencha to realize they made a mistake. If they reverse course that’s great, but the fact is in the short term this will make them more money. But in the long term, as less and less new developers make it into large companies they will start loosing that business. The developer eco-system is a long play, don’t sacrifice long term survival in the name of short term gains.

The only thing I can say is that if your looking at Sencha Touch for mobile development stop right now and look at the Ionic Framework or Kendo UI instead. Don’t let the ‘amount’ of controls affect your decision, it’s not quantity is quality, you can easily build anything you want with either solution.

Personally I’ll be blogging a lot more about the Ionic Framework in the near future, *hint* *hint*.

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