Ionic Event 2021 recap

On March 10, the folks at Ionic held their first quarterly update. The event was filled with exciting announcements and news! We’ve got you covered if you missed out — here’s everything you need to know.

On March 10, the folks at Ionic held their first quarterly update. The event was filled with exciting announcements and news! We’ve got you covered if you missed out — here’s everything you need to know.

Ionic is the leading cross-platform solution

The folks at Ionic shared some pretty impressive statistics about their platform. As of now, 15 percent of app store apps are being powered by Ionic and over five million developers use it worldwide.

This is due to Ionic’s “web-native” approach. Web developers use Ionic to build apps using whatever tools they're comfortable with. This includes React, Vue, Angular, and Vanilla JS. Capacitor, which is Ionic’s update to Cordova, gets installed 500,000 times every month.

The Capacitor 3 release candidate has launched

The Ionic team believes that the Capacitor 3 API is currently stable — the official final release will launch in the next few weeks. Capacitor 3 includes a large number of optimizations and improvements. Its internal architecture has been rebuilt from the ground up.

Here are a few features of Capacitor 3 that the team highlighted:

Official Capacitor plugins are now separate from the core

Older versions of Capacitor bundled all official plugins into the core. This made it easy to use them during development. Unfortunately, it also decreased performance and led to inflated app sizes. It also caused apps to ask for permissions that were frequently unnecessary.

Those plugins have now been separated from the core. Developers now have the opportunity to import only the plugins they need. This reduces app sizes and decreases the initial load time of Capacitor apps.

Web plugins are now lazily loaded

Another optimization to keep bundle sizes down is the new “Lazy Load Web Plugins” feature. This means that plugins are dynamically loaded only when they’re needed. It also ensures that platform-specific code isn’t executed at the wrong time. The result is increased performance and less unnecessary code execution.

Improved developer experience

Capacitor 3 makes the developer experience better. One of the most exciting new features is the cap run command available in the CLI. This enables a live reloading feature that lets you see your code changes instantly.  The result is less context switching and a smoother development workflow.

Additionally, Capacitor 3 makes developer’s lives easier with:

  • Support for iOS 14, Xcode 12, and Android 11
  • TypeScript configuration
  • Updated permissions APIs

Updates to the Ionic framework

The Ionic Framework is an open-source UI toolkit that makes developing apps easier. It contains over 100 UI components that are JavaScript framework independent.

Lots of work has been done to improve accessibility. Tools such as VoiceOver, NVDA, TalkBack, and more now work better with Ionic apps. Special attention has been given to the radio, checkbox, select, and toggle elements.

Beyond that work on the next major version of the framework has begun. The team isn’t ready to show off too much yet, but they did have a beautiful date/time picker on display. It will be interesting to see what other UI improvements they come up with!

Native plugin updates

Ionic offers several native plugins. These include:

  • Auth Connect (SSO Solution)
  • Identity Vault
  • Offline Storage

New platform-specific solutions are being added to these plugins. The Auth Connect plugin has received an update that integrates it with the React Hooks API. React integrations will come to other plugins soon.

Conclusion

The first Ionic quarterly update featured lots of news about the future of the framework. The event’s final announcement was particularly exciting. Planning has begun for Ioniconf 2021! Last year over 30,000 developers attended. Many more exciting announcements are sure to come! If you'd like to bring your Ionic app to Bitrise, check out our getting started guide for Ionic / Cordova apps.

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