Anatomy of a Mobile App development project

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 5.14.22 PM“Being the first to respond to a deal on Axial gives you a 19% greater chance to closing it.” – Peter Lehrman – Bloomberg Business 2015-09-11

It is based on this insight that, for the past 6 months, Axial has assembled a team dedicated to putting together a solution that gives the investors the power to control and direct deal flow within the palm of their hands. Introducing Axial Mobile for iOS!

Native vs Hybrid

Over the past few years, a recurring topic has been whether to develop mobile apps using native languages (Swift/Objective-C for iOS or Android SDK) or hybrid frameworks relying on platforms’ browsers (UIWebView for iOS or WebView in Android).

While the native approach allows for a closer integration with each platform’s abilities and greater hardware responsiveness, the decision to go with the hybrid approach was motivated by several factors:

  • one unique codebase:
    • ease of maintenance,
    • multi platform deployment simplified,
    • simplified testing
  • ability to use a familiar framework:
    • smaller learning curve
    • supporting resources immediately available
    • ease of development scaling if required
  • maturity of the Ionic framework:

The choice of Ionic Framework

Over the last two years, Ionic has grown to become the reference framework in the hybrid community, providing custom industry standard components built on the Angular framework

Relying on Apache Cordova to enable developers to access native device function such as the camera or accelerometer directly from JavaScript, Ionic has created a free and open source library of mobile-optimized HTML, CSS and JS components, gestures and tools for building interactive apps from JavaScripts.

Moreover, the Ionic.io platform comes with a complete hybrid-focused suite of mobile backend services to integrate powerful features such as push notifications and rapid deployment.

Since we have adopted Angular as our reference front-end framework, it is only natural for Axial to leverage many of Ionic components and services in order to deliver the most embedded experience to its members.filter

Push notification integration

Using Ionic.io’s push service, we have the ability to notify members of deals they receive instantly. Our members also have the ability to adjust their notification preferences:settings

We can also very efficiently trigger updates in the background so that it ensures a smooth user experiences by preloading updated data using silent notifications.

Rapid deployment process

The Apple App Store release process takes approximately a week. However, in order to fix critical issues or release changes rapidly, 7 days can seem like an eternity.

For this reason, Ionic.io’s deploy service allows us to release any non binary affecting changes on the go. As a result, having this flexibility allows us to ship code more frequently, enhancing our members experience without forcing them to go through painful, often delayed (or forgotten) updates via the App Store.

Contributions to Ionic

Despite numerous features and wildly embraced standard components, Ionic may have some gaps. As we have discovered during the implementation of Axial Mobile, while the right-to-left swipe gesture on a collection repeat item was available, the opposite left-to-right gesture was not.

Thankfully, building a wildly adopted Angular framework, it was simple enough to implement our own left-to-right swipe gesture and submit a pull request on Github in order to contribute to the framework and give back to the open source project.swipes

Future Developments

Having shipped our Axial Mobile version 1.0 on September 21st, we are now awaiting feedback from users.

Our members now have the ability, in the palm of their hand, accessible from anywhere, to pursue or decline deals and create conversation around the ones that catch their interests.
Soon, we will be integrating HelloSign services to provide a way for our members to sign NDAs and other documentation directly on their smartphones screen, allowing them to engage one step further in the deal making process.

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