Major improvements just added!

We just pushed some major improvements to Reactor apps, here’s what you need to know.

New Features and Updates

  • Lots of caching and performance improvements: list views now hold your place when you go back
  • Single post caching: any article you view in the app is cached so it loads faster, and it works offline
  • Update to the latest version of Phonegap and plugins: we are now using Phonegap cli-5.2, along with npm versions of most plugins.
  • Crosswalk: you can now use the crosswalk plugin, which enhances Android performance. Read more below.
  • Minor bug fixes

Please note: you will have to rebuild and resubmit any live apps to gain access to these features.

Enhance Android Performance with Crosswalk

Crosswalk is an enhanced webview to make your app faster on Android. Without going into the technical details, it’s awesome and you should use it. To enable on your app, go to your app’s Build/Test tab, then scroll down to Phonegap Config. Copy/paste this there:

<gap:plugin name="org.crosswalk.engine" version="1.3.0" />

Rebuild your app, and try it out on your Android device to see the performance boost (will not work in our preview app, you must build for your device).

Potential Issues

You may need to clear your device cache to see any changes. On Android, go to Settings->Apps->Your App->Clear Data. On iOS, you can delete the old app completely before re-installing.

If you are seeing issues with the browser preview of your app, please make sure you are using Safari or Chrome. Clear your browser cache and refresh a couple of times.

Custom Phonegap Plugins

If you have added any custom Phonegap plugins under your apps Build/Test tab -> Phonegap Config, you may have to update them.

Many plugins require their source to be changed to npm. The new plugins look like this:

<gap:plugin name="cordova-plugin-contacts" source="npm" version="1.1.0" />

Notice the plugin name, and source have changed. Not all plugins have moved to npm, so please contact the plugin author for help, or look the plugin up on npm.

Enjoy the new features and better performance in your apps!

Potential iOS9 Bug Affecting Thousands of Apps

iOS9 comes out September 16th, and unfortunately there’s a pretty major bug that affects all apps built with AngularJS, including Reactor apps.

The bug has to do with the Webview used in hybrid apps, along with the window.location property in Javascript. In plain english, it breaks stuff when you try to change pages in your app. It has to do with the router in AngularJS, and it only affects apps in iOS9, not desktop or Android apps.

This is a bug on Apple’s side, and it will affect thousands of apps, not just Reactor apps. A fix may or may not be available when iOS9 comes out, so as a precaution we’ve pushed a fix for this issue to our code in Reactor.

Unfortunately you have to rebuild and resubmit your apps to Apple to apply this fix, there is no other way to do it.

What should I do?

You have 2 options:

1. Rebuild your app in Reactor, and submit an update to the app store.
2. Do nothing and hope Apple releases a fix soon.

I would be very surprised if Apple didn’t release a fix, because thousands of apps will be broken on iOS9 until they do. However, there are no guarantees.

My hope is that Apple will release a fix next week and no one will have to do anything, and all this commotion will be about nothing. However, we can’t just sit on our haunches, so the best we can do is apply a fix for anyone who wants it.

We will stay on top of this issue and let you know if anything changes.

To learn more about this issue and get a patch for your self-hosted Ionic projects, read this post.

Cheers!

Reactor Preview App

New: Reactor Preview App

Preview your Reactor apps on your device without any messy certificates or developer accounts.

The new Reactor Preview app for iOS and Android allows you to download the app you are building and view it on your device without any setup.

Reactor Preview App

Download for iOS Download for Android

To preview your app, visit the Apps page in your Reactor account. Rebuild your app, then enter your username, password, and preview code to download the app to your device.

For detailed instructions, please see the preview app documentation.

ios-cert-hell-770

A Complete Guide to the Hellish World of iOS app Certificates and Profiles

If you’ve ever attempted to create a mobile app for iOS, you have been through the hellish world of iOS certificates and provisioning profiles.

To submit an app to the app store, you are required to get a developer account, generate a certificate, export that certificate into a .p12 file with a private key, create an app ID, create a provisioning profile, then build the app with your .p12 and provisioning profile.

To make matters worse, you need to do this process in a different way for developing your app, using push notifications, or publishing your app to the app stores.

stress-reduction

There are a million ways to screw this up, I know because I’ve done it wrong many times. You reach a point where you know you did everything right and it’s still not working.

This guide is to help those who have been beaten down by the iOS certification process, and have lost all hope. Fear not! We’ll get you back on track to meet that deadline, let’s dive in.

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Beginner's Guide to Phonegap

The Beginner’s Guide to Phonegap

Phonegap is a platform that allows you to build mobile apps.

Specifically, you can build hybrid mobile apps that use web technologies, and turn those into a ‘native’ app that can be submitted to the iOS and Android app stores. That means you essentially build a static website with HTML, Javascript, and CSS, and Phonegap can turn that into an app.

It is an incredibly useful and mature platform, and it’s used by almost everyone doing hybrid app development. We use it for our Reactor apps, along with the Ionic Framework.

There’s some confusion around how Phonegap works, and it definitely has it’s quirks. I’m going to explain it in a way beginners can understand in this article.

Read More

Google Maps

Using Custom Google Maps in Reactor

Reactor allows you to add Google Maps with geolocation to your app.

Let’s say that you are building an app that shows all the restaurants in downtown San Diego, and has a map that pinpoints each restaurant location. In addition, the map will show the location of the app user, so they can see how close they are to each restaurant. In the app, you want to display all the restaurants, then show a map with both the user location and the restaurant location.

We’re using restaurants as an example, but this same method works for any location, whether it’s stores, churches, historical sites, etc. Let’s talk about how to make this app with Reactor.

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Ionic + WordPress

Build a Mobile App with the WordPress REST API and Ionic

Ionic is a mobile UI framework, helping people build awesome mobile apps more easily.

It works great with WordPress as a back-end for your mobile app data, in this article we’ll build a mobile app with Ionic that uses WordPress data. This tutorial is for developers, if you are not comfortable with code, you may not get much out of it.

Ionic

ionic-logo-300

Ionic allows you to add elements to your app such as menus, page transitions, modal windows, and handle your data with pre-built “drop-in” components. It is built on AngularJS, although it abstracts much of the complexity of Angular away, and makes it easier to use. Over 600,000 apps have been built with Ionic, and they just released version 1.0 a few days ago.

Mobile apps built with Ionic can be published on iOS and Android, and more platforms are coming soon. Ionic apps are super fast, beautifully designed, and a pleasure to use.

Hybrid apps have admittedly been terrible in the past, but Ionic, along with advancements in device technology, are changing that quickly. Using a well-built Ionic app on a modern device is almost indistinguishable from a native app in many cases.

Where does WordPress come in?

wordpress-logo

WordPress is the most popular content publishing system on the web, it comprises 24% of the entire internet. Mobile apps need somewhere to store data, and WordPress is where 24% of website data lies. Using Ionic with WordPress is an important integration for any developer.

A new development in WordPress is the WP-API, which allows you to output your site content into a standardized JSON API. Since mobile apps normally use an API to get remote data, using the WP-API is a great way to get your WordPress data into a mobile app.

Let’s look at how to use the WP-API in an Ionic mobile app.

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