It was all started from a Mobile App project.
Not long ago I got a Mobile App project opportunity. I was always looking for new opportunities to get back to mobile development and advance my knowledge and skills for App development. I've done a few research for latest Android App development environments which is different with the old days when I used to work on Android in eclipse (I also used to compile App from Android system source code directory with " mm or make ") and tried to make a few prototypes. However I was not able to finish any of the prototypes due to time and workload for my full-time daily job.
The project was an App for both iOS and Android which can get news and sell tickets from our current website, also my director wanna a AR function to promote our concert due to the popularity of Pokemon Go.
It's not that hard for me if it's only aim to Android or only have AR function which I can use Unity 3D to handle the AR part and the rest just a standard Android App. I have to do my research to give a estimated scope and budget for this project.
The solution I found was quite surprising - Ionic.
Why Ionic is the solution?
As their website stated: Performance obsessed.
When I found out Ionic, I didn't think it would be my best choice, but it was interesting. I downloaded few demo and deployed in my phone(I'm using an iPhone 6), it was pretty straightforward, download code, build to iOS, open Xcode, run...
And to my surprise, it was fast and felt natively. Our app is not that complicated, I think the performance is good enough to handle our needs.
Can Ionic handle AR?
The AR library I was looking at was Vofuria, it was simple, easy to use (I've tried in Unity3D) and free version was satisfied our needs. However, there's no library made for Ionic.
Another AR framework I've worked with was Wikitude. It's more expensive, but have native CORDOVA SDK which is what Ionic based on. So theoretically it should just work right?
The story will never be just that simple...
I downloaded all SDK and framework tried to put a simple demo together, but it doesn't work! After some googling and forum hunting, I finally found a middleware framework library's working demo at Github: Ionictude and it worked flawless.
This experience opened a new door for me, especially the Angular JS - the essential part of Ionic which handles the front-end logic. I have used AngularJS on other projects and it's easy powerful and community is quite active. It's really great I can also use it on Mobile development.