It’s that time of year again, where we reflect on everything that happened in the last year with Ionic and imagine what 2016 might have in store for the Ionic world (See what happened in last year’s update).
2015 was a transformative year for Ionic. We launched Ionic 1.0, broke ground on Ionic 2, added official Visual Studio templates, raised some more money, launched tons of new backend services, built some new tools, released the new version of Creator, added some great new team members, built even more tools, and a whole lot more.
The theme of 2015 was “laying the foundation.” If 2014 proved that Ionic is here to stay as a massive force in mobile, helping push the limits of what the web platform can do on mobile and making sure that open web standards can compete with closed proprietary ones, then 2015 was all about making investments in the Ionic ecosystem, so we can make sure Ionic flourishes in the coming years.
At times it probably seemed like we were doing too many things (and we definitely felt that way, as well), but we’re finally starting to see the pieces come together, and I’m confident the Ionic community will love the cohesive stack we’ve built, with tools and services to take you from prototyping through developing and scaling your app, and making it as easy and as accessible as possible.
With that, here’s how 2015 went for Ionic:
By the numbers
- Ionic developers created over 1.3M apps with the SDK, a 300% increase over 2014.
- Six great Ionic books were published.
- 12+ online courses were created on Ionic, including eight on Udemy alone.
- Ionic went from 40 to 110 meetup groups around the world.
- The Ionic Forum grew to become one of the top 5 most popular hosted discourse forums, with millions of monthly page views.
- Ionic Framework GitHub stars doubled to 21k, and Ionic became a top 40 project on GitHub (out of millions of repos).
- Ionic SDK downloads increased from 50k/mo to over 320k/mo. Ionic is one of the top 1% most popular packages on NPM.
- Ionic Creator users created over 120,000 app prototypes.
- Over 250,000 users joined the Ionic Platform and worked on 200,000 apps.
- Ionic platform alpha testers sent over 30M push notifications
- Ionic Platform users invited 50,000 clients, customers, and teammates to collaborate on their apps.
- Ionic View was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, with great ratings on iOS and Android.
2015 saw even more great Ionic apps get built. A few of note include the New York MTA Bus Time, Adobe Social, Meerkat Movies, Card.com, and Predictabl (a personal favorite – official prediction games for football clubs like Real Madrid and Chelsea). Sorry in advance for the many I’ve left out!
If you’ve built a great Ionic app, tell us about it by submitting it to the official Showcase. We’re working on bringing more attention to the site, though many developers tell us they get some decent traffic from being up there!
Partnerships and Integrations
In 2015, Ionic partnered with IBM to bring Ionic and Ionic Creator to enterprise app developers. Ionic was also integrated into several popular products, including Appery.io, Reactor by AppPresser, Wakanda, and Firebase.
Additionally, we released new official templates for Ionic in Visual Studio, an effort we will be expanding on in the future.
In April, we announced that we were starting to build the next generation of Ionic, with initial support for Angular 2. We felt that, with the combination of ES6, new browser APIs like Web Animations and Flexbox, Angular 2, and the rise of frameworks like React, there was a great opportunity to take the lessons learned in 2013 and 2014 and build a foundation for the future of Ionic and the mobile web.
It was exciting to help in some small way with the creation of Angular 2, and the Ionic team worked closely with the Angular team through weekly meetings to help make Angular 2 an incredible framework for mobile apps.
We quietly announced Ionic 2 alpha two months ago, and are working hard on getting Ionic 2 beta out shortly, about which we will make more noise.
Earlier this year, we announced the alpha version of Ionic Platform: a suite of backend services focused on Ionic apps that bring the same simple approach of Ionic Framework to all the other hard problems in mobile, like push notifications, live updates, user authentication and management, and App binary builds.
Adoption of the platform was very strong, with 250,000 users signing up in 2015. We’ve seen some pretty strong adoption of our platform services, despite the “alpha” label, and we’re ready to graduate these services from the alpha testing period.
Suffice to say, there will be a lot more info coming on Ionic Platform very soon, so I’ll leave you with some suspense.
[INSERT SUSPENSE HERE]
In November, we released the official version of Ionic Creator, a simple prototyping tool that helps developers, designers, and project managers quickly build mobile apps and websites without having to code.
As the barrier to entry in the mobile development world lowers, tools like Creator help more people involved in a project participate in the development of apps. A project manager might prototype a design and generate real, clean Ionic code to give to a developer. Or, a developer might use Creator to quickly generate UI snippets and rapidly bootstrap new app projects. Either way, we’ve seen some great adoption with the tool already, with over 120,000 app prototypes created.
We’re currently working on improving the tool and working with service providers to add dynamic data prototyping directly into the tool. Let us know if you’d like to offer your service in Creator.
A few months ago, we opened the Ionic Market, the official source for Ionic templates, plugins, and add-ons. Since then, we’ve had hundreds of great resources uploaded by the community, with some developers even making their livelihood from the market.
The spark for Ionic Market came from us noticing how many amazing templates were being sold on sites like Code Canyon and Theme Forest. Some of these templates have had thousands of sales, yet many of these stores take 50% commission, which we think is too aggressive. We hope these developers can keep more money from each sale by putting their content on the market, instead (we take 0% of each sale).
Embracing the Mobile Web
It’s no secret that competition for how apps get built is higher than ever, and mobile developers have a plethora of options for building native and hybrid apps.
One unforeseen movement at the end of 2015 was the resurgence of the mobile web. With Google penalizing websites that simply push mobile web traffic to download an app, new Android features that put mobile websites on par with native apps, and data that suggests app store interstitials have huge abandonment rates, all of a sudden, the mobile web is back in a big way.
It’s kind of funny how cyclical the mobile web space is, and I’m proud that Ionic is pretty much the only widely used mobile framework today that lets developers deploy powerful apps both to the app store and to the mobile web, with the exact same code and using standard browser technology. This is something we’re going to really expand on in 2016, by making mobile web a first class deployment method in Ionic.
We think it really matters that the open web can compete with native, proprietary technology on mobile devices, and dramatic improvements in mobile web user experience in just the last two years since we created Ionic prove that businesses building on the mobile web stack can maximize portability, developer accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and user experience with a single app.
We’ve started expanding Ionic’s mobile web support to work on new mobile browsers and devices, along with adapting to slightly different UI constraints that mobile browsers add. We’re going to continue this work in 2016 to make mobile web a major use case for Ionic in a way that no one else is.
From all of us at Ionic, we want to thank you for your amazing support. None of us could ever have dreamed of where Ionic would be in just two years since the alpha launched, and it’s all because of the awesome work and support of the Ionic community. In many ways, Ionic has become the most popular cross-platform mobile dev stack in the world, and we’re incredibly excited about building and improving on it in 2016.
As you continue to build out great Ionic apps, services, educational resources, and addons, please share them with us by tweeting at us or submitting your resource to the Ionic Market.