Today, we are excited to announce the alpha of a new product from the Ionic team: Ionic Portals. Ionic Portals is our first product aimed at native mobile app developers and provides a supercharged Web View native control to enable native and web teams to better collaborate and bring new and existing web experiences to mobile in a safe, controlled way.
The vast majority of apps in the app stores need to integrate web assets for specific screens and experiences. It could be for authentication forms, features such as mortgage applications, or to bring web experiences to mobile without needing to port them to native. And this is the case even for teams that are fully invested in a traditional native app development stack.
But bringing these web experiences to native mobile apps and code bases is anything but straightforward. Teams struggle to integrate web apps with native functionality and do it in a safe, controlled way that doesn’t disrupt the roadmap of the traditional native development teams, and they are stuck reinventing the wheel by extending stock Web View controls such as WKWebView.
Ionic Portals is built on the industry leading Capacitor hybrid app runtime used by companies like Burger King, Paylocity, H&R Block, and Aflac to deploy mission critical apps. It’s essentially a supercharged Web View native control with a ton of features missing from the stock Web Views on iOS and Android.
Today we’re opening our alpha product waitlist looking for teams struggling with this exact problem to help us make sure we are building this the right way. Interested? Read on to see how to join the list.
Supercharged Web View
Most apps these days embed Web View native controls selectively to pull in features or pages from a company’s existing web experiences or to enable web developers to contribute features to the app. While the stock Web View controls available on iOS and Android are capable of displaying web content, they lack features like exposing additional native functionality to the web experience, the ability to program plugins to create new APIs on the web side, a robust web-to-native communication bridge, or the ability to deploy live updates to embedded web experiences.
Ionic Portals solves this by providing an advanced Web View native control that can be used just like the stock Web View but with the ability to programmatically define new APIs web developers can consume in a controlled manner, calling into the native code explicitly allowed by the native app team.
Solving Native and Web Collaboration
When we talk to traditional native app development teams, most express frustration at having to interrupt their roadmap in order to port or incorporate existing web experiences. On the other side, web and product teams are frustrated at not being able to independently contribute to the app and launch new features in a timely manner.
Ionic Portals solves this problem by enabling native and web teams to collaborate in a safe, effective manner through a capable Web View control while leaving native developers in control of their codebase.
Why are we Building This?
Capacitor, the technology powering Ionic Portals, has taken off recently and is now installed 500k times every month and used to power major apps by startups and large enterprises. However, while working on Capacitor, we couldn’t shake the feeling that we were only solving one side of the problem: web developers building net-new apps.
The other side of the problem, native developers and teams bringing micro web apps to existing native mobile apps, felt both unsolved and something we were uniquely suited to solve given our deep experience in hybrid app development.
After being approached by many teams building well-known apps looking for a solution to this exact problem, we knew it was time to bring our hybrid app technology to the rest of the mobile market.
Join the Waiting List
Ionic Portals is currently in closed alpha with a few early adopter mobile teams. We’re looking for developers on teams that are struggling to enable their web and native development teams to collaborate or those that are unsatisfied with the limited features available in stock Web View controls such as WKWebView.
Interested? Visit the Ionic Portals alpha page to learn more about Portals and join the waiting list!