At Ionic, we’re always looking for ways to enable developers to build amazing apps faster and easier than ever before. Today we’re announcing something totally new to bring a nice improvement to your mobile development workflow: Ionic DevApp.

DevApp is a 100% free mobile app for iOS and Android that makes it easy to test apps directly on your devices. DevApp offers a realtime view of changes as you’re making them, with a rich library of pre-installed native plugins to test every feature of your app.

It’s basically ionic serve with native support, running on all your devices.

Check it out:

The Problem with Local Testing Today

One of the biggest challenges of testing apps in development is the time and effort it takes to setup and maintain your development environment. In order to see your app running on a device, you need to have all of the native dependencies installed (XCode, Android Studio, Cordova, etc) and properly configure your phone or tablet. That’s one reason Ionic developers have come to love the ionic serve command: run “ionic serve” from the CLI and your app instantly appears in the browser.

But we know that browser testing – with all its speed, simplicity, and convenience – isn’t the same as seeing your app on an actual device. Not only do you miss how your app looks on a phone or tablet, you don’t have access to all the native features to see the full functionality of your app.

A Better Way to Test Apps in Development

We built DevApp to solve this problem. Ionic DevApp brings the rapid development experience of the web browser to native apps to provide one of the fastest mobile development experiences out there. That means:

  • LiveReload to see changes as you’re making them. DevApp allows you to see your changes immediately on any devices running DevApp, as soon as you make them in-code.
  • No native dependencies. Viewing your app on a device requires nothing but the “ionic serve” command. There are no native dependencies like Xcode or Android Studio, and no need to set up profiles on your devices.
  • Preinstalled native plugins. A rich library of the most common Cordova plugins come preinstalled with DevApp, allowing you to test the full native functionality of your app.
  • iOS and Android support. DevApp runs on any current Android or iOS device. You can view your apps and test changes simultaneously across phones and tablets. It also allows anyone to develop on an iOS device from a Windows machine.
  • Auto-discovery of apps running locally. DevApp connects to your WiFi network and automatically scans and listens for the “ionic serve” command in order to load and display apps that you want to test.

Getting Started with DevApp

1) First, make sure you have the latest version of the Ionic CLI by running npm install -g ionic.

2) Install the the Ionic DevApp. DevApp is available for Android here on the Play Store and for iOS on the App Store.

3) Connect your device and your development computer to the same WiFi network.

4) Open up DevApp on your device.

5) Run ionic serve on your computer to serve your app. You should then see the app you are serving pop up on the DevApp.

6) Click on your app and boom, you now have a development version of your app running on your device complete with LiveReload and cordova plugin support.

What about Ionic View?

Ionic View will continue to be the official way to share your app with others. In fact, we have recently pushed a big update to Ionic View that you can read more about here.

To better cover the local development use case that a lot of developers were using Ionic View for, we decided to split Ionic View into two apps: Ionic DevApp for local development and Ionic View for sharing your app with others.

Thanks

The whole Ionic team has been using the new DevApp for our own internal development, and it’s been a hit. In fact, we used DevApp to develop DevApp!. We’re confident you’re going to love it, too.

The DevApp is really new, and we’d love your feedback. If you have any thoughts or run into any issues while using the app, please share it with us on the Feedback Mega thread on the Ionic Forum.

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