We are considering moving our app development to dropsource from Ionic Creator. Are you happy with the platform? Is there anything you wish you’d known when you got started as opposed to what you know now? Thanks in advance for any help or insight?
Hi @tpt welcome to the community.
I will try give my honest views here and hopefully other people can share their experience too.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most happy I can be with any development platform like this I will say i’m currently at 6.5. I was at 5 just a few weeks ago. But the addition of the Maths action just jumped my happiness level that high. I will be at 8 when the plugins feature is released and a 9 when some productivity enhancements (like do/undo, copy and pasting elements with actions, duplicating a page with actions ,etc)
Just for comparison I will rate my happiness with Wordpress a 9 and Bubble an 8.
Unfortunately I haven’t tried Ionic Creator before so can’t do a relative comparison.
Before i dived into Dropsource i did some small reading about what features were available and which weren’t from their use-case-compatibility list. If you haven’t looked at that page you should.
So there wasn’t much of a surprise because I knew what I should be expecting.
But to answer you question directly there are definitely a number of things I wish i knew before i dived in.
Most of them may not seem big but once you start developing an app it may be the difference between you quitting the app or having to completely change your app concept to suit what is available.
First, it is one thing knowing that an Android Button element is available and another thing knowing which properties are available. This is a very important point that shouldn’t be brushed aside especially if you already have decided on a particular design. There has been many times i wish I could set a corner radius for elements in android like you can in IOS but couldn’t. This has cause me to sometimes rethink about my design entirely.
If you go through this forum expecially if you run through the feature request category you will see a number of these issues where an element exists but some properties that one will want from that element isn’t available.
I had to put some app idea i had on hold because i needed to use Dropdowns for some specific functionalities but there was no way to remember the previously selected value of a Dropdown or set it to a specific value (with the newly realeased Maths action one can do some workaround now).
As you can see these are minor issues but for me personally those are the things that have been my pain points with dropsource and I wish i knew some of these before hand.
One thing i must point out though is that if you come across such an issue and you make a feature request to Dropsource and it is an easy add they normally do in the following updates.
The second issue had to do with productivity. I came to dropsource because i wanted to be able to create my apps very quickly. But i found out that sometimes one is not as fast as they will want and a lot of time is wasted on things that shouldn’t take much time.
Top on my list was debugging. With the Network Activity Log feature this has improved a lot but you’re still going to run into cases where your app build will fail and you will have no idea why. Dropsource support is great and very responsive but normally you should give yourself about 24hrs turn around. And if its on a Friday night then you will have to wait till probably Monday evening to get a response since they might have a lot of backlog of questions from the weekends.
This can be very frustrating if you had planned to work over the weekends.
If your app crashes while running in the simulator, there is no way to get some debugging information unless you download your app, install on a device (physical or android virtual device) and connect to android studio to read the logcat.
These are things I wish knew.
The third thing i wish i knew also relating to productivity is copy/paste and redo/undo. As an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), i expected these to be available out of the box. I was a bit surprised when i first tried to undo something and realized there was no undo/redo feature. Its one of those things that you’re aware and think you can deal with it but keeps worrying you. I once accidentally deleted my whole page design i had spend 3 days creating ( I normally put all my elements on a page in a high level view for easy duplication) and there was no way to undo it.
There are several times that you need to duplicate some workflows but currently you’re not able to. This is something that I wish i was aware too.
And oh one last thing, get a good mouse, you’re going to be doing a lot of clicking. This is one thing I wasn’t expecting especially being a keyboard person. I think Dropsource is too “clicky” and that is something that you may not be aware. When you start and you’re building things slowly it wont be a bother but once you become very familiar with the system and want to work really fast, you’re going to realize that the too many clicking slows you down.
But having said all this, I believe i’m still way much productive using Dropsource than if i was writing code in say android studio.
The good news is that Dropsource is under active development and they keep addressing some of these issues.
Since i joined this platform i’ve seen a continuous improvement and I can imagine in a few months most of these concerns will be addressed.
But as you asked, these are things that you need to be aware of so you manage your expectations and plan accordingly.
But without a blink I will recommend Dropsource 100% to anyone both developers and non-developers.
I will end here by also asking you a question.
What is making you consider switching from Ionic Creator to Dropsource?
I will be happy to hear your response.
Thanks so much. This was more than I expected and a terrific response. I am leaving Ionic Creator as they have completely dropped the product and the ability to export a viable ipa file with an updated APK for the App Store. Apple is no longer accepting Ionic Creator generated compiled code due to an outdated APK. Ionic creator has finally admitted after months of asking that they are no longer supporting the product and have no plans to update to the latest IOS APK. Basically, they’ve stolen $30 a month from every subscriber for 6 months until they decided to drop it.
My biggest concern with Dropsource at this point is that it appears you have to pay $999 PER PROJECT to access it’s source code. Is that correct?