NativeScript -- Not Yet Ready for Large Development Efforts
Eric Bewley | TrustRadius Reviewer
April 29, 2020

NativeScript -- Not Yet Ready for Large Development Efforts

Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with NativeScript

In an effort to move from having separate projects for Angular web development and Android Studio for Andriod app development, I have been trying to replace the multiple projects with a single NativeScript project and add support for iOS devices. I have worked as a consultant for other organizations who also tried to use NativeScript for the exact same reason. One of the prior organizations was a large US government department, and another was a private organization who facilitates the trading of goods internationally.
  • Executes really fast compared to other alternatives
  • Compiles down to native code and runs as a native app
  • Provides a way to split custom content, including CSS styles, into separate files per target platform
  • The ABSOLUTE WORST documentation I have ever seen for an environment which advertises direct involvement with Google and other vendors. Their website content appears to be written once as a version comes out, and then is never updated again as follow-on versions with significant changes are released.
  • Examples provided are often written from an expert's view, making far too many assumptions, and containing too much outdated content, to be useful to any developer who is just learning the environment.
  • Some areas of considerable interest, such as the development of composite plugins (draw on the use of existing components as opposed to new native components), are void of ANY useful support.
  • Support is left up to the use of stackoverflow.com questions and answers, and several of those who respond frequently, do so with language which comes across in an arrogant manner, and only serves to help in a specific instance, not in a global manner which would be useful to all.
  • The description of the environment is misleading. One is often led to believe that use of NativeScript will significantly reduce development effort and time. I would venture to guess that in most cases, this is untrue. A lot of effort is spent trying to keep the web app and the mobile apps at the same level of development, because the NativeScript components DO NOT support web pages. The user interface of a web app is still almost entirely new development.
  • The appearance of an Android mobile app is only like that of an iOS mobile app about 90% of the time. You cannot develop an app in NativeScript for an Android device, and expect it to look the same for iOS apps. Organizations who read about NativeScript, are misled into believing that the will be able to reduce staff by eliminating all Android developers or all iOS developers. To do so, is unwise, and in most cases, I believe that organizations will find it easier to develop for one mobile platform and then have the other mobile platform follow one version behind.
  • NativeScript advertises that it provides great support for Angular and other environments. While I cannot speak directly to those other environments, I can say that the integration between NativeScript and Angular is CLUNKY and PROBLEMATIC! What is easily accomplished in Angular, is a headache in NativeScript, and ends up degrading the quality of use within Angular. For example, Angular allows for developers to very easily develop components which reduce code duplication. Developing a NativeScript UI plugin (aka composite plugin) is made so difficult through the abundance of BAD information on the NativeScript website and manual operations to get it to work within Angular, that it defeats the purpose of building them. I see developers spending more time trying to fix the integration of a UI plugin than they spend in actually using the plugin.
  • The poor quality of NativeScript documentation has the potential to weigh heavily on development timelines, budgets, and QA resources in a NEGATIVE manner.
  • The poor interoperability of NativeScript plugins can significantly increase development time.
  • The need to seek out professional instruction to learn how to use NativeScript effectively may become a burden on your budget.
  • The number of breaking changes between versions of NativeScript, may cause your development efforts to lag further behind the most recent releases of NativeScript and your other chosen environments than you are accustomed to.
  • NativeScript still does not support the latest major version of Angular. Any significant changes to the other environment components of your systems may hold you back even further while NativeScript plays catch-up.
I have use AngularJS and Angular for many years, and when it came time to build a mobile app, I was asked to use Android Studio. I did not have any trouble in developing apps separately with these two technologies. By trying to combine web app development and Android app development via NativeScript, I find that NativeScript is still quite immature in its development, and strongly recommend that anyone considering the use of NativeScript, do so after performing several proof-of-concept of their existing needs.
My focus has been, and must remain, with obtaining support from web resources over that of paid support programs. Many companies, including those of government agencies, do not have a budget sufficient for paying large sums of money to other organizations to answer questions. Even in cases where an organization did purchase support programs, developers often found that the delays in obtaining responses to development issues was excessive. I give NativeScript the lowest possible rating, due to the fact that their website content is severely outdated and of little use to a developer in a crunch. The NativeScript environment may be far better than I have been able to report, but held back from excelling due to poor support content. Being that I am often asked to push the boundaries in various areas, improper documentation is highly detrimental to a development team, and thuss a review. I would be more than happy to improve this review as the content of the support documentation provided by the NativeScript team makes its way to their website in the form of real-world examples which are applicable to all versions, or at least the most recent versions, of their product.

Do you think NativeScript delivers good value for the price?

No

Are you happy with NativeScript's feature set?

No

Did NativeScript live up to sales and marketing promises?

No

Did implementation of NativeScript go as expected?

No

Would you buy NativeScript again?

No

NativeScript by itself, appears to be a reasonable environment for the development of simple apps between a web app and mobile apps. Do not read their white papers and accomplishments of their development team members, but rather what external developers are saying.

If you are looking to add the use of NativeScript to an existing environment, give your developers several months to work through several significant scenarios individually in full-fledged (not stubbed) proofs-of-concept. Impress upon those developers, the need to delve deep into the construction of NativeScript UI plugins which require interaction with other areas of functionality within the environment. Even if you believe that the out-of-the-box functionality of NativeScript appears sufficient, ask each of your developers to attempt the development of a couple of NativeScript plugins which interact with the native functionality of both Android and iOS.

Once your development has had ample (or excessive) time to provide you with working proofs-of-concept, please listen intently to all of the concerns posed by those developers. Do not accept a summary report of their efforts. I cannot stress this last one enough, because this is often when large development teams fail, and/or end up going way over budget.