clip_image002Many thanks to everyone who joined our live webinar on March 27th discussing and demonstrating how to use the Telerik Platform with Visual Studio. We covered a lot of ground, showed a lot in a series of demos, and answered a bunch of your questions during the session.

The most frequently asked question of the session was: “Can you share your webinar materials?”

Sure! I’ll one up you on that: We have published the slides, sample code, and the webinar video is available on YouTube if you want to watch me again and again.

Let’s get to your questions, and I’ll do my best to give you some answers:

Q: Do we have to use KendoUI to build hybrid apps with AppBuilder?

A: Nope… you can use any HTML you would like with AppBuilder. The only requirement is that you include the Cordova.JS library on your HTML pages.

Q: Can I write a code-behind in C# with hybrid apps?

A: Sorry, no.. Hybrid apps are built with HTML and JavaScript. No .NET is required to build an app in AppBuilder.

Q: Can you suggest a setup to write code in C# and HTML to design?

A: Try something like ScriptSharp, that compiles C# to JavaScript to build your application code. Otherwise, you could try TypeScript to get a C#-like experience that generates JavaScript as well.

Q: What’s the story for supporting Windows devices?

A: You have the best options with Telerik for developing native applications in Windows. Try our WPF controls to build applications for Windows Desktop, Windows 8 XAML or Windows 8 JavaScript to build Modern Applications for the Windows Store.

Q: Are there any success stories about using AppBuilder and those apps in the app stores?

A:  Yes... check out the list of AppBuilder Success Stories.  A quick search of the Google Play store shows a number of apps built with AppBuilder.

Q: I’m new to the Telerik developer community. What is the best way to get started with KendoUI?

A: First off: Welcome! Check out our KendoUI dojo for some great tutorials, and our KendoUI demos now have inline edit capabilities. This allows you to take the demos into a browser with a code editor and change them to see what happens.

Q: Can I use the Telerik device simulator outside of AppBuilder?

A: Sorry, our device simulator only works with AppBuilder.

Q: Any chance the Apple App Store can reject apps created using Telerik AppBuilder?

A: I cannot speak for Apple’s practices and policies in managing their app store. They reject apps all the time for lots of reasons. We have not seen applications constructed with the Telerik Platform rejected because they were built with the Telerik Platform.

Q: Are there offline database capabilities with hybrid apps?

A: Yes! There is a SQLite plugin available that you can download and configure. Check out this great blog post from our Rob Lauer on the topic.

Q: Can we use a KendoUI combobox with server-side filtering in a hybrid application?

A: Yes, your users will need to be connected to a network in order to get the server-side filtering to work from your web service.

Q: Are there any relevant Pluralsight courses?

A: Check out this great course from Steve Michelotti on Appbuilder.

Q: Do we need to purchase a Telerik license to use AppBuilder for development?

A: You can get started building and deploying test applications to devices for FREE. Check out our package pricing for Telerik Platform.

Q: Are you able to test custom Cordova plugins with the companion app?

A: No.. this is not something the companion app can do. You will need to deploy to a provisioned device.

Q: What is an “Everlive API key”?

A: Everlive was the former name of our Backend Services module. Grab your API key from the Backend Services project in your Telerik Platform workspace. Click the API Keys menu item on the left side and your API key will be in the middle textbox on the following screen.

Q: Is it possible to publish a line-of-business application using the QRCode instead of using an app store?

A: Anything is POSSIBLE, but is that what you really want? We’re starting a trial for the next module of the Telerik Platform called AppManager. Sign up for a beta and see how you can deploy to internal users with our new service.

Q: Does your service have to be hosted on Azure for it to work?

A: No.. you can host your web services anywhere you please. We recommend Telerik Backend Services if you don’t already have your own services provisioned and hosted somewhere.

Q: Can I use TFS with Telerik Platform?

A: Yes, with the Visual Studio Plugin for AppBuilder, you can work locally in Visual Studio and use your existing TFS source control and project management processes.

Q: Why choose native development over hybrid?

A: This is a tough question to answer. Personally, I choose native development over hybrid if my organization’s product is an app in an app store. I want to make sure I have optimized code for only what I need in my application. The hybrid application is running inside of an application that holds a browser that your app runs inside of. There are multi-threading scenarios and real-time access to the device sensors that hybrid simply cannot do as well as a native app. The good news is , Telerik Platform supports both approaches with AppBuilder and native controls for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

Q: What is the best way to authenticate and secure services from the web app?

A: I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you…. No, that’s not right… Peter Vogel wrote a great article in June 2013’s MSDN Magazine discussing how to secure ASP.NET Web API and access it with JavaScript. That should get you there.

Q: Is there a way to deploy the hybrid application as a web app?

A: Interesting.. that’s keeping things really DRY. You can certainly share files between projects in Visual Studio. You’ll want to exclude the Cordova.JS references in your web version. This may be something that you could script with Grunt or GulpJS.

Q: Does AppBuilder work with Tizen?

A: AppBuilder does not currently output Tizen binaries. If this is a feature you are interested in, please vote up and comment on the Tizen Support request on our feedback portal. Tell your friends! The more support a feature request has, the faster we will move it to the front of the queue of features to build.

Q: Can we use AJAX and Bootstrap?

A: Sure, you can use any CSS and JavaScript libraries you would like in an AppBuilder project.

Q: Do I need a Mac to provision an iPhone for local device debugging?

A: No. You should be able to use an iOS developer account (which Apple requires to deploy to their store) to unlock your device and then you can provision it for development.

Q: Can AppBuilder access the camera and work with notifications?

A: Yes! We have a sample Camera App that you can download and see how we connect the camera plugin to an application. Notification services can be configured using our Backend Services, and we have a blog post showing how your app can be configured to work with notifications.

Q: Is there a GUI designer available?

A: Yes! There is an uber-cool designer available in the online AppBuilder IDE.

Q: How is this different on a PC compared to a Mac?

clip_image003A: There is no difference; the applications should run the same in the online simulator

Q: Can we use AppBuilder, DataVis, and AngularJS in a hybrid app?

A: Yes! We have a number of blog posts describing how to use KendoUI with Angular.

Q: Can we develop a multi-device app using ASP.NET MVC?

A: Not directly. ASP.NET MVC runs on a web server, and the devices do not host a web server. You can use ASP.NET MVC to construct a web site formatted for mobile devices, but you cannot use it to deliver the HTML content of a hybrid application.

Q: Does AppBuilder support RavenDB?

A: No, it does not appear that there is currently a plugin for RavenDB.

Q: Does the QRCode deployment load the application in a browser?

A: Not exactly. The QRCode is a trigger that deploys the application code to our AppBuilder Companion App that you install on your device.

clip_image005Q: Can I use Visual Studio 2010 with Telerik AppBuilder?

A: Yes! Telerik AppBuilder extension for Visual Studio supports Visual Studio 2010, 2012, and 2013

Q: What is the name of the extension in the Visual Studio gallery to download and use AppBuilder with Visual Studio?

A: Search for: “Telerik AppBuilder Extension” and that should find our tools. Here is what that screen looks like:

Q: What happens if you are travelling and want to work on an app?

A: If you are working in Visual Studio, you should be able to code and work with the simulator locally with no problem. Otherwise, you will need to connect to the Telerik Platform online in order to debug with a device or use any of the other online services.

Q: Can we build games on the Platform?

A: Certainly. However, if you want real time access for your code, I recommend building a native application.

Q: Can we authenticate with Active Directory?

A: Ahh.. there’s a corporate developer. We have documentation on how to link and register users with ADFS available.

Q: Does Telerik Platform require Azure?

A: Nope… You can use Telerik Platform with any server you would like. Our friend in a red golf shirt would prefer if you used Azure for your web services.

Q: What happens to the apps that I create when my Telerik Platform subscription expires?

A: Nothing. Your app source code stays with you in your source code repositories, and your apps stay in the store. You are welcome to use the Telerik Platform for as long or as little as you would like. Once you are done development, you are under no obligation to continue to pay for development services, but we think you may want to continue to use our Backend Services and Analytics tools.

Q: Is there a list of native APIs supported by AppBuilder?

A: You can find a list of the currently supported core and integrated plugins in our documentation. You can add custom Cordova Plugins to any AppBuilder project.

Q: Can I use TypeScript with AppBuilder?

A: Certainly! Just be sure to configure your script markup to reference the JavaScript output by Visual Studio.

Q: Does AppBuilder support writing to local storage and the synchronizing with a server when network connection is restored?

A: Yes, you detect the network connection state, write to local storage, and sync data later. It would be a set of instructions that you would need to write.

Q: Our app will contain sensitive data, how can I access that data in our database?

A: Check out my sample code to see how I exposed my data using an ASP.NET Web API. You should be able to write a similar API that accesses your data store.

Q: What about Windows Phone?

A: Windows Phone is now supported in the AppBuilder simulator and debugger. Very soon we will have support for direct app store publishing.

Q: I installed KendoUI mobile, do I need Appbuilder to see it in the template list?

A: KendoUI mobile is a set of JavaScript and CSS libraries. The project template only comes with the AppBuilder extension. Go ahead and install the extension to get the template.

Q: Does Telerik support editing on a Mac?

A: Of course! We have support for Sublime through a new Sublime package.

Q: I have an ASP.NET app that uses the Microsoft identity management for authentication. It would be nice to see how to work with the Telerik Platform using that authentication.

A: Great idea… I’ll talk to the team and see if we can put together a blog post demonstrating the technique.

Q: Is a hybrid app a native mobile app, or is it running under a browser?

A: Yes, and no… A hybrid app is a deployed application that comes from an App Store. However, it is a specially hosted application that features a browser window with the chrome turned off and features of the device exposed to it through JavaScript APIs. Your code runs in that hosted browser window.

Finally, no webinar summary would be complete without highlighting our favorite question:

Q: WPF? Jeff, take it easy on the Gluten Free Cool Aid!

A: Thanks.. I’m taking my non-existent XAML skills and learning WPF. I keep wondering where all of my DIV and SPAN tags went!


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About the Author

Jeffrey T. Fritz

Jeffrey T. Fritz is a Microsoft MVP in ASP.Net and an ASPInsider with more than a decade of experience writing and delivering large scale multi-tenant web applications. After building applications with ASP, ASP.NET and now ASP.NET MVC, he is crazy about building web sites for all sizes on any device. You can read more from Jeffrey on his personal blog or on Twitter at @csharpfritz. Google Profile

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