AppGyver Launches Supersonic, A New Framework For Hybrid Apps

AppGyver quickly made a name for itself over the last year with the help of Steroids.js and Composer, its drag-and-drop tool for building HTML5 apps. Today, the company is announcing its biggest product release yet with the launch of Supersonic, its new framework for both building user interfaces and data. It’s also launching a new and significantly faster wrapper for Android and updating most of the Steroids tooling.

As AppGyver CEO and co-founder Marko Lehtimaki told me earlier this week, Steroids gave developers the basic components to build basic native user interfaces, but Supersonic takes this a step further and now allows developers to create complete interfaces — and for the most part, they don’t even have to touch JavaScript to do so. Instead, Supersonic uses web components to extend the standard HTML syntax to help you build your app’s navigation, tabs and animations. You only build your interface once and then AppGyver ensures that everything looks right on both Android and iOS.

“We made it much easier to build the whole user interface and navigation,” Lehtimaki told me. “First we provided UI elements and now we are blurring the line between native and HTML.”

On the UI side, Supersonic is a fork of the open-source Ionic framework.

Supersonic isn’t only about building user interfaces, though. Lehtimaki stressed that the company also wanted to make working with databases on the backend easier.

“Generally, data is always quite challenging with mobile apps,” he noted. “We wanted to make using cloud services a very natural and integrated part of the development experience.”

Supersonic gives developers an easy way to interact with backend databases. Out of the box, it supports the likes of Parse, Kimono and — and the company now even provides its own free database service for prototyping apps, too (and then you can switch over to your production backend with a few clicks). You can also use any REST API, so you don’t have to worry about vendor lock-in (or at least not from AppGyver’s side).

Clearly, there is some overlap between the old Steroids and Supersonic, but going forward, Steroids is going to be the name for AppGyver’s tooling, and Supersonic will be the name for the framework. That tooling, which includes services for building, testing and distributing apps, traditionally involved working with the command line, but now that the company’s product lineup continues to grow, it is also launching a web interface to make interacting with these features (and the new database service) a bit easier.

With today’s launch, AppGyver is also releasing a new version of its native wrapper. As Lehtimaki admitted, the company previously mostly focused on iOS and only then on Android. With this release, it wants to make Android a first-class citizen, though.

The Android wrapper is now much faster — up to 3x from the earlier version — thanks in large part to the integration of Intel’s Crosswalk project. With this, AppGyver doesn’t have to rely on the standard Android WebView, with all of its inconsistencies between different Android versions. Now developers don’t have to worry about the usual Android fragmentation issues anymore and all of their apps should work the same across devices and Android versions.