Weex framework - fresh blood in the cross-platform development ring

Cross-platform app development market keeps evolving. Here we will introduce you to Weex - a new framework, which will soon chase the market leaders such as React Native, Ionic, and others.

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Remember the breathtaking success of Vue.js, which quickly became one of top three frontend technologies for JavaScript alongside Angular and React? Now, these recognized giants are being chased by a powerful newbie with Chinese roots whose popularity continues to grow.

It is hard to predict the success of a framework. Though, it is always worth it to follow the most promising technologies currently in development. Who knows, maybe one of them will revolutionize the market, and you will be prepared for that revolution.

One technology worth your attention is a cross-platform framework Weex, a sibling of Vue.js. Why a sibling? Both frameworks have similar backgrounds and are connected with China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba. Weex allows to use Vue.js to build not just web apps, but also mobile applications for iOS and Android. Let’s take a closer look at this novelty!

Write once, run everywhere

When developing a mobile application, choosing a platform has always been a bit of a hassle: which platform should you support? Which one should you start with? Should you hire multiple development teams to focus on each platform?

Weex helps to avoid this hassle by enabling you to build applications for any platform with the ease of building a web app: one stack of technologies, one codebase, one team. This simplicity is reflected in the framework’s slogan: “Write once, run everywhere”

Despite its use in development of several popular applications, Weex is currently based in Apache Incubator. The framework is distributed under an Apache license, which means it is available to developers worldwide at no cost. The community can also contribute to further framework development.

Currently, most Weex contributors are based in China, and most of the platform’s documentation and dedicated forums are in Chinese. However, this won’t prevent Weex from gaining traction. The framework’s advantages are highly appreciated worldwide.

Advantages of Weex framework

  • Advanced performance

    Weex has a significant advantage over hybrid frameworks like Ionic and Cordova – it doesn’t use WebView to render the app interface. Instead, it uses native UI components to make the application feel and look native. It also uses asynchronous rendering techniques, which allow achieving 60fps most of the time. You don’t have to avoid high-speed animations – the framework can handle it and displays smoothly.

  • Quick rendering

    Weex uses special XML components that are automatically translated into native code. This results in faster graphic element refreshing and a native-like experience for heavy-graphics users.

  • Easy to start

    If you have never worked with the framework, you will appreciate the Playground App. It allows you to try out Weex’s possibilities without installation or configuration. Just write the source code in Vue.js and watch as it immediately renders a result in a mocked phone shell on your screen. The use of a popular JavaScript framework and the ability to experiment with Weex prior to installation reduces the platform’s learning curve.



  • Open-source solution

    Weex will be released under an Apache license and be free to use. This makes the framework a perfect solution for both commercial and non-profit projects.

Disadvantages of using Weex

Despite its many advantages, Weex is not flawless. If you choose to use this framework for cross-platform mobile development, be aware of the following risks:

  • Uncertain project future

    Weex is currently in Apache Incubator, and there is still a chance it won’t make it through. Even though the community is showing great interest in the framework, there’s no 100% guarantee that Weex will continue to grow. We encourage you not to start development of a critical product until the framework is officially released.



  • Mainly targets Chinese market

    Weex is supported by a Chinese e-commerce company, and most of the platform’s documentation is only available in Chinese. Unless you speak Chinese, you will face a language barrier when trying to contact the framework’s community or support network – it’s hard to find an English-speaking professional who can help with your queries. However, growing interest in Weex may improve this situation in the nearest future.

Weex cross-platform framework in action

Even though Weex is still in development, several applications created with this framework are already available in app stores. Not surprisingly, they include e-commerce platforms that are extremely popular in China: Taobao, Tmall, Youku, Alibaba.com, etc.

Most of these applications have millions of downloads and positive ratings. Take this as a proof – Weex is already close to perfection.  

Contribute to Weex development

Because the platform is distributed under an Apache 2.0 license, Weex is open to contributions from developers worldwide. Active users of the framework can help by reporting bugs, contributing their own code, asking and answering questions connected with development processes involving the framework, or contributing to documentation.

Chances are, each contribution will make us a bit closer to another prominent cross-platform framework.

Conclusion

In today’s world, it’s important to stay one step ahead. That’s why we at Clockwise Software don’t just stick to popular technologies but also follow the latest and most promising trends so we’re ready for action when these products launch.

We expect Weex to hit the market in the coming year and think it will make as big a splash as Vue.js did recently. Vue.js quickly advanced from an unknown framework to a main competitor of Angular and React. Alibaba Group is capitalizing on its previous experience to launch another top-rated framework, and it seems like this time it will also be a success.

The current state of the cross-platform app development market is intriguing. We often discuss opposition to React Native and Ionic or choose between Cordova and NativeScript. But new frameworks are ready to struggle for your attention and support.

Thinking about using Weex in your new cross-platform project? Give us the details and we will respond with an extensive consultation!

Thanks for reading!

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