In case you were wondering
What is Ionic Portals?
Read the announcement blog for the full backstory.
Ionic Portals provides a supercharged Web View native control for iOS and Android that brings the full power of the popular Capacitor hybrid app runtime to existing native apps. It's meant for teams that need a much more capable and flexible Web View component to enable their web teams to add new features and screens to an existing native app in a safe, controlled manner.
On top of the Web View control, Portals provides an API to expose native functionality to embedded web apps in a controlled manner, a robust web-to-native communication bridge, and available cloud services for realtime app updates and more.
Finally, teams can build their own custom native functionality and expose it to the Web View, or use the many plugins available in the Capacitor community for drop-in functionality.
How is this different from Apple and Google's Web View controls?
Ionic Portals uses the best available native Web View control on iOS and Android (such as
WKWebView), but implements a large number of improvements and extensibility features on top, the kinds of things every team eventually reinvents as their app scales.
Features like powerful APIs to expose new native functionality to the Web View, a robust bridge for web-to-native communication, and managing realtime updates and feature rollouts for web assets.
What problem is this solving?
Many mobile app development teams in medium-to-large companies are juggling bringing new features and porting existing web features (forms, pages, etc) to a native mobile environment. Porting web features can significantly slow down the velocity of shipping new mobile features and distract the existing native app team.
Ionic Portals provides a safe environment that enables existing web development teams to contribute new features, screens, and other content to an existing native app and access native functionality that the existing mobile team explicitly permits and without interfering with the rest of the app.
What can I do with Portals?
Ionic Portals can help developers and teams add web-based experiences to their existing native mobile apps:
- Add web-based functionality in a way that looks and feels 100% native to whatever mobile platform it’s running on.
- Enable web-based functionality without compromising on native feature access. You can safely and securely access features like camera, geolocation, biometrics, and more — all from the Web View.
- Native development teams get granular control over which parts of the app - including specific features and data - web teams can access when collaborating on a mobile project.
What are some example use cases?
A banking app might need to embed a mortgage application into an existing native app, a shopping app might need to display a brand's product listings from the web, and a major sports league might want to bring in a new fantasy feature from the web...all by utilizing existing web development teams and features and without getting in the way of the roadmap of the native app team.
Who's building this?
Ionic is one of the leading cross-platform app development companies and powers 15%+ of all app store apps and thousands of enterprise apps. Ionic works with major customers building mission critical apps, such as Amtrak, AAA, Blue Cross Blue Shield, 86 400, and more.
Why is Ionic building Portals?
Ionic's focus, historically, has been on enabling web developers to build net-new mobile apps using their web development skills. While this is still our primary mission, we realized we were only solving one side of the problem of building mobile experiences with web technologies.
We realized that the projects we had built over the years, such as Capacitor, could be used to enable existing native apps and native development teams to more easily bring in web experiences into their apps, finally solving for the other part of the problem of building and shipping modern mobile apps that almost always mix in web content in addition to native functionality.