There’s such an incredible push to get students to learn to code right now that it makes you wonder if they’re learning anything else. There’s a veritable ‘space race’ into the world of coding right now between countries like China, the U.S., and many others.
I found a great option over the past couple of months that could very well be the ‘WordPress of mobile apps’ to be honest.
There’s a little-known but fast-growing platform called Meteor that is being used to quickly develop and deploy beautiful apps. You can build a social network, photo-taking app, game, or anything else you dream up. Best of all, it’s totally free and offers a robust set of features:
- A dedicated community that actually helps you fix your problems
- A reliable update schedule for bug fixes and new features
- Examples and tutorials with line-by-line walkthroughs of how to install your first Meteor app
- An innovative ‘package’ system that works similar to how WordPress plugins can be used to enhance your site.
- A growing number of in-person meetups that show just how popular the framework is becoming
- More features added every week.
So, Why Try Meteor?
What Are Some Examples?
Great question. I’ve actually taught myself how to use the Meteor framework through building DashEDU, a real-time dashboard of the trending stories in education. It was built using Telescope which is a great community in itself. Telescope is a product of Sacha Greif who has spent years developing the code base and community (not to mention tutorials, videos, and more).
There are other examples of Meteor apps as well. Check out SongRoll, a fun way to explore new music using third-party music services like Spotify. It leverages various APIs and has a slick user interface. It’s a strong example of just how much you can do with Meteor.
There’s also Microscope which you can use to develop a social news app. It’s on GitHub right now and has been gaining traction in terms of commits and updates.
What Questions Does Meteor Answer?
There is a great list of questions that the Meteor team is trying to solve. It’s an open source project so keep that in mind. This isn’t a team of developers at Google tackling these problems. Resources are limited but the progress has been swift.
- How do we transition the web from a “dumb terminal” model that is based on serving HTML, to a client/server model that is based on exchanging data?
- How do we design software to run in a radically distributed environment, where even everyday database apps are spread over multiple data centers and hundreds of intelligent client devices, and must integrate with other software at dozens of other organizations?
- How do we prepare for a world where most web APIs will be push-based (realtime), rather than polling-driven?
- In the face of escalating complexity, how can we simplify software engineering so that more people can do it?
- How will software developers collaborate and share components in this new world?
On Meteor vs WordPress
I honestly think Meteor could become the WordPress of mobile apps as it’s open source, has a growing community, a reliable framework, the ability to add on packages, subprojects similar to WordPress themes, and constant updates. It’s not as straightforward to use of course because it uses lines of code rather than a user interface like the ‘back-end’ of a WordPress site. But even that’s not out of the realm of possibility. All it would take is time for the community. Keep an eye out.
On a final note, I just wanted to say that I haven’t been paid or anything to write this post. I’m just a big fan of Meteor and hope you check it out as an option for developing mobile apps in the future. It’ll be great to see more beautiful apps that are fast, functional, and fun.