Bridging the PhoneGap: Getting Started Creating Hybrid Mobile Apps with Drupal and Ionic Framework


You are a Drupal developer. You are a frontend developer. You like PHP and CSS and HTML and JavaScript and since Drupal 8 is here, you like Twig (though we won't be talking Twig in this session!). You have an idea for an app, but you don't have the time to learn Swift and Objective C and Java and ...

With the advent of hybrid mobile apps, you can continue being a Drupal frontend developer and also build apps without needing to learn new technologies. The mobile web is quickly catching up with native apps. The mobile web is free, and open, and available to all of us right now and doesn't bind us to proprietary systems. With the many advances being made in this area, we can create great mobile experiences for users.

In this session, we will look at three things:

  • Using Drupal as a RESTful web service to store app data
  • A brief introduction to Ionic Framework and AngularJS
  • How we can bridge Drupal and Ionic to create native look and feel hybrid web apps

Attendees will be excited to hear about this because they will learn a little about a lot of topics:

  • Hybrid App development (basically apps that can run on any operating system - all you need to know is HTML, CSS, and JS - or at least a willingness to learn them)
  • RESTful Drupal (don't want to build an app? We can use this knowledge to develop headless Drupal websites!)
  • AngularJS directives, controllers, services, and more (e.g. display a live feed of the weather in Dublin via
  • Built-in features of Ionic Framework (JS and CSS components, custom directives, and how you can extend them)
  • Packaging apps for iOS and Android (and running them through an emulator)

Before attending this session, all you need is a positive and inquisitive mind (perhaps a little JavaScript knowledge as well). You don't need to know about how to create RESTful services (I'll show you), you don't need to understand AngularJS (we'll have a live demo of how easy it is), and you don't have to have built an app before.

Questions that often pop up when I give this talk:

  • Can it use push notifications? Yes
  • Can it use geo-location? Yes, yes
  • Can it use your phone's camera? As the last line in James Joyce's Ulysses says, 'yes, yes, yes'!

When this session is complete, you will

  • have the confidence to build a news-reader style app
  • be able to add content to any page of it
  • be able to update your app's content via your present Drupal website
  • see how to integrate external services into your app
  • chat with me over a nice pint of Guinness.

This session will be an expanded version of my talk at Frontend United in Ghent this year.

Session Track


Experience Level


Drupal Version

When & Where

Tuesday, 27 September, 2016 - 14:15 to 15:15
Wicklow Hall 2B |