CodePush enables instant updates to Cordova and React Native apps

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/Eva Katalin Kondoros)

Microsoft has an SDK in beta dubbed CodePush which enables Cordova and React Native developers to deploy instant mobile app updates to users' devices. CodePush acts like a central repository which developers can publish updates to, with applications querying the repository for updates using the provided client SDKs. 

This allows for instant updates without the need to re-build a binary and/or re-distribute it through public app stores. Whilst users won't be appreciative of sudden UI changes which could lead to confusion, bug fixes could be pushed seamlessly without disruption to an end-user and with less hassle to the application's developer.

Developers just need to include the appropriate CodePush SDK into their apps and configure it to check for updates.

Code that has been compiled is unable to be updated on-the-fly, but JavaScript is fine since it's interpreted at runtime. When it comes to React Native, just the main framework is compiled and the application runs in a JavaScript interpreter so the only time an update needs to be pushed through a public app store is when a new SDK or an upgraded React Native version is used. 

Apple used to have strict guidelines against the downloading of interpreted code at runtime, but this has been relaxed over recent years and JavaScript can now be downloaded "provided that such scripts and code do not change the primary purpose of the application by providing features or functionality that are inconsistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the application as submitted to the App Store." 

To use CodePush, developers just need to include the appropriate CodePush SDK into their apps and configure it to check for updates. Deployment is handled through the CodePush management utility, which can be installed through npm. Both CodePush SDKs, for Cordova and React Native, are available on GitHub. 

For more information about CodePush, head to its website

What are your thoughts about "silent" app updates? Let us know in the comments. 

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