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Fuse Tools Review

As I’m always on the lookout for new tools and better solutions I spent some time reviewing the Fuse platform for iOS and Android app development.

My impression of this product is that it may become a fantastic solution for developing cross-platform apps. Coding UX and JS files is very easy and it’s amazingly quick to build a working, reasonably complex app. The app preview window works well and the on device app preview that doesn’t require the developer to first create a provisioning profile is a huge time saver. On device updates are immediate as you update the code on your workstation. Very impressive. The tutorials and sample code are very well written. Thankfully their version of a “Hello World” app is much more and teaches, in a straightforward, easy to follow manner, basic app structuring, how to set up the navigation for the app (impressively easy compared to other development environments) and how to style the app and even code organization and reuse.

Kudos to the development and documentation team.

So, why will I not be switching to this solution? In the two and a half days I’ve spent working through the tutorial and then taking one of my existing apps and attempting a rebuild of its basic features I’ve discovered the two following roadblocks.

(1) The “CameraView” feature is only available at the Professional level. I use the camera view for my hiking app and anyone who is developing an app with AR (augmented reality) features will also need this. The Professional level costs $125 / month ($1,500 / year). As a small developer I can’t afford this. If you are a large developer or have a very successful app (and hey, I am trying!) then this may not be an issue. And don’t misunderstand me here, the Fuse team deserves to make money on this product and I am willing to contribute, but this payment / feature model doesn’t work for me.

(2) The biggest roadblock - and it doesn’t matter how large or small a developer you are in this case - is the lack of database features. There are three community-built SQL solutions, two of which wouldn’t build and that resulted in numerous installation errors (installation via Terminal is required). The third possible solution wasn’t going to work for me. This surprised me. The lack of data persistence is a huge issue and database support is such a basic necessity that it needs to be part of the core Fuse product and supported by the central development team.

In summary, I think this tool is worth keeping an eye on and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops, but for now I’m sticking with my current cross-platform app development environment.