14 Questions with Pluralsight Author Alex Ziskind

By
Dan Wilson

You are an established author and publisher, with 2 courses on Pluralsight. What can students expect to learn from these courses?

Both courses are on the topic of NativeScript, a cross platform mobile development framework.The first course is called “Building Cross Platform Native Mobile Applications with NativeScript” and a student that is starting out with NativeScript would get a good foundation of the framework’s core concepts while they build out a real world application from scratch.

My second course, called “NativeScript: Animation Techniques” is a deeper look into using animations in NativeScript. This course is for those that already know a bit about the framework and are looking to take their apps to the next level. We use an Angular version of the app built in the first course.


How does video training help students understand the concepts better?

I’ve always been a visual learner myself, so video training makes complete sense to me. Seeing the concepts explained the same way they would be in a book, but with useful added visual animations, and hearing the ideas described in a simple, down to earth manner makes a whole world of difference to a student. Especially when they see the code being written right in front of their eyes, at their chosen pace. Video is the way of the future. When you also consider that books become outdated in a matter of months after their release, given our rapidly evolving technology, a video course that is hosted and updated elsewhere is really the way to go.


What did you learn as part of building your courses on Pluralsight?

I’ve learned that it’s a lot harder and takes a lot more time than it looks. Good courses need to be clear, have good visuals and exceptional demos. Students today have a lot of choices and quality matters, so it takes time.


What changes have you most appreciated in the NativeScript framework since your initial Pluralsight course was released?

The first course was about teaching NativeScript Core, with TypeScript. The second course took into account the many Angular developers out there and the new animation possibilities that Angular brought with it. My most appreciated changes in NativeScript are definitely around the animation additions, specifically CSS keyframe animations and Angular animations.


How do you see companies using NativeScript?

NativeScript’s huge strength is getting native performance while offering companies a cross platform solution to building apps. I don’t see companies building video games with NativeScript, but I do see the cost savings that the business would experience by writing for iOS and Android at the same time, while utilizing their web developers and not hiring external native development teams.


What is your least favorite part of developing mobile applications in general?

Packaging and deployment. While there are better and better tools that handle this for you these days, it’s still quite a hassle that I would want someone else to do.


What is your most favorite part of developing mobile applications in general?

It would have to be the User Experience design. Figuring out the optimal way an application should flow is the key.


If you could start a startup based on a mobile application, what would it be?

It would be great to have a local grocery store fulfill a shopping list that is managed by an app on my phone. Someone at the store scans and bags all my groceries, then all I have to do it go to the store and pick them up, since I already paid for them via the app!


What emerging trends in mobile computing are you most excited about?

I’m really excited about the next wave of bots and how they will use data analysis to provide more intelligent suggestions.


Are you Mac or PC? Why?

I have to use both every day, so I am cross-platform.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering making their own video training course?

Even though it’s a VIDEO course, your audio is more important. Get a good condenser microphone and make sure you’re in a quiet room with minimal acoustic reflections. It’s huge pet peeve of mine to hear unclear or muffled sound when I’m watching a training video.


Describe your background before you became a mobile developer

I’ve been a professional web developer for over 15 years now, but I started viewing page source in Netscape Navigator and creating my own sites in the late 90’s. Then I traveled down the .NET road and even SharePoint. When I saw that everything I was touching had a mobile story as well, I decided I HAD to get into mobile development too. My mobile journey started in native iOS. Then I briefly dabbled in the world of Ionic, before I discovered NativeScript, which I instantly recognized as a powerful player in the mobile space.


What hobbies outside of computers and programming do you have?

I love taking my dog Axl hiking. I also like to play with synthesizers and record the strange sounds they you can me them emit whenever I get a chance.


There is a rumor your dog has a twitter account, can you tell us about it?

You can follow me @digitalix or you can follow Axl @NativeScriptDog. He is always on the lookout for new tech, but if he comes across @NativeScriptCat, all bets are off.


Make sure to check out both of Alex's NativeScript courses on Pluralsight:



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