At present, more than 4.5 billion people use mobile phones. This creates a lucrative opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs with unique ideas. Launching a mobile app is the best way to channelize the smartphone frenzy but developing one is not that easy. Decisions about mobile app development and its frameworks are the first to be made.
The mobile app development industry is going through a churn & experiencing explosive growth. Choosing the right framework and platform however is pivotal to the success of any business thinking of winning smart devices. In the last decade or so, the number of both Android and IOS languages for creating mobile apps has increased dramatically.
In fact, cross-platform app development has emerged as an optimized strategy for creating mobile apps with the best of mobile app development frameworks falling in this category. Before moving ahead, let’s learn about the major mobile app categories:
Major mobile app categories
Before selecting the right framework for mobile apps, businesses must take a number of things into consideration. The first is the category of the app to be developed. There are two options here.
- Hybrid app development – These apps can be developed quickly as they are built on multi-platform web technologies. Another advantage is that these can be created in a cost-effective manner. On the flip side, such apps are low on graphics quality and low on security levels too.
- Native app development – These apps run on specific platforms such as IOS, Android or Windows. The apps have a high UX from app stores, high-security levels, and improved graphics.
A mobile application framework is also selected to match the specific needs of a client. Standardized apps based on specific templates often do not give the desired results. The frameworks are industry-dependent too and not all frameworks will be suited across all business ventures.
Top mobile app development frameworks in 2019
When you settle down to choose a mobile application framework, there is no single defining factor that you can rely on. The choice ultimately depends on:
- Target customers and goals
- Industry for which the app is being developed
- App development budget
- Features that have to be incorporated in the app.
But still, there are some mobile app development frameworks that are more popular than others. Here are some of the frameworks being used by developers in 2019.
In a nutshell, Ionic as a mobile application framework supports –
- Platforms such as Android, IOS and Windows
- Native features like notifications and reminders through Cordova and PhoneGap plugins.
- Offline storage through SQLite
- Security features like White List plugin
- Gestures such as tap, swipe, and transitions
Finally, Ionic is an open-source framework that provides built-in UI components that meet client requirements and reduces development effort.
PhoneGap allows the developer to continually review results on the hardware as changes are made to the code. Other cutting-edge features of the framework include sharing the application with team members to get feedback as the project progresses and a cloud solution if developers want to create the app directly.
What gives PhoneGap an edge is an access to third-party tools, a large number of plugins, and the support of a large community that previously belonged to Cordova. The framework uses an intuitive desktop for mobile app development and then enables the app built on the desktop to match seamlessly with the mobile devices linked to it.
PhoneGap is free for the first time an app is developed. Any further changes or continuation of coding is chargeable.
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Xamarin was launched as an independent app development framework in 2011 but after being acquired by Microsoft in 2016, its credibility increased manifold. This open-source framework was launched with the objective of solving the issues of disjointed native technology stacks which had previously resulted in difficult and expensive mobile app development.
Xamarin uses C# for coding and works seamlessly with multiple platforms such as Android, IOS and Windows. The framework also issues regular updates and testing and this adds substantial value to the framework. Xamarin also provides access to native APIs and ensures faster app development with Xamarin Plugins and NuGet package.
As distinct from most mobile app development frameworks, Xamarin is not a free cross-platform framework and this can add considerably to the costs of app development. Further, creating the UI on Xamarin takes time as the core of its user-interface is not mobile oriented.
This is one of the fastest mobile app development frameworks available to developers. What makes it possible is that it is supported by Lua, a light-weight programming language that offers ease of usage, flexibility, and speed in app development. Hence, if speed is your goal to develop an app without compromising on quality and features, this framework will be perfect for you. Additionally, Corona SDK is free and supports Mac and Windows OS apart from Android.
JQuery is based on HTML5 and the key advantage is that it can run across all devices with a single code version. Hence, with this one framework, both websites and mobile apps can be structured. JQuery offers extensive support to all types of operating systems including Mac OS, Blackberry, Windows, Firefox and Kindle.
JQuery is available in the usual customized version and the latest stable version. With a combination of plugins, app development is considerably speeded up.
Flutter is ideal for creating native interfaces for both Android and IOS. It is open-source and free cross-platform launched in 2017 by Google and is slowly becoming very popular with the app developer community.
Flutter is based on an object-oriented programming language called Dart. Developers can easily acquire the necessary skill sets for Dart. Flutter permits hot reloading that is, developers can review any changes in the code within the device or a simulator or emulator. It also allows a great native-like interface with the architecture being based on reactive programming that is increasingly becoming the preferred option with developers.
The code of this mobile application framework can be written in seconds and hence all the later tasks like developing, adding features, fixing bugs and testing can be done quickly. Since Flutter is developed by Google, there is the advantage of access to several libraries with ready-to-implement functionalities.
Check out these mobile app development considerations to create great mobile apps!
Approaches to mobile app development
While above were the best mobile app development frameworks used by developers, there is also the question of mobile app development approach. Here are the approaches to mobile app development discussed in detail:
Native mobile app development
Frameworks for native mobile app development are focused on specific platforms and tools, technologies and APIs that precisely match that platform are used to run the various functions of the app. For instance, in the case of IOS, XCode is used along with C++, Swift or Objective-C as the programming language. Android is powered by Java or Kotlin and Android Native Development Kit is used.
The native approach offers top-quality user-experience and functionality. It also stores the app resources in the memory of the device, thereby ensuring maximum utilization of OS features. The downside of native app development is if you want your app to operate on different platforms. There will be added expenditure and time spent in building apps as frameworks used in this approach are definite to precise platforms.
Cross-Platform mobile app development
The advantage of cross-platform mobile app development frameworks is that these are not bound to the particular requirements of various OS and hence offers seamless experience and functionality. Cross-platform mobile apps are cost-effective as you can take advantage of code repeatability. However, the downside is that the apps do not offer a rich user-experience as there is limited functionality to avail.
Progressive Web app
Progressive web apps are also known as mobile web apps and are primarily websites that are optimized for mobile devices and offer an app like experience. These apps can be accessed from the browser, thereby doing away with the need to install them on mobile devices. A mobile application framework for progressive web app uses techniques such as media queries to customize the design and styling for various mobile phones and tablet screen sizes.
These apps are perfect for blogs and publishing companies and are very easy and cheap to develop. Since the apps are not dependent on individual platforms like Android or IOS, they offer a great mobile experience. The downside is that being browser-based, some limitations might be faced while trying to incorporate advanced functionalities.
Hybrid mobile app development
This mobile app development filters out the best from the other approaches. One option is to combine a platform-independent code with native code. This code is written using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JS after which it is built as a native app with a web view. With the arrival of advanced tools and technologies and a mobile application framework like React Native, it is easy to execute this approach without compromising on precision and functionalities.
The one code can be modified to suit different platforms, leading to substantial savings in time, costs, and effort. The user experience is so similar to a native app that it is hard to spot the difference. This is a rising approach and more and more framework will follow this trend in the future.
The approach you choose and the framework you select depends fully on your requirements. For an app meant for a particular platform or one that is highly complex, opt for native mobile app development frameworks. Progressive mobile apps are right for small budget projects simultaneously with an optimized mobile experience. Finally, if you want to develop a mobile app for multiple platforms, either cross-platform development or hybrid development should be chosen.
These are some of the major mobile app development frameworks available to developers today along with approaches that are widely popular. However, mobile app development is not as easy as it seems, even with the use of flexible frameworks and turnkey solutions available in the market. This is the reason why entrepreneurs hire experienced developers to create the app of their dreams. Contact us at email@example.com and book a free consultation session to discuss your app plans and get custom estimation for your app development. Want to add something to the above blog? Comments section is all yours!