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    5 Most Popular Mobile App Development Frameworks For You To Consider

    5 Most Popular Mobile App Development Frameworks For You To Consider

    With the large mobile user base and the current wave of digitalisation, the demand for mobile app development is growing by leaps and bounds. This results in the emergence of many new mobile app development frameworks on the market. 

    With a variety of choices available, selecting the right one that best suits your needs can be difficult. To assist you in determining the appropriate tool, we’ve compiled a list of the top 6 popular app frameworks along with their distinguishing features. 

    What is a Mobile App Framework?

    A mobile app framework is a platform that provides basic app structure with SDKs and tools like compilers, programming interfaces APIs, or code libraries to simplify the development work of developers. Instead of wasting time developing a mobile application from scratch, developers can employ frameworks to perform low-level or basic operations or reuse codes for different platforms. This allows programmers to concentrate on sophisticated functionality, thus, reducing overall development time.

    Types of mobile app framework

    In terms of how apps operate, we can divide mobile frameworks into three categories:

    • Native Apps: these platforms are deployed to create apps exclusively for a particular platform, like iOS and Android, using native programming languages. For instance, you can develop a native iPhone apps with Swift or Objective-C and select Java or Kotlin for Android applications.

    • Web apps: these frameworks are intended for creating web apps for web AIP, servers, and service interfaces.

    • Hybrid (cross-platform) apps: as opposed to native, these frameworks enable developers to build apps for different operating systems using a single code base.

    Most popular cross-platform mobile app development

    Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the frameworks themselves.

    In this article, we’ll concentrate on hybrid app development frameworks outside the native languages of the Android and iOS platforms. These are rising in popularity due to their cost-effectiveness and rapid development time.

    1. Flutter


    Source: Built With

    Programming language: Dart

    Apps built with Flutter framework: Alibaba, Google Ads, PostMuse

    Released by Google in 2018, Flutter is an open-source software development framework designed to create mobile, web, and desktop apps from one codebase. 

    Key features:

    • Flutter offers its own widgets, drawn from its high-performance rendering engine - these are quick, customisable and attractive.
    • Dart language offers more sophisticated elements to flexibly customize UI designs for any screen, simplify debugging, and improve the app’s performance through ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation.
    • Hot Reload functionality lets developers see immediate updates of new codes without app reload. 

    Thanks to rich widgets, Flutter apps tend to have a great look and feel. It also provides excellent documentation with solid support from the Flutter team, which makes it easy to start developing with the platform. Finally, its development time is much faster than native development. 

    2. React Native


    Source: Appinventiv

    Programming language: JavaScript

    App built using React Native: Airbnb, Instagram, Skype, Shopify

    Developed by Meta (formerly Facebook) in 2015, React Native has increasingly grown its popularity among the developer community. This open-source UI development framework combines the best of JavaScript and React.JS while allowing developers to write modules in Java, Swift or Objective-C languages. By utilizing native modules and libraries in the platform, the development team can execute heavy operations like image editing, video processing and other tasks that are not covered by the framework APIs. 

    Other remarkable functions of React Native include:

    • Its Fast Refresh feature gives developers instantaneous feedback on edits made to their React components
    • Supports a variety of third-party libraries such as Redux, MobX, Ionic Native, etc., allowing for simple migration
    • Component-based GUI creation for front-end apps
    • Provides built-in features like handling user interactions via touch events, making it simple for programmers to reuse existing UI components

    Moreover, React Native has a sizable developer community. There are numerous UI frameworks, tutorials, and libraries available to facilitate the learning curve. Regarding repositories devoted to collecting articles, tools and resources about specific technologies, React Natives is much better placed than Flutter, Xamarin or Ionic.

    3. Xamarin


    Source: Appinventiv

    Programming language: C#

    Mobile apps: UPS, Alaska Airlines, Academy Members

    The next contender in the article is Xamarin. This Microsoft-owned platform can be deployed to build applications for Android, iOs and Microsoft with .NET. With Xamarin, developers can share approximately 90% of their applications across platforms. Meaning, they only have to write all of their business logic in a single language (or reuse existing application code) but attain native look, feel and performance on each platform

    Combines the capabilities of native platforms, Xamarin is also equipped with additional features involving: 

    • Complete binding: Strongly-typed bindings for nearly the entire underlying platform SDKs in both Android and iOS, which in turn offer robust compile-time checking. This results in fewer run-time errors and higher-quality apps. 
    • Java, Objective-C, and C++ Interop: Supporting a direct incorporation of Objective-C, Java and C++ libraries, Xamarin entitles developers to reuse existing iOS and Android libraries written in those languages 
    • Modern language construct: Xamarin is based on C#, a modern programming language which offers many advantages over Objective-C and Java, including dynamic language capabilities and functional constructs (lambas, parallel programming, generics, LINQ, etc.)
    • Powerful Base Class Library (BCL): Leveraging the .NET BCL, Xamarin-based apps have access to a substantial collection of classes with a wealth of streamlined functionality like IO, XML, Database, String, etc. Furthermore, existing C# can also be compiled for use in an application, opening up to an addition of thousands of libraries that add features beyond the BCL.

    4. Ionic


    Source: Built With

    Programming language: JavaScript

    Mobile Apps: BBC, EA Games, T-Mobile

    Another renowned cross-platform framework in this list is Ionic. The open-source UI toolkit help programmers create hybrid mobile and desktop apps using a combination of native and web technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript, with integration for the Angular, Vue and React frameworks. 

    Key Features:

    • Based on a SaaS UI framework built specifically for mobile OS, Iconic offers numerous UI components for building apps.
    • With Cordova and Capacitor plugins, the Ionic framework provides developers access to device’s built-in functionalities, comprising cameras, audio recorder, GPS and flashlight.
    • Offers its own IDE called Ionic Studio that was created for rapid app development and prototyping with minimal coding. 

    With Ionic, developers are able to generate a brilliantly inventive user interface and incorporate user-friendly elements into the app. With that being said, Ionic-based apps are highly interactive and native-like, making it the ideal framework for PWA development as well.

    5. Apache Cordova


    Source: enlyft

    Programming language: HTML 5, CSS3, and JavaScript

    Apps built with Cordova: Localeur, Untappd, SparkChess

    Previously called PhoneGap, Apache Cordova is an open-source mobile development framework for creating hybrid mobile apps using standard web technologies like HTML, JavaScript and CSS. Hence, there is no need for developers to learn a specific development programming language to develop an app.

    Applications operate within wrappers targeted to each platform and rely on standards-compliant APIs to access each device’s data, sensors, and network status.

    Key Features:

    • Provides a cloud solution that gives developers the option to share their app during the development process for feedback from team members.

    • It allows access to native device APIs to be extended in a modular way, thanks to its plugin-able architecture.

    However, the biggest problem with Cordova and other cross-platform solutions are their apps will not be as fast as native code written on the device. A good example of this is gaming. Though a casual game like Candy Crash might work well in these frameworks, a more graphically intense game like Infinity Blade probably would not. With that being said, complex canvas-based animations in Cordova aren’t going to perform as well as native code and most likely wouldn’t be adequate to give users a good experience.


    Mobile app frameworks are the critical building blocks that empower developers to create and optimize their mobile apps. Once selecting the framework for your mobile apps, it’s vital to master the framework that aligns with your company’s long-term objectives rather than following the most popular ones that prove incompatible with your project needs. Hence, understanding your product requirements and the development team’s capacity is necessary to choose the optimal frameworks. 

    If you are having trouble deciding the right frameworks for your digital project, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ve had 12+ years of experience consulting and providing app development services for businesses of all sizes across industries. Let’s make your dream app a reality.

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