Mobile App Development Frameworks in 2019 - Part 1
With the rise in the number of smartphone users in the world in recent years, businesses and companies are now focusing on developing mobile apps for their customers besides having a company website. With most of the people dependent on their smartphones for various tasks, a company is expecting most of its customers visiting its website from their mobile phones; a mobile app is a reliable solution towards this new trend in checking out their credentials by the TG.
The companies are switching from desktop websites to mobile applications, also as a fast-track passage to reach the targeted audiences.
As a result, the mobile app industry is also passing through a competitive phase where the selection of the appropriate framework along with an apt platform and development strategy becomes crucial.
There has been a steady rise in the number of programming languages for both Android and iOS Operating Systems.
Basically, the cross-platform app development has also gathered momentum and the credit for this major transformation goes to the best of the frameworks. The frameworks also play a crucial role in converting an Android app into an iOS app and vice-versa.
Mobile development frameworks and their types:
Similar to the web frameworks for development of websites and web applications, there are multiple number of frameworks for mobile app development too. The mobile app development frameworks you’ll get familiar with here all fall under the following types:
Native Mobile app Development Frameworks
Cross-Platform app Development Frameworks
Native mobile app development
Most of the mobile frameworks available are for cross-platform development. Generally, native mobile app development is done using frameworks created and maintained by the company that owns the mobile platform; so there is usually just one of those.
For iOS, there is iOS SDK (Software Development Kit) customarily used with Xcode — an IDE. While in case of native Android app development, the Android SDK is used with Android Studio as the IDE of choice. The frameworks are available in the SDKs, and they each have the programming languages used with them. Swift or Objective-C for iOS, and Kotlin or Java for Android.
Native apps are usually known to be fast. They are completely compatible with the device’s hardware and native features like the camera, accelerometer, etc. Normally, they can be quite expensive. A business or company has to target all the major mobile platforms, mainly Android and iOS.
This implies that they would need separate development teams to develop an app for their business. They would also have to take care of maintenance of the app after deployment; the cost of such a setup can be well understood.
Cross-platform mobile app development:
Cross-platform mobile frameworks are created to develop mobile apps for more than just one platform. Most of the popular cross-platform frameworks in the market support development for majorly Android and iOS.
In this section, you’ll learn about the following frameworks:
Ionic is a cross-platform framework built with Angular and Apache Cordova; it provides the ability to develop apps for more than just one mobile platform. Apps developed on the Ionic cross-platform framework can run on iOS and Android.
Ionic apps are developed with regular web technologies like HTML, CSS, and Angular and are designed like web apps. But Cordova, which it depends on, allows it to make use of the device’s native features.
As a business owner, you do not have to hire two teams of software engineers to develop a mobile app for your audience, you can even make use of your existing web development team.
Using Ionic as a development framework saves time and cost.
Ionic makes use of web technologies, so it’s easy to work with.
Ionic apps are less performant when compared to native apps.
Ionic is not the best solution for building apps with high graphics processing requirements
Xamarin is a cross-platform framework based on C# which takes a different approach to developing cross-platform apps. Unlike hybrid apps that make use of web technologies, it compiles down to native code for the individual platforms. In 2016, Microsoft acquired Xamarin from its founders and set out to make it open source.
Apps developed using Xamarin can achieve near-native app performance with little or no difference.
Xamarin allows you to create rich experiences using native UI elements.
Xamarin also lets you share about 90% of the codebase across all platforms with you only having to design the UI for each platform separately.
You can design a uniform UI across all platforms using Xamarin platform.
Apps developed with Xamarin tend to have very large app sizes. A simple “Hello World” Android app could take about 16mb of space.
Xamarin developers still need to have a little knowledge of native languages. Swift/Objective-C in the case of iOS and Kotlin/Java for Android.
Although Xamarin itself is free, for enterprises, the IDE used for development can be quite expensive. It costs about $6000 for the first year, and about $2600 for subsequent years.
There are sometimes issues integrating third-party libraries with Xamarin. Although Xamarin’s tools and libraries offer full support for native technologies, a vendor might not provide support for Xamarin.