Code Once, Run Anywhere: 5 Hybrid Mobile App Frameworks
Do you want to grow your business by launching a mobile app?
That’s a good idea!
However, the confusion lies whether to go for Android or iOS or Windows.
What if it’s all the three?
Do you need to write the same code thrice to run on three different platforms?
Well, we have got the perfect solution to this problem.
A Hybrid Mobile App Framework enables you to code only once and runs on all the available mobile operating systems such as Android, iOS, or Windows.
In this write-up, we discuss the top 5 hybrid mobile app frameworks.
Flutter is an open-source UI toolkit created by Google. With Flutter, you can build natively compiled apps for mobile, web, and desktop and that too from a single codebase. It was launched in 2018. Flutter facilitates to create highly efficient apps for Android and iOS. Flutter uses the Dart language. The Flutter framework is enriched with fully-customizable widgets. As Flutter is Google’s new technology, it is highly talked about in different tech communities. Already the market biggies have adopted Flutter to create robust and engaging apps. Example – Alibaba (eCommerce), Birch Finance (Finance), Hamilton Musical (Entertainment), and Reflectly (Lifestyle). And now, more companies are using Flutter for hybrid mobile app development.
- Ready-made widgets for fast UI coding
- Hot reload functionality for instantaneous updates
- Compatible with Fuchsia
- Lightning fast
- It is the apt choice for MVP
- It has the mildest learning curve
- It has a growing community
- The apps created with Flutter have large file sizes compared to the native apps
- Flutter can have some implementation issue with iOS
- Before using Flutter, a developer has to learn Dart first. Finding professionals for your mobile team can be challenging.
Image Source: aalpha.net
Xamarin was founded in 2011 and is owned by Microsoft. It is a San Francisco based company and has cross-platform implementations of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) and Common Language Specifications (often called Microsoft .NET).
Xamarin is said to be the most intelligent framework used by the developers. It has a C# shared codebase. Xamarin is used to develop hybrid apps that perform equally well for iOS, Android, and Windows.
- Nearly 95% of the code is reusable for different platforms
- The platform has native UI features
- The apps developed connect easily with the hardware components via plugins. There is also no hampering of the performance of the device
- The platform has in-built functions that make the API integration easy
- Xamarin has its own fully developed ecosystem including Xamarin Studio, Xamarin Test Cloud, Xamarin SDKs, and Xamarin Insights
- A substantial amount of commercial investment has backed Xamarin
- It is expensive if you consider enterprise-level debugging and profiling tools
- Some overhead codes disrupt smooth integration
- Not apt for game development
- Lag in API support, specifically with Android is a major drawback
- If compared with the competitors, Xamarin has a limited online community
When we talk about Hybrid Mobile App Frameworks, Ionic Framework is the most popular cross-platform app framework. It is an open-source software development kit (SDK) that creates responsive cross-platform apps for operating systems like iOS, Android, and Windows. It was released in 2015. The framework is built on top of AngularJs and Apache Cordova and uses web technologies like HTML5, CSS, and Sass. The apps built with these technologies are then distributed using the native app stores. Ionic framework eases the build of Progressive Web Apps (PWA).
Ionic has also released its Enterprise Edition. With this edition, you get –
- On priority hotfix delivery
- Live troubleshooting
- Long term support
- Smooth migration to a newer version of Ionic
- With the Ionic framework, a developer can create impressive designs and graphical representations in the app
- Ionic outputs are highly efficient and scalable
- Ionic has several native device features like Fingerprint Auth and Bluetooth
- It has a library of solutions which are ready to be deployed in any app that has been built with Ionic Enterprise
- The platform boasts of its massive user base
- Ionic has a populous community form where you can ask for help if you get stuck with the development process
- Ionic framework is too much plugin dependent
- It is not the best framework for heavy apps
Image Source: tablexi.com
- The distributed apps have near-native performance
- After the initial set-up, the framework is easy to maintain
- It is a time saver for developers
- Compatible with a wide range of third party plugins
- Memory usage is low
- Expenses are less as the maximum code is reusable
- Supports Node.Js
- There are insufficient custom modules
- Limited online help forums
- It is not proper for apps that have numerous screens, UI transitions or substantial special effects
- The frameworks need improvement for accessing hardware components
- The apps created by PhoneGap are compatible with all popular mobile OS platforms like Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile OS.
- PhoneGap has a robust library of plugins
- Additional tools available to test, debug, and manage apps
- PhoneGap has a feature called ‘Build’ which is a cloud compiler
- You can collaborate with the PhoneGap’s developer community
- PhoneGap has a less number of pre-built UI widgets
- It doesn’t support all functionalities
- It has been seen that the apps built with PhoneGap can be inefficient while working with native apps
We hope, after reading the article, you have got a clear understanding of the hybrid mobile app frameworks. Whenever you choose such a framework for your business, be clear about your business requirements. You have to choose the apt framework that can fulfill your requirements. The developer at work must be familiar with the technology. So, it is advisable to consult your developer before choosing the framework. And, it is always preferable to pick up the framework which has a popular tech forum so that you can get support if needed.