Wondering what framework is best suited for your next cross-platform project? Or deciding in what direction you should expand your coding skills? You are in the right place.
We’ll go through five of the top non-native frameworks that you can choose for present and future work. You can even analyze advantages and pitfalls for each one, and see the kind of applications they support best.
Why use a cross-platform framework?
The main reason to use a cross-platform framework instead of a native solution is to save time and money and reach a broader audience.
Being able to code once and run on both iOS and Android cuts in half the time and the costs for development and puts you on the market right away.
On the other hand, native apps have an advantage in performance.
They can be more responsive and are integrated with the hardware API. From a maintenance perspective, it’s also worth considering that when an OS gets an update, a cross-platform app has to wait for the framework to be updated before being able to access the new OS features.
Due to the balance of benefits and possible headaches, to develop a successful cross-platform app is critical to make the right coding choice.
5 Solid Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks in 2020
Here are 5 robust frameworks to consider if you’re planning to launch a project in 2020.
Ionic is free and open-source. It is ideal for building Online Shopping Apps, Food Chain Apps, Media Apps of any kind and Educational Apps.
Some of the most popular apps built with Ionic include - Foodiss, MarketWatch, and Sworkit.
Things to consider about Ionic Framework:
In simple words, Ionic isn’t a framework suited for heavy apps with complicated functionalities, and it gives its best with simple ones.
Building the user interface is fast and easy, thanks to the available libraries of native components for both iOS and Android. These resources speed up the process and contribute to giving a natural feel.
Hardware Feature Access
Ionic can benefit from Apache Cordova plugins to bridge the app with the phone OS and access camera, flashlight, gyroscope, and all the other features available. It is excellent to increase app functionalities. However, it also means that you’re plug-in dependent when it comes to the app maintenance.
An active community supports this framework. Which is a fantastic thing because it means that you can expect guaranteed maintenance and fast updates in the years to come.
Furthermore, The active community also translates into vast libraries of integrations, documents, and all the support you need to develop your best work.
Initially developed by Facebook, React Native works very well to create Business Apps, that’s probably why several multi-billion dollar companies use it.
Things to consider about React Native Framework:
One code to rule them all… Almost
React Native supports hot and live reloading, allowing the developer to keep the code on one screen, the user interface on another one, and watch changes in real-time. It speeds up the coding process during development. However, it’s worth mentioning that when the framework gets updated, it generally requires much time to update the code accordingly.
A community of Giants
Facebook, Walmart, Instagram, Soundcloud, all these apps have in common React Native. This massive community of keen businesses investing in this framework is the best guarantee that React Native will grow and expand in the upcoming years.
Keep an eye on security
Flutter has been developed by Google, so you know it's good.
It’s perfect for creating a customized application experience. Well suited for progressive web apps, real-time apps, applications that communicate with any hardware via Bluetooth, and apps demanding rare, little-known native libraries.
Things to consider about Flutter Framework:
Flutter uses Dart code that grants faster code writing and execution with the Hot Reload feature availability. The same codebase can also be be used for desktop and web applications.
In Flutter, everything is a widget. This framework provides lots of UI elements, and by using a widget on a widget, construction is possible to keep the user experience consistent across all platforms. Developers can create their widget or customize existing ones.
Flutter has its high-performance rendering engine that provides a powerful design experience and smooth animations. And it doesn’t stop there; your app will look the same in older versions of both OS.
Free Tools and Community Support.
There are lots of free tools like Codemagic for Continuous Integrations and Continuous Delivery, or Flutter Flare for 2D animations. Also, to guarantee the continuity of the framework (if Google isn’t enough), there is a growing and active community.
These two frameworks are strongly related to each other. Adobe got PhoneGap after purchasing Nitobi than gave the PhoneGap codebase to Apache for incubation, and then Cordova was born.
Today, they exist as separate entities.
Cordova is a full open-source framework. PhoneGap is powered by Cordova and is open-source, too. However, it can benefit from dedicated applications licensed by Adobe to improve and speed up the coding process.
These frameworks are ideal for apps that have to showcase a large amount of data in a broader audience, like Wikipedia, or has a lot of interconnected services like TripCase and HealthTap.
Sharing the same codebase, PhoneGap and Cordova have very similar commands and functionalities.
Things to consider about PhoneGap & Cordova Frameworks:
No Training Required
They support CSS, HTML, and JavaScrip. If you are already familiar with web development, you don’t have to learn a new code. From a language perspective, it’s a start-and-go solution.
There are many libraries to support the User Interface construction, meaning that you can grant a better user experience without wasting much time in the process.
Strong plug-in ecosystem
They can hook to the phone OS to access the camera, flashlight, and all the other features. This means that both PhoneGap and Cordova are plug-ins dependent like Ionic. However, it also means that you can have a cross-platform app without giving up functionality.
Tool Sets - PhoneGap ONLY
The significant benefit of PhoneGap, if you are willing to pay, are the tools that Adobe provides to support the development. These are PhoneGap CLI (command-line interface tool), PhoneGap Desktop app, PhoneGap Developer app, and PhoneGap Build (that grants you the wish to not worry about compiling anymore).
To close the article, it’s worth mentioning that despite all the advantages of coding on a cross-platform framework, native ones have their advantages too. There is no performance trade-off, you can benefit immediately from OS updates and new features, and you have native access to all the hardware functionalities.
If you have a very complex project or an app that is based on the latest technical features, upgrade of the device, you should consider native development for your mobile app.
On the other hand, going for cross-platform mobile app development is equally (or even more) beneficial if you’re building a mobile app with an average number of features that are moderate in complexity.