Mobile App Development

Top 5 Cross-Platform App Frameworks to Consider in 2020

Top 5 Cross-Platform App Frameworks to Consider in 2020

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.

  1. Ionic

Ionic - Top 5 App Development Framework

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:

Fully Cross-Platform

Ionic is a web-tech based (HTM, CSS, JavaScript, and Angular) cross-platform framework. That allows you to create a web page that is displayed like a native app. This means that your app can cover the whole spectrum of web and mobile, but at a slight cost in performance. 

In simple words, Ionic isn’t a framework suited for heavy apps with complicated functionalities, and it gives its best with simple ones.

Easy UI

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.

Strong Community

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.

  1. React Native

React Native - Top 5 App Development Framework

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 is based on JavaScript and allows you to obtain speedy and efficient apps for a cross-platform framework. The trade-off is that it requires a base of native development to realize specific functionalities and features, so it doesn’t allow you to jump right in without a base of Java and Swift.

Coding efficiency

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

When coding in React Native, security is a concern to be aware of. This isn’t an inherently safe framework, and it’s up to the developers to consider all the possible issues according to the app’s requirements. A good practice is to obfuscate the code (that means getting an obfuscator for java, one for Swift, and one for Javascript). It’s also important to consider a safe storage solution for all information, especially sensitive data.

  1. Flutter

Flutter - Top 5 App Development Framework

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:

Dart Code

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.

Widget Paradise

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.

Powerful Graphic

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.

  1. PhoneGap Cordova

PhoneGap - Top 5 App Development Framework

&

Cordova - Top 5 App Development Framework

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.

UI Libraries

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).

Conclusion

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.

Sandeep Agrawal
Sandeep Agrawal

Sandeep Agrawal has more than 2 decades of experience in creating world-class teams and driving innovation through cutting edge products and mobile app development solutions. Being the CEO of Credencys Solutions, Sandeep helps clients to bridge the execution gap. He is passionate about creating new technology solutions and delivering “Great Customer Experience”.

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