Simplifying App Development on Android: Meandering Through These 5 Open Source Frameworks
Looking for easier mobile app development? These five open source frameworks are what you need, including Ionic, Sencha Touch, and Titanium.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
For someone looking to develop games and Android centric applications, native tools are usually perfect. However, budget driven firms often opt for cross platform frameworks that follow a simple approach i.e. code once, run anywhere. Unlike the premium variants like ADT Eclipse Plugin or the cloud-centric Monaca tool suite, the open source frameworks miss out on some hard-core development specs but the cross platform compatibility readily justifies their inclusion. These frameworks have survived the test of time and offer likewise flexibility on either Android or iOS.
With open source we need to exclude flexibilities like Trigger.IO or Xamarin. However, Intel XDK does provide a few of these perks but it isn’t completely open source and comes as a free version. While drafting, we have omitted some tricky frameworks and even those which have lived out their expectancy period.
Again, these latest mobile app development frameworks allow customizations, involving the modern UIs associated with Google’s praiseworthy ‘Material Design’. Recently several developers have resorted to these frameworks for building elusive apps like Playbox that are now available on both iOS and Android.
Enlisting the Top 5 Frameworks
Framework7, Offered by iDandero.us: It all started when version 1.0 took form and offered iOS support. Recently, Framework7 has started offering Android centric services. Developers who prefer beginning with iOS can use this framework to migrate to Android, by preserving the former’s layout. Associated perks include Custom ‘DOM Library’, 1:1 animation for pages, preloading, XHR caching, native scrolling and ‘Material Design UI’.
Ionic, Offered by Ionic: An easy to use platform, Ionic uses CSS extension language. This framework can be integrated with AngularJS, mainly for creating powerful applications. Additional attributes include an exhaustive library featuring mobile optimized CSS, HTML and JS tidbits. Tools and predefined gestures are also on-board. The Cordova-centric application packager is another desirable trait followed by emulators, live reload and finally, logging.
Titanium, Offered by Appcelerator: This is something better than our usual web-oriented frameworks. More than the ease, this framework wins over all of us, owing to the extensive set of features including 5,000 plus APIs for HTML5, Blackberry, iOS, Windows and definitely Android. If you aren’t publishing the created app, then Titanium can be used for free. Otherwise, the user needs to shell out a minimum amount, each month.
Sencha Touch, Offered by Sencha: Here is an enterprise focused framework that can be used, even for commercial excavates. The best part about Sencha Touch is that it offers native-like attributes, owing to the ExtJS flexibility. One can even look out for the visual application builder, compatible with HTML5. This allows reusing of the custom components. And finally we have a native packager that helps streamlining app distribution to the Play Store and similar app markets.
Mobile Angluar UI, Offered by Maurizio Casimirri: Here is another open source framework that involves the famed AngularJS and an upgraded Bootstrap from Twitter. This can easily integrate with the mobile UIs and offers the best possible portability, concerning web apps to mobile platforms. Other components that aren’t available with Bootstrap can be added as well, including overlays, scrollable regions, navbars, sidebars and switches. Overthrow.js and Fastclick.js are featured in the library.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.