Top Mobile App Development Frameworks
You need to consider multiple factors when choosing frameworks for mobile app development, from the number of built-in features to user interface complexity.
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The overall digital transformation of business requires organizations to develop custom products. Moreover, launching a company website alone is no longer sufficient—mobile applications become an integral part of a successful sales pipeline, even for small businesses. And there are some statistics behind it.
- An average American spends almost 90% of their mobile time (more than four hours a day!) on applications.
- There are already over six billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide. And this number is set to reach 7.7 billion by 2027.
- By March this year, there were 2.6 million apps in the Google Play Store.
Since building enterprise applications became popular, the entire process has been simplified in many ways. Using frameworks is one of them. Here’s a guide to the best mobile app development frameworks that will help you understand the latest trends.
What Is a Framework?
A framework is a blank, ready-to-use model for rapid development. It defines the structure and the rules and provides the necessary toolset to create a digital product. Simply put, you don't need to write all code from scratch, as many routine tasks have already been written and can be successfully reused. You only need to add your product-related code to an already existing template that solves purpose-specific tasks.
Frameworks are software products that make it easier to create and maintain technically complex or busy projects. They contain basic software modules that serve as a basis for specific components further implemented by developers.
Frameworks “take over” thousands of technical details, such as working with the file system and databases, error processing, or software protection. The main purpose of using a framework in mobile development is to speed up the development process and streamline most routine tasks. Today, frameworks are widely used in web and mobile app development. And here’s why.
Benefits of Using Frameworks in Mobile App Development
If there were no development frameworks, the process of building an app would take significantly more time. For example, they allow programmers to work with different Database Management Systems without having to dive into the specifics of the infrastructure organization. They also include ready-made file system solutions and the necessary tools to optimize and accelerate your mobile application development. Besides saving up time and resources, frameworks for building mobile apps have three fundamental advantages.
Increased Code Efficiency
Frameworks also promote code reuse, which, in turn, increases code efficiency. They allow developers to avoid writing complex structures containing hundreds of lines of code from scratch. Using this method, a developer gets easy-to-modify code ready for additional features.
These development instruments contain basic program modules, libraries, a user-friendly interface, a flexible coding environment, and other features that simplify the process. Developers don't have to worry about anonymizing data, managing sessions, handling errors, or authentication. The framework platform handles most of these functions perfectly. As a result, programmers can start writing code immediately and without being distracted by other tasks.
In addition to reducing the development time, frameworks also simplify software debugging and maintenance. The debugging process involves executing the code step by step to find the point of error. Some solutions have internal code testing systems that allow programmers to perform unit tests at the same time.
Top 5 Mobile App Development Frameworks
What is the best framework for mobile app development? No experienced developer will give you a definite answer. The tech stack for your project will depend on specific requirements and features the final product should have to perform its functions.
Until recently, specialists in mobile development environments have been using the Software Development Kit (SDK) provided by a mobile platform—Android or iOS, for example. It also means that the two popular mobile platforms have completely different SDKs. Android's official programming languages are Java and Kotlin, while iOS apps are mostly written in Swift and Objective-C.
As a result, it created a problem for commercial use. Companies had to run two parallel native mobile development projects and maintain source codebases for each mobile platform. In most cases, it also meant having two development teams.
Cross-platform mobile app development frameworks have become the solution to this problem. Their purpose is to introduce a level of abstraction over platform-specific APIs. In other words, these instruments help your development team create mobile apps that work on both platforms while having one codebase.
Considering years of professional experience and the latest industry trends, our experts hand-picked the top five mobile app development frameworks you should know about if you plan to create a solution for your business.
- Conceptual applications with a lot of dynamic content (for example, a newsfeed with like and comment features);
- Applications with a complex user interface;
- Mid-size mobile applications with an upper-mid-development budget.
Flutter is Google’s open-source UI development kit and an alternative to the popular React Native. It includes a graphics library for rendering embedded GUI elements and promises to “build apps for any screen.” Flutter comes with its own set of tools for interface elements. Therefore, everything created with this tool will look the same in any operating system.
- Keeping the same visual interface across different operating systems;
- Large mobile applications;
- Apps with quite a lot of built-in features.
Ionic is an open-source Software Development Kit for hybrid mobile app development, allowing you to create hybrid cross-platform applications using web-based technologies. The entire GUI structure of the application is displayed on the web page. Ionic offers a set of plugins to handle built-in operations.
- Small, fast-loading mobile applications;
- Mobile applications with small budgets;
- Support for other frameworks.
Xamarin is a free, open-source mobile app platform for building high-performance native apps for Android, iOS, and Windows operating systems. Unlike all previous frameworks, Xamarin uses the C# programming language. It makes it well compatible with any platform and allows you to create native-feeling applications on each one.
- Internet of Things apps and software that needs flawless integration with Microsoft Windows;
- Performance as close as possible to native applications;
- Convenient testing and ready UI layouts.
- Support for third-party libraries and frameworks;
- The extensive library of NativeScript plugins (NODE packages that implement cross-platform functions).
If creating a mobile app for your business is part of your strategy, and you prefer to monitor the development process to know your final product, eventually, you’ll face the challenge of choosing the best framework for app development. Cross-platform frameworks allow developers to write code only once to create a mobile application that runs and functions properly in a web browser and on any platform—Android, iOS, or Windows.
There are multiple factors you need to consider when choosing frameworks used for mobile app development, from the number of built-in features and the user interface complexity to your budget and deadlines. That is why finding a trustworthy tech partner is crucial. Custom software development professionals would advise you on your project’s scope, cost, and the best application framework to fit your development goals.
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