5 Best Frameworks for Building Mobile Apps

Framework environment is a complex system that is used for back-end development and front-end rendering of a mobile application. It includes toolsets, compilers, debuggers, apps and different libraries that offer many helpful resources to developers. It is a base of the future applications that can save a great deal of time and resources, and understanding the differences between different frameworks and their pros and cons is essential to finding what works for your business. We have been working in this area for many years and have accumulated great experience in it while developing mobile applications as parts of bigger solutions. We found frameworks to be a great investment that, if chosen correctly, goes a long way.

Ionic

Ionic framework for mobile dev

Ionic is one of the most successful cross-platform frameworks on the market. It is based on the Sass CSS extension language and works well with Angular, putting a powerful SDK in your hands. Ionic Marketplace allows to download different templates that will help you save significantly on development time. Included command line interface helps you build, emulate and run applications. It also contains a great library of HTML, CSS and JS CSS components, gestures and tool that can be used perfectly with any modern mobile platform. All of those things make Ionic the go-to choice for many development teams.

jQuery Mobile

jquery framework for mobile dev

jQuery is one of the popular frameworks for building mobile apps with a big library of plugins that are very valuable for decreasing the development time. Multiplatform capabilities of the framework cover not only all of the mainstream platforms, such as iOS, Android and Windows Phone but also less common ones, such as MeeGo, Firefox Mobile, Kindle and Nook. jQuery Mobile is built on the same base as jQuery and as a result the same syntax, any team familiar with it will have no problems with the framework.

The main advantage of this framework is that is module-based, making development very flexible and fast.

One of the system drawbacks is the shortage of themes, which results in the increase of time spent on creating custom themes. This can be an issue for startups that are looking not to overextend their spending.

Adobe PhoneGap

Adobe PhoneGap logo

This is one of the best mobile development frameworks on the market. It is developed by Adobe and is used to develop hybrid apps based on CSS, HTML and JavaScript. Despite all the concerns and misconceptions surrounding hybrid mobile app frameworks, PhoneGap shows great performance with no hardware restrictions. The framework is also rich in plugins and third-party tools available to developers.

You can develop applications for Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry, Ubuntu, Firefox OS, Mac OS and Windows Phone. Adobe PhoneGap includes a set of tools that facilitate the collaborative efforts of the team. It can give access to the application to a specific group of people in a way that it makes version control isn’t a problem.

Adobe PhoneGap is also notable for its Hydration feature. It reduces the amount of time needed to compile an application and facilitates the process of updating it. When a developer uploads a new version of an application, a user gets a notification, and if they decide to run the new version, it will automatically fetch and run the final code.

Intel XDK

Intel XDK logo

XDK is one of the best mobile app frameworks for creating HTML5 apps in a fast and efficient way. The Intel XDK package includes features for supporting industry-leading tools and plugins. This framework is popular in the mobile gaming industry, where it is used for creating and monetizing gaming apps.

A lot of time for creating a top-notch application is saved due to the extended support of third-party plugins. Plugins may help you with advertising, in-app purchasing, authentication and the use of social media services.

One of the tools included in the framework that is worth pointing out is a debugging tool called Chrome Developer Tools, which works in a Javascript framework, Cordova plugins, DOM elements and CSS rules. Weinre, another available remote debugging tool, runs your application on a certain device. Intel XDK includes a very precise emulator so you can see how your application works on different devices.

Ext JS

Ext JS logo

This HTML5 and Javascript framework for mobile app development is a flexible solution for app development of any size. It includes many great UI widgets that are useful for developing iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps and making them easy to use.

Ext JS offers one of the greatest animation, performance and pixel-precision accuracy of the UI frameworks. As with all high-quality frameworks, it offers extensive documentation that covers all aspects of the platform. This framework works perfectly with other APIs, so you can combine different APIs to achieve the needed result. Ext JS is perfect for the rapid development of applications for mobile devices.

It offers many application testing tools, such as the Sencha Test. It is used to do cross-platform and cross-browser testing. Sencha Inspector is a debugging tool that facilitates the analyzing of code and improves the overall performance of the application. Sencha Themer is a great part of this toolkit that helps create a unique style for your application using graphical tools, so that your company doesn’t have to allocate development resources to designing the UI.

Compared to other frameworks, Ext JS will require a much more sophisticated set of skills, so a specialist engineer needs to be hired. Offshoring the development of the applications on this platform is often a better choice.

Pros Cons
IonicWorks well with AngularJS, cross-platform capability, Ionic MarketplaceSlower performance, in-app navigation is hard to develop
jQuery MobileGreat multi-platform capabilities, vast library of plugins Does not have complex themes included
Adobe PhoneGapWorks with Javascript, jQuery, Prototype, Sencha Touch or MooTools  Lacking documentation
Intel XDKGreat debugging tools, good for mobile games development  Speed of development
Ext JSQuick and vast library, good code quality/readability Expensive staff needed

 

Conclusion

Since mobile app development frameworks work as the foundation for your future application, making the right choice is of utmost importance. However, there are some factors you should consider: that a framework is not a programming solution with narrow specialization; that it is able to deal with a wide range of problems but can also increase the size of an app. It leads to a phenomenon called “code bloat” when the size of the application becomes too big. A good option is to study which frameworks offer what and find the one that suits you best. Some frameworks may have functions that you won’t be using in your projects.

Feel free to contact our specialists and take a look at other articles on our blog.

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Eugene

A copywriter at SaM Solutions, Eugene is fond of writing about innovative technologies and solutions that improve living standards and add value to business operations.