5 Top Frameworks for Hybrid Mobile App Development

How can you make the process of development easier? Use certain development tools that greatly streamline mobile software creation.

Today, a developer may not have deep knowledge of all of the programming languages. Nonetheless, different tools and software builders help create a great mobile application that will support multiple platforms.

In this article, we talk about the most useful hybrid mobile app development tools, their advantages and shortcomings.

Native vs. Hybrid Mobile App Development

There are two mobile software development approaches on which developers can rely: native and hybrid app building. Let’s discuss their principles, benefits and differences.

Native

Native development relies on tools and programming languages that are original for the device and for the operating system and are designed specifically for one platform:

  • iOS apps are created with Objective-C and Swift
  • Android apps are developed with Java and Kotlin
  • Windows Phone uses C#, Visual Basic and XAML

When creating native applications, developers are guided by specific OS requirements and install the apps on a computing device, which enables the program to fully use available features and capabilities.

However, there is a significant issue: native app development does not allow to create a single app for all platforms. Instead, you need to develop several apps: one app for each targeted platform, which is time-consuming and cost-intensive.

Hybrid

The term “hybrid development” speaks for itself: this approach combines native code with independent code that is suitable for multiple platforms and allows creating cross-platform mobile apps. These applications fit any platform and function identically across different ones.

Hybrid software is coded in intermediate programming languages — HTML, JavaScript and CSS — those that are not native to devices and OSs. Then, apps are packaged into native containers and integrated into platforms. They have a native look and feel; however, there are typically certain restrictions that concern control and navigational elements.

The main advantages of the hybrid approach over the native one are as follows:

  • Hybrid solutions require fewer efforts and provide more accurate results
  • Basic knowledge of standard languages is enough — development tools will do the rest of the work
  • Costs are reduced, since only one team of programmers is required to develop and maintain an app
  • Hybrid frameworks provide near-native functionality
  • A single code base saves time and enables fast launching

Hybrid Mobile App Development Tools

Depending on the tool, the process and deliverables of native software development can vary. There are numerous examples of tools you can use for your app creation. Below, you can find the list of the five top hybrid mobile application development tools that are more frequently used.

PhoneGap

Backed by Adobe, PhoneGap is a distribution of Cordova framework. This open-source mobile application development framework is usually regarded as the top and the most popular tool for hybrid solutions not least because of its ease of use.

Read also: 4 Reasons You Need a Mobile eCommerce App

The tool allows writing apps in HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. For each mobile platform, it provides native plugins and containers, enabling developers to create more features and to access device functionality, such as camera, microphone, accelerometer, compass, file system and more. After their creation, apps run in a WebView browser inside a native container on the appropriate platform.

Ionic

Ionic is definitely the best hybrid app framework 2018 as it bridges the properties that are in the greatest demand: open source, maintainability, scalability, and it is easy to read. Ionic provides a library of HTML, CSS and JS components optimized for mobile development, which allows building interactive apps.

The tool has a rich set of features and tools, including out-of-the-box support for material design, native-styled mobile UI elements and layouts. Also, it provides its customers with regular updates and resources from the development community.

Ionic-based hybrid applications possess native functionalities, exhaustive gestures and customizable tools to enhance user-friendliness. However, they rely on wrappers such as Cordova or PhoneGap to run as native.

Sencha

Sencha is the leader in the enterprise-grade application development, as this comprehensive platform helps teams focus on building applications, not on constructing a framework. This tool is based on modern web technologies including ES6, HTML5, JavaScript and CSS and provides all developers may need to build data-intensive cross-platform web and mobile applications.

Originally named Sencha Touch, the service is no longer supported and has been merged with Ext JS to create Sencha Ext JS. It has a set of tools and themes that enhance productivity and facilitate optimization, deployment, design, theming and debugging.

Xamarin

Xamarin is one of the top hybrid mobile app frameworks. Xamarin-based applications are compatible with any mobile platform and provide the same performance and user experience as native solutions.

This popular Microsoft cross-platform mobile app framework relies on C# programming language that is complemented with .NET framework and is available under the MIT license as a part of Visual Studio. Its development toolset includes the following components:

  • Xamarin Studio/Visual Studio (its own IDE)
  • Xamarin SDKs
  • Xamarin Test Cloud
  • Hockeyapp and Xamarin.Insights (distribution and analytics platforms)

Also, the platform allows building native Mac apps using Xamarin.Mac Tool.

Framework7

Framework7 (F7) is a mobile app development framework that allows building web and hybrid mobile apps with native look-and-feel. With F7, developers can easily create prototypes and then build simple and user-friendly mobile apps that provide a seamless user experience.

Framework7 is a simple open-source tool that requires a developer to have only a simple HTML layout and attached CSS and JS files. However, F7 is not compatible with all platforms, as it is focused only on iOS and Google Material design.

Best Hybrid App Framework

The choice of the most appropriate solution for hybrid development depends on a host of factors, and the following are most significant:

  • Size of the company
  • Skills of developers
  • What solution you want to get as a result

Without taking these factors into consideration, it is impossible to say which of these tools for hybrid mobile application development is the best.

If you are a small company or an independent developer who wants to create a simple app, you might use Ionic or Framework7. Large firms, agencies and enterprises that need powerful solutions may opt for Sencha, Xamarin and other hybrid app development tools.

At the same time, if your priority is smooth performance and a full stack of native features, then native app development is most appropriate.  

To Sum Up

Today, most companies create mobile versions of their websites to remain competitive. Hybrid development is the most suitable solution for businesses as it allows to efficiently create solid applications that are compatible with all customer devices. Now, you know more about hybrid app development frameworks that can help you develop your perfect app.

SaM Solutions provides a wide range of cross-platform app development services: hybrid development; multi-platform app launching; support and maintenance on multiple operating systems; legacy application improvement by using hybrid frameworks; providing cross-platform developers for hire to supplement the customer team.

Our mobile hybrid app experts have the following expertise:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio, Eclipse, Idea, RubyMind, Xamarin Studio
  • HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, C#, C++, PHP
  • Android, iOS, Windows Phone
  • Xamarin, Cordova, PhoneGap, Ionic, Sencha, Cocos 2DX

We create solutions in accordance with the specific requirements of each customer, which is why our clients always get the most relevant product that works best for them. Ask SaM Solutions’ specialists for more information if you need mobile app development.

Request consultation with SaM Solutions' specialist





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About the author

Natallia Sakovich
Natallia Sakovich

A copywriter at SaM Solutions, Natallia is devoted to her motto — to write simply and clearly about complicated things. Backed up with a 5-year experience in copywriting, she creates informative but exciting articles on high technologies.

8 Comments

  • Thanks a lot man !!

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  • Your blog is very nice… Thanks for sharing your information…

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  • Thank you for these Informative and great tips (with great potential to learn from and apply). It helped me to improve my knowledge on hybrid mobile app development.

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  • Amazing web-site. A lot of valuable information right here.

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  • Very good information for app developers. These hybrid tools make it faster to develop the app for all platforms simultaneously. The features will improve slowly over some time. Still, it is a good start for developing apps faster. Thank you for the valuable information.

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  • Nice article

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  • I have recently heard about the phone gap framework which is an open source platform for developing new applications so if you learn a bit of coding you will be able to make such apps.

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  • Thanks a lot very much for the high quality and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to endorse your blog post to anybody who wants and needs support about this area.

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