You can access millions of apps with a few taps on your mobile phone today. These apps differ in their functionality and use cases. But they share similarities in the development process. They all start with an idea, which undergoes a series of steps to become an actual mobile app. An important aspect of this process is selecting the right development framework.
Mobile app development frameworks are software frameworks that support app development. You can think of them as a toolbox with all the tools developers need to build apps.
They offer libraries, UI elements, ready-made functions and components, and other resources to simplify app development. We discuss some of these mobile app frameworks below to help you find the best framework for mobile app development in your specific use case.
Flutter is an open-source software development kit created by Google. Mobile app developers can use it to build and test their desktop, web, and mobile apps via a single codebase.
One of the most attractive features of Flutter is its selection of customizable widgets. You can choose from various components, such as buttons, text inputs, sliders, etc.
Flutter’s Skia is the framework’s 2D rendering engine that develops visuals. Also, Dart, a coding language optimized for speed, serves as the framework’s primary programming language.
Flutter is also known for the following features:
Some apps created on Flutter include Hamilton and Google Ads.
Other notable features of React Native are:
Instagram is one of the many apps made on React Native. Others include Uber Eats and Soundcloud.
Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language developed by Apple Inc. It’s primarily used for building apps for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Swift combines the robust performance of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages.
One of the key advantages of Swift is its clean and expressive syntax. This makes the code not only easier to write but also easier to read and maintain. Swift also includes modern language features that developers love, such as closures, generics, and type inference, making the development process more straightforward and flexible.
Swift is renowned for its performance improvements over Objective-C. It is designed to provide safer patterns in coding and to generate faster code across the board. Apple continuously optimizes Swift for performance and provides regular updates.
Notable features of Swift include:
Popular apps developed with Swift include Lyft, LinkedIn, and Airbnb, showcasing its capability to create high-quality, high-performance applications.
Kotlin, developed by JetBrains, is an open-source, statically typed programming language that has become increasingly popular for modern Android app development. It’s designed to be fully interoperable with Java, offering a smoother and more efficient development experience.
Kotlin’s rise in popularity is attributed to its concise syntax, which reduces boilerplate code, making the codebase cleaner and more readable. This streamlined coding approach not only enhances development speed but also minimizes the likelihood of errors and bugs.
Key features of Kotlin include:
Kotlin’s adoption by Google as a first-class language for Android development has further solidified its position in the mobile app development ecosystem. Major apps built with Kotlin include Trello, Evernote, and Coursera, demonstrating its effectiveness in creating high-quality, robust mobile applications.
Kotlin Multiplatform, an extension of the Kotlin programming language, represents a significant stride in cross-platform mobile development. Developed by JetBrains, it enables developers to use the same codebase to create applications for various platforms including Android, iOS, web, and desktop.
This framework stands out for its ability to allow sharing of business logic and data models across platforms while still enabling developers to create platform-specific implementations where necessary. It strikes a balance between code reusability and platform-specific customization.
Key aspects of Kotlin Multiplatform include:
Kotlin Multiplatform is particularly beneficial for businesses looking to expand their presence across multiple platforms without the need to manage separate codebases for each. It’s ideal for projects where leveraging Kotlin’s robustness and efficiency across platforms can significantly streamline the development process.
Xamarin is a cross-platform app development framework that uses C# and .NET for app development on various platforms, like iOS and Android.
Some features of Xamarin are:
Alaska Airlines, UPS, Oro, and The World Bank are some apps that used Xamarin for their development.
Ionic is a framework for building hybrid, cross-platform apps. It is different from solutions like React Native as it is focused on creating Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). It uses Apache Cordova and Angular for app development. Its features are:
The Marketwatch app is built with Ionic. Other well-known apps include Nationwide, InstantPot, and Diesel.
Cordova is an open-source framework for custom mobile app development. One of its subtypes is PhoneGap, which Adobe maintains. Although both native frameworks are similar at the core, PhoneGap has additional tools for the Adobe ecosystem. Cordova’s features include:
Plenty of other frameworks and tools are also built on Cordova. Examples include Ionic, TACO, Evothings Studio, Framework7, etc.
Examples of apps built on NativeScript include ActiveLook and Voice & Speech – Coach App.
Sencha Touch recently merged with Ext J, creating a comprehensive framework for developers to build data-intensive mobile applications. Its features are:
Many apps on Windows, Blackberry, iOS, and Android are built using Sencha Touch.
jQuery Mobile is a touch-optimized web framework that helps developers create responsive applications for mobile devices. However, the framework is no longer supported, as it was deprecated in 2021. But its developers are transitioning to a modernized project called jQuery UI.
Notable features of jQuery Mobile include:
Some apps made on jQuery Mobile are TripCase and Untappd.
When choosing the best mobile app developers for your app, your options include putting together an in-house team or working with a highly skilled external company like Flatirons. For more help choosing a framework, Flatirons provides custom mobile app development services.
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