8 Best Hybrid App Development Frameworks

Hybrid App Development FrameworksLike mobile websites, hybrid mobile apps are developed by combining widely used web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. But the hybrid apps are embedded into a thin native container, and have the capability to use the underlying mobile devices. Hence, hybrid mobile apps help enterprises to bridge the gap between native mobile apps and web apps. An enterprise can deploy skilled web application developers to build custom hybrid apps according to its precise needs. It also has option to implement the hybrid mobile app either as a native app or from the web server. The developers can further simplify and accelerate custom hybrid app development by taking advantage of a number of robust hybrid app development frameworks.

Overview of 8 Widely Used Hybrid App Development Frameworks

1) Xamarin

Xamarin enables developers to write apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile with a single and shared code base written in C#. The hybrid mobile apps are developed with native user interface controls, access native features of the device and platform, and deliver native user experience. The developers even have option to reuse the same code, APIs, and data structures across mobile platforms.

At the same time, the Cross platform app developers can test the hybrid mobile app efficiently using Xamarin Test Cloud. They can even use Xamarin Insights to monitor and improve the performance of the mobile app consistently. Many enterprises opt for Xamarin to reduce hybrid app development time and cost by reusing code, APIs, and tools across targeted mobile platforms.

2) React Native

The framework developed by Facebook enables developers to create platform-specific mobile apps by combining JavaScript and React. Like React, React Native also allows developers to create mobile user interfaces using declarative components. But it uses the fundamental building blocks used by native mobile apps. Hence, a hybrid mobile app developed with React Native performs similar to an Android app written in Java or an iOS app written in Swift/Objective-C.

Also, the open source framework accelerated hybrid app development by allowing developers to run the new code without frequent code compilation. The developers even have option to enhance the app’s performance by using components written in Java, Swift, or Objective-C. However, mobile app developers have to invest additional time to learn and use this hybrid app development framework.

3) Adobe PhoneGap

PhoneGap is an open source distribution of Apache Cordoba framework. But Adobe PhoneGap enables developers to create apps for multiple mobile platforms with a single code base. The developers can even build hybrid mobile apps by combining HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They can even take advantage of the PhoneGap Toolset to build and deploy custom hybrid mobile apps rapidly according to varying business requirements.

For instance, the PhoneGap developers can use PhoneGap Desktop App to crate mobile apps without using command line. Likewise, PhoneGap Build makes it easier for developers to compile the code as app store ready apps. At the same time, the developers can easily extend the functionality of the hybrid app by using specific plug-ins and third-party tools.

4) Ionic Framework

Unlike other hybrid app development frameworks, Ionic is designed as an open source SDK for hybrid mobile app development. It enables developers to create native mobile apps and progressive web applications with a single code base. But the app developed with Ionic can be deployed seamlessly across platform-specific app stores. While using Ionic, the developers even have option to enhance the app’s native user experience by using TypeScript extensions and PhoneGap plug-ins.

Ionic further accelerates hybrid app development by using native SDKs and implementing native UI best practices. Hence, an app developed with Ionic runs smoothly on new mobile devices and deliver richer user experience across devices. Interested readers can read more on the important aspects of Ionic Framework here.

5) Framework7

Framework7 is designed specifically as a HTML framework for development of iOS and Android apps. It enables developers to develop web apps and hybrid mobile apps that look and feel like native mobile app despite using widely used web technologies. The prototyping apps tool provided by Framework7 makes it easier for developers to create prototypes of custom hybrid mobile apps according to precise business needs.

At the same time, Framework7 accelerates hybrid app development by providing a wide variety of ready-to-use widgets and UI components – popup, popover, modals, media lists, list views, layout grid, tabs and form elements. It further allows developers to customize the app’s look and style by creating and applying custom styles. However, Framework7, unlike other hybrid app development frameworks, focus extensively on iOS app development and Google Material Design.

6) Sencha Ext JS

Sencha Ext JS accelerates hybrid app development by integrating two robust frameworks – Sencha Touch and Ext JS. The developers can use Sencha Ext JS to create cross-platform and data-intensive mobile apps by leveraging features of HTML5. The framework further makes it easier for developers to add functionality to the hybrid mobile app by providing a wide range of UI components – calendar, charts, lists, forms, menus, panels, windows, toolbars and grids.

The developers can manage a large number of records efficiently using a package called Ext JS Grid and Advanced Charting. They can even design appealing mobile apps using the customizable themes provided by Sencha Ext JS and simplify data visualization with the D3 Adapter. The framework further allows developers to test the hybrid mobile app thoroughly with Sencha Test.

7) NativeScript

The open source framework enables developers to build iOS and Android apps with JavaScript or TypeScript. The developers can even simplify hybrid mobile app development by leveraging the features of AngularJS. NativeScript requires programmers to write the functionalities of the hybrid mobile app once in JavaScript. The developers can customize the functionality written in JavaScript according to the targeted mobile platform.

Hence, the developers can use NativeScript to create iOS and Android apps with a single code base. NativeScript even enables developers to create native UIs according to specific devices and screens without using webviews. The developers also have option to extend NativeScript with plug-ins for CocoaPod or Gradle. However, they must be proficient in JavaScript coding to take advantage of the hybrid app development framework fully.

8) Appcelerator Titanium

Titanium creates a hybrid development environment by integrating the environments provided by two robust hybrid app development frameworks – Xamarin and PhoneGap. It allows developers to write iOS and Android apps with a single code base written in JavaScript. The developers can even reuse a large part of the code base across mobile platforms using Titanium SDK. At the same time, the App Designer tool provided by Titanium makes it easier for developers to design iOS and Android apps through drag-and-drop palette.

The developers can further access the native APIs provided by iOS or Android through Hyperloop. Hyperloop further integrates the native APIs and incorporates third-party native libraries seamlessly into the JavaScript code. Titanium further accelerates development of complex hybrid mobile apps by a robust MVC framework like Alloy.

On the whole, the developers have option to choose from a wide range of hybrid app development frameworks according to precise needs of each project. The frameworks make it easier for developers to prototype, develop, and deploy custom hybrid apps. But the frameworks differ from each other in the categories of features, performance, licensing, and mobile platform support. Hence, the developers must keep in mind specific needs of each project while comparing these widely used hybrid app development frameworks.

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