Best Mobile Development Frameworks in 2023

    What Are Mobile App Frameworks?

    A mobile app framework is a software development framework that includes tools and software, compilers, debugging tools, and programming interfaces, among other things which provides a foundation for building mobile applications. It helps the developer to write large applications much faster rather than doing everything from scratch. It typically includes a collection of libraries, tools, and pre-built components that facilitate the development of mobile apps across different platforms (such as iOS and Android) using a single codebase.

    What does this imply?

    Well, users have different devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers, and all of these may come with various operating systems (OS). Thus, when a company decides to make an application and turns to professionals for mobile app development services, the created solution has to be flexible and compatible (for instance, it should work equally well on iOS and Android).

    The process of building a mobile application isn’t simple, so using an appropriate web development tech stack and a comprehensive framework can help developers save time and resources.

    App frameworks play a crucial role in app development by providing a foundation and set of tools that streamline the development process.

    Here are some ways in which app frameworks help in app development:

    1. Simplified Development: App frameworks provide pre-built components, libraries, and APIs that simplify the development process. These components often encapsulate complex functionality, allowing developers to focus on the specific requirements of their app instead of building everything from scratch.
    2. Cross-Platform Development: Many app frameworks facilitate cross-platform development, enabling developers to write code once and deploy it on multiple platforms, such as iOS and Android. This saves time and effort compared to developing separate apps for each platform.
    3. Code Reusability: App frameworks promote code reusability, as developers can write shared code logic that can be used across different parts of the app or across multiple platforms. This reduces redundancy and makes maintenance and updates more efficient.
    4. Rapid Prototyping: App frameworks often include prototyping tools or features that allow developers to quickly create mockups or interactive prototypes of the app’s user interface and functionality. This helps in visualizing the app’s concept and getting early feedback from stakeholders.
    5. Access to Native Features: Many frameworks provide access to native device features and APIs, allowing developers to leverage the full capabilities of the underlying platform. This includes features like camera, GPS, sensors, push notifications, and more.
    6. Community and Support: Popular app frameworks usually have large and active developer communities. This means developers can access a wealth of resources, documentation, tutorials, and community support. It fosters knowledge sharing, problem-solving, and continuous improvement of the framework.
    7. Performance Optimization: App frameworks often include performance optimization techniques and tools that help developers build efficient and fast-performing apps. These optimizations can include code minification, caching mechanisms, and other techniques specific to the framework.
    8. Updates and Maintenance: App frameworks typically provide regular updates, bug fixes, and security patches. This ensures that the app remains compatible with new platform versions and takes advantage of the latest features and improvements.

    Overall, app frameworks streamline the development process, provide necessary tools and resources, promote code reusability, and enhance the efficiency and quality of app development. They enable developers to focus on the app’s unique functionality and user experience while leveraging the benefits and capabilities provided by the framework. Before choosing a framework for your app we need to understand the need of the application.

    Best Mobile Development Frameworks in 2023

    Let’s take a closer look at the top 9 frameworks for mobile app development.

    1. Flutter

    Brought by: Google

    Based on: Dart

    Apps developed using Flutter: Google Ads, Google Pay, eBay Motors, PostMuse

    Created by Google, Flutter is an open-source framework that enables developers to build high-performance, natively compiled applications for multiple platforms using a single codebase. It uses the Dart programming language and provides a rich set of customizable UI widgets.

    Key features:

    • Available open-source for free;
    • Compiles to JavaScript, Intel, and ARM;
    • Uses layered architecture;
    • Offers widgets that can be customized (icons, navigation, scrolling, among others);
    • Has rich motion APIs;
    • Provides an intuitive UI kit;
    • Skia, a 2D rendering engine, is used for visuals;
    • Automated QA testing and simple debugging;
    • Has a hot reload feature, allowing to see changes immediately without app reload.

    Use Flutter, if:

    • you need to create a cross-platform application;
    • UI is a priority;
    • need access to a broad library of customizable widgets;
    • are looking for a simple way to create visuals.

    2. React Native

    Brought by: Facebook

    Based on: JavaScript

    Apps developed using React Native: Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Shopify, FlipKart

    Developed by Facebook, React Native is a widely-used framework for building cross-platform mobile apps using JavaScript and React. It allows developers to write code once and deploy it on both iOS and Android platforms.

    Key features:

    • Available open-source for free;
    • Is low-code (provides components and code that can be reused);
    • Allows for achieving enhanced UI and impressive app performance;
    • Extensive React Native libraries;
    • Boasts top-notch APIs;
    • Has numerous platform-agnostic components (these include Text, View, and Image);
    • Simple migration due to third-party libraries support;
    • Well-adapted to various screen sizes;
    • Great compatibility with various extensions;
    • Easy maintenance;
    • Has an extensive community;
    • Low learning curve.

    Use React Native, if:

    • you need to create a cross-platform application;
    • fast time to market is a priority;
    • you need a responsive solution;
    • your UI won’t require too much customization;
    • Windows Phone is not a targeted OS (i.e., you need an app solely for iOS and Android).

    3. Ionic

    Based on: Angular/Vue/React and Apache Cordova

    Apps developed using Ionic: MarketWatch, Firstly, ChefSteps, DieselOn

    Ionic is a popular framework for building hybrid mobile applications using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It leverages web technologies and wraps the app in a native container to achieve cross-platform compatibility.

    Key features:

    • Available open-source for free;
    • Uses numerous JavaScript components (over 100 for Angular);
    • Has many themes and features like lazy loading;
    • Device plugins (eg., for accessing the camera or Bluetooth);
    • Uses Webviews and intuitive mobile-optimized components for UI;
    • Adaptive styling;
    • AOT compiling, touch-optimized gestures, and pre-rendering;
    • Extensive community.

    Use Ionic, if:

    • you need to create a highly interactive application for Android and iOS or a PWA;
    • your developers have a great command of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

    4. Apache Cordova

    Based on: HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript

    Apps developed using Apache Cordova: Localeur, Untappd, SparkChess

    Previously called PhoneGap, Apache Cordova is a neat hybrid mobile web app development framework. It has been on the market for a while, therefore there’s a large community, plus the solution is quite developer-friendly.

    Key features:

    • Available open-source for free;
    • Plugins for accessing hardware like the camera, GPS, etc.;
    • CLI (command-line interface);
    • Native device API access;
    • Scenarios for offline usage;
    • Large community.

    Use Apache Cordova, if:

    • you need to create a cross-platform application;
    • if you need access to numerous smartphone hardware and device functions.

    5. Xamarin

    Brought by: Microsoft

    Based on: .NET and C#

    Apps developed using Xamarin: Volveremos, Aussie Weather, Tube Mate

    Xamarin is one more free open-source mobile app development framework. It was launched by Microsoft and uses the C# programming language together with .NET. Unification is what makes it unique as it is truly a cross-platform framework.

    Key features:

    • Allows creating apps for lots of operating systems apart from iOS and Android, including Windows, tvOS, macOS, watchOS, among others;
    • Connected with Microsoft Visual Studio;
    • Uses data-driven documents;
    • Storyboard files;
    • Native APIs and 2D graphics;
    • Google emulator and Android SDK managers;
    • The backend infrastructure is rather versatile;
    • Has an active community and is supported corporately.

    Use Xamarin, if:

    • you need to create an application that’s compatible with many OS, not limited to iOS and Android;
    • fast time to market is a priority.

    6. NativeScript

    Based on: JavaScript (or languages that transpile to JS)

    Apps developed using NativeScript: Navadra, GreekyAnts, Workbox

    NativeScript is a commonly chosen native mobile app development framework. NativeScript mobile applications can be built on JavaScript or on programming languages like Vue.js, Angular, or Typescript, which transpile to JS. It is considered to be one of the best mobile app development frameworks for Android apps.

    Key features:

    • Available open-source for free;
    • Clear interface without the need for WebViews;
    • Simple access to lightweight iOS and Android APIs;
    • Kendo Themes;
    • Mission-critical functions support;
    • Robust community.

    Use NativeScript, if:

    • you need to create a cross-platform application mostly prioritizing Android;
    • are looking for a library-rich open-source solution.

    7. Kotlin

    Based on: Kotlin (inspired by C#, Java, and others)

    Apps developed using Kotlin: Gradle, Evernote, Spring

    Kotlin is an aspiring modern solution and programming language. This framework is primarily used for server-side mobile app development.

    Key features:

    • Ktor multi-platform toolkit;
    • Compatible with the Java ecosystem;
    • Allows using different JVL libraries and frameworks;
    • Platform-specific APIs;
    • Large community.

    Use Kotlin, if:

    • you need to create a cross-platform application mostly prioritizing Android;
    • Java interoperability matters.

    8. Swiftic

    Framework type: no-code DIY

    Apps developed using Swiftic: Mt. Royal Bagel Co., Clubhouse, Lakeside Fitness

    Previously known as Como DIY, Swiftic is considered a “do it yourself” solution for building cross-platform Android and iOS applications, but is mostly targeted at the latter OS. It is intuitive in use and regarded as a good option for small businesses. Note, though, that it doesn’t come on a free basis (it’s free to build the app, yet launching it isn’t). There are multiple plans available and a 30-day refund guarantee.

    Key features:

    • Intuitive app creation, convenient interface, and dashboard;
    • Customizable UX;
    • Includes a rich app feature set (in-app coupons, creative forms, loyalty cards, scratch cards, delivery functionality, social media feeds, a promotional toolkit, etc.);
    • Push notification functionality;
    • Low learning curve (considered no-code);
    • Assistance in launching the app (even on App Store);
    • Available support from the Swiftic Success Team.

    Use Swiftic, if:

    • you need to create an application mostly prioritizing iOS;
    • you need a practically zero learning curve (i.e., a simple content import and selection from numerous customizable themes).

    9. Corona SDK

    Based on: Lua

    Apps developed using Corona SDK: Designer City, PKTBALL, Draw Rider Plus

    Corona SDK is also called Solar 2D. It allows for creation mobile applications that would run on numerous devices, including TVs. It is a great choice for game development.

    Key features:

    • Available open-source for free;
    • Designed to be fast and lightweight;
    • Has numerous plugins for features like media, analytics, etc.;
    • Instant update stimulator;
    • Large community.

    Use Corona SDK, if:

    • you need to create a cross-platform application for iOS, Android, and others;
    • you plan on building mobile games.

    Still, got questions on mobile frameworks? Divii Consulting can give you a hand with planning your mobile development project. Contact us

    How to Choose the Right Mobile App Development Framework

    So what is the best framework for mobile app development? The graph below shows the results of recent statistics on the preferred cross-platform mobile frameworks used for app development. As you can see, according to the opinions of developers, Flutter is currently the most popular mobile app development framework with React Native standing close behind.

    The choice of framework for building your mobile application will depend on numerous factors, including:

    • how experienced your developers are and which programming languages they’re best at;
    • what type of application you are planning to create (for instance, the framework choice may vary depending on if it’ll be a game or an online store);
    • which OS you’re targeting.

    When selecting from the variety of mobile app development frameworks, keep an eye on:

    • whether it comes on a free open-source basis or not;
    • which OS it is suitable for;
    • whether it is fitted for your industry;
    • how simple it will be to build the application (the learning curve);
    • how flexible and scalable the solution is;
    • how big and active the community is to support it;
    • whether it gets regular updates.

    To Conclude

    Summing up, there exist plenty of different applications and the ways they run. Based on this, during the project discovery phase or planning you can choose among the mobile application development frameworks which can help accelerate the app creation process. The paths will vary depending on the desired result.

    And if you’re in search of a trustworthy partner to give you a hand with your custom mobile application, feel free to contact Divii Consulting.

    Not sure which app framework to choose? Contact our team and they will help you pick the right one. Let’s talk!

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