The Best Android Frameworks for Mobile Application Development
There are currently over 2.9 million Android apps on Google Play and Android has about 72.6% of the mobile OS market share worldwide. These numbers clearly display the popularity of Android mobile applications both among the users and the developers.
In order to create high-performing apps with rich functionality and in full correspondence to the project requirements, Android developers need to use the most suitable development tools. In this article, we will have a look at the most popular Android application frameworks.
React Native is probably one of the most popular development frameworks. It is in the list of the most loved cross-platform application development frameworks and states to have 88,184 stars on GitHub. So what is React Native about?
Other great features of React Native are that it simplifies code reusability, solves the Iteration period issue, and allows developers to freely contribute to the framework.
Why use React Native?
To build mobile apps that are as high-performing as native ones.
Unity is a very specific development framework since it was designed specifically for game development. However, considering the popularity of virtual and augmented reality simulations among mobile app users, you might want to consider using Unity for your next app.
Unity is basically a game engine developed by Unity Technologies. It supports either C# or UnityScript. What’s great about Unity is that it allows developers to build cross-platform apps that can be exported to different platforms, like Xbox, Web, Playstation, and others.
The main thing to remember about Unity is that it’s a physics engine. That means, it enables developers to control the physical behavior of game (or any in-app) objects such as their momentum, lighting, etc. As well, Unity has an inbuilt editor for editing images and managing animations.
Why use Unity?
To build highly interactive applications (not necessarily games) and to add virtual/augmented reality experience to your apps.
Ionic is known for using a rich set of functionalities such as Health kit, fingerprint authentication, or Bluetooth. As well, Ionic uses a Simple CLI (Command Line Interface) which allows developers to use live reload, emulators, or logging for great display performance.
Ionic easily integrates with other libraries like AngularJS and uses Cordova and Capacitor for the native API access. One more benefit of this framework is its clear structure which is understandable to anyone who does web development.
Why use Ionic?
To build apps with a single codebase for multiple devices and platforms. Ionic is also very developer-friendly.
Sencha Touch is considered one of the best frameworks for mobile app development due to functionality and features that it provides to the applications. Sencha Touch allows building captivating and smooth apps with fluid animations and user-friendly scrolling. As well, apps built with Sencha Touch are compatible with all the latest versions of the most popular mobile operating systems, such as iOS, Android, Blackberry, and even Windows.
One of the most outstanding features of Sencha Touch is that it has over 50 inbuilt UI components with such UI elements as carousels, forms, menus, toolbars, and others, designed specifically for mobile apps. Sencha Touch also deploys hardware acceleration techniques for better app performance and has a flexible layout manager for better data display organization.
Sencha Touch has a robust data package that allows to collect the data from any background source. And finally, this framework provides native-looking themes that give its apps a natural look and feel.
Why use Sencha Touch?
To build seamless cross-platform applications at an incredibly high development speed. This framework has very rich functionality and is easily understandable for the developers.
Flutter is a relatively new framework introduced by Google in 2017. Flutter differs from other Android frameworks by utilizing a different approach: it significantly simplifies the multi-platform development and allows creating native interfaces on both iOS and Android. The official Flutter language is Dart.
Flutter is perfect for hybrid development and has quickly become incredibly popular among developers. This framework uses a single codebase and deploys the Skia rendering engine by Google in order to compile the apps to the native code. As well, Flutter has a hot-reload function that allows continuous testing without the need to restart an app.
Other benefits of Flutter are rich UI rendering components, big variety of themes for iOS and Android, a screen reader, strong CLI tools, and many others.
Why use Flutter?
To quickly develop high-performing and beautiful native compiled apps from a single codebase.
The jQuery framework is famous for its “write less do more” approach, meaning that once you write an app it will run on almost any platform, including Windows Phone and Blackberry. As well, jQuery can be used to write both mobile and web applications.
jQuery is great for building highly responsive apps. This framework comes with a variety of plugins (like Pop-Up Boxes or Content-Slider) and has a ThemeRoller for easier drag and drop function. Such rich functionality allows developers to build user-friendly and feature-rich applications that run on the trendiest devices.
Why use jQuery?
For “write once run anywhere” purpose and for building highly branded apps.
Appcelerator Titanium is another highly popular Android framework. Its most distinguishable feature is the option to use about 80% of the existing code when building a new application.
Other benefits offered by Appcelerator Titanium are quick prototyping and a strong focus on web development. Overall, this framework is a good choice for developing both mobile and web apps with rich functionality and reliable performance.
Why use Appcelerator Titanium?
To build robust applications in a quick and developer-friendly manner.
Last but not least is Xamarin a free, open-source, and allows to share code across multiple platforms.
Xamarin allows building applications with .NET and has a really great development environment. This framework has an abstraction layer for managing communication between the underlying platform code and the shared code. As well, Xamarin enables developers to write all business logic in one language while retaining the native look and feel of an application.
Xamarin is owned by Microsoft and that means developers can use a shared C# codebase and test an app across multiple devices via Microsoft's cloud testing service. These features significantly cut down development time and costs.
Why use Xamarin?
To quickly build and test robust cross-platform applications with rich functionality.
When choosing between different Android frameworks, it’s vital to have a clear understanding of the app’s functionality and purpose as it will impact the choice of a framework. As well, you need to consider the project deadlines and budget as different frameworks may offer different costs and timelines.
Judging from our experience, we can say that mobile application development demands software providers to be flexible and open-minded. Do not hesitate to try out new tools as they might be exactly the ones that your project needs at a specific point.
Irina LinnikView all articles by this author.
Using a cross-platform mobile application development tool can help you save a lot of time and money, as long as the UI of the app is updated to match each system. Thank you!