“ Next-gen mobile apps thrive to reshape the future of digital mobility in a transformative way.”
While humans are constantly driven to the digital landscape, the global marketplace continues to witness an expeditious surge in the emergence of aspiring appreneurs with innovative app ideas. More and more ventures are currently intending to make their mark in the mobility space.
Whether it’s about performing day-to-day tasks or complex things, users prefer switching to mobile apps for pinpoint reasons. The surging no. of mobile app downloads is projected to reach beyond 258 billion with an average increase of 45% by the end of the year 2022. While it is quite interesting to know that Americans are habitual to check their mobile device 47 times a day, they tend to spend 87% of their screen time on mobile app access.
The mobile app revenues are projected to witness explosive growth at a rate of 385% in 2021. It is quite obvious to say that the current year is going to be great for both existing and aspiring app owners. However, it’s going to be a bit trickier for developers at any mobile app development company to keep up with the ever-changing moods & expectations of their clients as well as potential users of the applications they will craft next. Besides brainstorming concepts and mapping the feasibility of an app idea, app creators aim to choose the best-suited technology from a pool of top-trending frameworks for hybrid app development.
With a bucket full of toolkits & methodologies to ease the development process, modern app developers count on top hybrid app frameworks to offer the best features & functionalities with the end product. A recent study reveals that more than 60% of startups and SMEs opt for hybrid app development. Here comes a big reason why the question corresponding to what are the best frameworks for cross-platform mobile development in 2021 is on the hit list.
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When all these practices seem complicated for developers, leveraging these frameworks not only simplifies their development process but also dissolves unnecessary hurdles in a way to create high-performing mobile apps.
The popularity of hybrid app frameworks with the capability to render native-like accessibility to the applications is turning millions of heads around the globe. Hence, it makes sense to bring up top hybrid app frameworks as the hot topic of discussion amongst the present-day developers in the year 2021.
Before we move further to the topic, let’s understand what is a hybrid app development framework? first.
What are Hybrid App Frameworks?
These frameworks are developer-friendly and loaded with wonderful nice-to-have features for building hybrid apps. The unique codebase for all major platforms plays a key role in compressing the development process with additional functionalities.
Now when it comes to frameworks, the battle b/w native apps and hybrid apps encourages us to compare these platforms so that we can go ahead with the right one.
Native or Hybrid, Which one is the Ultimate Leader?
Both native and hybrid apps are popular in demand for their notifiable performance and attributes. The accessibility of a native app is limited to a specific platform or device i.e Android and iOS while a hybrid app is designed to embrace multi-platform support with easy integration of useful APIs to integrate desirable features.
The course of native app development depends on the language, APIs, and other technical requirements resulting in more complexities & development time. Although native apps take a lead over hybrid apps in terms of performance, most developers find it less challenging to develop a hybrid app with help of the most preferred frameworks. In addition, the strengths of hybrid apps dominate the potentials of native apps in terms of cost-effectiveness and code reusability.
Upon getting a clear picture of Hybrid apps vs Native apps, their core strengths & weaknesses, it is time to get back to our topic and unveil a list of the 10 best hybrid app frameworks that will shine in 2021.
Top 10 Hybrid App Frameworks to Consider in 2021
Take a deep breath and check out our list of top-rated frameworks every developer should try to achieve success with every hybrid app development project.
Wondering about what ionic framework is used for? Let’s get this question answered straight. Ionic is one of the best players in the arena of most-used frameworks for mobile app development these days. It’s been a popular choice of developers for building engaging hybrid apps with reduced efforts & costs.
- User-friendly: Easy to learn and simple to use framework for newbies and experienced developers. It only demands Android 4.1 and iOS 7 for technical setup.
- Enhanced UI: Allows developers to customize the app’s interface with attractive graphics, typography, themes, pictures, and other visual components.
- Rich library: It features a library with a front-end library and unique user interface elements to develop engaging PWAs with out-of-box features.
- Ionic CLI: Supports TypeScript and Node.js to code hybrid apps with help of Ionic CLI i.e Command Line Interface and gather regular updates.
- Wide community support: The global community of developers using ionic framework empowers learners & techies in app development projects.
- No hot-reloading: Restricts developers to view new code changes without restarting an app.
- Dependency on plugins: Too much dependence on plug-ins slows down the performance of the app.
- Testing issue: Doesn’t support easy testing when a browser restricts the details of a device used.
Let us introduce you to Flutter, the next hybrid application framework that will top the popularity charts in 2021. When it comes to cross-platform app development, developers can never neglect the strengths of this framework in all aspects of quality, speed, efficiency, costs, and simplicity. If you are too dilemmatic about what are the best frameworks for developing cross-platform mobile apps then investing your time in Flutter app development won’t make you regret your decision.
Although Flutter is the latest framework, it needs no introduction to beginners, developers, and tech enthusiasts. It has earned a massive reputation in the community of developers intending to come up with creative hybrid apps. Flutter is based on Dart language which is said to be one of the big innovations of Google.
Alongside libraries and widgets, this hybrid app framework utilized Skia to craft impressive visuals in no time. A long list of tech giants including Birch Finance, Alibaba, Hamilton Music, and more used Flutter development tools over other frameworks for building their app platforms.
- Single codebase: Developers can create cross-platform apps using Flutter’s single codebase for both Android and iOS.
- Hot reload: Uses a hot reloading feature to check updated code changes simultaneously on the screen.
- MVPs: Offers great support to create eye-striking MVPs or prototypes along with incredible flexibility to design interactive user interfaces for apps.
- Fuschia compatible: Goes hand in hand with Fuschia which is a brand new OS brought by Google for mobile devices.
- Limited community: The reach of Flutter’s developer community is restricted to those working for Alibaba and Google only.
- Large app size: Hybrid apps that are based on Flutter are comparatively heavier than native apps.
- New entrant: It’s a newcomer that needs certain addons & upgrades to compete with other high-level frameworks existing around.
3. REACT NATIVE
One more brilliant framework that deserves fame among the top 10 hybrid application frameworks in 2021 is React Native. Formerly released as a renowned web development React JS in 2013, Facebook relaunched React Native for developing cross-platform apps back in the year 2015. Today’s experts foresee React Native as a future of hybrid apps for multifarious reasons. The framework was again introduced in its full-fledged stable version in 2019 and it has been existing as a building block for many famous apps and platforms since then.
While developers favor Ionic in the context of enhanced UI and performance, they stand with React Native for its role in imparting spectacular user experiences with every click. Moreover, the framework seems to offer high stability, speed, and scalability to the app’s structure.
There is no doubt that React Native development is emerging as a game-changer for the community of developers who are constantly looking for more alternatives to boost their productivity and skills in mobile app technologies. Some top-notch brands including Facebook, Gyroscope, Instagram, 2048 Discovery VR, are already using this top hybrid app framework.
- Code reusability: Uses a single JS codebase to let you create extraordinary Android & iOS apps with its one-time coding feature.
- Robust efficiency: Max code reusability minimizes overall development time and efforts needed to create even in a limited budget.
- Node.Js support: Compatible with Node.JS and offers easy installation of Node package manager to simplify its usability for beginners.
- Plugins: Comprises a bundle of third-party plugins to provide flawless compatibility with the hardware setup of a device.
- Live reloads: Presents live reloads in dual screen mode for code modification and previewing code changes side by side.
- Wide community: Active community support with skilled react native developers from worldwide nations.
- Limited features: Not suitable for creating apps that demand special features, dynamic graphics, multiple screens, high-quality user interfaces, and other unique addons.
- More coding: Takes long hours of practice and consistent learning to gain expert-level skills to benefit developers.
- Inadequate modules: Lacks sufficient custom modules that are meant to elevate the app’s performance.
Written using C#Xamarin has been existing as one of the frontrunners in the race of best hybrid app frameworks for so long. It is owned and managed by Microsoft. It brings direct routes to use combined libraries for Java, C++, and Objective-C in one go. The most common question is what are the best tools for making a cross-platform application? and Xamarin is its clear answer. It is a modern framework with a vast set of libraries and the potentiality to cut down costs of hybrid app development.
The reason why tech minds perceive Xamarin as a concurrent rival of React Native is its ability to balance a developer’s creativity and the project’s budget. Xamarin app development is an alternative to other prominent frameworks or technologies used for crafting multi-platform mobility solutions for Android, iOS, & Windows with .Net and C#.
- Easy setup: Ready to download and install with quick configuration using Android SDK and Java setups.
- WORA principle: Adapts a concept of Write Once, Run Anytime.
- Third-party codebases: Goes well with reusable codebases defined in Java, Objective-C, and C# format.
- Mature ecosystem: Equipped with fully developed Xamarin SDKs, Xamarin Insights, Xamarin Test Cloud, Xamarin Studio, and other exclusive tools.
- Excellent hardware support: Connects seamlessly with diverse hardware components of a device without interfering with its performance.
- Costly: It’s more expensive than other eminent hybrid app frameworks.
- Poor API support: Inconsistent API support results in frequent interruptions.
- Complexity: Not an ideal choice of mobile web app development framework for beginners.
5. ADOBE PHONEGAP
PhoneGap made its debut in 2005 under the banner of Nitobi Software and it was attained by Adobe later in 2011. It is ahead to secure its position on the charts of trending frameworks with the highest market share & user base for Android and iOS app development.
Is PhoneGap a hybrid app development framework? Of course! In fact, it’s the first choice of developers looking forward to launching cross-platform apps in the future. PhoneGap is often recalled with the name of Apache Cordova as it supports the Cordova framework and Adobe. Like other great frameworks discussed earlier in the list, PhoneGap offers multi-platform compatibility to apps with the flexibility to reuse codes for all major platforms.
Apps powered by PhoneGap are most likely to achieve a wider user base with impactful efficiency and accessibility across Android and iOS platforms. PhoneGap’s unparalleled adequacy in successful hybrid app development is backed by native APIs, an awesome set of UI libraries, powerful backend support, and multifarious features.
- Cloud compiler: Integrated with an advanced cloud compiler referred to as ‘Build’ feature that permits developers to combine apps with no necessary installation of SDKs.
- More economical: Even in the tight budget constraints, this top hybrid app framework appears to bring down the overall costs of development.
- API modulation: Structured in a plugin-abled architecture to extend APIs in a modular format.
- Payment gateway integration: Facilitates worthy options to embed payment gateways such as Paytm and Google Pay across apps built for cross platforms.
- Performance issue: Apps using PhoneGap are slow and less likely to run with every desired functionality.
- Lesser widgets: It brings only a handful of in-built widgets to customize UI design for an app.
- Not for biggies: Ideal for small enterprises & startups looking for an app with basic or moderate features.
Developers are free to utilize its awesome library to integrate apps with Maven, CocoaPods, and npm.js with no necessity to use a wrapper. Additionally, NativeScript runs reflections to yield information or data associated with APIs of a native platform rather than using separate binding layers between the framework & native APIs.
One big advantage of NativeScript comes with its feature that serves users to leverage reusable plugins in their apps straight from the NPM dashboard. Anyone who strives to work with WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere) functionality can consider this easy-to-use framework with no doubts at all. H
- Learning curve: Offers incredible ways to learn even to those who’re new to native app development languages with in-built native APIs for both Android and iOS platforms.
- Programming: Angular and TypeScript are two preferred programming languages for this framework.
- Plugins for web: Stores a stack of all-inclusive plugins to create high-end web solutions in no time.
- Speed: Performs faster than other similar frameworks in the range.
- Add-ons: Contains 3 fully real-world apps for uncomplicated implementations by default.
- Multi-plugin download: Users are supposed to download additional plugins as the majority are unavailable at the moment.
- App size: It renders apps of larger size in comparison with React Native and Ionic2.
- Laggy In-built support: The absence of in-built support binds users to carry on with hybrid app development with limited knowledge of other UI components.
7. KENDO UI
- Open source: Available in freemium version to all users.
- Added components: Brings a couple of cool features like grids, schedulers, spreadsheets, and more.
- Limited community: Lacks user support due to limited community team of developers.
- Widget access: Most useful widgets are only licensed for commercial purposes.
The framework can deliver a native-like appearance to an app with a combined match of compelling animations, graphics, and other UI components.
- Stability: Unlike other frameworks, Framework7 IS doesn’t embrace dependency on React or Angular Js.
- Customization: Users can simply customize interfaced with in-built widgets and UI components.
- Easy: Very simple and easy to implement
- Requirements: One has to work with PhoneGap or Cordova to run its mobile app builder.
- Compatibility issues: Only supports Android and iOS platforms.
9. ONSEN UI
Here is one more open-source hybrid application development framework that runs in the absence of AngularJs. Onsen UI portrays a descriptive set of guidelines or documentation to learn some basics on common app architectures. The framework enables the rapid development of HTML5 hybrid apps in the shortest time frame.
- Usability: Easy-to-learn framework for first-time users.
- Performance: Runs uninterruptedly and responds instantly across all devices.
- Valuable Features: Comes with tools like built-in theme roller, screen transition, font awesome, and more
- Upgrades: Demands template updates that consume a lot of time.
- Other shortcomings: The absence of templates designed with this tool on repositories is a big issue for users.
10. APPCELERATOR TITANIUM
Last but not least, it’s needless to say that Appcelerator Titanium is absolutely the best hybrid app framework to try in 2021. Just download Titanium Studio and you are ready to get started with this framework on the go. The framework eliminates the necessity to write multiple lines of code while building hybrid apps using this cross-platform app development framework. In addition to this, it speeds up the development process with the benefits of Titanium SDK.
- Multiple tools: Users have a mixed development experience with the availability of various tools.
- Compatibility issues: Doesn’t support CSS and HTML.
Well, here comes to the end of our list of the best 10 hybrid application frameworks to learn in 2021. From Ionic to React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, & other names showcased in the article, all frameworks are predicted to take a lead in diverse areas of hybrid app development in 2021.
When the market is flooded with the best frameworks for app development, even the developers with hands-on experience in building hybrid apps hassle to pick the right framework for their big projects.
Besides having adeptness in innovating cross-platform apps, you must try these frameworks to conquer brilliance in all significant aspects of app designing & development. Also, don’t forget to keep a note on the feasibility of your app idea with complete relevance to your business requirements.
If you have got a raw app idea in your mind, you must get a squad of dedicated developers to make it live for your targeted users. Get connected to the team of innovative minds at Appventurez and strengthen your business value with our future-ready mobile app solutions.
A technocrat and an entrepreneur who is the Co-Founder and Chief Delivery Head at Appventurez. Skilled in object-oriented programming (OOP), iOS Development, Design Principles, Data Structures, and Swift, he has served different organizations as Tech Lead.
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