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Cross-platform Frameworks for Mobile Development
MOC

Cross-platform frameworks provide developers with a complete set of tools designed to increase productivity by resolving common issues. The question is which framework is the best for you. To help you answer this question, we’ve prepared this list of cross-platform frameworks for mobile development.

With almost 3 million apps on Google Play, the Android operating system dominates the mobile landscape. Individuals, small businesses, and large enterprises work hard to establish a strong mobile presence and grab their share of the market. However, not everyone has the expertise and resources required to build an app from scratch using native tools.

The Aim of Frameworks  Is to Make Mobile Development as Simple as Possible

Corona SDK

Corona SDK framework for mobile development

Corona SDK promises up to 10-times faster game and mobile development. How is that even possible? Because the Corona app backend framework relies entirely on Lua, a lightweight multi-paradigm programming language with a focus on speed, portability, extensibility, and ease-of-use.

The official website hosts guides intended to turn complete beginners into seasoned pros. The guides go over everything from the basics of mobile development to more advanced topics. Corona SDK is 100 percent free, works both on Windows and Mac OS X, and supports real-time testing.

Corona teaser video

Xamarin

Xamarin Framework for mobile development

Xamarin was founded by the same people who have created Mono, an Ecma standard-compliant, .NET Framework-compatible set of tools. Xamarin offers developers a single C# codebase that can be used to produce native apps for all major mobile operating systems.

Unlike many other frameworks, Xamarin has already been used by over 1.4 million developers from around the world. Thanks to Xamarin for Visual Studio, developers can take advantage of the power of Microsoft Visual Studio and all its advanced features, including code completion, IntelliSense, and debugging of apps on a simulator or a device.

Xamarin Test Cloud makes it possible to instantly test apps on 2,000 real devices in the cloud

This is by far the best way how to deal with the heavy fragmentation of the Android ecosystem and released bug-free apps that work without any major issues.

Appcelerator Titanium

Appcelerator Titanium Cross-Platform Framework

The Appcelerator Titanium framework is part of the Appcelerator Platform, which includes every tool mobile app developers might need to build, test, and deploy highly optimized the apps. The Titanium framework uses JavaScript to call a vast collection of APIs. These APIs call native features of the operating systems, delivering exceptional performance and native look and feel.

Titanium embraces a visually-oriented app development process which relies heavily on pre-built blocks of code which can be assembled by dragging and dropping. You can build data models either programmatically or visually. Test the finished apps in the cloud and monitored using the Mobile Lifecycle dashboard, which offers valuable insight into app performance.

TheAppBuilder

App builder  backend framework

Used by some of the largest enterprises in the world, TheAppBuilder framework sports a codeless user interface to facilitate rapid app development. It works best when used to create company presentations and other information-based apps. The framework comes with pre-built blocks for push notifications, feedback, polls, content updates, analytics, and much more. Best of all, it integrates directly with Google Play, making it possible to publish finished apps with a single click.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap Framework

PhoneGap from Adobe is one of the most popular Android app frameworks in the world. It comes from the team behind Apache Cordova, an open-source mobile development framework that uses HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for cross-platform development, and is completely open-source.

At its heart is an intuitive desktop app used to create apps, and serve those apps to connected mobile devices. Finally, no more obscure text commands that are easy to get wrong and hard to memorize. The fantastic desktop app is complemented by PhoneGap’s mobile app. The app makes it possible to instantly see changes on your connected mobile device. Other things that make PhoneGap so recommendable are its large plugin library, third-party tools, and thriving community.

NativeScript

NativeScript app backend framework

JavaScript, Angular, and TypeScript are arguably the most used web development technologies. With NativeScript, you can use them to create apps, as well. Simply put, NativeScript produces platform-native user interfaces from a single code base. Unlike other frameworks that do the same, NativeScript is backed by Telerik, a Bulgarian company offering various software tools.

To help mobile app developers become familiar with this framework, the official website hosts plenty of resources and detailed tutorials. You can browse through real-world app implementations, study the official documentation, and even dive into the source code.

Ionic

Ionic app framework

Ionic is a free and open-source framework licensed under the MIT license. It offers a whole library of components, gestures, and tools. Ionic allows you to developed progressive web and native mobile apps for every major app store—all with a single codebase. Thanks to premier native plugins, it’s extremely simple to use features like Bluetooth, Health Kit, and fingerprint authentication.

Ionic is also about performance and optimization. All apps created using Ionic look and feel like they belong, and they perform equally well. So far, around 4 million apps have been built by 5 million Ionic developers from around the world. If you want to join them, visit the official website and learn more about this framework.

Sencha Touch

Sencha framework for mobile development

Just like TheAppBuilder, Sencha Touch is an enterprise-focused framework for creating universal mobile apps. It leverages hardware acceleration techniques to achieve high performance. Sencha Comes with 50 built-in UI components and native looking themes, making it simple to create stunning apps that attract users.

Included with the framework is a robust data package that can consume data from any backend data source. With this package, it’s possible to create collections of data using highly functional models that offer features such as sorting and filtering. Sencha Touch has received praise from United Heritage Life Insurance Company, Universal Mind, Jarvus Innovations, and other influential businesses and organizations.

React Native

ReactNative framework

React Native is developed by Facebook and used by Instagram, Airbnb, Walmart, Tesla, Baidu, and many other Fortune 500 companies. It is an open-source version of Facebook’s React JavaScript framework. Because React Native uses the same UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps, it’s impossible to distinguish a React Native app from an app built using Objective-C or Java. As soon as you update the source code, you can see the changes instantly manifest in an app preview window. Should you ever feel the urge to manually optimize certain parts of your application, React Native lets you combine native code with components written in Objective-C, Java, or Swift.

Conclusion

Regardless of which mobile development framework you select, don’t be afraid to change your mind if you ever start to feel like there are better options out there. Cross-platform frameworks are extremely volatile, with new ones being released on a regular basis. Their purpose is to help you rapidly turn a rough idea into a working app, and the working app into a polished product. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you accomplish this goal using the latest state-of-the-art framework that everyone talks about or an established framework that is starting to collect dust.

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Also published on Medium.

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