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Comparison of Top Four Cross Platform App Development Frameworks – Ionic Vs PhoneGap Vs Xamarin Vs Titanium

Developing apps that are compatible on versatile platforms and devices is the real pain, which by no means allowed persistence. Until now, it was believed that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to mobile app development. With the evolution and matured HTML5 platform, the mobile app development industry is seeing a stiff rise in cross-platform app development. Taking advantage of the newly available tools and technologies, developing hybrid mobile apps that work well across different platforms and devices is the rising trend.

The Rise of Cross-Platform (Hybrid) Apps

rise-of-hybrid-apps

Mobile devices of all sorts, all sizes, and all configurations are pouring into the market across the globe with the barrage showing no optimistic signs of stopping. It is not at all feasible for businesses to build applications for different platforms or operating systems by learning different coding languages. Cross-platform, mobile app development tools have significantly simplified the mobile app development process, allowing developers to code once and use the same application on a variety of platforms.

A company in need of delivering apps fast must find a comprehensive cross-platform mobile app development tool. A tool having necessary templates that would take away all the travails right from the efforts necessary to lay the groundwork of the app. The foundation is already there as companies interested in cross-platform app development can utilize different open source frameworks.

Review of Different Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

Here we will take into account four major cross-app development tools – Ionic, PhoneGap, Xamarin, and Titanium. Comparing advantages and disadvantages of different frameworks will help you make an informed decision about a specific platform that suits best with your hybrid mobile app development project.

Ionic Framework:

Ionic is an open-source SDionic_logo-svgK for hybrid app development, built on top of Angular JS and Apache Cordova. The tools and services required for cross-platform app development are provided using known web technologies like CSS, HTML5, and SaaS.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:
  •   Single source for all supported platforms, especially Android and OSX.
  •   The majority of app development is carried out using HTML, CSS, and JS, which is not new to many developers
  •   With Ionic, you avail a chance to use distinctive framework of Angular JS that is embedded in it by default
  • Good and versatile availability of plugins.
  • Nicely covered UI patterns like tabs, header, bars, lists and cards.
  • Use of CSS to override styles offers an extravagant experience
  • As the learning curve for Angular JS is stiff, Ionic is not a better option for developers not acquainted with Angular JS
  • Risk of early adoption as Ionic is presumed to be still in its infancy stage, Support, standards keep on changing, and at any unknown moment, even the libraries are completely rewritten
  • While you can easily create, Interface and Database type of apps, it is harder to create graphic games and high-end apps using Ionic.

PhoneGap:

phonegap_1024Amongst all cross-platform app development tools, PhoneGap is one of the most popular platforms used to create hybrid apps. PhoneGap is an open source platform and is often known as Apache Cordova, which brings the amazing support of JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3. Developers simply love to create cross-platform apps using PhoneGap along with Foreign Function Interfaces.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:
  • Reduced learning curve as it utilizes JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3 languages, already known to developers
  • Apps developed using PhoneGap can be installed similar to native apps by leveraging easy app store discoverability
  • PhoneGap follows plug-in architecture increasing the chances of extending native device APIS in modular ways
  • PhoneGap allows distribution and integration of payment through the app store.
  •  It is free and open source saving you the licensing costs
  • It is easier to seek assistance from tons of libraries for further enhancing the functionality and flexibility of PhoneGap

 

  • Performance issues might arise if too many graphic elements are induced in the app architecture.
  • Not clear information, user guidelines or directions are available that could enhance the performance and quality of cross-platform app developed using PhoneGap
  • The PhoneGap’s API still does not support a large number of native APIs
  • As there is not much control over hardware, apps might become slower with frequent render updates
  • Possibility of memory leakage as it does not have cache/memory management

 

Xamarin

xamarin-logoLaunched in 2011, Xamarin is a mono framework used for cross-platform app development. It is widely used for communicating with the Application Program Interface (API) of common mobile device functions like contacts, camera, and geolocation for android, iOS, and Windows operating systems. It allows developers to use almost 100% native libraries of both Android and iOS, Xamarin is best for building applications using C# programming language running on .NET Common Language Infrastructure (CLI).

Advantages:

Disadvantages:
  • Xamarin re-uses business logic layers, codes and data access across platforms to develop effective offline applications.
  • At first, the license costs might seem higher, but with MSDN subscription discounts for a sizeable team and projects, you ought to receive higher returns.
  • Xamarin is a native platform wrapping native libraries with a .NET layer with C# making it highly customizable and open to all third party libraries written for Android and iOS environments.
  • The cross-platform apps developed with Xamarin can do anything a native app does as it helps in implementing very performing code underneath resulting in improved overall performance of the app.
  •  Xamarin Forms, is a very simple API, allows developers to build very beautiful native UI for all the platforms.

 

  • Either the .NET developer must understand the mobile development or a mobile developer should learn .NET for using Xamarin. It is necessary to have knowledge of some platform-specific app architecture or framework that has Objective-C or Java flavor.
  • Due to framework libraries in Xamarin, an issue of unreasonable app size might arise to be downloaded from Google Play or iOS App Store.
  • Xamarin Forms offer about more than 40 UI controls (still growing); however, a developer is not able to access all the other Android specific UI controls, requiring him/her to write platform specific codes for such controls.

 

 

Titanium:

titanium-logoLicensed under Apache, Titanium is an open–source, cross-platform mobile app development framework by Appcelerator. The framework is coded in such a way that it offers an integrated environment to the developers for developing an extensive range of mobile applications. Based on JavaScript, it also entails HTML5, CSS3, and JQuery. Cross-platform mobile apps developed with Titanium are lightweight and of high quality, delivering a heart-stopping experience across all mobile platforms.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:
  • Comprising of HTML5, CSS5, JQuery, JavaScript and Ajax it becomes easier for mobile developers to learn the heart and soul aspect of titanium.
  • The platform-independent API can access the advanced features of modern devices such as touch screen, camera, GPS navigation, and much more to develop feature rich applications.
  • Build quick prototypes using the integrated environment and get instant user feedback.
  • 200,000+ developers and 35,000+ apps developed, Titanium is a large community offering access to its Open Mobile Marketplace.
  • It recently acquired ‘Cocoafish’ for implementing cloud service and functionality in its platform to develop performance-oriented applications.
  • Titanium increases development as well as cost complexities more than proportional to increased application complexity.
  • Due to the version and build, Titanium might give rise to SDK related issues, leading to loss of time and efforts, which is not good, especially when you are constrained to the delivery of products and features.
  • It offers ‘StoreKit’ a module enabling in-app purchases to Apple’s App Store, which is slightly painful and complex.
  • It was better with Titanium Developer. Since the introduction of Titanium Studio (Eclipse based IDE built on modified version of Aptana), it has increased the learning curve making it unstable and uncomfortable at times.

Conclusion:

Frameworks used for cross-platform mobile app development are, is widely accepted as an important ingredient to make a winning recipe reaching out wider user base across different mobile platforms. Nevertheless, overcoming numerous challenges as if security, performance, lack of standardization, quality and compatibility are still some of the unsolicited issues. Depending on the enterprise requirement like Native UI, reduced code, cost-efficiency, flexibility, code reusability and more above-mentioned factors will definitely help an enterprise to select the best framework for cross-platform mobile app development.

Having extensively skilled and experienced cross-platform mobile application development team, we rise beyond expectations. Our efforts are streamlined to deliver majestic mobile experiences to users and enterprises alike. Our cross-platform mobile apps are entitled to make a huge difference in users’ lives, eventually creating new business opportunities for you. Staying abreast of every technology shift, we ensure to utilize industry-standard practices that assist our customers in delivering next-gen experiences.

We helped numerous enterprises across the globe in solving their complex business challenges. Let us reduce time, code once, minify expenses and increase the time to market. Are you interested to know how? Give us a call

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