12 Frameworks for Hybrid Mobile Apps

12 Frameworks for Mobile Hybrid Apps

Working with hybrid mobile app frameworks makes life easier for developers as they are able to write code once and build mobile applications that run on the main platforms with no extra effort. The application will run on Android and iOS and the code can be reused for progressive web applications and even desktop applications (by using Electron, with some tweaks, you can adapt the code for the desktop environment).

In this post, let us dive into a list of 12 very useful frameworks to help you build amazing hybrid mobile apps.

1. React Native

React Native

With React Native, you can build mobile apps using only JavaScript. It uses the same design as React, letting you compose a rich mobile UI from declarative components.

Using this framework, you don’t build a “mobile web app”, an “HTML5 app”, or a “hybrid app”. You build a real mobile app that’s indistinguishable from an app built using Objective-C or Java. React Native uses the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps. You just put those building blocks together using JavaScript and React.

If you’re already creating apps with React Native, make sure you are protecting their code by following our guide.

2. Ionic Framework

Ionic Framework

The Ionic Framework is a complete open-source SDK for hybrid mobile app development. It provides tools and services for hybrid mobile app development using Web technologies like CSS, HTML5, and Sass. Apps can be built with these Web technologies and then distributed through native app stores to be installed on devices by leveraging Cordova.

This framework is 100% free and open-source, licensed under MIT and powered by a massive worldwide community. They have over 120 native device features like Bluetooth, HealthKit, Finger Print Auth, and more with Cordova/PhoneGap plugins and TypeScript extensions. You can use their CLI to create, build, test, and deploy your Ionic apps onto any platform. The framework has the Ionicons icon pack with hundreds of the most common app icons. And you can develop your apps by Live Reload because to compile and redeploy your app at every step of development is for chumps. And there are more useful features like deep linking, AoT Compiling, and a custom animations API.

Ionic is framework-agnostic and has official support for React, Preact, Angular, and Vue, as well as for Web Components. Ionic version 5 brought lots of UI updates.

Side Note: Protecting Your Ionic Source Code

We have a comprehensive tutorial on how to protect your Ionic mobile hybrid app. If you want to make sure that nobody is able to reverse-engineer, steal, or tamper with your code, you may want to take a look at it here!

3. NativeScript

NativeScript

Originally created by Progress, NativeScript apps are built using JavaScript, or by using any language that transpiles to JavaScript, such as TypeScript, for instance.

This mobile app framework has deep integration with modern Angular versions, including full-stack features like integration with the Angular CLI, router support, and code generation. It also includes integration with Vue via a community-developed plugin, which enables using the Vue CLI, Vuex, and other nice Vue.js features.

So, what does a hybrid app built with NativeScript look like? Well, mobile applications built with NativeScript are actually fully native apps and use the same APIs as if they were developed in Xcode or Android Studio. This means you get platform-native UI without WebViews and running with native performance.

Additionally, software developers can re-purpose third-party libraries from Cocoapods, Android Arsenal, Maven, and npm.js in their mobile applications without the need for wrappers.

Side Note: Protecting Your NativeScript Source Code

protecting-nativescript-apps-with-jscrambler

Progress Telerik has recommended Jscrambler as the solution of choice to protect NativeScript Applications! See our integration guide here.

4. Quasar

Quasar Framework

The Quasar Framework is powered by Vue.js and enables developers to write code a single time and deploy simultaneously as a website (SPA, PWA, SSR), mobile app (iOS, Android) and desktop (using Electron) using a single code base.

Out of the box, Quasar brings state-of-the-art UI, following Google Material guidelines. It also offers HTML/CSS/JS minification, cache busting, tree shaking, sourcemapping, code-splitting & lazy loading, ES6 transpiling, linting code, and accessibility features, while keeping a small performance overhead – actually, the creators of this hybrid mobile app framework claim that it is “the most performance-focused framework”.

With the Quasar CLI, developers also benefit from additional features such as hot-reloading. One of the frameworks most praised benefits is its very thorough documentation and active community.

It’s worth mentioning that Quasar is 100% free, open-source, and licensed under MIT.

5. Kendo UI

Kendo UI

Kendo UI provides a very extensive collection of JavaScript UI components with libraries for jQuery, Angular, React, and Vue for creating hybrid mobile apps.

Powered by Progress Telerik (the same parent organization of NativeScript), it comes packed with dozens of ready-to-use widgets for jQuery, Angular, React, and Vue. Kendo UI is focused on allowing development teams to quickly build high-performance hybrid mobile apps with excellent performance.

The framework is open-source, but it is aimed at enterprise customers – so no free version is available as of right now. One of the key selling points of Kendo UI is that you get world-class support and the guarantee that every component has been thoroughly tested by their strict QA process.

Among the most noteworthy Kendo UI clients, we find HP, NASA, and over 140,000 other companies across the world. It is definitely a framework to consider if you’re looking for an enterprise-grade solution with dedicated support.

6. Framework7

Framework7

Framework7 is a free and open-source mobile HTML framework to develop hybrid mobile apps, web apps, and progressive web apps (PWAs) with native look and feel. Plus, it can be paired with extra tools like Electron and NW.js, allowing you to build native desktop apps.

The framework can be an indispensable prototyping tool to show working app prototypes as soon as possible in case you need to. It is focused on iOS and Google Material design to bring the best experience and simplicity.

Much like similar frameworks, Framework7 offers a rich ecosystem of components for popular JS frameworks the likes of Vue, React, and Svelte.

Some useful features provided by Framework7 are native scrolling, library-agnostic, pages transition animation, multiple views support, hardware-accelerated animations via CSS3, route pages by using the combination of XHR, caching, browser history and preloading.

7. Aurelia

Aurelia Logo

Aurelia characterizes itself as a “collection of Modern JavaScript modules, which when used together, function as a powerful platform for building browser, desktop and mobile applications”. As such, any of Aurelia’s modules can be used on its own in any JavaScript or Node.js project.

With a focus on clean yet powerful code, Aurelia is especially aimed at those who prefer to use vanilla JavaScript or TypeScript. In fact, they go so far as claiming that they are “the only framework that lets you build components with plain, vanilla JavaScript/TypeScript”. Still, because it strictly follows web standards, it can readily be integrated with any framework or library out there.

As for its features, some of the most powerful Aurelia modules include metadata, dependency injection, binding, templating, and routing. Its ecosystem includes plugins for state management, internationalization and validation, as well as tools like a CLI, Chrome debugger, and VS Code plugin. And because Aurelia is based on a high-performance reactive system, it batches DOM updates faster than virtual-DOM-based frameworks.

This hybrid mobile app framework is 100% free to use, open-source, and licensed under the MIT license.

8. Onsen UI

Onsen UI

Onsen UI has quickly grown in adoption since its release in 2013. It is an open-source framework under the Apache v2 license. Onsen UI is framework-agnostic UI components, you can choose and switch among the frameworks: AngularJS, Angular, React, and Vue.js or go pure JavaScript to build your hybrid apps.

The framework architecture consists of three layers: CSS components, Web components, and framework bindings. It also features a large collection of ready-to-use, responsive out-of-the-box components.

This framework is very easy to use, flexible, has semantic markup components, and is free to use for commercial projects.

9. Ext JS

Ext JS

Ext JS is an enterprise-grade product for building cross-platform end to end mobile web apps with HTML5 and JavaScript. It is especially fit to build data-intensive, cross-platform web and mobile applications.

This hybrid mobile app framework isn’t afraid to state that it is “The Best JavaScript Framework In The World”. And in fact, among the 10k companies using the framework, we find Apple, Adobe, Cisco, Nvidia, and many other global enterprises.

For individual developers and freelancers, Ionic, Onsen UI or Framework7 will be a better choice – but, for enterprise applications, Ext JS leads the way.

ExtJS scores highly against its competitors by providing a native look and feel across all of the platforms it supports. It helps create high-performance apps with near-native experience and packs ready-to-use widgets with native look and feel for all leading platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. The framework also features a drag and drop HTML5 visual application builder with tons of ready to use templates. It has built-in support for Angular and React.

10. Axway Appcelerator

Appcelerator

Appcelerator (also known as Appcelerator Titanium) is a JavaScript-based hybrid app framework. It is cross-platform with full support for Android and iOS. In the end, the compiled code is a combination of native and JavaScript that improves a better performance for mobile hybrid development. It has integrations available for Angular and Vue.

Appcelerator is a good solution for creating hybrid mobile apps. To get started with Appcelerator, download Titanium studio. The Titanium SDK is equipped with a number of mobile platform APIs and Cloud service to use as an app backend. It comes with platform-independent APIs which makes it easier to access phone hardware.

Appcelerator uses Hyperloop to join the cross-platform power of Titanium with direct access to any native API using JavaScript. The framework has both free and paid plans.

11. Svelte Native

Svelte Native

Svelte Native is the youngest framework on this list for hybrid app development. With the Svelte framework quickly growing in popularity among web developers thanks to its simplicity, the mobile framework quickly followed in its footsteps.

Svelte Native is powered by Svelte and NativeScript. So, while mobile app frameworks like React Native perform the bulk of their work on the actual mobile device, Svelte Native takes a new approach by shifting that work into a compile step at build time.

Plus, rather than relying on techniques like virtual DOM diffing, Svelte creates code that updates native view widgets when the app’s stage changes.

Be aware that, since this framework is still in its early stages, you may experience some issues. And, who knows – maybe this will be the next big thing in hybrid mobile app development.

12. Xamarin

Xamarin

Xamarin is a Microsoft-owned San Francisco California-based software company founded in May 2011 which has cross-platform implementations of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) and Common Language Specifications (often called Microsoft .NET).

With a C# shared codebase, developers can use Xamarin tools to write native Android, iOS, and Windows apps with native user interfaces and share code across multiple platforms, including Windows and MacOS. Xamarin is the top hybrid mobile app development framework. It saves your time regarding re-utilizing abilities, tools, teams and the best significant part is code. You can influence the array of Xamarin and Android APIs as well as design an amazing experience for glass with the Android SDK and GDK.

Conclusion

Hybrid app development has grown immensely over the past few years. It’s no wonder that many development teams are opting-in for hybrid mobile apps instead of their native counterparts – they provide faster development, easier prototyping, and a reportedly better ROI.

If you’re planning to develop a mobile application, choosing the hybrid model can also help you build apps for web and desktop more easily as a way to reach more customers.

And with the advancements we’ve seen in the JavaScript ecosystem and in each of the hybrid mobile app frameworks presented on this list, hybrid mobile apps today are closer than ever to native apps, both in their overall look and in performance.

Lastly, if you’re building hybrid mobile apps with JavaScript, you should secure your source code against theft and reverse-engineering. Start a free Jscrambler trial and protect your code in 2 minutes!

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