Mobile Technologies · Mobile development

Mobile Development Frameworks?

Asad Shaikh AWS/NoSQL/Big Data Architect at Capital One

June 7th, 2016

I am looking for a mobile development framework which is easy, open source and can be used for all platforms.  I have found ionic framework which seems to be very popular and is based AngularJS, HTML5 and CSS.  I would like to know what FD community thinks about it and share any pros and cons.  Also, it appears it can create hybrid apps for all mobile platforms, but won't create web application, so it can also be used with desktop and mobile browsers.  Let me know if anyone has tried to use it for that purpose or do I need to create a web version from scratch that works on mobile and desktops?

Thanks a bunch,

Akshay Rangnekar Co-Founder and CTO at Source - Lifestyle at your fingertips

June 7th, 2016

Hi Asad,

I've used ionic quite extensively. For what it is (a Hybrid application framework), it is outstanding. There are some drawbacks to hybrid applications (most notably, they're a little slow on Android), but as long as you're comfortable with them ionic is one of the best tools to develop with.

You can use ionic for the web version too, but typically you won't want to (because the interface paradigms are very different - compare the menu and navigation system of a good mobile app to a good webapp). The great thing is that since ionic uses AngularJS under the covers, if you write your code well you'll still actually be able to reuse 90% of your code for the web version - the extra work will be to build the web-designed front-end and you'll want to do that separately in any case.

Dan Meier Reimagining manufacturing management software

June 7th, 2016

Visual Studio with C# and Xamarin. The combination provides true code-once-deploy-anywhere capability with native performance on your choice of platforms. Visual Studio is arguably the best, most integrated development, debugging, testing platform out there.  And now that Xamarin is part of the Microsoft family, what was once a terrific WINDOWS development environment is now a terrific CROSS-PLATFORM development environment. Best of all, it's free!

Craig Merry CEO/Founder of Beacon Safety Co. and Operations Coordinator at Purple Communications, Inc.

June 7th, 2016

I used Ionic 1+ for It was "easy" for one developer to build out. It's a huge pro. It's meant to mobile-first but we had plans to build it out so that the desktop version had more admin controls later on. The benefit for building with an web app first (hybrid web/mobile app development) is that the conversion to android/iOS was very easy. Especially if you're trying to go beyond mobile platforms. 

Cons: Ionic 2 will probably have some fees associated with it. It's probably small enough to manage.

Other web-based frameworks (that converted easily to mobile platforms): Meteor. I would also strongly look at what Microsoft offers in their "Universal" app development promises. 

My rec: plan to build out with the Angular 2 first (then build around Ionic 2 included) as it is becoming close to production and then go forward with your mockups/UX. The benefits of being web-based first is tons more beneficial (for a larger future platform) than simply sticking to iOS/Android development. 

Anthony Dobaj Experienced & plucky technologist with a passion for outdoor adventure.

June 7th, 2016

I've used Phonegap/Cordova for a while now, largely because this is the framework supported by our hardware vendor, Anaren Microwave. This IDE has allowed us (that is, me) to get from zero to MVP in a very short period of time. But because we need access to the native functionality of the phone, this architecture is starting to show its limitations. Although the community is very active, finding the right plugin that's reasonably well written can be a challenge (nothing new for open source), but free is a very good price. For example, I'm now attempting to find a plugin for iOS that duplicates the functionality of a plugin I wrote for Android that basically mimics the presence of a headset programatically (shameless solicitation to anybody on this thread that might want to take this on). One framework I'm anxious to try out is Kony, it seems they've developed their platform for blokes like me who are not necessarily devs 100% of  the time..


June 7th, 2016

Ionic.  use it for both mobiles and desktops (using electron).Example --> if you go that route, go with Angular2/Ionic2

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

June 9th, 2016


Frameworks are very useful for MVPs. That said, this subject has been debated endlessly here on FD. My recommendation is, if you can go native. On the long run is better. Xamarin is very good, you'll be married to it, trying to find someone who know Xamarin whenever you need to upgrade your project. This last tasks it's not impossible, but the amount of Xamarin developers are certainly less than native ones. Resources availability matters.

METOR: Avoid it. Incomplete IDE not even capable of compiling its example app on the phone device. In my case it didn't even find the phone device to push for the app. In theory METEOR sounds nice, in practice it's incomplete, to put it nicely. Because METEOR is a much smaller community, in case of problems, you'll find far less solutions, furthering up the degrading cycle. I really tried with METEOR and tried to give it an opportunity, but no, we just couldn't made it work, something that in other IDE's was a piece of cake.

Best of lucks!