As mobile app usage continues to grow worldwide, the need to streamline development process is critical. Mobile apps are becoming increasingly accessible via wearables, smart TVs, and vehicles. This has created products and services that didn’t exist 5 years ago. A quick look at stats uncovers these facts. According to Statista, in mid-2016 about 130 billion apps were downloaded from Apple App Store, and around 65 billion apps were downloaded from Google Play worldwide.
Going by these current trends, the opportunity is ripe for businesses and app developers to go for the benefits and financial rewards of today’s mature mobile market.
Benefits of Hybrid App Development
Back in 2013, the primary focus of app developers was on building native apps. Objective-C and Java were the primary languages of these native apps and required developers to learn them as well as platform-specific tools, SDKs and so on.
For most web developers, this created a barrier to entering the professional domain of mobile development. A hybrid app — which is a native app built utilizing a range of web technologies — was not a viable option due to the quality of browsers and older devices that made hybrid apps unstable, coupled with design practices that caused a visual disconnect.
The ones behind hybrid app frameworks, Ionic among them, clearly saw an opportunity here. They noticed the rapid improvement of mobile devices, and that hybrid apps could outpace native apps in the time to come. Certainly, that time has arrived.
Since the early 2010s, hybrid app frameworks such as Xamarin, Cordova/PhoneGap, Sencha Touch, Mobile Angular UI, Kendo UI and many more have been springing up to cater for diverse needs of today’s digital businesses. Some of them are open-source, like Ionic, Titanium and Cordova; others are commercial, like Microsoft-owned Xamarin. Still, they all open up extensive development capabilities based on familiar programming languages and tools – most commonly HTML5 and Angular JS. From reusing both programmers’ web development skills and code components in multiple projects, hybrid app development frameworks save time and effort. In addition, the frameworks are growing to support ever complex mobile applications, including the ones for enterprise-level tasks and media-rich entertainment.
Today, many web developers use Ionic and Angular — by most measures the leading frameworks — to build cross-platform mobile apps using existing web development knowledge and technologies such as CSS, HTML5 and Sass. Since its inception in 2013, over 1 million apps have been developed with the Ionic framework, according to Drify, the creator of Ionic.
Ionic provides tools to build cross-platform apps with most of the benefits of native ones while saving time and resources. With unique characteristics and innovative features, Ionic brings a degree of refinement and a broad range of accessible solutions.
Ionic integrates perfectly with add-ons, plugins and modules for Cordova and AngularJS, in addition to its own large repository. Angular has a vast plugin repository, which allows Ionic apps to integrate seamlessly with popular web services like Facebook and Twitter, using complex UI elements such as progress bars, dialog boxes, sliders, etc.
Successful integration of Ionic Framework and AngularJS leads to a healthy ecosystem and code structure. As a result, coding becomes more handy and manageable.
One of the key benefits of hybrid app development is that it costs less than developing native apps for multiple operating systems. Whether it is an enterprise or consumer app, most of them are developed either in Java for Android or Objective- C for iOS. With Ionic, it is possible to release one app for both iOS and Android using the same resources as native for a single OS. In a literal sense, Ionic allows you to create a hybrid mobile app that can be tailored to multiple platforms.
From its ability to offload computationally intensive tasks to robust native plugins and consistent application programming interfaces that conform across platforms, Ionic brings value to mobile app development.
Ionic utilizes a single code base, unlike other app development frameworks. With Ionic, you can therefore build intuitive and responsive apps for all types of portable devices. Irrespective of their features, apps built in Ionic will work perfectly on any mobile device.
The latest version of Ionic comes with a powerful set of Native APIs for accessing native features such as camera, Bluetooth, touch ID, health kit, etc.
Ionic has an ample collection of readily available UI design elements and layouts. It comes with default styles that can be customized simply by incorporating one of the pre-defined CSS classes to achieve a unique look. Some of these elements include form inputs, sliding menu, popups and navigation. These components are user-friendly, elegant and can be customized further to render the effects of your choice.
In conclusion, the main assets of Ionic are its features including a knowledgeable community, an extensive library of plugins, development tools and more. To quote Bill Gates, “Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” The next generation of apps will use voice recognition as the interface as opposed the dominant screen interface and text entry of today. However this plays out, Ionic is well-positioned to dominate the future of mobile development frameworks.
What do you think about hybrid app frameworks such as Ionic? Do you currently use mobile development frameworks in any part of your IT environment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.