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5 best free mobile app development framework

mobile app development framework

To develop Android games or complex apps with cloud integration you will require native app development tools that include Java-oriented Android SDK and ADT (Android Development Tools) Eclipse plugin; game-oriented engines such as Corona to enterprise platforms like cloud-oriented Monaca tool suite.

Most mobile apps are simpler because of limited budgets and tight deadlines as well as support for both Android and iOS.

For developers converting web apps to mobile version, cross-platform mobile app frameworks are the best option.

Mobile frameworks allow creating native-like performance and functions while sticking to a basic development approach where you have to write once and run the app anywhere.

Mobile app development framework has some requirements.

They must support HTML5 or JavaScript. Most of them support both and also CSS.

They should be open source and offer some version of a free app. All programs mentioned below are free and open source.

Most of them support Linux desktops, OS X and Windows.

Open source requirement does not include some packages such as Xamarin and Trigger.IO.

There is quite high interest in Intel XDK that is not open source but is available in a free version.

Some programs are outdated or too rough to work with, so they are not included.

The 5 frameworks listed below are ‘write once, run anywhere’ programs like jQuery Mobile which is lightweight and other similar to native app products.

They make it easy to port or reuse code between iOS and Android. For most app developers, far-reaching cross platform support is not required.

They see little reason for Windows phone support, and fading Blackberry. For most of the packages, code is written only once to simplify work. It bridges the gap between wrapper framework and JavaScript API.

It enables native functions like camera control.

5 best free mobile app development frameworks are listed below:

  1. Ionic

mobile app development framework

It is based on the Sass CSS extension language is a popular cross-platform framework. Its easy to use and can be integrated with AngularJS for developing advanced apps.

There is a library of mobile-optimized HTML, JS and CSS, gestures and tools. It works with predefined components.

A command-line interface gives various features such as live reload, emulators and logging.

There is Cordova-based app packager also.

  1. jQuery Mobile

mobile app development framework

jQuery Mobile by jQuery Foundation is based on jQuery.

It’s an advanced lightweight framework but lacks many features offered in other packages.

It has a large user base. Its features include semantic markup, themable design, progressive enhancement, PhoneGap / Cordova support.

There is not much for native-like function and performance or an advanced user interface UI.

It’s simple and helps achieve goal. It’s a perfect choice for making simple apps that can run on Windows phone and Blackberry.

  1. Kendo UI

mobile app development framework

This jQuery based HTML5 JavaScript framework is open source commercial version.

It is enterprise-friendly offering a wide range of UI widgets and plugins.

It’s popular because of its various pre-build themes with Material Design styling.

It has a theme builder for custom themes as well.

Other prominent features are Angular and Bootstrap UI integration as well as performance optimizations.

With Kendo UI it is possible to create smart, rich HTML5 and JavaScript apps for any device, browser or platform. It has beautiful themes to choose from.

These are ready to use and there is no need to do any coding. Most popular themes are Office 365, SAP Fiori and Material Design.

There is a simple StyleBuilder tool that allows customize these themes.

There is online training on their website with hands-on exercises to make learning easier, quicker and more effective.

  1. Mobile Angular UI

mobile app development framework

This is an open source project combining Angular JS and a modified version of Twitter’s Bootstrap with a mobile UI framework.

It retains Bootstrap’s syntax for an easier web to mobile portability while adding mobile components that are missing Bootstrap.

These components are overlays, switches, scrollable areas, sidebars and fixed-positioned navbars.

Libraries include overthrow.js and fastclick.js.

Original Bootstrap 3 is stripped out of responsive media queries which are put in separate files.

FontAwesome icons are included by default in place of Glyphicons. It has made development easier and fun.

  1. Onsen UI

mobile app development framework

Onsen is based on HTML and CSS. It’s designed to work with Cordova and PhoneGap that are not integrated already.

It can also work with jQuery and Angular. The program focuses user interface development.

It gives a wide range of web based UI components and features like two-column views for tabs (Material Design is missing).

This well-documented framework is pitched at jQuery Mobile users looking for ease of use with more functionality UI features and performance.

Another drag and drop GUI tool is under development at Asial in Tokyo, Japan and will be released as soon as it is completed and tested.

Onsen is the fastest way to build an amazing hybrid and mobile web app.

The streamlined development has zero-time setup with popular technologies like JS and HTML. There is no need to constantly update platform SDK. All required tools are in the cloud.

The CLI (command-line tool) is powerful. The tools are integrated with debugger app with remote-build, live-reload feature and many Cloud features.

Animations in Onsen UI are tuned to perform perfect on a wide range of devices even on lower end devices.

Onsen UI apps have shipped on more than 100 million mobile devices. It is easy to learn how to use Onsen UI components.

The packages are drastically improved than those a few years back.

In recent years, mobile frameworks have got lots of benefit from frequent use of HTML5.

Their components are much improved for better native app performance and functionality.

Through latest framework, it is possible to apply modern user interface UI styles such as Google’s Material Design. Two most popular options that are relatively new are Onsen UI and Ionic.

All frameworks have their specific features that help develop user-friendly powerful app which of immense value to the users and clients.

Get started with developing your apps and enjoy the appreciation.