The Best JavaScript Frameworks for Mobile Development

javascript-frameworks

JavaScript frameworks are great tools for building mobile apps. They’re efficient, lower development costs, and tend to have the security benefits that come with large, active communities of developers.

Deciding to use a framework is an easy choice. The harder question is, which framework fits the project at hand?

Here’s Concepta’s take on four of the best JavaScript frameworks for mobile development.

jQuery Mobile

This lightweight mobile framework is based on the popular jQuery library. Developers use jQuery Mobile for mobile website development as well as apps. It’s touch-optimized with a focus on broad compatibility (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry).

Eliminating cross-browser issues is one of jQuery Mobile’s biggest draws. The framework supports a huge variety of platforms, devices, display sizes, and screen resolutions. There’s no need to use a device-specific programming language. Instead, developers can use standards like JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, or AJAX.

Designing is simplified with the ThemeRoller customization toolkit. ThemeRoller offers a lot of tools that make editing themes easy, including drag and drop color and component changes. There are plenty of options for manipulating page layouts, headers and footers, and other design details.

Limitations

While jQuery Mobile makes it possible to perform complex scripting operations with little code, there are drawbacks. Performance varies by device. For example, jQuery Mobile apps lag noticeably on Android but run more smoothly on iOS.

Although the framework can outperform other mobile websites, it doesn’t outperform native apps. jQuery also lacks the full access to device features offered by other mobile app development tools.

NativeScript

NativeScript aims for a “write once, use everywhere” philosophy and comes very close. It’s an open-source framework for building Android, iOS, and Windows apps. With access to native API, it creates applications that behave like native apps on those platforms. Heavy code reuse between platform versions cuts the overall development time, too.

The framework supports the use of Angular, Vue.js, TypeScript, and Javascript. There are hundreds of NativeScript plugins, but developers aren’t limited to that toolset. They can integrate Node Package Manager, CocoaPods for iOS, and Gradle for Android.

Being open-source and free lowers the cost of working with NativeScript. Companies see extra savings through shorter development timelines.

Limitations

NativeScript aims for native performance. In practice, though, users experience some lag when opening apps. Also, critics point out that there are many inefficiencies in the NativeScript core that make debugging unnecessarily complicated.

It’s worth noting that plugins aren’t 100% verified and vary widely in quality. An inexperienced developer could accidentally introduce a vulnerability if they aren’t careful to check every plugin before use.

React Native

Facebook created this cross-platform native app development tool for its own use before releasing it to the public in 2015. Like NativeScript it features heavy code reuse, though the philosophy here is “learn once, write everywhere”. Once the tools are learned they can be applied to any platform.

React Native provides the native performance missing with NativeScript. It renders native UI elements for a “true to platform” feel that appeals to device loyalists while being less expensive to develop than a native app.

Real-time reloading leads to a smoother, more responsive development process where users can get faster feedback on changes as they work. This is one of the developer-friendly aspect of React Native that attract its large, active community of developers.

Limitations

Despite matching native apps in performance, React Native doesn’t fully support all native features yet. Users have to wait for Facebook to add those capabilities. There are generally fewer specialty and custom modules than some frameworks, as well.

The different design styles of Android and iOS will result in unpolished apps if a designer isn’t careful. Navigation is sometimes a little irregular regardless of skill.

Aside from technical considerations, some developers are wary of being totally reliant on Facebook. All signs point to a long future for React Native and Facebook is still putting resources into it, but the platform does still own the license and can theoretically revoke it.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is a hybrid app development framework that is open source version of Apache Cordova. Users can build for multiple platforms with a single codebase, writing in HTML, CSS or JavaScript. Apps built with PhoneGap have decent access to device hardware. There are allowances for offline capabilities as well.

PhoneGap has a healthy library and a robust backend that makes development fast and easy. Developers don’t need specialty skill sets to use it; web development skills will give them access to all the framework’s features. Those qualities combine to make it a great tool for rapid prototyping on a budget.

Limitations

PhoneGap doesn’t offer a lot of UI widgets, but performance is far and away its biggest limitation. It suffers from noticeably lower performance than other frameworks.

Making the call

There’s no single framework that’s best in every case.

  • PhoneGap is great for rapid prototyping, but the performance issues may frustrate end users in the long run.
  • React Native and NativeScript take opposite approaches to cross-platform development which should factor into their choice for a specific project.
  • jQuery provides slightly lower performance but much wider compatibility, making it useful when end users can be expected to access the app through many kinds of devices.

Try not to go into a project with a favorite framework in mind. Look at the specific needs of the app, consider its purpose and who the end users will be, and discuss options with an experienced developer.

The wrong framework can lead to a frustrating, “square peg in a round hole” development process. The right one saves enough time and money to make it worth a little extra forethought.

Mobile Development Company in Orlando

As one of Orlando’s most renowned mobile development agencies, Concepta has a collection of clients who need fast, economical development.

Our developers stay on top of emerging JavaScript frameworks to be sure they have the right tool for any job, whether it’s building a client-facing app for The Learning Company or a sales portal for Anago.

Getting ready to build your next mobile app? Concepta has more than a decade’s experiences building dynamic enterprise apps for everyone from state-wide chains to national celebrities. We can guide you through the JavaScript frameworks that will help you meet- and beat- this year’s business goals. Reserve your free consultation today!

Request a Consultation

.Net: A Highly Consistent Cross Platform Development Framework [REVIEW]

benfeits of .net

.Net is a highly consistent, open source, cross platform software development framework. It was created by Microsoft to build, deploy, and run applications in Windows. Generally, .Net is considered the best platform for developing Windows applications.

A software development framework is a universal, reusable workflow environment for developing software.

Frameworks often include shared code libraries for easier/faster programming, APIs to connect components, compilers, support tools, and other features.

What problem does .Net solve?

Developers use .Net to build and deploy dynamic modern Windows applications and XML services across devices and environments.

The framework makes it easier to write and maintain desktop applications, web applications, background services, and mobile apps.

Using .Net facilitates a more consistent developer experience, as well, which increases productivity.

Benefits of .Net

  • Cost-efficient

  • Object-oriented

  • Robust caching

  • Horizontal scaling

  • Creates secure Windows applications

  • Lets developers use less code while creating a faster page (based on server side scripting)

Strengths of .Net

.Net is easy to write and maintain. It has a comprehensive toolbox including WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing as well as drag and drop tools.

These convenient features boost developer productivity. (It doesn’t hurt that developers can update on the go without restarting the server.)

There’s a lot of resources to support .Net usage.

The framework has a healthy library of code that covers most functions. .Net’s comprehensive library reduces the size of an application’s code base, making large applications more manageable.

Because it’s a mature, well-maintained framework, all tools and IDEs are pre-tested and easily available in the Microsoft Developer Network.

Security is a growing concern for enterprise this year. .Net gives developers room to build controlled applications with role-based security and Code Access Security.

It features integrated Windows authentication and per-application configuration for additional protection.

The security model is overall intuitive and easy to implement, making it less likely that programming errors will compromise the final software’s security.

Programmers appreciate that .Net is multi-language compatible. They can write in 25 languages including C#, F#, or Visual Basic.

One of .Net’s biggest draws is that it’s a cross-platform tool. Using it, developers can create apps for a range of devices and environments. .Net apps will run across Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Weaknesses of .Net

There are some drawbacks to using .Net. For one thing, the managed code that makes it a cross-platform tool affects performance.

Managed code is inevitably slower than native code and requires more resources (it has to be interpreted).

Some developers are wary of .Net’s dependence on on Microsoft. Vendor lock-in can lead to trouble if anything happens to the vendor.

While Microsoft isn’t likely to go under anytime soon, it’s still something to consider.

It’s also true that .Net has limited object-relational (OR) support. OR support is available only for the Entity Framework.

Finally, migrating to .Net can be expensive. The cost can be minimized by avoiding the use of licensed tools.

Comparison

Java is another popular tool for developing cross-platform technology. It focuses hard on the (slightly misleading) “write once, run anywhere” philosophy.

As a result it’s used for a wide variety of applications while .Net tends to be used mainly for Windows despite its cross-platform capabilities.

As far as languages go, Java uses only Java while .Net supports C#, F#, Visual Basic, and more.

Web Services Support is built into .Net but is an add-on for Java. However, Java offers options for IDEs while .Net has only Microsoft Visual Studio (MVS is very comprehensive, so this isn’t as big a limitation as it might seem).

Bottom line: Java is more portable with better OR support, but .Net is better secured against breaches and regarded as easier to write by many developers.

Real-life Application

Right now, .Net is used by many well-known high traffic sites including:

  • Microsoft
  • StackOverflow
  • GoDaddy
  • Dell
  • Ancestry.com

Conclusion

Java is pulling slightly ahead of .Net in terms of demand for skills. With the release of .NET Core, though, .Net is holding steady instead of falling in popularity.

Microsoft keeps it well-maintained, too. Users can rely on updates to address security issues which are rising in prominence, and the ASP.NET stack has been overhauled for more modern development practices.

Combined with .Net’s general easy of use, these factors should see .Net hang onto a healthy share of the market despite Java’s rise in use.

Is your company planning to develop a cross-platform mobile or web application? Set up a free consultation with Concepta’s team of experienced developers to discuss how .Net and other technologies could fit into your stack.

Request a Consultation

AngularJS: A Javascript Framework Made for Web Apps [REVIEW]

angularjs

What is AngularJS?

AngularJS is an open-source front end JavaScript framework used to build dynamic mobile and web apps. It emphasizes simplicity, testability, and ease of construction. AngularJS allows users to bind HTML views to JavaScript models, meaning developers can get more functionality while writing less code. This facilitates rapid front-end development.

History of AngularJS

Angular JS was created in 2009 by two designers, Misko Hevery and Adam Abrons, under the name GetAngular. Abrons eventually left the project. Hevery, however, was working on a project for Google under manager Brad Green. Hevery and Green reshaped GetAngular into AngularJS in 2012. AngularJS is maintained almost entirely by Google, who uses it for both internal and external projects.

Features

  • Two-way data binding
  • AJAX handling
  • Dependency injection
  • Angular Directives that add functionalities to HTML elements
  • Based on Model-View-Controller/ MVx pattern
  • Manipulates DOM directly
  • Requires only HTML, CSS, and JavaScript on client side
  • Unit Testing Ready

Strengths

People who already have a solid understanding of HTML find AngularJS easy to learn. It’s well-documented and makes for organized, easy to maintain apps. Angular supports Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Safari for iOS, and Internet Explorer.

Single Page Applications (SPAs) are one of the most common uses for AngularJS, but it can adapted for a variety of purposes. Angular is ideal for complex SPAs that require large amounts of data retrieval. Projects that already rely heavily on other Google assets are good candidates for AngularJS.

Weaknesses

The complexity of AngularJS can be a weakness as well as a strength. There are many ways to accomplish the same task, which sometimes causes option paralysis in inexperienced programmers.

More than 2000 watchers can slow the UI noticeably. Skillful programmers can work around this by monitoring their creation of watchers and minimizing the number that rely on other watchers.

Finally, despite being cross-browser compliant Angular doesn’t work as smoothly in outdated browsers. For example, IE is only supported after 8.0. (This is less of of a problem in this age of auto-updates.)

Real-life Applications

Because it’s well-suited to CRUD (create/read/update/delete) client side apps, developers of user-generated content portals favor AngularJS. The framework is also suitable for ticketing and fleet management systems.

  • YouTube – Many developers of video streaming apps depend on AngularJS, and YouTube is no different. They used AngularJS in the design of their Playstation 3 app.
  • Weather.com – Weather.com is the second most popular weather forecasting website. They reworked their website in 2014 to become more mobile-friendly. Now, AngularJS is used to retrieve data for widgets on their mobile and desktop sites.
  • GoodFilms – GoodFilms is a social movie review app. People use it to get movie recommendations and find out which streaming service carries the film they want. GoodFilms’ mobile site incorporates AngularJS technology.

Future Outlook

Jobs listings including Angular as a requirement have risen 36% over the same period in 2016. In response to demand, Stanford University’s web development course has dropped Ruby on Rails to join other prestigious schools focusing on AngularJS. With the additional benefit of Google support, AngularJS should remain one of the primary choices of web developers.

If you need developers who are Angular JS experts, share with us your challenges and we’ll help come up with the right solution tailored to fit your needs.

Request a Consultation