Ionic vs Phonegap vs React : the battle for Hybrid app development dominance

Native app development is widely adopted. However, there is a shift in the use of technology due to some setbacks of native development. Below are some issues that you face with native app development:

    • Separate coding/technical expertise is required for different platforms. For ex., Swift for iOS and JavaScript for Android.
    • Being different technology for different platforms, a larger team would be required.
    • It will be time consuming as native development will require separate coding per platform
    • Hiring separate team will not be favorable towards your budget constraints.

To overcome these challenges, people have shifted their interest towards hybrid app development. They are developed using HTML5, CSS, and Javascript, and execute the same code regardless of the platform in which they run. They can, with tools like PhoneGap and Cordova, use the native features of a device, like GPS or camera. Let’s study the technologies widely used for hybrid app development.

Advantages and Disadvantages of different frameworks

React native is based on the bridge between the native platform and JS, that allows to render real native component instead of a webview. It creates then far more possibilities because we have access to a big part of the Android/IOS API through the bridge.

There are some big benefits to using React Native:

    • The app is faster and more performant since it is rendering native component and not webview
    • The app feels and looks native and not like a responsive webapp

Some disadvantages:

    • One can’t use HTML, you must use native components.
    • Since this is bridge based, you must write an app per platform ( Some components are specific to the platform )

PhoneGap / Cordova is different since this is a HTML / CSS / JS app rendered in a webview. This way you can use any of the frameworks or JS based libraries to make your app. You can still access phone components via the navigator API.

Main benefits:

    • Use every framework/library you want
    • Write once run on every platform

Disadvantages :

– Slower and less performant

Comparing Framework

Pros of Ionic application development

    • Single source for all supported platforms.
    • Uses common technologies like HTML and CSS.
    • Embedded Angular JS makes code manageable.
    • With command-line interface (CLI), developers can start the project just with a single command.

Cons of Ionic

    • It is difficult to create graphic games and high-end apps.
    • Angular JS makes it exclusive for the developers who are proficient on Java based coding ONLY
    • Performance of the app like loading a page, native feature propagation like swiping is not as good as native apps.

Pros of PhoneGap application development

    • Uses technologies that are familiar to wide range of web & native app developers, thereby, decreasing the learning curve.
    • PhoneGap apps installs just like native apps.
    • It helps you to integrate payment through the App store.
    • It has huge supporting ecosystem. Many libraries and frameworks can work with it.
    • PhoneGap uses plug-in architecture which helps in extending native apps API’s.

Cons of PhoneGap

    • No control over hardware result in slower apps.
    • Plugins may have compatibility issues with different platforms.
    • Documentation of PhoneGap is not detailed as expected

Pros of React Native app development

    • Most of the code you need to get started can be shared across platforms.
    • It comes with better performance and smoother animations.

Cons of React Native

    • The hiccup is that this only works when the bridging components have been written for React Native.

Ionic/PhoneGap/React : Which would you prefer?

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