App Development, Thought Leaders

Top JavaScript Frameworks for Mobile App Development in 2019

June 13, 2019

by Paul Azorín

Founder and Chief Technology Officer, BairesDev

jQuery Mobile, Reach Native, NativeScript, Apache Cordova, Ionic, and Titanium are all JavaScript Frameworks that are advantageous for app development. Learn which one is right for your business.

In 2019, JavaScript remains one of the most popular programming languages. StackOverflow’s 2018 Developer Survey reveals that 69.8% of developers use it more often than any other language.

JavaScript frameworks are well-suited to mobile app development, as they can be used across a number of platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows.

Some of the top JavaScript frameworks for mobile apps in 2019 are:

  • jQuery Mobile
  • React Native
  • NativeScript
  • Apache Cordova
  • Ionic
  • Titanium

At BairesDev, we specialize in providing JavaScript development services. We’ve developed applications for Google, Viacom, Univision, and SiriusXM, which places us in a unique position to explore the most popular JavaScript frameworks.

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

jQuery Apps Load Quickly

Perhaps the biggest advantage of building apps using jQuery Mobile is the speed at which the applications load. As a lightweight framework, it’s based on the jQuery library and has a strong focus on compatibility, so it can be used for Android, Windows, Blackberry, and iOS apps.

jQuery eliminates the need for device-specific languages, so developers can use standards such as JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3. It also mitigates cross-browser issues and supports a number of display sizes and screen resolutions.

jQuery can also be used to create custom themes using the ThemeRoller web app. It provides various tools that make editing themes straightforward, including its drag-and-drop color picker, page layouts, and header templates.

React Native Integrates With Other Programs

As an open source framework, React Native can be used for building cross-platform native apps. When used in combination with JavaScript, React Native applications are indistinguishable from apps built using other languages such as Swift, Java, and Objective-C.

React Native has the edge over other frameworks due to its declarative programming style and reusable components for user interfaces. It can be combined with native code written in other programming languages, making it very flexible and a good choice for adding new features to existing applications.

With the introduction of a new feature called Hooks, the popularity of the framework among JavaScript development services will likely continue. The feature enables developers to access React's features without writing a class, which makes for a more intuitive approach.

React Conf 2018

For an overview of the new Hooks feature, take a look at this video from React Conf 2018.

NativeScript Allows Code to Be Reused

Developers with existing JavaScript skills can transition to the NativeScript framework fairly easily.

NativeScript can be used to build multi-platform native apps from a single code source.

It uses a “write once, use everywhere” approach and enables code to be reused between platforms, which makes development time quicker. Because it’s open source and free, there are no associated costs of working with the framework.

NativeScript provides developers with access to hundreds of plugins via CocoaPods for iOS and Gradle for Android.

The framework also has its own exclusive plugins and, in 2018, the NativeScript community developed 300 new ones.

Apache Cordova (PhoneGap) Is Ideal for Projects With Small Budgets

Apache Cordova, also known as PhoneGap, provides access to an extensive library and a robust backend, which makes app development quick and straightforward. It’s a popular framework among JavaScript developers, as it can be used without any additional skills.

Anyone with experience using JavaScript will find PhoneGap intuitive and straightforward.

Also, PhoneGap is well-suited to projects with a small budget because it enables apps to be built from a single code base. It provides rapid testing and deployment, and accessing device hardware such as geolocation is straightforward.

There are several tools that can be used to enhance the performance of this framework, such as Visual Studio and Mobiscroll. There’s also a large online community dedicated to creating plugins for the framework to extend PhoneGap’s capabilities.

According to AppBrain, PhoneGap is typically used for developing event apps (19.25%), followed by business (19.15%) and medical apps (17.24%).

PhoneGap market share by category

Many industries can benefit from a PhoneGap framework.

Ionic Can Build on Multiple Platforms

Developers who are already familiar with app development will understand easily the structure of the Ionic framework. Its hybrid app codebase enables developers to build apps for multiple platforms, reducing overall development costs and the application’s time to market.

With Ionic, developers have access to Cordova plugins that enhance the performance of the framework and enable developers to expand its use.

Application testing is easy with Ionic as there are four options, enabling developers to choose the approach that suits them best. Testing can be carried out on desktop using the WebKit browser, in an iOS or Android simulator, in a mobile browser, or as a native app on the device itself.

Titanium Is Ideal for Prototypes

Titanium, developed by mobile technology company Appcelerator, is one of the oldest frameworks available for hybrid mobile apps. It provides easy access to functionalities that enable developers to build high-performance applications.

One of the main benefits of Titanium is that it enables fast prototyping as part of its integrated environment. This allows developers to create working applications quickly in order to validate ideas and design approaches.

The framework also lets developers reuse 60% to 90% of code when supporting multiple platforms, and there are hundreds of modules that provide additional capabilities.

To date, mobile developers have deployed more than 75,000 mobile apps on 280 million devices using Titanium.

Use the Best JavaScript Framework for Your Business

In summary, jQuery Mobile can be used to build effective applications that load quickly.

The flexibility of React Native makes it a top choice for integrating with other programming languages and adding new features to existing applications.

NativeScript uses a “write once, use everywhere” approach that saves developers time by enabling code to be reused.

PhoneGap enables developers to build apps from a single code base, and it’s well-suited to projects with a small budget.

Ionic uses a hybrid app codebase so apps can be built for multiple platforms, which reduces development costs and the app’s time to market.

Titanium’s integrated environment makes it an ideal framework for creating prototypes.

These six JavaScript Frameworks can all suit different businesses depending on their needs and projects.

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