As the number of mobile users grows, many companies reach customers via mobile apps. To preserve a competitive edge, they need to constantly perfect the design, responsiveness and functionality of branded software solutions. Modern application development frameworks expand development capabilities for implementing powerful and highly-customized projects.
What is an Application Framework?
An application framework is a programming platform providing generic functionality that can be changed depending on project requirements. Frameworks greatly accelerate and simplify the development process, saving software engineers from having to build basic code. Programmers just add original features over universal templates, freeing up time and energy for creative work, testing and bug fixing.
Attributes of a Superior App Development Framework
While most frameworks for Android development share similar features, each of them is unique and designed to serve a particular category of software engineer. If you are a novice to app development, pay attention to the general selection criteria:
- Cross-platform support. Today’s businesses want to reach the largest possible audience through universal apps. Expanding your knowledge and skills from basic Android development to cross-platform development can spare you from having to rewrite code for different devices. By providing software solutions at a reasonable price, you can quickly become an in-demand developer.
- Framework popularity. Observing best practices and garnering advice from experienced colleagues can help lay the foundation for your software development career. If a certain technology is popular among many software developers, it is probably worth checking out.
- Customizable UI. Your chosen framework must enable you to implement the exact functionality and design your customer demands.
Top 3 Frameworks for Android Development
Let’s consider three technologies that have established themselves as reliable Android development solutions, and briefly list their key features:
- Developed by Facebook, which guarantees regular updates and compliance with modern requirements
First released in 2015
- Cross-platform (iOS, Android, UWP, and Web)
- Provides native user interface components that are organically displayed on Android devices
- An extensive built-in library of user interface components
- Access to native functionality
- Optimizes individual apps with platform-specific code
- Changes can be applied without recompilation
- Unsuitable for building complex animation
- Developed by Microsoft
- First released in 2011
- A well-established solution that provides rich development opportunities
- Cross-platform (Android, iOS, and macOS)
- A specific set of tools and libraries can be chosen for each platform
- Uses C#, .Net, and Microsoft Visual Studio
- Xamarin’s performance is close to native
- Access to Apple, Facebook, and Google APIs
- A large number of reusable templates
- Updates are sometimes delayed
- Apps built with Xamarin are heavier than native apps
- Unsuitable for building complex animation and gaming features
- Customization may involve rewriting code in Kotlin or Java
- Developed by Google
- First released in 2017
- A broad range of built-in development tools
- Allows for customizing template widgets or creating new ones
- Prompt bug fixing
- Apps built with Flutter are heavier than native apps
- Requires manual coding or third-party extensions due to the inability to use native APIs
These are the three best Android app development frameworks for now. Try each to decide which technology best meets your needs.