Top 10 Best Mobile App Development Frameworks in 2023

Article by:
Maria Arinkina
11 min
The demand for applications grows every year, and numerous companies invest in their creation. But as the technologies change, the question arises: how do you create an application that will be able to suit the needs of various users? Well, modern mobile app development frameworks can certainly be useful in this case.

It's almost impossible to imagine the modern world without mobile applications. Every day all of us use them for work, getting around, playing games, shopping, staying in touch, organizing our life, and tons of other things. So it's no surprise that the global app market together with the techniques of app creation are constantly expanding.

This page will go over the top mobile app development frameworks in 2023 and the years that follow.

What Are Mobile App Frameworks?

Let's start by defining what is a framework in mobile app development. In short, it is a way to simplify the process of building an application from the development perspective. Mobile frameworks provide ready-made solutions which allow developers to create mobile apps faster and more effectively, sometimes even targeting more than one platform using a single code base.

What Is a Mobile App Development Framework?

What does this imply?‚Äć

Well, users have different local phone services and devices, including smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers, and all of these may come with various operating systems (OS). Thus, when a company decides to make an application and turns to professionals for mobile app development services, the created solution has to be flexible and compatible (for instance, it should work equally well on iOS and Android).

The process of building a mobile application isn't simple, so using an appropriate web development tech stack and a comprehensive framework can help developers save time and resources. They might not even need to use complex programming languages. Of course, it doesn't mean that the developers can afford not to know CSS, HTML, or JavaScript or not write any custom code altogether. These basics are, of course, vital. But creating mobile applications using frameworks is like skipping a big first step since you don't need to start from scratch. 

That said, mobile development frameworks are reusable and convenient toolsets that can be used to create an application that will be rich in features. It's an environment complete with basic app structure, providing developers with needed software development kits (SDKs) and tools, such as:

  • building generic app functionality;
  • code libraries;
  • programming interfaces;
  • API tools;
  • compilers;
  • tools for debugging code;
  • prebuilt solutions for achieving faster app speed and improved usability.

The bottom line is when you have access to the software creation platform's collection of components and solutions, there's a higher chance that you'll accelerate MVP launch and hit the market with a successful application faster.

There are several major types of mobile apps, including:

  1. Native applications (classic downloadable apps from App Store or Google Play, coded separately for compatibility with various devices' operating systems);
  2. Progressive web apps (browser-run apps);
  3. Hybrid apps (a mix of the first two approaches).

Hybrid application development using mobile app frameworks is recently growing in popularity due to effectiveness of this solution's app creation cost and the accelerated speed of development. Therefore, in this article, we'll mostly focus on the hybrid mobile app development frameworks.

Not sure which framework to choose?

Contact our team and they will help you pick the right one.

Let's talk!

Not sure which framework to choose?

Contact our team and they will help you pick the right one.

Let's talk!

Best Mobile Development Frameworks in 2023

So we've learned that there are several paths to follow with mobile app development:

  • building separate apps for each OS;
  • creating browser-run apps;
  • or choosing to stop somewhere in between.

That said, there exist cross-platform app creation solutions that allow for turning the third scenario into life with reduced effort. Let's take a closer look at the top 10 frameworks for mobile app development.

1. Flutter

Flutter - mobile app development framework

Brought by: Google

Based on: Dart

Apps developed using Flutter: Google Ads, Google Pay, eBay Motors, PostMuse

The Google mobile app development framework is an extensive software development kit that is also open-source. Flutter is used for building efficient Android and iOS applications.

Key features:

  • Available open-source for free;
  • Compiles to JavaScript, Intel, and ARM;
  • Uses layered architecture;
  • Offers widgets that can be customized (icons, navigation, scrolling, among others);
  • Has rich motion APIs;
  • Provides an intuitive UI kit;
  • Skia, a 2D rendering engine, is used for visuals;
  • Automated QA testing and simple debugging;
  • Has a hot reload feature, allowing to see changes immediately without app reload.

Use Flutter, if:

  • you need to create a cross-platform application;
  • UI is a priority;
  • need access to a broad library of customizable widgets;
  • are looking for a simple way to create visuals.

2. React Native

React Native - mobile app development framework

Brought by: Facebook

Based on: JavaScript

Apps developed using React Native: Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Shopify, FlipKart

React Native is an open-source mobile app development framework that is based on JavaScript. It is noted for its ease of creating both iOS and Android applications, therefore React Native mobile app development is very popular among developers.

Key features:

  • Available open-source for free;
  • Is low-code (provides components and code that can be reused);
  • Allows for achieving enhanced UI and impressive app performance;
  • Extensive React Native libraries;
  • Boasts top-notch APIs;
  • Has numerous platform-agnostic components (these include Text, View, and Image);
  • Simple migration due to third-party libraries support;
  • Well-adapted to various screen sizes;
  • Great compatibility with various extensions;
  • Easy maintenance;
  • Has an extensive community;
  • Low learning curve.

Use React Native, if:

  • you need to create a cross-platform application;
  • fast time to market is a priority;
  • you need a responsive solution;
  • your UI won't require too much customization;
  • Windows Phone is not a targeted OS (i.e., you need an app solely for iOS and Android).

3. Ionic

Ionic - mobile app development framework

Based on: Angular/Vue/React and Apache Cordova

Apps developed using Ionic: MarketWatch, Firstly, ChefSteps, DieselOn

Ionic is also among the best cross-platform mobile app development frameworks. It allows developers to use numerous front-end frameworks: Angular, React.js, and Vue.js. Notably, it is used for building not only cross-platform applications but also hybrid and dynamic PWAs. 

Key features:

  • Available open-source for free;
  • Uses numerous JavaScript components (over 100 for Angular);
  • Has many themes and features like lazy loading;
  • Device plugins (eg., for accessing the camera or Bluetooth);
  • Uses Webviews and intuitive mobile-optimized components for UI;
  • Adaptive styling;
  • AOT compiling, touch-optimized gestures, and pre-rendering;
  • Extensive community.

Use Ionic, if:

  • you need to create a highly interactive application for Android and iOS or a PWA;
  • your developers have a great command of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

4. Apache Cordova

Apache Cordova - mobile app development framework

Based on: HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript

Apps developed using Apache Cordova: Localeur, Untappd, SparkChess

Previously called PhoneGap, Apache Cordova is a neat hybrid mobile web app development framework. It has been on the market for a while, therefore there's a large community, plus the solution is quite developer-friendly.

Key features:

  • Available open-source for free;
  • Plugins for accessing hardware like the camera, GPS, etc.;
  • CLI (command-line interface);
  • Native device API access;
  • Scenarios for offline usage;
  • Large community.

Use Apache Cordova, if:

  • you need to create a cross-platform application;
  • if you need access to numerous smartphone hardware and device functions.

5. Xamarin

Xamarin - mobile app development framework

Brought by: Microsoft

Based on: .NET and C#

Apps developed using Xamarin: Volveremos, Aussie Weather, Tube Mate

Xamarin is one more free open-source mobile app development framework. It was launched by Microsoft and uses the C# programming language together with .NET. Unification is what makes it unique as it is truly a cross-platform framework.

Key features:

  • Allows creating apps for lots of operating systems apart from iOS and Android, including Windows, tvOS, macOS, watchOS, among others;
  • Connected with Microsoft Visual Studio;
  • Uses data-driven documents;
  • Storyboard files;
  • Native APIs and 2D graphics;
  • Google emulator and Android SDK managers;
  • The backend infrastructure is rather versatile;
  • Has an active community and is supported corporately.

Use Xamarin, if:

  • you need to create an application that's compatible with many OS, not limited to iOS and Android;
  • fast time to market is a priority.

6. NativeScript

NativeScript - mobile app development framework

Based on: JavaScript (or languages that transpile to JS)

Apps developed using NativeScript: Navadra, GreekyAnts, Workbox

NativeScript is a commonly chosen native mobile app development framework. NativeScript mobile applications can be built on JavaScript or on programming languages like Vue.js, Angular, or Typescript, which transpile to JS. It is considered to be one of the best mobile app development frameworks for Android apps.

Key features:

  • Available open-source for free;
  • Clear interface without the need for WebViews;
  • Simple access to lightweight iOS and Android APIs;
  • Kendo Themes;
  • Mission-critical functions support;
  • Robust community.

Use NativeScript, if:

  • you need to create a cross-platform application mostly prioritizing Android;
  • are looking for a library-rich open-source solution.

7. Kotlin

Kotlin - mobile app development framework

Based on: Kotlin (inspired by C#, Java, and others)

Apps developed using Kotlin: Gradle, Evernote, Spring

Kotlin is an aspiring modern solution and programming language. This framework is primarily used for server-side mobile app development.

Key features:

  • Ktor multi-platform toolkit;
  • Compatible with the Java ecosystem;
  • Allows using different JVL libraries and frameworks;
  • Platform-specific APIs;
  • Large community.

Use Kotlin, if:

  • you need to create a cross-platform application mostly prioritizing Android;
  • Java interoperability matters.

8. Swiftic

Swiftic - mobile app development framework

Framework type: no-code DIY

Apps developed using Swiftic: Mt. Royal Bagel Co., Clubhouse, Lakeside Fitness

Previously known as Como DIY, Swiftic is considered a "do it yourself" solution for building cross-platform Android and iOS applications, but is mostly targeted at the latter OS. It is intuitive in use and regarded as a good option for small businesses. Note, though, that it doesn't come on a free basis (it's free to build the app, yet launching it isn't). There are multiple plans available and a 30-day refund guarantee.

Key features:

  • Intuitive app creation, convenient interface, and dashboard;
  • Customizable UX;
  • Includes a rich app feature set (in-app coupons, loyalty cards, scratch cards, delivery functionality, creative forms, social media feeds, a promotional toolkit, etc.);
  • Push notification functionality;
  • Low learning curve (considered no-code);
  • Assistance in launching the app (even on App Store);
  • Available support from the Swiftic Success Team.¬†

Use Swiftic, if:

  • you need to create an application mostly prioritizing iOS;
  • you need a practically zero learning curve (i.e., a simple content import and selection from numerous customizable themes).

9. Corona SDK

Corona SDK - mobile app development framework

Based on: Lua

Apps developed using Corona SDK: Designer City, PKTBALL, Draw Rider Plus

Corona SDK is also called Solar 2D. It allows for creating mobile applications that would run on numerous devices, including TVs. It is a great choice for game development.

Key features:

  • Available open-source for free;
  • Designed to be fast and lightweight;
  • Has numerous plugins for features like media, analytics, etc.;
  • Instant update stimulator;
  • Large community.

Use Corona SDK, if:

  • you need to create a cross-platform application for iOS, Android, and others;
  • you plan on building mobile games.

10. jQuery Mobile

jQuery Mobile - mobile app development framework

Based on: HTML5 and JavaScript

jQuery Mobile is an HTML5 mobile app development framework for responsive applications and websites with decent UI. It is used to create solutions for iOS, Android, Windows, as well as Blackberry, Firefox Mobile, Nook, Kindle, and MeeGo.

Key features:

  • Touch-optimized;
  • AJAX-powered navigation;
  • A large variety of customizable themes on ThemeRoller;
  • A lightweight solution;
  • Simple API support.

Use jQuery Mobile, if:

  • you need to create an application that's compatible with many OS, not limited to iOS and Android;
  • if responsiveness and SEO optimization are a priority.

Still got questions on mobile frameworks?

Upsilon can give you hand with planning your mobile development project.

Contact us

Still got questions on mobile frameworks?

Upsilon can give you hand with planning your mobile development project.

Contact us

How to Choose the Right Mobile App Development Framework

So what is the best framework for mobile app development? The graph below shows the results of recent statistics on the preferred cross-platform mobile frameworks used for app development. As you can see, according to the opinions of developers, Flutter is currently the most popular mobile app development framework with React Native standing close behind (feel free to read the comparison of React Native vs Flutter).

Which Mobile App Development Frameworks Do Developers Prefer?

The choice of framework for building your mobile application will depend on numerous factors, including:

  • how experienced your developers are and which programming languages they're best at;
  • what type of application you are planning to create (for instance, the framework choice may vary depending on if it'll be a game or an online store);
  • which OS you're targeting.

When selecting from the variety of mobile app development frameworks, keep an eye on:

  • whether it comes on a free open-source basis or not;
  • which OS it is suitable for;
  • whether it is fitted for your industry;
  • how simple it will be to build the application (the learning curve);
  • how flexible and scalable the solution is;
  • how big and active the community is to support it;
  • whether it gets regular updates.

To Conclude

Summing up, there exist plenty of different applications and the ways they run. Based on this, during the project discovery phase or planning you can choose among the mobile application development frameworks which can help accelerate the app creation process. The paths will vary depending on the desired result.

And if you're in search of a trustworthy partner to give you a hand with your custom mobile application, feel free to contact Upsilon. We've been providing MVP development services for startups and team augmentation services for growth-stage businesses for quite a while now and have helped numerous companies build their successful products. So, if you have an idea in mind, reach out to us to discuss your project. We use the sprint-based pricing model and will be glad to assist!

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