April 18, 2017

12 Frameworks for Mobile Hybrid Apps

by Jscrambler

12 Frameworks for Mobile Hybrid Apps

Last updated on: August 6th, 2019

Nowadays, working in hybrid mobile app development makes life easier for developers as they are able to write once and build mobile applications that run on the main platforms with no extra effort. The application will run on Android and iOS and the code can be reused for progressive web applications and even desktop applications (by using Electron, with some tweaks, you are able to adapt the code for the desktop environment).

In this post, let us dive into a list of 10 useful frameworks to help you build great and amazing mobile hybrid applications.

1. Xamarin


Xamarin is a Microsoft-owned San Francisco California-based software company founded in May 2011 which has cross-platform implementations of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) and Common Language Specifications (often called Microsoft .NET).

With a C# shared codebase, developers can use Xamarin tools to write native Android, iOS, and Windows apps with native user interfaces and share code across multiple platforms, including Windows and MacOS. Xamarin is the top hybrid mobile app development framework. It saves your time regarding re-utilizing abilities, tools, teams and the best significant part is code. You can influence the array of Xamarin and Android APIs as well as design an amazing experience for glass with the Android SDK and GDK.


2. PhoneGap


PhoneGap is the most popular cross-platform framework for mobile hybrid application development. From the team behind Apache Cordova, the Adobe PhoneGap framework is an open source distribution of the Cordova framework. With PhoneGap, you can reuse existing web development skills to quickly make hybrid applications built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for multiple platforms with a single codebase so you can reach your audience no matter their device.

The core of Apache Cordova applications uses CSS3 and HTML5 for their rendering and JavaScript for their logic. HTML5 provides access to underlying hardware such as the accelerometer, camera, and GPS. However, browsers' support for HTML5-based device access is not consistent across mobile browsers, particularly older versions of Android. To overcome these limitations, Apache Cordova embeds the HTML5 code inside a native WebView on the device, using a foreign function interface to access the native resources of it.

Apache Cordova can be extended with native plug-ins, allowing developers to add more functionalities that can be called from JavaScript, making it communicate directly between the native layer and the HTML5 page. These plugins allow access to the device's accelerometer, camera, compass, file system, microphone, and more.

3. Ionic Framework

Ionic Framework

The Ionic Framework is a complete open-source SDK for hybrid mobile app development. Built on top of Angular.js and Apache Cordova, Ionic provides tools and services for developing hybrid mobile apps using Web technologies like CSS, HTML5, and Sass. Apps can be built with these Web technologies and then distributed through native app stores to be installed on devices by leveraging Cordova.

Ionic Framework is a 100% free and open source project, licensed under MIT. It will always remain free to use, powered by a massive worldwide community. They have over 120 native device features like Bluetooth, HealthKit, Finger Print Auth, and more with Cordova/PhoneGap plugins and TypeScript extensions. You can use their CLI to create, build, test, and deploy your Ionic apps onto any platform. The framework has Ionicons icon pack with hundreds of the most common app icons. MIT licensed, and ready out of the box. And you can develop your apps by Live Reload because to compile and redeploy your app at every step of development is for chumps. And there are more useful features like deep linking, AoT Compiling, Ionic Native.

Since version 4, Ionic framework-agnostic and has official support for React, Preact, Angular, and Vue, as well as for Web Components.

Side Note: Protecting Your Ionic Source Code

Jscrambler has a comprehensive tutorial on how to protect your Ionic mobile hybrid app. If you want to make sure that nobody is able to reverse-engineer, steal, or tamper with your code, you may want to take a look at it here!

4. Framework7


Framework7 is a free and open source mobile HTML framework to develop hybrid mobile apps or web apps with iOS & Android native look and feel. It is also an indispensable prototyping apps tool to show working app prototype as soon as possible in case you need to.

The main approach of the Framework7 is to give you an opportunity to create iOS & Android apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript easily and clear. This framework is focused only on iOS and Google Material design to bring the best experience and simplicity.

Some useful features provided by Framework7 are native scrolling, library agnostic, pages transition animation, multiple views support, hardware accelerated animations via CSS3, route pages by using the combination of XHR, caching, browser history and preloading.

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5. Appcelerator Titanium

Appcelerator Titanium

Titanium has mixed development environments provided by Xamarin and PhoneGap. All apps are written in JavaScript but you must use a custom XML and Appcelerator's API to support some native features. This framework is cross-platform with full support for Android and iOS, but it is not included with CSS and HTML. In the end, the compiled code is a combination of native and javascript that improves a better performance for mobile hybrid development.

Titanium is a good solution for creating hybrid mobile apps. To get started with Titanium download Titanium studio. The Titanium SDK is equipped with a number of mobile platform APIs and Cloud service to use as an app backend. It comes with platform-independent APIs which makes it easier to access phone hardware.

Titanium uses Alloy, an MVC framework to enable rapid development of mobile apps. Modules created using Alloy are easy to reuse across different apps, hence significantly reducing the development time and the lines of code.

6. Mobile Angular UI

Mobile Angular UI

Mobile Angular UI is a hybrid mobile framework for the fans of Bootstrap and Angular. With Mobile Angular UI, you'll get the best of both Bootstrap 3 and Angular framework to build HTML5 mobile applications. Angular UI is more like an extension to Bootstrap 3 but without any dependencies of Bootstrap js libs or jQuery (which both are default dependencies in Bootstrap 3), instead, all you need to use are some AngularJS directives to create awesome mobile user experiences.

For a smooth and better mobile experience, this framework comes with fastclick.js and overthrow.js. Responsive media queries are stripped out of bootstrap as separate files, you only need to include what you need. There are UI components like overlays, switches, sidebars, scrollable areas and absolute positioned navbars that don’t bounce on scroll.

Mobile Angular UI is available as open source and free to use under MIT license.

7. Onsen UI

Onsen UI

Onsen UI is relatively new but giving a tough competition to Ionic. It is an open source framework under Apache license. Onsen UI is framework-agnostic UI components, you can choose and switch among the frameworks: Angular, Angular 2, React, Vue.js and Meteor or go pure JavaScript to build your hybrid apps.

Onsen UI features a large collection of ready to use components, responsive out of the box that allows you to build mobile, it allows you to write apps in HTML5 and JavaScript and push through PhoneGap and Cordova for building the app.

This framework is very easy to use, flexibility and has semantic markup components and is free to use for commercial projects.

8. Sencha Ext JS


Sencha is an enterprise-grade product for building cross-platform end to end mobile web apps with HTML5 and JavaScript. Sencha has a wide range of products that are fit to build data-intensive, cross-platform web and mobile applications.

For individual developers and freelancers, Ionic, Onsen UI or Framework7 will be a better choice but for enterprises application, Sencha leads the way.

Sencha scores highly against its competitors by providing a native look and feel across all of the platforms it supports.

ExtJS, one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks is at the core of the Sencha platform which helps create high-performance apps with near native experience. Sencha packs ready to use widgets with native look and feel for all leading platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry. Sencha also features a drag and drop HTML5 visual application builder with tons of ready to use templates. It has built-in support for Angular and React.

9. Kendo UI

Kendo UI

Kendo UI is an HTML5 framework for creating cross-platform mobile applications powered by Telerik. It relies heavily on jQuery and comes packed with 70+ ready to use jQuery widgets. You can also integrate it with Angular or Bootstrap UI framework too.

It is not difficult to learn Kendo UI because a lot of developers are familiar with jQuery. It's a free and open-source framework, but it is slightly limited in terms of features to work, you won't get dedicated technical support and some commonly used widgets are still under a commercial license.

10. Quasar

Quasar Framework

The Quasar Framework is powered by Vue.js and enables developers to write code a single time and deploy simultaneously as a website (SPA, PWA, SSR), mobile app (iOS, Android) and desktop (using Electron) using a single code base.

Quasar v1 was released on July 2019 and brought "the largest sets of top-class, fast and responsive web components" with "a component for almost every web development need".

Out of the box, Quasar also offers HTML/CSS/JS minification, cache busting, tree shaking, sourcemapping, code-splitting & lazy loading, ES6 transpiling, linting code, and accessibility features, while keeping a small performance overhead.

With the Quasar CLI, developers also benefit from additional features such as hot-reloading. One of the frameworks most praised benefits is its very thorough documentation and active community.

It's worth mentioning that Quasar is 100% free, open-source, and licensed under MIT.

Extra Mentions

After many suggestions from the community, we decided to feature NativeScript and React Native in this blog post. NativeScript is indeed an awesome open-source framework focused on developing apps on the Apple iOS and Android platforms and React Native needs no introduction for most developers, it is a framework for building native mobile apps using JavaScript and React.

11. NativeScript


Originally created by Progress, NativeScript apps are built using JavaScript, or by using any language that transpiles to JavaScript, such as TypeScript, for instance. NativeScript directly supports both Angular and Vue frameworks via a community-developed plugin. Mobile applications built with NativeScript result in fully native apps, which use the same APIs as if they were developed in Xcode or Android Studio.

Additionally, software developers can re-purpose third-party libraries from Cocoapods, Android Arsenal, Maven, and npm.js in their mobile applications without the need for wrappers.

Side Note: Protecting Your NativeScript Source Code


Progress Telerik has recommended Jscrambler as the solution of choice to protect NativeScript Applications! Know more here.

12. React Native

React Native

With React Native, you can build mobile apps using only JavaScript. It uses the same design as React, letting you compose a rich mobile UI from declarative components.

Using this framework, you don't build a "mobile web app", an "HTML5 app", or a "hybrid app". You build a real mobile app that's indistinguishable from an app built using Objective-C or Java. React Native uses the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps. You just put those building blocks together using JavaScript and React.

You can also seamlessly protect your React Native source code with Jscrambler by following our guide.


If you're planning to create a mobile application, choosing the hybrid model will save you time and effort and you can reuse the code for creating a web application version too. Of course, the hybrid model is not the perfect solution for all problems, but hybrid apps are a good choice for deploying your app faster and for creating prototype applications, for example. These frameworks can surely provide you a user experience very close to a native application.

A hybridized application is similar to a mobile-optimized website mainly written in JavaScript so if you're worried about the security of your hybrid mobile app, you can use Jscrambler. It avoids runtime code modifications, gives your application self-defensive capabilities and the ability to fight against any reverse-engineering or tampering attempts that can hurt the business logic of your application. It also reduces visibility and makes the code extremely hard to understand.

With Jscrambler, you can protect your app from information leakage, piracy, license violations, and intellectual property theft.

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