Which framework is the best for your app development project?
This piece is part of our intern blogger series.
A framework is a software environment that allows for mobile applications to be created and deployed. Frameworks increase the efficiency of creating new mobile applications by allowing users to modify the generic code for specific functionalities.
It is a semi-implemented application as it provides an environment to simplify development. A framework will improve productivity and reduce the time for development and cost.
There is a difference between a framework and a library. The framework calls the code, and the code calls the library, which is a set of code someone else wrote that is packaged and reused.
Distinguishing between hybrid and native frameworks
Consider, for instance, a spectrum with hybrid frameworks at one end and native frameworks on the other end.
Here’s an example of a hybrid application built for an Atlanta startup called GoFan.
Native applications are created using the native language of the device, and by using native code, developers can access all the features of the specific platform’s device. Examples include Java for Android and Objective C for iOS.
When deciding which framework is optimal to build your app, there are several factors to consider:
- User Experience and Expectations
- Online vs. Offline Functionalities
- Project time
- Skillset of your team
- Debugging & Security
User experience & expectations
For applications that are developed using either framework, the user experience is similar, and the user may not be able to point out any obvious differences. However, native applications load a lot faster and have much better performance. Further, native frameworks tend to not have bugs in the visualization since platform-specific languages such as Swift or Java are stricter and have to compile time checking, which eliminates errors in the code. By using inbuilt features, applications created using native code can communicate very easily with native functionalities and applications in the device, such as Wi-Fi, camera, and Bluetooth. Native apps also feature a very fluid interface, and animations and interactivity are easy to implement.
Widgets can look native in hybrid applications, but will only really be native when created using native code. If animations and interactivity need to be added, an experienced development team will be required to optimize performance and to build the application as a single page app. If a mobile device has a slow processor, hardware and graphics issues can arise when a hybrid framework is used.
React Native is a wonderful alternative to native application development and far superior to other hybrid frameworks as it follows the native behaviors of the platform, thus providing a near-native UI performance. Using react native is also highly cost effective.
Using a hybrid framework to develop your application can be cost effective in certain situations since the code is adaptable to multiple platforms. Hybrid code is only written once and deployed on both Android and iOS platforms, whereas Native frameworks require extra labor costs since the code must be written for each operating system specifically. It is also costlier to update and maintain native applications. In the long term, however, the investment in producing a native application may save time and money by offering great user experience and performance.
The product can be delivered quickly when a hybrid framework is since a single cross-platform codebase can facilitate the simultaneous release of applications to the market. An application created using a native framework will take more time because the code must be specific to the device, and the release of the application will need to be staggered.
React Native allows for a nearly native app to be created within a limited time frame.
Debugging & security
Bugs are easier to debug in native applications and more difficult to debug in hybrid applications. This is because each platform may handle the standard hybrid code differently, but if the code is written for the specific platform, bugs are less likely to occur while using the platform-specific IDE.
Nevertheless, in hybrid applications, there is a smaller security perimeter to test. In native applications, security tests and bug fixes will need to be performed for each platform separately.
Overall, from a business standpoint, the decision should be based on a holistic view. Client requirements, feature requirements, user experience, project budget, and the time to market are all factors to take into consideration to find the right solution.
Avanthika Ramesh is a Digital Scientists intern from Milton High School.