mobile app dev

Mobile app development has become a lot easier these days. Developers no longer have to code their way from scratch. Using the mobile app development tools readily available in the market, they can easily create high-quality, feature-rich mobile apps.

However, choosing the right app development tools from hundreds of available options is challenging. Developers often find themselves in confusing scenarios and make wrong decisions, leading to delays, increased costs, and sub-par software.

To help you make the right decision, we have curated a list of the seven most popular mobile app development tools and software in 2022. Read on as we compare the pros and cons of each.

Seven Best Mobile App Development Tools for Android & iOS

1. Ionic

Ionic is a well-known HTML5 mobile app development framework based on the SaaS CSS language. You can use it for developing hybrid mobile apps powered by web technologies like CSS, HTML5, and SASS. The framework is built on Angular and JavaScript.

Pros of the Ionic Framework

  • 100% free and open-source
  • Ionic supports an extensive library with JS CSS components, mobile-optimized HTML, and CSS features.
  • The mobile app development framework offers Angular JS integration to help you build various types of apps.
  • Ionic supports one codebase, UI components, Full Native Access, and tooling.
  • Automate workflow features to deploy app features and fixes quickly.
  • The Ionic framework has the Ionic package to help you create native app libraries.
  • A central, shared dashboard with live activity feeds to help your entire team stay on track.

Cons of the Ionic Framework

  • Debugging applications built on Ionic is time-consuming and challenging because of unclear messages.
  • Ionic applications often become heavier than native applications as they involve writing a lot of code and adding libraries, plugins, dependencies, etc.
  • You often have to rely heavily on plugins to access the native features when you build an app using Ionic.

2. Xamarin

Xamarin is owned and maintained by Microsoft, so you can entirely rely on it to build native iOS, Android, and Windows applications. From a shared codebase to standardized UI controls and protection against security threats – there’s a lot mobile app developers can explore in it.

Upsides of Xamarin

  • Support for technologies like .NET and C#.
  • The app development framework offers seamless integration with SQLite, SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and DB2.
  • Xamarin offers Native UIs, Native APIs, components, etc.
  • Coding is more accessible with platform-specific IntelliSense.

Downsides of Xamarin

  • Since Xamarin is relatively new, it has a relatively small community.
  • Xamarin has more bugs and fewer resources to fix them.
  • Apps built in Xamarin are heavier compared to native apps. It further leads to slower download and installs times.
  • Xamarin is free. However, the development needs the use of Microsoft Visual Studio, which may be beyond the budget for some teams.

3. Sencha Touch

Sencha is a rapid application development tool for building apps for multiple operating systems like Android and iOS. It is an MVC-based tool that works with JavaScript, which makes it an ideal choice among developers. To build applications in Sencha, developers use HTML5.

Advantages of Sencha

  • Over 115 supported components that you can integrate with Angular, FOSS, and many other frameworks.
  • Commercially supported UI widgets for lists, menus, and toolbars.
  • Single paradigm across all components.
  • Reduced dependency on multiple libraries and versions.
  • Strong community support.

Disadvantages of Sencha

  • Sencha has a big learning curve as it is an extensive framework.
  • Plugging in a custom pure JavaScript component is difficult in Sencha.
  • Customizing already defined features is not easy and needs a lot of understanding.
  • Sencha is expensive from a licensing point of view.

4. Appcelerator

Developers use Appcelerator to build native and cross-platform apps. The mobile app development tool is their favorite as they have to write a few lines of code, allowing them to develop high-end applications with features like APIs and UI. Appcelerator offers an open marketplace where developers and users can sell and share templates, modules, and extensions.

Pros of Appcelerator

  • Since Appcelerator supports JavaScript, a widely used programming language – you can quickly get along with it.
  • The mobile app development tool reduces the code by 60-90%.
  • You can directly access platform-specific APIs using JavaScript.
  • Active support for new OS releases.

Cons of Appcelerator

  • Appcelerator lacks flexibility. So, if you’re looking for customization, the platform is not for you.
  • You may find the Appcelerator toolkit a little complicated if you’re a beginner.

5. React Native

Built and maintained by Meta Platforms Inc. (earlier Facebook), React Native is a prime choice among mobile app developers to create genuinely native-like apps. Developers use the mobile app development platform to build futuristic apps for Android, iOS, iPad, macOS, Windows OS, Android TV, and UWP.

Upsides of React Native

  • You can manage the entire app in ReactNative from a single, shared codebase based on React and JavaScript.
  • ReactNative wraps the native code with native APIs using a declarative UI paradigm, which boosts productivity and improves the time-to-market.
  • The framework is easy to learn and implement.
  • You can build prototypes quickly with React Native.

Downsides of React Native

  • React Native is difficult to debug as it uses native languages like JavaScript and C/C++ to build apps.
  • Despite offering a near-native experience, the platform is still slower than native apps.
  • To use React Native efficiently, you need substantial web and native technologies knowledge.

6. Flutter

Flutter is a portable, open-source UI and software development toolkit developed by Google. We use it to build natively compiled, cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and the web. With Flutter, developers can develop and deploy applications to multiple devices like smartphones, PCs, laptops, and embedded devices from a single codebase.

Advantages of Flutter

  • Many tools like automated testing and developer tooling allow you to build high-quality apps while maintaining database control.
  • Flutter works with the existing code and compiles JavaScript, ARM, or Intel machine code for better performance.
  • As the UI and business logic remains the same across all the platforms, you can save a lot of time on building apps using Flutter.

Disadvantages of Flutter

  • Apps built with Flutter are usually on the heavier side.
  • Flutter has a limited set of tools and libraries to support you.
  • Some SDK functions work perfectly for Android but struggle for iOS.

7. Android Studio

Android Studio is Google’s Android operating system’s official integrated development environment (IDE). Being straight from Google and enjoying active community support, it’s an excellent choice for anyone who wants to build an Android app.

Pros of Android Studio

  • You can develop Android apps for mobile, tablet, or TV devices.
  • Being a native app development tool, you have complete access to functionalities.
  • Android studio has a great UI, so you can quickly get along.
  • The IDE receives more library support than other IDEs.
  • Android Studio is well documented and enjoys excellent community support.

Cons of Android Studio

  • Android Studio is RAM-consuming. You can’t multitask along with it.
  • Debugging is not good in Android studio.
  • The number of options available in the interface can overwhelm a beginner.

In Conclusion

This comparison of the seven best mobile app development tools might have given you a fair idea of which one you should choose. Always remember that the client’s requirements and budget will be critical in making the right choice.

Another thing you must keep in mind is whether the tool supports native or hybrid development. For example, tools like Android studio are best for building Android apps, but you can’t use them for hybrid or iOS development. Besides, it would be best if you also saw whether a tool is open-source or not because such devices have active community support and always receive valuable additions.

Ultimately, you must know that not every tool will fit your app development initiative. You must be mindful of what can offer you maximum results with minimum effort. That’s the only key to ensuring that the apps you develop are a success.

Is there anything about mobile app development tools and software you want to ask? Please let us know in the comments.

By Anurag Rathod

Anurag Rathod, as a blogger he used to spread all about app-based business, startup solution, on-demand business tips and ideas and so on.