1. React Native
If you stick to Angular proper, you can make hybrid apps that offer native-like speeds and experiences. The two-way data binding is one of its most notable features, and the framework is robust enough for enterprise-level use. After all, it’s maintained by the esteemed Google!
While you can use Angular for native mobile apps, you’ll have to couple it with another framework like NativeScript or Ionic. Both of them are covered below.
If Angular is your framework of choice but it’s too slow for your particular app and you need to wring out more performance, then NativeScript may be the solution. Don’t like Angular? That’s fine. Use the NativeScript Core framework to write once and deploy to both iOS and Android.
To create and design interface elements, you’ll use a special HTML-like language for laying out various components and CSS for customizing the look and appearance of components.
Two things make PhoneGap great for mobile development: first, the PhoneGap Developer app (which lets you test and preview builds on mobile devices), and second, the PhoneGap Build service (which packages and deploys apps for you). You only have to write once and PhoneGap can deliver apps to iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
While PhoneGap Build is free for open-source projects (code must be pulled from a public GitHub repository), you only get 1 private app with a 50 MB size limit. For $10/mo, you can bump that up to 25 private apps up to 100 MB in size each. Creative Cloud subscribers get 25 private apps up to 1 GB in size each!
Ionic also comes with a tool called Creator, which lets you create and design interfaces for your mobile app using drag-and-drop placements. This is much easier than trying to piece together a UI in HTML or an HTML-like markup language. As such, Ionic is great for newbies.
Once you’ve built the front-end of your app in Ionic, the framework deploys to each mobile platform using Cordova. Most of this process is handled behind the scenes and it’s very easy even for first-timers, so don’t worry if it sounds complicated. It isn’t.
Meteor’s claim to fame is two-fold: first, it’s a full-stack solution (integrates frontend, backend, database, clientside, and serverside development), and second, it offers real-time two-way data binding (if something changes in the backend, it’s immediately updated in the frontend).
And while it’s mostly used for web apps, Meteor can be used for hybrid mobile apps. Like Ionic, it uses Cordova the build your project and deploy for iOS and Android. Unfortunately, as of this writing, mobile export is only available on Mac and Linux (unsupported by Meteor for Windows).
If you’d rather create mobile games, you’ll need a framework meant for game development. Such frameworks do all the hard work so you can do complex tasks in one or two lines of code (e.g. load an image or move the world camera). And Phaser is easily one of the best in its class.
Phaser is opinionated — you have to structure your code in a certain way — but its opinions are based on decades of tried-and-true game development practices. The learning curve is relatively shallow and you can have your first game up and running within hours.
Exporting to mobile isn’t a built-in feature so you’ll have to do it through a tool like Cordova. However, plenty of Phaser tutorials exist so it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out once your game is ready to deploy.
What Kind of Mobile App Are You Making?
One last tip: once your mobile app is done, check out these tips for helping it go viral. After all, what good is making an app if no one ends up using it? Good luck!
Which frameworks appeal most to you? Did I miss any good ones? What kind of app are you hoping to make? Share your thoughts and endeavors with us down below!