Nowadays, nearly every business has a mobile app, along with a website. Not having a mobile app can prove to be detrimental. It is essential that you pick the right platform for developing such apps. Native app development (for iOS and android) brings advantages like API integration, high performance, support of technology giants, etc. However, the cost of native app development is also a matter worth considering. That explains why so many brands are opting for cross-platform app development. Again, picking the right cross-platform app development platform is necessary.
Basics of Ionic mobile development
There are quite a few cross-platform app development platforms like React Native and Xamarin, but you can also consider Ionic. It is an open-source SDK meant for developing hybrid cross-platform mobile applications. It was developed back in 2013, and now it powers nearly 5 million apps. It is sought to offer platform-specific UI elements for iOS and Android-courtesy a library of native components. It requires Node.js installed to work.
For application development needs, Ionic Native was set up. It’s a compilation of Cordova plugins supporting integration and standard APIs. Ionic Native is now available in 2 versions- Community Edition and Enterprise Edition. The former one is free. From the time of its inception, Ionic had been reliant on Angular framework components. That, however, changed with version 4. From version 4, Ionic became framework-independent. The shift to web components- (encapsulated HTML elements) is the other major change. Custom ionic app development has picked up speed after its release.
The advantages of Ionic development
Ionic hybrid app development offers a number of benefits, and that is why more developers are adopting it over time.
- A single code base– One major advantage of Ionic development is the facility of deploying a single code base. So, building functional Mobile applications becomes easy without hiring native app developers. Those well-versed in Angular and web technologies can use it. By using a single code base, it is easier to reduce development costs considerably. You are also able to market apps for both platforms in less time.
- Huge integration capabilities and plugins– If you want more out of Ionic applications, it is possible to integrate the platform with so many tools. On the Ionic website, you can find a list of technologies that are officially supported. It also supports several plug-ins for device hardware integration. However, some such plug-ins are only supported by Ionic’s Enterprise version.
- Wide range of UI elements– Ionic has been liked for its ability to copy the feel and look of native applications, and that is owing to the UI components library. These components are like ready-made elements useful for building the graphic user interface. The Ionic UI elements can be used to customize the app UI.
- Testing convenience- Another reason hybrid ionic app development is in much demand is its testing advantages. By using the web view component, the device’s browser may be utilized for app testing. No desperate testing device is needed. Browsers offer embedded testing and debugging tools, and these ensure the entire testing can be executed easily.
- Useful documentation- When you use a framework or tool for app development, the documentation comes in handy. Ionic is known for user documentation, which makes things easy for the new developers. It is quite detailed in nature. This also helps in resolving problems cropping up during app development.
- Robust community support– In the last few years, the number of Ionic developers has grown steadily. So, the new developers get the support of a robust and active community.
Drawbacks of Ionic development
There is no mobile app development tool or platform that can be termed as the perfect. The same is true of Ionic. It comes with a few shortcomings too.
- Performance deficit- For developing regular mobile applications, Ionic is fine. However, the same cannot be said about developing large-sized and heavy applications using it. Apps that need to use augmented reality or graphics-heavy apps do not fare well when it is used. For making such heavy apps, other hybrid platforms offer better performance.
- Dependency on plugins– One drawback of Ionic is that you have to use some plugins for accessing native functionalities. The problem is when you can’t come across any suitable plugin or module. Sometimes, ionic app developers may have to develop plug-ins for accessing specific hardware in devices. This can be tedious and creates a bottleneck for app development. Sometimes, using specific plug-ins can be tedious, and tweaks have to be made.
- No hot reloading- In software engineering, one of the widely used features is hot reloading. Through this process, you can apply changes without having to reload the app. So, any changes made are reflected in real-time. Ionic still does not support this feature. It relies on live reloading. So, any changes made will result in the whole app getting refreshed.
- Security issues– When developing apps using Ionic, developers have to be cautious about security. This is owing to the fact an Ionic application is actually a website. So, the standard web security issues have to be taken care of when developing apps for various platforms using Ionic.
When and why should you choose Ionic for mobile app development?
In some situations, picking Ionic makes sense for hassle-free cross-platform app development. When you need a functional app that does not rely heavily on device hardware or uses advanced features, Ionic is just fine. If you get developers who are expert in web technologies, Ionic is a worthy choice. It is also ideal when it is necessary to develop an app within tight deadlines. However, it is not ideal for making mobile gaming apps.
Summing it up
Since its inception nine years back, Ionic has evolved consistently, and the 4th edition has resolved several limitations of the earlier versions. It is a quite flexible and customizable tool for cross-platform app development. A number of technology giants and MNCs have relied on Ionic for app creation as well. Its advantages largely overshadow the few drawbacks in finer analysis. However, to ensure you get the best out of the platform and get functional apps developed, hire a suitable ionic app development company.