The Top 5 Best Frameworks for Android App Development in 2022

In this article, we’ll talk about the most popular Android cross-platform frameworks and their design and development capabilities. This guidance includes expert advice from TATEEDA GLOBAL’s developers that have deep expertise in mobile development for healthcare and IoT industries.   

Mobile applications are becoming increasingly sophisticated, interactive, and user-friendly as companies line up to join the mobile revolution. To meet demand, application framework developers have stepped up their game, providing superior technologies for app development. 

We scoured the web to find the very best Android app development frameworks in 2022, to create mobile apps that outperform their early predecessors and raise the bar for UX, functionality, and overall performance. 

What is an Application Framework?

An Android application framework is a software toolkit that enables app developers to piece together a finished product that meets the requirements of its proprietor. A framework provides the bones of an application, to be fleshed out with graphics, animation, special features and functionality. Application frameworks are designed to simplify the app development process, and make it easy to manage, modify and fix bugs down the road. It’s necessary to distinguish between SDK (software development kit) and frameworks. SDK contains software development tools, including frameworks.

Different Android app development frameworks share many of the same attributes, along with unique features that make them better suited to certain types of projects. The application framework you select should be chosen with the specific requirements of your project in mind. 

Attributes of a Superior Android App Development Framework

With so many Android app frameworks available, finding those that stand apart and meet the needs of developers and stakeholders can be challenging. We used the following criteria to sort the sheep from the goats:

Cross-platform capability: Cross-platform frameworks enable developers to use the same codebase across all operating systems, meaning a single app will have the same look, feel and user experience on any device. Plus, any updates and fixes are universally reflected automatically. Even if you are primarily interested in creating an Android app, using a framework designed to accommodate multiple platforms can save time and money down the road.

Popularity among developers: App developers want to work with frameworks for Android development that facilitate the creative process, with minimal speed bumps along the way. They also want to be able to test, troubleshoot and fix bugs in the least complicated and most time-efficient ways. 

User interface: As apps become more sophisticated and complex, being able to customize framework elements to achieve the best user experience for every project is fundamental to high-end application development. 

Android App Development Frameworks to consider

Read also: How to develop a custom hospital management system

Top Android App Development Framework

Here are our top 5 best frameworks for Android app development in 2022. This list is in descending order of popularity as suggested by research published on the Statista website (with more than 30,000 respondents). 

#1. Flutter

Overview:

Flutter is Google’s contribution to cross-platform application frameworks. Its first iteration, called Sky, was designed to run on the Android operating system. Flutter was released in 2017, making it one of the newer application development frameworks. 

According to 2021 research, Flutter is the most popular Android framework out there. It has rapidly climbed to the list’s dominant position after being recognized as the second most-used framework after React Native in 2019 and 2020. Now it is a preferred Android framework for 42% of Android developers (against 38% in 2020.)   

📌 What’s special about the Flutter framework?

In comparison to React Native, Google’s Flutter uses its own canvas to render the app components and that’s why it relies on manual app updating efforts. It can be both an advantage or disadvantage at the same time, if you want your app components to stay exactly the way you designed them, Flutter will work for you.

Flutter is efficient to render 2D multiplatform (hybrid) mobile apps for iOS, Android, and other platforms, and also features exceptional testing capabilities. It employs a 2D-rendering engine (Skia) for UI visuals created according to both Google’s material design and Apple’s Cupertino widget style. Flutter allows developers to manage the visuals in a very detailed and specific manner, so your widgets/visuals will look and work great on all types of mobile devices.  

Flutter runs programs in Dart. It’s a client-optimized, object-oriented programming language with C-style syntax that works fast on all platforms. This language is used in Google Ads’ mobile application and many other successful apps.  

At TATEEDA GLOBAL we have expert developers in Dart language, who’re capable of efficient project development on Flutter. Please feel free to contact us, if you need any kind of help with Flutter projects, including full-cycle Flutter app development, or project augmentation and integrating additional developers into existing teams.  

App Framework

What we like about it:

  • Flutter features an extensive app development toolbox that includes pre-built widgets, APIs, CLI tools, and a broad range of other application development tools. 
  • Flutter allows developers to create new widgets or customize existing ones. 
  • With the support of tech giant Google, Flutter is highly reliable. 
  • Flutter’s fast code implementation allows for speedy bug fixes. 
  • Like Xamarin and React Native, Flutter is a free open-source platform.

What’s missing:

  • Like Xamarin, Flutter apps tend to be large, forcing developers to compromise on images, animation and the number of libraries used. 
  • Flutter does not allow for the use of many native APIs, meaning developers may need to use third-party packages or write their own code. 

#2. React Native

Overview: 

Facebook created React Native in 2015 as an open-source, cross-platform framework. It can be used to develop apps for iOS, Android, UWP and Web. With React Native, developers can build mobile apps using React and JavaScript, along with native Android app development capabilities.

This is the best Android app development framework in TATEEDA GLOBAL’s opinion. Some of the best applications developed with React Native are Airbnb and Discord.

📌What’s special about React Native framework?

The key feature of React Native is that instead of simulating native performance (like most other frameworks do), it allows developers to construct user interfaces from the system’s native building blocks backed by React’s special type of JavaScript. Since native Android blocks are utilized, React Native apps render as if they were native applications. 

The best thing about this framework is that you don’t have to update or redesign native Android components used in the applications, but they auto-update simultaneously with the system’s general updates. It allows keeping many apps in good shape for free, with no additional work from app developers required. 

If you need any kind of help with React Native projects, especially in healthcare mobile software development, please contact TATEEDA GLOBAL for a free estimation and help! We have React Native experts with considerable expertise in the U.S. healthcare market. Should you have any questions or ideas regarding React Native app architecture and development, please let us know!  

What we like about it:

  • React Native implements native UI components, giving apps a high-quality user interface with a native look.
  • React Native’s expansive library of UI components speeds up development time.
  • The framework gives developers access to native functionalities, like camera and other features.
  • RN allows developers to use platform-specific native code to optimize individual apps.
  • Developers can apply immediate changes to an app without having to recompile it.
  • Support by Facebook ensures reliability. 
  • React Native is an open-source framework, making it free to application developers.

What’s missing:

  • React Native’s built-in navigation is not as seamless as Android native framework navigation.
  • The platform is not geared to building complex animation or complicated transitions.

Read also how to hire React JS and Angular JS developers.

#3. Xamarin

Overview: 

Founded in 2011, Xamarin is owned by Microsoft and has been around for nearly a decade, making it one of the oldest application development frameworks. The platform provides developers with libraries and tools specifically compiled for building apps on Android, iOS, macOS, and others.

📌What’s special about the Xamarin framework?

Since Xamarin is a part of Visual Studio IDE, it allows for writing cross-platform applications in C#, whose code is almost the same on all platforms (about 75% of the codebase is identical.)

Thanks to this quality, many respected companies in solid industries like healthcare have opted for Xamarin in their mobile development projects. Although Xamarin is a free and open-source framework, commercial large-scale software development requires a license for the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE, and that’s associated with considerable additional expenses.

What we like about it:

  • Apps developed with Xamarin have high native-like performance.
  • Xamarin’s extensive ecosystem with C#, .Net, and Microsoft Visual Studio makes it one of the most complete mobile app frameworks available. Read also: Tips for Recruiting and Hiring .Net Developers
  • Xamarin’s platform-specific libraries give developers access to APIs from Apple, Facebook, Google, and other platforms to enrich your app’s capabilities.
  • Enhanced user experience, thanks to Xamarin’s vast template library that lets developers reuse code across different platforms, or manually customize elements.
  • Like React Native, Xamarin is open-source, making it free to small development teams.

What’s missing:

  • Updates to Xamarin are often delayed before being reflected in the framework’s tools, which sometimes causes issues with individual apps.
  • Xamarin apps are often larger than native apps, adding about 5 mb for new releases and up to 20 mb for rebuilds.
  • Xamarin is not well suited to building apps with complex animation or complicated game features. 
  • Some parts of the UI code may need to be rewritten in Java or Kotlin to customize your Android app. 

#4. Apache Cordova

Apache Cordova (formerly PhoneGap) is a free and open-source Android framework that enables hybrid app development in many basic web-development languages and technologies, like JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3. It allows building multi-platform apps with a single code base, e.g. Appcelerator Titanium.

📌What’s special about the Apache Cordova framework?

The UI of a Cordova-assembled app technically functions like WebView, running an app in the native container, so it’s safe to say that Cordova bridges mobile and web application development. This framework supports many major platforms including Android, iOS, Windows, Ubuntu, OS X, Blackberry 10, etc., so a developer creates the app code one time and then converts SDK files to different platform formats.    

What we like about it:

  • Steady, battle-tested framework (released in 2009).
  • Apache Cordova supports multiple platforms, including Unix-like. 
  • Cordova runs your HTML or JavaScript code within a native container that grants it access to the device’s native functionality. 
  • A unified JavaScript API allows you to create reusable code for nearly every mobile device on the market. Cordova uses plugins to connect its JavaScript code to the native code in the back-end, and there exists a huge choice of plugins for different platforms and features.
  • Thanks to the WebView container, the Cordova-based web application translates your HTML application to the native environment.

What’s missing:

  • As you have to execute your app in the WebView, it cannot achieve the native performance levels. 
  • Some third-party plugins are deficient, outdated, and crash multiple times. 
  • Configuration can be complicated as it requires the command line.
  • Code should include a lot of platform-specific conditions when it comes to cross-platform programming.  

#5. Ionic 

Ionic is an MIT-certified, free, and open-source app development framework that uses a combination of HTML5 + CSS3 + JavaScript for cross-platform application development. It allows developing interactive hybrid apps and PWAs (Progressive Web Applications.)

📌What’s special about the Ionic framework?

Ionic features Intuitive UI components and offers faster development time making it quite a powerful and reliable development framework. Also, it offers a lot if cross-platform functionalities and plenty of software tools that deeply facilitate the development of Android mobile apps. Most of the code is developed predominantly in the browser with an exception for native mobile divide functionality that you’ll have to test and debug using a handheld device. 

What we like about it:

  • Skilled web developers can easily master the build of an Iconic app, which ensures faster development and programmer onboarding time.
  • To get started you’ll need only Angular, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • The Ionic framework easily integrates with other libraries, like AngularJS. 
  • It utilizes Cordova plugins that allow it to access native components of mobile systems and complete control over the application-building process. 
  • A powerful community of more than 5M developers ready to offer their advice and tricks. 

What’s missing:

  • Debugging can be a pain point, as unclear messages make it’s hard to identify the source of errors.
  • Native plugins are necessary for accessing many native functions, but are not fully stable and can conflict with each other.
  • Builds are prone to sudden crashes for hardly-detectable reasons. 

Join the Mobile Revolution with a Customized App by TATEEDA GLOBAL

Whether your existing mobile app needs an upgrade, or you are ready to jump into the fray with a sophisticated customized app that outperforms your competitors, TATEEDA GLOBAL with an R&D office in Ukraine, has the experience and knowledge to satisfy your unique needs. 

We select the best iOS and Android app development frameworks with your particular project in mind, to build your custom app from the ground up. We test and retest at every stage of the development process to ensure that your app performs flawlessly, without bugs or failures. Contact us today, and let TATEEDA GLOBAL’s team of app development professionals bring your vision to life.

Written by

Natalia Juhasz

Project Manager

Independent Business Owner at Social Rush LLC - Senior Software Development Project Manager at TATEEDA GLOBAL

View 8 more post

Written by

Natalia Juhasz

Project Manager

Independent Business Owner at Social Rush LLC - Senior Software Development Project Manager at TATEEDA GLOBAL

View 8 more post

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