Technology

Best Android Frameworks for App Development in 2021

Marlena Walburg

Currently, there are two big players when it comes to the most popular mobile operating systems, Android and iOS. Without a doubt, Android is the global leader in this field. In January 2021, it had a 71.93% share in the mobile operating system market. This is an amazing result but not so surprising at the same time. Since Android is the dominant mobile platform, more and more frameworks and tools for creating applications for it appear. Today, hundreds of technologies to rapidly develop software for this operating system are available. As each one of them has a lot to offer, the choice is not getting easier. Nevertheless, there are several outstanding Android frameworks. For example, the popularity of Flutter or React Native in the field of cross-platform programming is not weakening, and Kotlin is gaining more importance in this game. The choice seems to be not so simple. Therefore, we have prepared a list of the best Android frameworks for app development in 2021. This will help you get some insight, and maybe, you will pick one that interests you most. Enjoy!

Kotlin

We start with a language that is gradually replacing Java as the official Android application development tool, recommended by Google. Kotlin is an open-source general-purpose programming language for developing cross-platform applications. It was designed to be fully compatible with Java, which allows you to convert from Java to Kotlin or create interactions between these codes. Kotlin developers have access to all Java libraries and functions, but at the same time write more concise code and can easily call Kotlin code from Java and vice versa. Kotlin helps achieve similar results as when coding in Java, but with less code. It is a tool that facilitates and accelerates the work of programmers, without sacrificing application performance or code quality. Kotlin helps to reduce the amount of code without losing its quality and efficiency, and also positively influences the reduction of errors. This makes the entire application development process much easier. Kotlin also boasts a committed community that is constantly growing. There are also more and more new sources of knowledge about Kotlin, which is of great importance for those who want to learn this language.

Solar2D (Corona SDK)

Until recently, Solar2D had a different name. However, in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, Corona SDK seemed like a rather unfortunate name. Besides, Corona Labs was closed, and the terms of the licensing offered changed. Solar2D is a free, open-source software development kit. This framework, introduced in 2009, allows you to build 2D mobile applications for iOS, Android, desktop applications for Windows, Linux and macOS, and more. It gained the greatest popularity in the field of Android game development, as well as as a general-purpose programming framework for this platform. Its cross-platform nature, lots of built-in, feature-rich APIs and plugins allow for extremely fast development. Solar2D uses the Lua scripting language, layered on top of C ++ / OpenGL to build graphic applications. Lua is a lightweight, easy-to-learn, multi-paradigm programming language with an emphasis on speed, portability, and extensibility.

Unity

Basically, Unity is primarily a game engine. It is available in various variants, also free. It is cross-platform and above all, known as the best Android development platform for creating 2D, 3D, augmented reality and virtual reality games. It was developed by Unity Technologies. It offers a basic scripting API in C #, both for the Unity editor in the form of plugins and the games themselves, as well as a drag-and-drop function. Before C # was the primary programming language used in the engine, it previously supported Boo, which was removed with the release of Unity 5, and a version of JavaScript called UnityScript. In 2D games, Unity allows you to import sprites and advanced 2D world rendering. For 3D games, Unity allows specification of texture compression, mipmaps, and resolution settings for each platform supported by the game engine, and provides support for bump mapping, reflection mapping, and other advanced features. The engine is constantly evolving, and the last update of June 2020 introduced Mixed and Augmented Reality Studio (MARS). It provides developers with additional functionality for rule-based augmented reality (AR) application generation.

Ionic

Ionic is a complete, open-source SDK for building hybrid mobile applications. It was created by Max Lynch, Ben Sperry, and Adam Bradley of Drifty Co. in 2013. The original version was based on AngularJS and Apache Cordova. Over time, the framework has been rebuilt, and the latest version is a set of web components, allowing the user to choose any UI framework such as Angular, React or Vue.js. You can also use Ionic components without any UI framework. It is a universal tool for creating hybrid mobile, desktop and progressive web applications. In particular, mobile applications can be built using CSS, HTML5, and Sass. Ionic uses Cordova and Capacitor plugins to access device features such as camera, GPS, etc. It includes mobile components, typography, interactive paradigms and an extensible base theme. In addition to the SDK, Ionic also provides services that developers can use to enable features such as code deployment, automatic builds. Ionic also provides its own IDE known as Ionic Studio. In short, it is a rich, powerful Android framework.

Flutter

The story of Flutter began at the 2015 Dart developer summit when it was introduced to the world under the name “Sky”. Only in December 2018, however, the first stable version of the framework was released. Flutter is an open-source UI development toolkit based on Dart, an object-oriented language, created by Google. The framework comes with two sets of its own fully customizable widgets that contain all the critical differences between platforms, so there’s no need to search for additional libraries to build a good-looking interface. Despite its relatively short presence in the IT world, it is currently one of the most popular frameworks that allow you to quickly create applications using many ready-to-use components. It is used to develop applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows and web, from a single codebase. The main advantages attributed to Flutter are, for example, rapid development. Flutter offers the Hot Reload function, which helps developers track changes to the code as soon as they are made. Also, an extensive library of widgets helps to build applications that do not differ too much from the native ones.

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Native Android SDK

The name itself suggests that it could be a good choice for Android software development. Indeed, the Native Android SDK is one of the world’s most popular mobile application development platforms. It is free, open-source and based on Java. The platform provides a rich structure of applications and provides the fastest tools for creating modern applications and games for Android mobile devices. Provides developers with the wealth of API libraries and developer tools necessary to build, test, and debug applications for the Android platform. Native Android SDK will appeal to developers who need to implement parts of their applications in native code using C and C ++. This is because they will be able to access certain libraries directly from the native code.

React Native

Flutter’s main rival, React Native, is an open-source framework developed and launched by Facebook. After intensive development, Facebook released the first version of the React JavaScript Configuration in 2015. Its genesis was the company’s desire to build a universal application that would run on both iOS and Android. React Native uses JavaScript. It is based on the concept of a bridge, which is the way to communicate between native and JS threads. Even though React Native already has a wide selection of iOS and Android elements and methods, a bridge is a kind of tool that exports what the framework doesn’t have out of the box. Shortly after its debut, the list of organizations using React Native has grown significantly and continues to do it. React Native is famous for shorter development cycles and code reuse possibilities. Like Flutter, React Native offers a Hot Reload feature to speed up the development process, as well as a huge collection of libraries and other ready-to-use components. Plus, it’s simple to learn and has a huge, supportive community.

For more information about React Native read our related articles:

Summary

We understand that choosing the best technology is a tough nut to crack. It is important to remember a lot of details, and most of all, what you want to achieve with your software. Each project has different requirements, therefore, the choice of a framework must be made carefully, after checking all the necessary factors.  The variety of technologies, however, also means freedom of choice and wide possibilities of adapting to your requirements. You can see that the above frameworks can be used for various purposes. They are feature-rich, flexible, and allow you to quickly deliver the product to the market. Take time to get to know them better. 

If you need help choosing the right technology for your application, you can always reach BinarApps. Our specialists will advise you and find the best solution, as well as develop software that exceeds your expectations.

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