Hybrid mobile framework – NativeScript, Ionic, ReactNative

by Aymen on 01/15/2018

Nowadays if you wanna make a low budget mobile App, definitely you will pass by one of the hybrid mobile application frameworks, let’s cite some :

Ionic, any web developer wants to make a mobile app he will occur this framework, why?, because Ionic is built on top of Apache Cordova using Angular and WebView, the Ionic team made Ionic1 with Angularjs 1.* and the Ionic 2&3 with Angular 2+, to know more: ionicframework.com  

Nativescript (my favorite one, keep reading to know why): is how you build cross-platform, native iOS and Android apps without web views.  (https://www.nativescript.org/about), with Nativescript you get access to native APIs via JavaScript, also you can use npmjs.com packages, CocoaPods(iOS) and Gradle (Android) I will explain how (next article).

Xamarin I didn’t use it until now but here’s what they said about it: Xamarin’s mobile application development platform with native user interfaces enables sharing of code across all platforms with a single C# codebase (www.xamarin.com/platform)

ReactNative made by Facebook based on React.js philosophies same like Nativescript but it required some Objective-C or Swift for iOS and/or Java for Androids skills to write Bridge, (ReactNative Bridge) and that’s the main difference between Nativescript and ReactNative, the first does not require to write bridges the second does.

If you know other mobile frameworks put them in comments …

There are two main sides, the first side has Nativescript & Reactnative & Xamarin and the other side has only Ionic, the first use Native UI like UILabel(iOS) TextView(Android) with single XML tag text-view the other side use WebView (HTML input & tags) which make the first side much better and smoother for complex UI even hot performance for simple UI.

And of course, I definitely choose native UI  over Web UI.


Let’s talk about why I choose Nativescript and talk about my experience.

Android & iOS, each mobile platform has its own ecosystem and offers completely different development tools and languages, in order to translate JavaScript code to the corresponding native APIs so they made a runtime for each platform, let’s call it the Bridge

Let’s take an example, if we want to use sentry.io (Open-source error tracking) to track bugs on mobile devices in real-time, we can use this plugin npmjs.com/package/nativescript-sentry.io which is hosted on npmjs and immediately we can start using it in Javascript or Typescript.

So how this plugin made?

This plugin adds some dependencies with Gradle in Android And CocoaPods in iOS, and with The bridge, we can immediately start using them in plain Javascript code without any tweaks,(that’s the main part why I love Nativescript over all other platforms/frameworks) then we have the implementations parts wich done with javascript, no other languages or skills required .

My Experience

The Garbage collector: I wrote two application with NativeScript one of them is in production right now, with iOS always works like charm but the Android version with google machine V8 I’ve got some lags, and that because the synchronisation between garbage collector of the JavaScript and the garbage collector of Java (GC), they announce a fix for that on the version 3.2 of Nativescript (Announcing the Release of NativeScript 3.2 & New Experimental GC Mode for Android), they add an experimental flag and it solves the lags for now.

Google maps: Also when I used Google maps plugin I had some issues, one of them is (Of course it works like a charm on iOS, I got the issue on Android) when you create a page that contains a Google map card and you enter to a child route (i’m using Angular with Nativescript) and you press back button the app crash, so I switch to MapBox.

I started making plugins for Nativescript, you can follow them at Github.com/labidiaymen

If you wanna contribute to this articles or to one of my plugins you can make a comment or you can reach me: labidi{at}aymen.co


There are 2 comments in this article:

  1. 01/18/2018Oussama says:

    Weex for building native mobile app with vue.js

  2. 01/18/2018Aymen says:

    Thanks for your comment, I will take a look at it, Nativescript also support Vue.js, take a look https://www.nativescript.org/blog/a-new-vue-for-nativescript, and it’s significantly lighter than an Angular app with Nativescript. I will give it a try in next months.

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