Mobile devices overtook desktop for internet use in 2017, and the gap has only gotten bigger with each passing year. Making your site mobile compatible has a massive influence on a business’s success, but that’s not enough these days. As users begin to spend more time on their mobile amongst a multitude of apps, businesses find it increasingly difficult to get their slice of the consumer attention pie. A site isn’t enough: you need an app.
Mobile app development has undergone significant changes as well. There were a lot of competing operating systems back in the day, but things have mostly winnowed down to Android and iOS. Many businesses will only create an app that can operate using one system, mainly because it’s far too expensive for small businesses to create an app on both. This limits the audience a business can serve and limits their revenue and growth.
The solution? Hybrid app/cross-platform development frameworks. These frameworks allow mobile developers to create apps that can exist both on iOS and Android using the same code. This has made app development less expensive and faster, but has also resulted in an even more competitive environment.
Android and iOS are easily the most popular mobile operating systems. Android claims approximately 75% of the global market share and iOS claims about 22%, but there are plenty more such as Windows 10 Mobile, Emui and Indus OS. So, you want to create an app that works on multiple operating systems, which is why more and more people are opting to use hybrid development frameworks. These allow developers to create apps that can operate on multiple systems but still share a single code base. Below I will discuss one of the most widely used hybrid development frameworks, Ionic.
Ionic: The Hybrid Development Solution
Ionic is actually quite a young framework, being made by Drifty Co in 2013. Despite this, it has become one of the most popular frameworks for hybrid app development for a number of reasons. Drifty Co was initially a company centred on creating UI solutions for mobile and web but after more and more customers requested a complete cross platform mobile development tool, Ionic was born.
Ionic was originally built on Angular, but currently in Ionic 4, it’s no longer dependent on Angular and can be used with React or Vue. Angular has its own templating language that has been adapted specifically for mobile devices. Angular introduces its own APIs and plugins that offer access to native features and has been built into the webview part of application development.
Overview of Ionic Hybrid Development
What does your typical Ionic app development process look like? Simple, that’s what it looks like!
Stage 1: Developing page structure with a UI/UX designer.
Stage 2: Ionic developers create an Angular, React or Vue based application. This will often include reusing code that other developers have used with other progressive web applications.
Stage 3: Wrap your Angular code into Ionic and markup any views into your UI Ionic grid.
Stage 4: Build your app and deploy it.
The usefulness of the AngularJS framework has a large effect on Ionic’s popularity. But, what difference does Ionic bring to mobile development that has made it a meaningful solution?
One shortcoming that many apps and browser had in the past was that they could not be used offline or, if they could, they weren’t able to store data. An Ionic plugin enables an offline app to access to a device’s file system where it can still achieve data storage external to webview. Given the flexibility of modern business and telecommuting, it makes sense that an app’s ability to function efficiently offline is a powerful tool to distinguish you from the competition.
Ionic Development: Positives and Negatives
Affordability: while Hybrid development appears more expensive on the face of it, when you factor in what you’re getting it’s actually a lot cheaper—a hybrid app usually costs about 150% of a single-OS app, but it works across multiple operating systems. You’re getting at least twice the value of a single-OS app, and you’ll end up saving in the long run. Furthermore, because new updates for each operating system are released at different times, it’s a lot quicker and cost-efficient to use the same Ionic developer whenever an update arrives—if the app needs to be rebuilt in any way.
Reusable Code: Ionic takes the throne for reusable code amongst hybrid app frameworks. It only needs to be written once and that code can be almost used everywhere. Reusable code speeds development up in three ways: you don’t have to write code yourself, the chances of any issues occurring are greatly reduced and system maintenance is a lot simpler.
Focus on Web Technology: Ionic requires experience in CSS3, HTML5, ECMAScript and Typescript. Native code dependencies are treated as third-party, and are supported separately. Because of this, it’s very easy for many developers to become Ionic developers, as long as they have a strong foundation of key web development languages.
Deployment Simplicity: Ionic’s build and deployment environment is cloud-based, which removes the need for configuration from a developer. Usually, last minute debugging is quick with Ionic apps and deployment to app stores is made easy.
Active Community: What gives a framework longevity and helps all beginners and experienced developers alike find solutions is its community. Ionic has plenty of articles, blogs and community forums that provide solutions to common problems or discuss the solutions to new ones.
Limited Native Operating System Functionality: Ionic does its best to gain all abilities from the operating system it’s running on. But, there are some very advanced features that still won’t run—to gain highly advanced functionality in an Ionic app, a developer will need to create their own customized solution. This native feature gap is something that Ionic is currently trying to bridge, and with its active community, we can expect them to gain full OS functionality.
Hiring Ionic Developers
Here we will identify the base skills every Ionic developer should have and discuss possible hiring options.
Skills Every Ionic Developer Should Have
Native app development expertise: Ionic gives you everything you need to create mobile applications. However, the best Ionic apps will still be able to include niche OS features. In such scenarios, knowledge of the relevant OS helps! Many native app developers are moving to Ionic development, which should minimize these issues.
Should you Hire Freelance Developers or Hire from a Web Development Company?
Hiring a Freelancer
Hiring freelance developers is popular because if you look long enough you’ll probably find a really cheap option. But, doing so, you run the risk of receiving an app that may leave a lot to be desired, which ends up costing you more in the long run. You should hire a freelancer if your Ionic app is simplistic or small. The other time you might want to go for a freelancer is if you need some very niche development skills for a specific part of your app, and a certain freelancer may be the only one with the expertise.
Web Development Companies
Alternatively, you can hire from a development company which specializes in using Ionic. This is generally a more quality assured option and although you won’t be able to find it quite as affordable as a freelancer, development companies are often still cost-effective if your app is complex and will take an extended period to complete.
Really it’s about where you hire mobile developers from—the following information displays the annual gross income of mobile developers not Ionic developers; in-depth information for Ionic is currently hard to find.
US – $68,670
Canada – C$55,622 ($43,346)
Switzerland – CHF 92,442 ($93,247)
India – Rs 431,567 ($6077)
Ukraine – $25,500
UK – £28,988 ($38,875)
If you go for remote development companies from India or Ukraine, you’re going to save a lot. Of course, if doing so you need to be prepared to navigate cultural differences and potentially navigate communication issues—although because of the popularity of remote hiring, cultural issues have decreased remarkably.
If you’re seriously considering remote hiring a web development company for an Ionic project. CodeClouds are a great choice. They are based in Kolkata, but have achieved global success with offices in the US, Australia and New Zealand. They offer expert Ionic development services but also have specialists for native mobile development. So, there’s no need to worry about your app not grasping the full capabilities of different operating systems.