Advantages and disadvantages of the Ionic mobile app development framework

Advantages and disadvantages of the Ionic mobile app development framework

In the world of mobile development, the Ionic framework is a favourite among developers, with over five million apps. There has been tremendous upheaval in the IT industry following the introduction of the framework. App development has become simpler for developers because Ionic is open- source, which makes it free to use, front-end independent and comes with top-notch tools.

It is cross-platform, allowing developers to build apps for both Android and iOS. It is also highly customisable, allowing developers to add features as needed. The framework is also fast, with apps typically taking less time to build. It is supported by a large community of developers who offer assistance whenever necessary.

However, the framework can also be difficult to learn and use, and it requires developers to know web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Is Ionic a good fit for your project to develop a mobile app? This post will provide you with additional information regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the Ionic mobile app development framework. It will help you decide whether it will meet your project requirements. 

What are the advantages?

The following are some of the advantages of the Ionic mobile app development framework you should know about:

  • Suitable for developers
  • A unified codebase for multiple apps
  • A broad range of plugins and integration options
  • A large selection of UI elements and quick prototyping
  • Testing convenience

1. Suitable for developers

Because the framework is based on standardised web technologies, web developers can create mobile applications with it. Therefore, it is easy to find resources on creating Ionic apps. This means that Ionic is an excellent platform for developers who are already knowledgeable about web development. It is also easy to learn, making it a great choice for developers who are just getting started.

Building an app is made simple with the framework, requiring no new knowledge or expertise. In other words, web developers are not required to learn languages such as Swift for Apple or Kotlin for Android in order to create apps. You also do not need to hire native developers when developing Android or Native apps unless you require something specific.

2. A unified codebase for multiple apps

Angular, Apache Cordova, HTML 5, CSS, and JavaScript are the fundamental technologies used in the development of apps, and these frameworks form the foundation of Ionic. Even though its most recent version now supports multiple frameworks for the first time, Angular is still usable with all of its advantages and disadvantages. 

Nevertheless, you can create mobile applications with the framework without having to pay for native development. It enables anyone with an understanding of web technologies and Angular to use it to create fully functional applications using their web development skills. Creating a single codebase across all of your platforms ensures:

  • Lower expenses for codebase maintenance, hiring native developers, and development.
  • Accelerated time to market for both systems.
  • Simple upkeep with integrated debugging tools and browser instruments.
  • The capability of converting your Ionic application into a PWA or desktop application.

If you focus on the app’s timely release in both app stores, the financial benefits of using Ionic become clear. Developing for Android, iOS, and potentially Windows devices within a single codebase is far less expensive than developing for native platforms.

3. A broad range of plugins and integration options

The framework has a wide range of integration capabilities and plugin options. An official list of technologies to integrate is available on its website. This list includes analytical tools, payment systems, security, and testing tools. A range of plugins that support the device’s hardware integration are also included. 

To use Premier plugins and tools, you must purchase the Ionic Enterprise version, which includes some plugins that are only available as part of it. You can also look through the list of Cordova plugins, which is sorted by platform availability, for additional plugins. Alternatively, you can use Capacitor plugins, which can be obtained from npm. The guide provides a step-by-step tutorial on how to use capacitor plugins.

4. A large selection of UI elements and quick prototyping

When using the framework, you can choose from an extensive range of UI elements. The framework’s UI component library replicates the appearance and feel of a native application. These components are customisable or can be used as ready-made elements to construct a graphic user interface.

Developing UI logic and maintaining native looks without incurring additional costs is accelerated by the framework when using web components. Developers can modify an element’s functionality by gaining access to the UI component’s code. It could include animating a button, changing the scroll type, or rearranging a list of items.

Its prototyping capabilities are another advantage of the framework that boosts Ionic development. If you use the ready-made UI elements, it will help you create prototypes for your future applications in a short time. The prototyping tool called Ionic Creator offers a drag-and-drop interface to construct interactive prototypes, but it can’t be used to build the whole app.

5. Testing convenience

The framework allows you to use a device’s browser to test an app since it operates through WebView. It makes the testing process more convenient because the browsers offer built-in testing and debugging tools. When making UI changes, developers can save time by not needing to deploy to a device or emulator for a basic preview.

The process of deploying to a device is quick and simple for developers who require one to test native functionality. Developers can use the command line to deploy applications on the Android OS. It is required for iOS to open the build output in Xcode.

What are the disadvantages?

The following are some of the disadvantages of the framework you should keep in mind, along with the advantages mentioned above.

  • Performance of the applications
  • Difficulty in setting up hot reloading
  • Possible security issues

1. Performance of the applications

When the Ionic mobile app development framework is used, the performance of the applications greatly depends on what type of app you want to build. It is not a good option if you are looking for an application with lots of graphics. It will not work well with apps that make use of augmented reality or other similar features. Going fully native is a preferable option if performance is of utmost importance.

It takes several steps for the framework to render graphic elements through a browser in order to display images on the screen. Loading times will increase proportionally with the number of “steps” between the code and the composite layer. Ionic is a universally applicable solution. There may be a performance problem with older devices. The difference in loading times on modern devices is almost insignificant.

2. Difficulty in setting up hot reloading

In the Ionic framework, it is harder to set up hot loading; instead, it uses live reloading, which refreshes the whole application to activate changes. The problem is that in order for the newly added changes to take effect, live reloading necessitates an application restart. This affects development speed. 

The entire process may take longer if you refresh the app each time a code is updated. As Angular CLI is the foundation of the framework’s build process, Hot Module Replacement (HMR) can be configured. HMR does not require a complete reload in order to swap, add, or remove modules while an application is in use.

3. Possible security issues

It is not necessarily a drawback of Ionic per se; rather, it is a potential hazard you may encounter when using it. The process of developing a mobile app will always involve security concerns. Since the framework is based on web technologies, developers must take into account security concerns with both web and native apps. However, security is not always a technological problem. 

It needs to be fixed with the developers. The creation of an app is more dependent on a company’s processes as well as the skills and experience of the developer. A competent developer will produce a cross-platform app that is safe, while a less skilled developer might produce a native app that has security flaws. 

  • Apps pose a security risk as long as they can be reverse-engineered. 
  • Uglification is integrated into Ionic CLI as of version 4. 
  • One popular method for making code harder for hackers to read is uglification. 
  • Since Ionic apps are essentially webpages, web security must be taken into account in addition to mobile security. 
  • Typical HTTP calls are used by the framework to communicate with a backend. 
  • The same security precautions you would use on a website, like an HTTPS connection, can be applied to your application.

We looked at the benefits and drawbacks of the Ionic framework in this post so that readers could make an informed decision about whether or not to use it for their mobile app development projects. Your choice of app development process will be based on what your app idea requires. Ionic is a fantastic technology that allows you to build a production-ready app much faster than traditional native app development. Ultimately, though, your priorities will determine the decisions you make.

Interesting Links:

What are the Pros and Cons of Ionic Mobile App Development Framework 

The Good and the Bad of Ionic Mobile Development

Pictures: Canva

The author: Sascha Thattil works at which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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