The Framework Battle for App Building

It’s hard to imagine an industry or field of study that isn’t ruled by standards; the metric system is universal in the field of science, for example. However, as consumers, our “standards” are always in flux. Whether it’s Betamax versus VHS or HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray, we’ve seen a lot of good (and bad) formats fall to the wayside. When it comes to developing the latest apps, a similar battle is being waged among some of the biggest names in technology. Frameworks have risen as a way to streamline the development process and help push viable products out the door quicker.

Unlike the days of Netscape and Internet Explorer (another format war that led to the creation of Mozilla’s Firefox browser), the web is much more standardized than it once was. With mobile taking off as a platform, that has led to a lot of progress and has changed how our minds view the web. In the early days of the mobile web, developing a website for mobile and traditional media (PCs, Laptops) meant making two separate web sites. Now, with the help of web developing tools like Bootstrap 3, we build one site that fits all. Luckily for us, the standardization of the web has helped pave the way for app building. Many of the same languages we at Bitstorm Web have used in web development for years (HTML, CSS and Javascript) are used commonly throughout and are at the heart of every web site we build.

Let’s review some of the big names in the frameworks space right now.

Mobile Angular UI

Mobile Angular UI is a combination of two of the hottest web development tools currently being used: Angular JS and Bootstrap 3. Angular JS offers a lot of functionality to standard HTML while Bootstrap 3 offers us a CSS boilerplate to work from when constructing a website. It “strips” out the responsive media queries and adds it to separate files while also replacing FontAwesome icons for Bootstrap’s Glyphicons. With these two combined, it makes for a very powerful platform upon which to base anyone’s app. While it is widely used, it does appear to require a strong understanding of both platforms and both are known for having steep learning curves.

Intel XDK

Intel XDK is supported and produced by the tech giant, Intel. That name recognition alone forces us to take a look at what it offers in terms of development. In addition to being free, it also offers its support through forums for developers working with the platform from Intel directly. It also is a very flexible framework as it can claim to be used in a number of various games and apps that appear across multiple stores. It feels though that since XDK has such wide support for multiple platforms and disciplines, it may be a little difficult to figure out where to start.


Ionic appears on every list I found of popular frameworks. After doing some more digging, it’s easy to figure out why. They have a steady reputation that shows that they’ve been able to read the writing on the wall and stay ahead of the curve at every turn. It has a lot of the same advantages of other frameworks including being open source, easy to read documentation and takes advantage of commonly used languages like HTML, CSS and Javascript. The installation process looks like it may be a bit more technical but following the installation guide can negate this perception.

In conclusion, overall, the development field is not lacking for competitors as this list only covers but a few. The internet has come a long way since the browser wars and it can almost feel convoluted sometimes. It’s often hard to pick just one framework to learn because each can be somewhat unique, therefore learning one framework can be a limited and risky investment of time and effort. After all, who can remember the last time you bought a CD?


Matt Cotter
Full-Stack Developer

April 1, 2017

#Angular #apps #intel xdk #ionic #Javascript #mobile angular ui