Top 10 Open-Source App Development Frameworks [Updated]

Author: Sara Sharma
August 10, 2023
Top 10 Open-Source App Development Frameworks [Updated]

Did you know?  

There are around 4 million apps on Google Play Store and about 2 million on Apple App Store.  

Mobile apps have transformed from a luxury to a necessity for businesses of all sizes. And mobile app development has been in full swing ever since.  

However, choosing the right framework for your app can be like navigating through a labyrinth without a map. With a myriad of options available, it can be a daunting task to select the one that aligns best with your vision, budget, and skill set.   

But fear not! We're here to light your path.   

Whether you're a seasoned developer seeking to expand your toolbox or a beginner making your debut in app development, understanding the landscape of frameworks is vital.   

Diving into this list, you'll uncover insights to help you make an informed choice on choosing the right open-sourced app development frameworks. And with the right one by your side, you could potentially save time, money, and effort in the long run.   

So, let's embark on this journey together and find the perfect fit for your app development needs.

What to Look for in Mobile App Development Framework?

Selecting a mobile development framework requires careful consideration of several factors. Here are some key factors to consider:  

I. Platform Compatibility

The framework you choose should support the platforms (iOS, Android, Web, etc.) you're developing your app. Some tools provide cross-platform support, which means you can write code once and use it across multiple platforms.  

II. Community Support

One of the advantages of open-source frameworks is the vibrant communities behind them. These communities often include professional developers who contribute to the software's development and assist other users. 

The larger and more active the community, the easier it will be to find help and resources when you run into problems.  

III. Ease of Use

Look for an app development framework that has an intuitive user interface and clear workflow. Depending on your coding expertise, you may prefer a tool that requires minimal coding and offers drag-and-drop features.  

IV. Scalability

The framework should be able to handle the future growth of your app in terms of features, users, and data. Check if it has limitations on the app size, the number of users it can handle, or the amount of data it can process.  

V. Flexibility and Customization 

An open-source framework should offer high customization capabilities and flexibility. This allows you to tailor the app according to your specific needs.   

VI. Features and Capabilities 

Depending on your project, you might need a framework with specific features. This includes support for real-time updates, geolocation, push notifications, and more. Therefore ensure that the framework you choose supports the functionalities you need.  

VII. Performance

The framework should allow you to create apps that run smoothly without any lag. Performance can significantly impact the user experience. So choose a framework that is known for generating efficient, high-performance code.  

VIII. Integration

Check if the framework can easily integrate with other services that you plan to use, such as databases, cloud storage, analytics tools, etc.  

Remember, no single tool will be the perfect fit for all projects. Each project has its specific needs, and you should select the software that best fits your project requirements and your team's skills and expertise.   

Now that's settled, let's have a look at the best open-source mobile app development frameworks.

Best Open-Source Mobile App Development Frameworks

1. Ionic

ionic framework homepageIonic free app development framework lets you build mobile apps for various platforms such as iOS, Windows, and Android. It is suitable to create appealing and interactive cross-platform apps. It is licensed by MIT license and is written in JavaScript. 

Key features of Ionic 

  • The Ionic app runs on a mix of web and native codes to provide full access to the native functionality. 

  • The Ionic software includes interactive typography, paradigms, extensible base theme, and mobile components. 

  • Its library provides the user with more than 100 plugins. 

  • They offer continuous support and unique solutions that are trailer-made. 

It provides the user with multiple integration optionsIt does not offer hot reloading
It encompasses a wide range of integration capabilitiesMany features come under the paid structure
It allows for Cordova-based app building
Best software to make hybrid apps

2. Flutter

flutter homepage

Flutter is one of the best mobile app development frameworks for building hybrid apps. It is Google’s UI toolkit that allows you to create apps for web, mobile, and desktop from a single codebase. 

Users can write on it with C, C++, and Skia Graphics Engine. With the hot reload functionality, it is ready to make the app development process stress-free. 

Key Features of Flutter

  • Flutter’s UI supports customization as per customers for bespoke designs. 

  • The hot reload feature allows users to create an app interface quickly. 

  • To help users with app development, Flutter has video tutorials uploaded by Google. 

  • It enables app development for both iOS and Android.

Fully customizable widgets to deliver fast development of native appsThe library collection is not that rich
Plugins can be created using accessible channelsLacks accessing device-oriented APIs, e.g., Bluetooth, GPS, etc.
UI is flexible
It builds native interfaces within a few seconds

Also, take a look at our experts' take on Flutter vs React Native.
call to action for mobile app development

3. Xamarin

Xamarin homepage

Xamarin is an open-source app development framework offered by the Microsoft team. It enables developers to build apps for various operating systems. The reason behind the popularity of Xamarin is that users can automatically test the apps on nearly 2000 real mobile devices. (Amazing!) 

It uses C# for coding and it harnesses the .NET framework to create apps for any mobile platform. This means you can use one language to program your app for all platforms.

Key Features of Xamarin

  • It allows the user to create cross-platform apps with a shared native interface.

  • It easily integrates with the current backend services, native APIs, components, etc. 

  • It offers a real-time testing feature to ensure an error-free environment. 

  • They host online tutorials for beginners so that they get the hang of the interface.

    It is a high-performance software as Microsoft powers itIt is not suitable for developing game apps
    Xamarin is a free app development framework that develops native appsIt has more bugs and fewer resources to manage it
    The flexibility of working with two programming languages
    It allows users to build stunning apps

4. React Native

React Native homepage

React Native is a popular open-source framework developed by Facebook. It allows for the creation of mobile applications using JavaScript and React. It also enables developers to build applications that run on multiple platforms like iOS and Android with a single codebase.   

It's best used for apps where sharing code across platforms can save significant time and cost. Also, it's best to use where high performance isn't the absolute top priority (like games or highly computational apps).  

Features of React Native

  • Offers live reload, which allows developers to see the results of the latest changes almost instantaneously.  

  • It also integrates easily with third-party plugins.  

  • React Native has a robust community that contributes to its extensive library of components.  

  • React Native can access native functionalities like the phone camera, accelerometer, etc., through native modules. This enables the integration of native code when necessary.

Single codebase for both iOS and Android platformsNot suitable for apps requiring heavy animations
Robust community support Easy integration with third-party pluginsCustom communication between modules can be challenging
Rapid development due to reusable componentsPerformance can suffer in comparison to apps built natively
Easy integration with third-party plugins

Suggested Read: React Native Vs Native App Development in 2022 [Guide]

5. Android Studio

android studio homepage

Android Studio is the app development framework from Google for building apps on Android devices. It was launched in 2013 to provide a unified environment with a set of tools necessary for developing Android apps.   

The software offers highly customizable features, which allows it to design bespoke results. It supports a variety of programming languages. But it's incredibly supportive of Java and Kotlin, the two primary languages for Android development.  

The learning curve is a bit steep for beginners. But professionals considered this a go-to tool for Android app development. 

Key features of Android Studio 

  • APK analyzer for reducing the final app size

  • Fast emulator to test different features and configurations. 

  • It has built-in profiling tools for real-time stats on memory, CPU, and network. 

  • Google officially supports it. 

Debugging features are appreciableRequires a high-performance laptop/system
Updates are quick and easy to installInitial build times can be longer
It has a great set of tools and pluginsSteep learning curve for beginners
Perfect choice for Android app development

6. Appy Pie 

appy pie homepage

Appy Pie is a no-coding mobile app development framework solution to run and thrive a business. It is one of the best options for people who are looking for free app development frameworks without coding. 

The Appy Pie users have created around 2M apps, therefore proudly calling themselves “the fastest growing cloud-based mobile apps builder software.” 

Well, there is no surprise that Appy Pie has taken over a big slice of the open-source app development market. It has a ton of unique features to turn great ideas into apps. 

Key features of Appy Pie

  • Appy Pie is designed for non-technical users, with a drag-and-drop interface that makes app creation easy.   

  • Apps created with Appy Pie are compatible with all the major mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows.   

  • Pie offers a range of customizable templates to help users get started with their apps.   

  • Users can incorporate various features into their apps, such as push notifications, social media integration, GPS, etc. 

  • Appy Pie offers options for app monetization, including ads and in-app purchases.   

  • Being a cloud-based service, users can access Appy Pie from any device with an internet connection. This means you can work on your app from anywhere.

It boasts over 56 types of features to create a compelling appAll the advanced features come under paid modules
Best to create e-commerce apps with easy social media integrationThe templates look a bit outdated
The live editor is easy to use

7. Apache Cordova (formerly PhoneGap)

apache cordova homepage

Apache Cordova, formerly PhoneGap, is an open-source mobile application development framework. It allows users to build mobile apps using programming languages such as HTML5, CSS3, and Java.   

The framework allows you to develop mobile applications for multiple platforms with a single codebase. This can significantly reduce development time and effort.

Key features of Apache Cordova 

  • Easily integrates multiple libraries for developing a unique app. 

  • With Apache Cordova, you need not worry about the hassle of maintaining SDKs as it comes with a cloud. 

  • Users can use third-party tool development tools. 

  • It is easy to make and view changes in app development at any stage.

Known for rapid testing and developmentThe user interface is less interactive
Supports a single code base for multiple platformsUsers unknown to programming languages can’t use it
Quick debug and build cycles

8. AppMySite

appmysite homepage

AppMySite is a no-code app development framework that allows you to build apps on Android and iOS.   

It's a no-code solution, meaning you don't need programming skills to use it. Its UI is simple and intuitive, allowing you to easily customize your app's look and feel. This includes options to personalize your app icon, splash screen, colors, layout, and more.  

Let's see some of its features.  

Key features of AppMySite 

  • If you have a WooCommerce website, you can convert it into a mobile app. It will be complete with product listings, cart functionality, and secure checkout.  

  • Your mobile app remains synced with your website. Any changes or updates made to the website get automatically reflected in the app.  

  • You can send push notifications to your app users, helping you keep them engaged and updated about new posts or offers.  

  • The platform creates apps that perform efficiently on both iOS and Android platforms. 

  • It supports WordPress and WooCommerce websites. 

No coding is requiredIt is not that compatible with all the WordPress plugins
Multi-platform supportDoes not work well with the custom post types
Fast app delivery
Flexible subscription plans

9. Felgo

felgo homepage

Felgo is a cross-platform application development framework. It is designed to cater to the needs of both mobile and desktop applications. This powerful tool uses Qt, an established C++ framework known for its extensive library and robust performance.  

With Felgo, developers only need to write code once and can deploy it across multiple platforms. This includes iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux.   

Also, its user interface renders to reduce the interaction between runtime and the native layer.   

Key features of Felgo  

  • Felgo has an easy-to-use and flexible user interface.   

  • It has a hot reload feature for rapid app development.   

  • It allows you to add third-party native integrations.   

  • It allows developers to test code changes in real-time across multiple devices simultaneously. This can significantly speed up development and testing cycles.  

  • Felgo provides a set of integrated services for app development. This includes analytics, cloud builds and storage, and various plugins for ads, in-app purchases, and more.

It is easy to learn and use; therefore, it is highly recommended to beginnersIt takes time to get handy with the software
It offers smooth performance for fewer bugsMany advanced features come under the umbrella of paid plans
It supports both business and gaming appsThe steeper learning curve for non-C++ programmers
Cross-platform compatibility

10. NativeScript

nativescript homepage

The last on the list is NativeScript. It is an open-source app development framework for building truly native mobile apps. It primarily uses JavaScript, TypeScript, Vue.js, or Angular.  

The framework allows developers to share code between platforms and write and deploy apps directly on iOS and Android. It is backed by Progress Software Corporation and has a strong community contributing to its development and growth.  

Key features of NativeScript 

  • You can use NativeScript to build iOS, Android, and Web apps from a single codebase. 

  • It gives you direct access to every native platform API and component from JavaScript, TypeScript or Angular, and Vue.js. This means you can use native libraries and SDKs without writing wrappers or bindings.  

  • It comes with a rich set of UI components, including charts, graphs, and customizable animations.  

  • It supports hot reloading, allowing you to see changes in your app in real time as you make modifications.  

  • It integrates with popular modern development tools and frameworks. Also, it supports npm for package management.

NativeScript provides access to native platform APIs directly from JavaScript RichDebugging apps built with NativeScript can be more complex
Cross-platform compatibility Steep learning curve
UI components Dependency on third-party plugins
Hot reloading

Final Verdict

The open-source app development frameworks we discussed are the best and most used ones. But it is essential to choose the one that fits best for you.   

For instance, React Native app development has proven to be a versatile and reliable choice for many. It brings the flexibility of JavaScript and the power of native performance to the table.   

It's almost similar in the case of Flutter. However, it's just two of the many promising options available to you.   

The ideal framework for your project will depend on a variety of factors. And this includes your team's skill set, project requirements, and budget.  

Just keep in mind that the best framework is not the most popular or most expensive. It's the one that aligns seamlessly with your business objectives and enhances your app's user experience.  

If you are in the look for a mobile app development company to outsource, then we are here for you.   

We at Toobler focus on providing tailored services and solutions to your requirements. And we have a team of experienced developers to take your mobile apps to the next level with the latest tech like IoT, AI, and ML.   

Hope on to our success stories and learn more about our versatile services and how we approach them.