The Top 7 Hybrid Mobile App Frameworks

By Jay Raj

The time has never been better to learn mobile application development. For many app ideas, you don’t even need any prior native development knowledge. You can get started today with knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Unlike native mobile development, mobile applications using web technologies can support many mobile platforms.

There are many tools and framework available to help you create Mobile applications. In this article, we’ll look at our top 7.


Ion Screenshot

IONIC is one of the most promising HTML 5 mobile application frameworks. Built using SASS, it provides many UI components to help develop rich and interactive apps. It uses the JavaScript MVVM framework, AngularJS to power apps. Two-way data binding, interaction with backend services and APIs makes AngularJS a mobile developer’s common choice. With the coming release of AngularJS 2.0, focused on mobile, it’s sure to gain even more popularity.

The team at IONIC will soon be introducing an easier way to create IONIC apps with IONIC creator. This will be released soon and will have drag and drop functionality to get started with app development in minutes.

We have published several articles on Ionic, including getting started with mobile app development and getting started with firefox os game development.

Mobile Angular UI

Mobile Angular UI

Mobile Angular UI is an HTML 5 framework which uses bootstrap 3 and AngularJS to create interactive mobile apps.

The main features of Mobile AngularUI include:

  • Bootstrap 3
  • AngularJS
  • Bootstrap 3 mobile components such as switches, overlays and sidebars which are missing in normal bootstrap.
  • AngularJS modules such as angular-route, angular-touch and angular-animate

Responsive media queries are stripped out of bootstrap as separate files, you only need to include what you need. Mobile Angular UI doesn’t have any jQuery dependencies, all you need are some AngularJS directives to create awesome mobile user experiences.

Take a look at the Mobile Angular UI demo page to see it in action. If you want to dig deeper, I would recommend reading our article on getting started with Mobile Angular UI.

Intel XDK

Intel XDK

Intel XDK is a cross platform application tool developed by Intel. Getting started with Intel XDK is easy, all you need is to download their application which is free and available for Linux, Windows and Mac. It provides a number of templates to get started and supports a number of UI frameworks such as Twitter bootstrap, jQuery Mobile and Topcoat.

Intel XDK provides a live preview on the connected device whilst you are developing along side many other useful tools.

On a personal note, I think development using Intel XDK was the easiest. It uses a drag and drop approach, although it does create a lot of unnecessary code.

Our Introduction to Intel XDK is a great tutorial to get started developing with the platform.

Appcelerator Titanium


Appcelerator’s Titanium is an open source mobile application framework that provides an environment to create native apps for several mobile platforms

Titanium is a complete solution for creating hybrid mobile apps with all you need in one place. To get started with Titanium download Titanium studio. The Titanium SDK is equipped with a number of mobile platform APIs and Cloud service to use as an app backend. It comes with platform independent APIs which makes it easier to access phone hardware.

Titanium uses Alloy, a MVC framework to enable rapid development of mobile apps. Modules created using Alloy are easy to reuse across different apps, hence significantly reducing the development time and the lines of code.

Titanium studio comes with some code samples to get started and we hope to have a tutorial on SitePoint soon.

Sencha Touch

Sencha Touch

Sencha Touch is an HTML 5 mobile app framework for creating apps for several platforms including iOS, Android and Blackberry. It has been in existence for some years now and is popular among hybrid mobile application developers.

Sencha Touch scores highly against it’s competitors by providing a native look and feel across all of the platforms it supports.

Getting started with Sencha Touch isn’t that difficult but in order to get the best out of Sencha Touch, one needs to invest a considerable amount of time.

To get a feel of a Sencha Touch app, take a look at the samples provided on its official page. To get started developing using Sencha, read their official docs or our introductory tutorial from last year.

Kendo UI

Telerik’s Kendo UI is an HTML 5 framework for creating cross platform mobile applications. Kendo UI relies heavily on jQuery and has a number of jQuery based widgets.

Learning Kendo UI is not difficult, developers familiar with jQuery will find Kendo UI easy to learn. Kendo UI has open sourced most of Kendo UI’s toolset and JavaScript framework features. However most of the commonly used widgets are still under a commercial license.

To get started developing with Kendo UI, refer to the official documentation. They also have a number of video tutorials to help learn the framework.



PhoneGap is the odd one out in this list as it’s not a framework for creating an app, but for packaging and releasing an app. PhoneGap is based on the open source Cordova and is the commercial version owned by Adobe. With a dedicated support team, PhoneGap is popular amongst many mobile developers.

You can use any choice of JavaScript or UI frameworks to get started with PhoneGap. jQuery Mobile alongside KnockOut.js or AngularJS is a nice combination. Once you are done with your code, PhoneGap takes it from there and wraps it based on the intended platform. Applications built using PhoneGap use a web view to render their content. PhoneGap has a minimal set of web APIs to access phone hardware features and it’s possible to write custom plugins to suit requirements.

Refer to the PhoneGap documentation to get started, or Building a currency converter using PhoneGap is a good starting point.


app.js is a JavaScript library for creating mobile web apps. It’s lightweight and unlike other frameworks, doesn’t use AngularJS. It provides several custom themes and widgets. You can write the app using zepto or jQuery. A good starting point is An intro to App.js.


In this article, we discussed some of the best HTML 5 mobile app development frameworks. HTML 5 mobile development is evolving day by day and there are always new options emerging. What have been your favorite frameworks to use when developing a mobile app?

  • Kashif

    how can you say that IONIC, Mobile Angular UI, Sencha Touch and Kendo UI are mobile app development frameworks, these are UI frameworks and you cannot build hybrid mobile apps with only these frameworks, you will need other frameworks along with these like phonegap or titanium

  • Alexey Chulochnikov

    I’s not an article, it’s a piece of crap!
    Appcelerator isn’t hybrid framework and doesn’t use html, css!

    • tonylukasavage

      Yep, the Appcelerator Titanium section is shockingly inaccurate on the most fundamental details of the product. Makes me dubious of the assessments of all the others.

      • Guest

        Hey @tonylukasavage:disqus corrected the mistake.

    • Jay

      Hey Alexey thanks for pointing out the mistake. Appcelerator is a development environment for creating cross platform apps, hybrid apps and mobile web apps. And off course it doesn’t use html, css!

  • Martin

    It’s disappointing to see this quality of an article in Sitepoint.

    • Jay

      Hey @noelmartin:disqus I’m really sorry for the wrong info in the titanium section. It was really by mistake and has been corrected. Apart from that I guess all looks good. So do share your views if you find anything else disappointing.

      • Anders

        Did you make an app with the XDK? What makes it the easiest?

    • DMan

      The PhoneGap section is quite inaccurate as well. The opening statement is not correct…. PhoneGap *is* also a Framework as well.

  • dojoVader

    What’s ironic is that out of all the list, the best so far is App.js, now am wondering what’s the appeal behind ionic, Mobile Frameworks are meant to be lightweight, Ionic and mobile angular ui brings another level of additional resources. App.js seems like the best option

    • Jay

      Hey @dojoVader app.js is a JavaScript UI library but for say IONIC, there is much more than the UI portion to it. It has a strong UX support too. Things like ion-refresher ( which refreshes when pulled are already baked into the framework. All you need to do is use the directives in your app. In my opinion a full blown framework like IONIC would be better option than App.js. Off course there may be times when app.js may best suite your needs depending on our app features etc.

      • dojoVader

        I will be sincere i am totally biased towards Angular despite using it, my days at work are spent at understanding Angular and building the application. Luckily for me i created a post on linked asking for a recommendation of a lightweight framework. App.js and Can.js will make my day better and saner.

        • Jay

          Hey @dojovader:disqus If it suites your mobile app needs well, then you should go with it. I have used App.js and it’s really easy to follow, may be because it uses jQuery I guess. Never heard of Can.js though. Have you tried it. How is your experience ??

  • remotesynth

    Fwiw, Kendo Mobile is entirely open source and free. Most Kendo UI widgets are open source as part of Kendo UI Core, however there are some that require the commercial Kendo UI Professional license. I wouldn’t say that your statement that “most of the commonly used widgets” require purchase is entirely accurate. If you want to see a comparison of what is in Kendo UI Core and what is in Kendo UI Pro, look here:

  • Some Dude

    and missing what is perhaps oneof the most promising/interesting frameworks.

  • roninsa

    I think you have it backwards on PhoneGap. I thought PhoneGap was open sourced by Adobe and became part of Apache Cordova.

    • Sam

      Hey @roninsa Well, I guess the Author also says the same thing. “PhoneGap is based on Cordova and is owned by Adobe” . Why do you think he’s backwards ??

  • Jay

    Hey @remotesynth:disqus thnks for feedback. All I wanted to highlight was that not all Kendo UI widgets are open sourced and free. There are widgets which require purchase. And thanks for link that you posted which shows exactly the things missing in the Kendo UI Core . Thanks :)

  • Jay

    Dude I never said you could build an entire app from scratch to deployment using these framework that you pointed out.

    • kashif

      the title of this article is The Top 7 Hybrid Mobile App Frameworks, how the above mentioned frameworks are hybrid?

  • Jay

    All the frameworks listed above have there own set of fan following. Every one of the framework attracts user based on its ease of use. Some prefer a framework since it uses AngularJS , like me ;) So, it’s really hard to see which one is the most popular. But definitely all of them are interesting in there own way. Thanks :)

  • roninsa

    “PhoneGap is based on the open source Cordova and is the commercial version owned by Adobe.” Is the same as what I stated? I don’t think so.

  • g00glen00b

    Exactly my thoughts. Bettertitle would be “6 mobile ui/component frameworks”. Phonegap obviously doesnt belong in this article.

  • Jay

    @kashif Would you please give me an example of a framework that you think is completely Hybrid.

    • g00glen00b

      I wonder if that’s even possible. I can think of hybrid platforms like Phonegap, IBM Worklight or even Cordova itself (which allow you to actually create hybrid apps), but these are really platforms (not frameworks) and there’s not much competition in that market (imho).

      Then you have more UI + behavior frameworks like Angular UI, Dojo mobile, jQuery mobile, … (these are the only ones I personally worked with). They do not allow you to build a hybrid application, but can be used within a hybrid platform to create hybrid apps. However, they can also be used in plain web-based mobile applications.
      And finally you have frameworks that are somewhere in between like Ionic. Ionic started out as a UI + behavior framework, but also includes build tools based on Cordova.

      But really, even in the frameworks themself are various differences, some of these frameworks only provide a component-based structure, while other ones provide an entire architecture (like an MVC based one).
      You can also split them according to their dependencies… there are Angular-based frameworks, jQuery based frameworks, … .

      To conclude, there’s obviously a difference between a platform and a framework, your article seems to be more framework-centric, but it does mention Phonegap, which is a platform.

  • Amine

    What about Oracle ADF Mobile ?

    • Chris Ward

      That’s a new one to me, will take a look!

      • Amine

        Let me know plz if you have found some good articles comparing ADF Mobile with other Frameworks, because as a java developer i’m still lost about which one is worthing time and effort to master it.

  • s.shivasurya

    nice post @disqus_CR7gPIRJpz:disqus !

  • Sky Lee

    Where is the jQuery Mobile?

    • Juan David Nicholls

      jQuery Mobile no please!! >.< Is better Ionic :D

  • Oscar Perez

    Hi Jay, nice article… one question: which one is your favorite of these?


  • sathiyaraj

    will plan to develop mobile app for basic Childe play game, so which platform to best for development

  • HTMLPanda

    Very nice post !

  • Vladimir Kharlampidi

    This list is missing Framework7 ( Which, by the way, has the best UI Kit around

    • Tony Brown


  • NZT Solutions

    What should be the MVC frameworks for Hybrid Mobile apps Development?

    • jfgh

      Titanium Appcelerator

  • Juan David Nicholls

    Can you integrate Mobile Angular UI with Ionic Framework?

  • Bin Sand


    This is really an informative blog for all the beginners as well as app developers.

    I am an iOS app developer, I have tried most of the mobile app development platforms described above. I have developed more than 50 apps till today with the help of Phonegap, Telerik, Configure.IT etc. They are running successfully on app store.

    As per my experience in this field, I recommend developers as well as beginners to use mobile app development platform like Configure.IT, because it provides automatic coding, app preview facility, direct API connect and a lot more features. These things save a lot more development time and provides fast and well designed app in much less time.

    Read more:

  • Venkat Mallick

    Thanks for sharing these insightful frameworks for hybrid app development. I am developer and this will really solved some of queries on developing hybrid app.

  • Pruthvi

    but its the time for Oracle MAF, no more ADF mobile :-)

    • Chris Ward

      One of you want to write an article for us about ADF / MAF?

  • Bin Sand

    Really informative blog.

    I am an iOS app developer and I have developed more than 50 apps till today with the help of Native app development platforms as well as Cross Platform app development tools.

    Frankly speaking, I like native app development platforms more compared to Cross platforms.

    I have developed apps with Phonegap, Telerik, App Builder, Configure.IT and many more. As per my experience, configure.IT is the best because of the following features of this tool,

    Drag & Drop Facility
    App Development without coding
    One Click API Connect
    You can directly use .PSD file for UI purpose, there is no need to design UI manually.

    For more details about this too, visit:

  • Abbas Hosseini

    thanx for sharing BUT @JAY you don’t have access too whole “API AND HARDWARE” with this , you want too be mobile programming SOO choose right ONE don’t spend time with this

  • johngerome

    There’s also MeteorJS [] – For building web and mobile apps in pure JavaScript. It has a Hot code pushes feature

  • Mary Jane Princton

    It is really comforting that there are so many different frameworks for apps. This can really help you find a way to set a solid foundation for any new app that you may want to make. This is definitely something that would be helpful to both designers and developers. It is amazing how much they have developed technology like this.

  • Zco

    You should also consider the Marmalade and Xamarin hybrid
    frameworks for cost effective mobile app development. To learn more about these
    and the latest hybrid technologies, visit

  • Databar

    Why Oracle MAF is not in the list??

    • Chris Ward

      Because the author chose not to write about it!

      I always welcome new submissions, why not write something about MAF?

  • veronikatondon

    My personal favorite list

    Onsen UI
    Intel XDK
    Sencha Touch
    Kendo UI
    Framework 7
    JQuery Mobile
    Mobile Angular UI
    Famo dot us
    Trigger.IO – The Dark Horse


  • Vijaya Anand

    Thanks for sharing this. Well.. if someone really interested in creating a hybrid mobile from scratch.. I’m writing a series of article in blog I believe people reading this blog post will definitely find that useful too

  • Aj

    sir i want to know that is there are carrer in mobile app development in html,css,jumla,wordpress etc

  • Imporshop AeA

    Hello, I am beginner in this area so I would like to know if we have a framework that we can develop web Apps and mobile together?

  • waynejuckts

    Are there any costs using ionic one day?

    • Chris Ward

      Not to use, but there will of course be service providers if you want to use them.

      • waynejuckts

        Could you give me an example. When to use an external service? So the Environment of ionic will be open source 4ever? Thanks a lot

        • Chris Ward

          Not working for the ionic project I can’t say it will be open source ‘for ever’. By an external service I just mean hosting, private npm, another developer… who knows what your project will need!

          • waynejuckts

            got it. thx

  • englishextra

    Is that it? What a useless little site.

  • Maximilian Garmatsch

    what about Meteor+React ???

    • Chris Ward

      I think React Native was in very early days when this article was written, but yes good point!


    Hi, I need some advice, I have an SQL database, webservices in a C# environment hosted on the MS Azure Platform and I want my tech team to develop a Hybrid Web App to communicate with the database for a mobile app that receives data from, and updates to the database/webservice also sending back the long/lat position.

    Can anyone recommend the best option so we can roll out on Android and IOS please.

    Thanks in advance

    • Chris Ward

      Basically, as long as you expose an API, then it really doesn’t matter what language your back end is written in.

      • SIMON GARE

        Thanks Chris I just needed to know that they can all communicate with the API.

        Any favourites in this list for an in-car Taxi app for the drivers? I have given up on native and Xamarin options.

        • Chris Ward

          I’m pretty sure the German MyTaxi app is Hybrid, so you might like to investigate what they have done.



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