What is Ionic Framework? and Why Use it over Other Frameworks?

Posted in Ionic
What is Ionic Framework? and Why Use it over Other Frameworks?

What is Ionic?

Ionic is freely available, open-source, and a front-end SDK framework that enables you to create mobile-based applications for iOS, Windows, and Android phones using the same codebase. It proves out to be a cross-platform tool for mobile development.

This tool allows you to create hybrid mobile applications. This platform enables you to build mobile apps with the help of web applications and languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript, Angular, and Typescript. Ionic has a collection of components that provides the functionality of a mobile platform. Except for the feature, Ionic provides different behaviours. Ionic comes with efficient performance with minimum DOM manipulation.

It comes with its command-line interface that allows you to develop the application and saves the coding efforts.

History of Ionic

There is no doubt about the popularity of the Ionic platform. It has been widely used by many developers to build mobile applications as well as desktop applications. It provides the developer with all features and functionality that are required for continuous delivery.

Drifty Co. introduced ionic in 2013 with its first alpha version in November 2013. Since then, we have many variants for the ionic platform allowing developers to create innovative and unusual mobile applications.

  • Ionic 1

This version released in 2013 and comes with compatibility with Angular 1, which uses its directives to provide the customized angular components that can only run within the angular app. In this earlier version, there is no web component required.

  • Ionic 2

This version came out in 2016 with the compatibility to Angular 2, providing the same functionality as version 1. This version also focuses on the angular component but not on the web component. Ionic 2 can only be supported by angular 2 applications.

  • Ionic 3

This version came out in 2017 with some added features to version 1 and 2. This version comes with compatibility to angular 4 but also focuses on the Ionic framework. This version can only be used with Angular also and is not optimal for future purposes. It will limit you to create native mobile applications.

  • Ionic 4

This version came out last year only in 2019. This version is web component-based. This version will allow you to create native mobile applications and progressive web applications with the help of different languages. It is supported by all browsers using HTML elements and can work with any framework.

  • Ionic 5

This version was released on 11th February 2020, which has its main focus on the material design, which has improved the UI. This version has multiple framework compatibility and allows you to create customized animations and components. This version has a massive design upgrade for all UI components.

Features of Ionic

There are several features that the Ionic framework provides to its developers.

  • Platform Independent Framework

Ionic can work irrespective of what platform you are using to provide native look and feel. There is no need to change the code as it works on mobile-optimized web components. Ionic works with Angular to provide a robust structure, which in turn reduces the cost.

  • Cross-Platform Mobile Application Development

There are a variety of mobiles with different operating systems. If we are developing any mobile application, then it should be compatible with the different operating systems. Ionic has the same codebase that allows developers to create applications that work well for all mobile devices to provide you with a unified look and feel.

  • It has a Default User Interface

Ionic has default CSS and JS parts that allow developers to create mobile applications. The default design covers most of the parts, but you can add new features to the predefined CSS classes according to your need.

  • Completely Based on AngularJS

Angular is the most preferred framework when it comes to the development of web and mobile applications. Angular provides various HTML extensions that prove to be useful for the developers. When combining the Ionic with Angular, it provides many functionalities to incorporate attractive components to the application. Angular JS provides an ideal solution with the Ionic framework.

  • Uses Cordova Plugins

The ionic framework supports many plugins for development. It provides a Cordova plugin that helps designers to provide access to different components. These components allow you to add attractive features to your application. Ionic allows developers to use these plugins to create an ideal mobile application.

  • Helps in Creating Elegant Designs

With the help of the Ionic framework, developers will be able to create robust and simple designs. Ionic provides you with several customizable themes and components that will provide a great user interface and attract more people towards your application.

  • Shows High Performance

Ionic provides a friendly environment to create applications that will run on mobile devices. You can use any component to speed up mobile performance.

  • Extended Technology

The Ionic uses web-based technology, which comes with future-proof technology. It means whenever you want to make changes to your code or want to customize any used component that can be done easily and effortlessly with the usage of web technology.

  • Provide Native Experience

The Ionic framework allows you to get interactive mobile applications with native experience with the inclusion of the best components. Ionic also provides you with the benefits of the open web if you are considering enterprise applications.

  • Provide Powerful Extension

You are allowed to use a variety of plugins and are supported by Ionic to fulfil the complex business requirement. These plugins have the power to make your mobile and web application future-ready. You can embed as many user-friendly features as you can.

Why Use the Ionic Framework?

The sole purpose of using Ionic is to fill the gap between AngularJS web applications and hybrid mobile applications. It enables you to use the AngularJS features along with the Cordova library to work on high interactive applications. It offers you to use native UI components that are compatible with any operating system. Ionic has come into the picture for developing multi-platform applications.

There are many good reasons that you can prefer using the IONIC platform for development.

  • Open-source and Freely Available

Despite being open-source, the Ionic framework is pretty stable, reliable, and faster. It will provide you native look and feel while creating cost-efficient applications. Learning this framework is comparatively easier and comes with several plugin support.

  • Wide Community

It might be tough to start working with a new framework. But having the base of Cordova and Angular, the ionic has an active and wide community where you can have many experts to solve things. Several members are eager to help you.

  • One Codebase

Developing native applications for both iOS and Android will take a lot of time. But with Ionic, we will get the flexibility of creating cross-platform applications and high-end user interfaces and reusable components. It will save you a lot of rewriting time.

  • Easy Testing

The Ionic makes the mobile application testing easier. It allows you to test it on the browser or via stimulator testing for all OS. It allows you to do remote debugging and testing apps on the actual platform to get the actual working of the application.

How is the Ionic Framework different from Other Mobile Development Platforms?

There are several hybrid platforms available, but choosing the right one from the list is important to build an interactive application. But, Ionic has emerged and become popular for most of the startups and even large business. Some of the alternatives available are- Xamarin, Titanium, PhoneGap, and many more. Each of them has many features, but ionic has been preferred because of the following reasons.

  • Improved Speed

There is always a doubt that these cross-platform applications are fast enough. If you are developing a mobile application, then it should be supported by all the latest devices and platforms. The ionic framework ensures high speed and compatibility to all the latest devices. You can design apps that are highly optimized and robust.

  • Interactive User-Interface

The user interface matters a lot to attract customers. But with the ionic framework, businesses are now able to create high-end interactive mobile applications with less effort. Ionic offers many predefined components that can be used and reused in many parts to increase the interactivity. It provides CLI that will enable you to build applications with the help of a single command with a variety of plugins.

  • Great Ionic and Angular Combination

The combination of angular and Ionic provides a great platform to create mobile applications. Angular forms the base for the Ionic framework. Angular provides the interaction with the backend web services.

Ionic Framework: Learning Guide

  • For getting started, download below required tools:
    • Node.js allows interaction with the Ionic ecosystem.
    • Editor to write the code.
    • Command-line interface for the Ionic framework
    • Install tool for Ionic
  • Run below CLI command to install the CLI for ionic
$ npm install -g @ionic/cli native-run Cordova-res

Where native-run will run native binaries on simulators/emulators, and Cordova-res will generate icons and splash screens for native apps.

  • Creating an app that will use the tabs template and add a capacitor for the functionality. You can run the below command-
$ ionic start photo-gallery tabs --type=angular --capacitor

Now change the app folder:

$ cd photo-gallery
  • Some elements provide web-based features and UI via the ionic library of PWA elements. You can install these elements using the below command.

$ npm install @ionic/pwa-elements You can now import the PWA elements by changing src/main.ts file using the below code

import 
{
defineCustomElements
}
from '@ionic/pwa-elements/loader';
// Call the element loader after the platform has been bootstrapped defineCustomElements(window);
  • Now you can run the application in the browser using the below command.
$ ionic serve
  • Now you can open the photo gallery application folder in the code editor and go for /src/app/tab2/tab2.page.html, you will find the code below.
<ion-header>
<ion-toolbar>
<ion-title>Tab 2</ion-title>
</ion-toolbar>
</ion-header>

<ion-content>
<ion-header collapse="condense">
<ion-toolbar>
<ion-title size="large">Tab 2</ion-title>
</ion-toolbar>
</ion-header>
</ion-content>
  • You can now rename both ion-title elements to
<ion-title>Photo Gallery</ion-title>
  • then, open src/app/tabs/tabs.page.html and change the label to “Photos” and the icon name to “images”:
<ion-tab-button tab="tab2">
<ion-icon name="images"></ion-icon>
<ion-label>Photos</ion-label>
</ion-tab-button>

Save the changes, and you can see them in the browser.

Ionic Editors

Editors allow you to create code files for any language. As we know that Ionic is built on ES6 and typescript, then the editor must be able to support this language. Below is the list of some most commonly used editors for Ionic application development.

  • VS Code

This editor comes with ES6 and typescript syntax support. This IDE allows you to include the typescript definition files and download them from the typed. This editor comes for free and has compatibility with macOS, Windows and Linux.

  • WebStorm

This is a powerful IDE that comes with full support for Javascript, HTML, CSS, and many other web technologies. This IDE is paid and comes with many features that make your developing experience better. Webstorm shows support towards Ionic and Angular syntax.

  • Atom

Atom is a free, open-source IDE developed by GitHub. It is a cross-platform source code editor that is completely customized in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. You can install the third-party packages and themes that allow you to create customizable features for your applications. This editor works well for all operating systems.

  • ALM

This editor is open-source and is available freely. This editor works best for typescript development. This editor will be supported by any system having the chrome and the node. You can host this IDE on the server and system, having an internet connection. It is easy to handle and use.

  • Angular IDE by Webclipse

This is an open-source IDE, especially for typescript and angular development. It also provides you with integrated terminal support allowing the NPM management. It will also provide HTML as well as the Angular CLI support.

Advantages of Ionic

Below is the list of advantages of using the Ionic framework:

  • It allows quick development as compared to the native iOS/Android applications.
  • You can develop apps within the browser.
  • It allows you to create applications for different operating systems with the same codebase except for some plugins support.
  • You will need prior knowledge of Angular, HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Typescript to get started.
  • You will get several UI components that make it easy to use and handle.
  • It offers you a lot of plugins to make more interactive mobile applications.
  • It allows easy testing of the modules and components.
  • It provides a wide range of plugins and reusable components.
  • It uses a single codebase for cross-platform development.
  • It provides you with a faster time-to-market for various platforms.
  • It offers several UI elements and scope for quick prototyping.
  • It has a strong community due to javascript and angular usage.

Disadvantages of Ionic

Below is the list of the disadvantages that you may feel while working with the ionic frameworks:

  • It has some native plugins that may not be stable and shows conflict with each other.
  • With ionic, debugging can be challenging to some extent and takes more time to resolve the issue. It makes it difficult to know the origin of the error, and sometimes the error message can be unclear.
  • The builds can crash without any reason like a corrupted original folder.
  • If you are building hybrid applications, then you may face security issues, and your code may be prone to hackers.
  • If you are starting with an ionic framework, then you have to be dependent on plugins to access the native functionalities.
  • There may be some performance issues when building complex and heavy mobile applications.

Conclusion

Ionic is a powerful technology that allows you to create web and modern mobile applications much faster and effortless when compared to other native app development methods. This method allows you to know many other languages that will be a boon to your developing career.

This tool offers you a variety of features to develop mobile applications supporting various platforms. It enables the development team to save time, effort, and cost for development. If you have strong Angular and Javascript knowledge, then you will be able to create high-end interactive user-interface applications. But sometimes it is not able to beat the old fashioned development in terms of speed and performance.

So, in the end, it is all your choice which tool and which editor you will choose for the development.

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Aashiya Mittal

Aashiya Mittal

A computer science engineer with great ability and understanding about programming languages. have been in the writing world since the last three years and creating valuable content for all in all possible fields. View all posts by the Author

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