Is Ionic right for my next project?

Ionic is a favorite solution among enterprises looking to give their customers a world-class experience. Let’s dive in to learn more.

Software engineering leaders tasked with a new mobile project are faced with the difficult question: “Which development platform should I use?” 

Among the most popular options is the hybrid or Web Native approach, which enables web developers to build and ship native mobile applications using familiar web technologies, languages, and frameworks.

Today, many of the most popular apps in the app stores, along with thousands of internal employee-facing apps, are built with web technologies. And yet, there are many misconceptions about whether Web Native apps can deliver a truly native experience. 

Common questions include: 

  • Can Web Native apps deliver sufficient performance? 
  • Will it look and feel like a real native app, or will it feel like a traditional web app crammed into a mobile webview?
  • Can I access all the native device features and deliver on the core capabilities that my users require?

Using a Web Native toolkit like the Ionic SDK—which offers Web Native solutions to develop mission critical applications—allows you to empower your web development teams to build and ship apps using the same open web technologies they already know and love, without compromising on performance, appearance, and feature capability. 

In fact, Ionic is a favorite solution among enterprises looking to give their customers a world-class experience. 

Let’s dive in to learn more.

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Ionic performance

To demonstrate that Ionic apps can deliver great performance, we ran a few tests that show exactly how good the experience can be. 

Using a sample app, we measured both cold boot times and warm boot times. Cold boot times apply when the operating system has been fully rebooted and nothing is cached. Warm boot times apply when the application has been killed so it is no longer running in the background. Both tests were performed under airplane mode.

The Ionic sample app performed remarkably well, with cold boot times cruising in at 1.5 seconds and 1 second for warm boot times. In case you’re curious, the same app built with React Native had comparable numbers.

Native look and feel with apps using web technology

The next question is whether Ionic can deliver the same native look and feel as traditional native applications. Because the user interface of an Ionic app lives in a webview, you might assume that it will look like a web app, and not a native mobile app. 

The good news is that with Ionic’s mobile UI toolkit, it’s easy to build mobile apps that look and feel completely native, including animations and gestures. Ionic’s UI toolkit also provides adaptive styling that automatically adapts the app to Android’s Material Design and Apple’s Cupertino Design, depending on which platform your app is running on. 

This is all delivered out-of-the-box and requires zero configuration. Not to mention, the transitions from page to page look and feel like native applications. 

Access to native device features

A final concern that we sometimes hear is, “Can Ionic apps access all the native device features that my app requires?” The short answer is: yes!

Building your application on top of the Capacitor native bridge (part of the Ionic SDK) opens the door for your development team to tap into any native APIs they may need. There are no limitations on what can be built inside your cross-platform enterprise application. If there are specific customizations that need to be made, you have full access to everything, just like you would with a native mobile app.

The added bonus is that Ionic has identified the most common features used by developers and created a library of pre-built native plugins that you can use with just a few lines of JavaScript. All of Ionic’s officially supported plugins can be found in the docs. Furthermore, the Ionic team has curated a growing list of community driven plugins as well! There are countless other plugins out there in the wild, but if you don’t find exactly what you need, there are docs to help you build it.

Ionic SDK: Built for user experience

When building a mobile application, user experience is paramount. Users expect the highest levels of performance. They will not accept a sub-par UI that doesn’t look and feel completely native. And accessing native device features is not just expected, it’s essential.

The great news is that Ionic can deliver on all of these very important dimensions: performance, native look-and-feel, and hardware device access. 

But perhaps more importantly, Ionic provides a web-first development experience that makes it much faster and easier to build an app when compared to alternatives—which, as we’ve seen, do not offer any noticeable differences in terms of performance and native UX.

So, back to the original question. Is Ionic right for your next project? With such a feature-rich development environment, it would be hard to say no. Add in the fact that it’s easy to leverage in-house web talent to assist with scaling your application, and support for progressive web apps and Windows desktop apps out of the box, and you have a winner. 

Start building today or talk to an Ionic App Specialist to learn more.

Further reading

To learn more about building modern web native apps, explore these articles:

Ionic vs. React Native: Performance Comparison

Building Cross-platform Apps with Capacitor

What is a Progressive Web App and Why Do You Need One?

5 Questions to Ask Before Beginning Mobile App Development

Official Capacitor Plugins

About Ionic

Ionic is a leader in enterprise mobile app development, with 5 million developers worldwide and thousands of enterprise customers who use Ionic to build mission-critical apps for their customers, both external and internal. It powers 15% of apps in the app store, not including thousands of apps built internally at enterprises for every line-of-business need. Ionic is unique in that it takes a web-first approach, leveraging HTML, CSS, and Javascript to build high-quality iOS, Android, desktop, and Progressive Web Apps.

You’re in good company. Ionic powers millions of apps at some of the smartest companies in the world.

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