HTML Mobile App Development

Do mobile apps use HTML and CSS?

Yes, there are many mobile app development frameworks that use HTML and CSS to make mobile applications.

In today’s insight, we are going to look at how mobile apps are built using HTML and CSS. We will cover some of the frameworks used and the apps built with these frameworks.

A mobile app can be developed in three major ways;

  1. Native Platforms: You can use native platforms, that is Android Studio for Android and Xcode for IOS. You need to know Java or Kotlin to develop apps in android studio and Swift to develop IOS apps with Xcode.
  2. Native Cross Platform: Another option is to use cross-platform frameworks that allow you to develop Android and IOS mobile apps from one codebase. These are frameworks such as React Native (uses React and Javascript), Flutter (uses Dart), Xamarin (uses C#),
  3. Hybrid Frameworks: The other option is to use hybrid frameworks which use web technologies to develop cross-platform mobile apps from one codebase.

According to a 2021 Statista developer survey, roughly one-third of mobile developers use cross-platform technologies or frameworks; the rest of mobile developers use native tools.

MAKING MOBILE APPS WITH HTML AND CSS

With the development and advancement of mobile app frameworks, mobile apps for android, iOS, and windows have never been so easy to develop, with just one codebase, you can develop apps for all three platforms.

These frameworks use web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript to develop cross-platform, hybrid mobile applications.

Let us look at these platforms, their advantages and disadvantages, and the apps you can make.

BEST HTML MOBILE APP FRAMEWORK

  • IONIC FRAMEWORK

Ionic Framework is used to develop amazing cross-platform mobile, web, and desktop apps, all with one shared code base and open-web standards.

Ionic offers a library of mobile-optimized UI components (buttons, cards, action sheets, search bar, etc.), gestures, and tools for building fast highly interactive apps.

You can use pure HTML and CSS whenever you want for your app UI. I used Ionic to develop a Fellowship Hymn application for our church with just HTML and CSS.

You can also use React, Angular, or Vue. Ionic uses Cordova or capacitor plugins to access device native features such as Camera, File System, Vibration, Contacts, device orientation, etc.

Some of the companies using the Ionic framework include NHS, Sworkit, Sanvello, Siberian CMS, EA, DayClocks, Samaritan’s Purse, BBC Children’s Game, Disney, Norwex, Volkswagen, T-Mobile, etc.

  • CORDOVA

Apache Cordova enables software programmers to build hybrid web applications for mobile devices using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

Cordova works by wrapping your HTML / JavaScript app into a native container that can access the native device features of several platforms. It is easy to set up and get started with.

Some of the apps made with Cordova include Untappd, Localeur, SparkChess, Pacifica, FanReact, JustWatch, One Verse Bible, Series Seven, Clever Baby, and many others.

If you just want to use HTML, CSS, and vanilla Javascript, without any framework, Cordova is a great platform to use.

Other Mobile app development frameworks that use HTML, CSS, and Javascript include Phonegap, Framework 7, Onsen UI, Ext.js, Kendo UI, etc.

  • REACT NATIVE

I have included React Native on the list even though it does not use HTML and CSS, React Native uses React and JSX (a javascript syntax extension similar to HTML in syntax).

For styling, React Native uses Javascript objects (similar to CSS) in a stylesheet component. You won’t have problems using React Native if you are familiar with HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

React Native is an open-source framework for cross-platform mobile app development, it was created by Meta and it has a huge community of helpful developers.

It is used to develop applications for Android, Android TV, iOS, macOS, tvOS, Web, Windows, and UWP by enabling developers to use the React framework along with native platform capabilities.

Other HTML mobile app development frameworks include

  • FRAMEWORK 7
  • ONSEN UI
  • RATCHET
  • ETC.

ADVANTAGES OF DEVELOPING MOBILE APPS WITH WEB TECHNOLOGIES

Developing Mobile apps with web technologies is inexpensive, you only need one team of developers to develop both an Android and IOS app.

You will save a lot of development time by using web technologies for developing mobile apps.

It is also easy and inexpensive to maintain one codebase for both Android, IOS, and windows.

DISADVANTAGES OF HYBRID MOBILE APPS

Mobile apps built with web technologies are slow compared to native apps. They also rely on third-party plugins to access the native features of a device (camera, file system, vibration, etc.)

Some functionality of hybrid mobile apps is limited to the availability of plugins.

Ultimately, you can use HTML, CSS, and Javascript to make amazing mobile applications that can be accessed by millions of users.

If you are interested in developing mobile applications, check out our article A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT (STEP BY STEP).