We’ve all encountered the Android operating system. It’s hard to miss – according to Statista, over 3 million Android applications were available on Google Play as of 2018, with the number growing by the hour. It is an open-source operating system developed and maintained by Google, a company we’ve all heard of. Those that haven’t are very unlikely to be reading this blog right now.
Most businesses, whether big or small, are faced with the fact that participating in the global digital market also means grabbing a share of the mobile one. Mobile applications, no matter how simple, can mean taking a step forward both with the marketing strategy and the business development, which is why creating mobile applications is trending right now. It can be a frightening task to look forward to, though.
Many will tell you that making an Android application is more difficult, time-consuming and expensive than making its equivalent in iOS. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Android applications are highly customizable, and the community is helpful. Integrated tools help the efficiency of the apps created, and they reduce the number of actions necessary to perform a task.
On the other hand, the versatility of Android applications is actually both a perk and a downside, since it’s more confusing for those with less experience.
Say you want to make an application which serves to deliver news from your Wordpress site. Where do you start? What do you do? Is it the same as building a gaming app or not?
This is where Android frameworks come in.
In case you are unclear on the term, a framework is a set of API’s that let developers write software quickly and easily. Their main goal is to increase productivity by reducing effort needed, giving the developers some more time and to resolve other issues and add features they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Almost all programming languages have helpful frameworks – Android’s popularity certainly included it among the chosen.
Now, there are many different types of framework available. For the sake of easier understanding, let’s presume we can group them according to two specifiers: their purpose and their source.
Source should be easy to understand: some frameworks are free and others you need to pay for. That’s not to say that all free frameworks are bad or all paid ones are good – there is just so many purposes that finding the right framework is more of a matter of skill than it is of finances.
The purpose of a framework brings us back to what we mentioned before – developing an application with a goal of doing something. What the goal is depends on the application – it can be anything from a simple game, to an AI persona that aims to conquer humanity with all the kindness of Darth Vader. If we presume the application is not a tool of the Empire meant for world domination, there is still a wide spectrum of frameworks that could be helpful for the developer.
A good example of a free framework is Corona SDK. The application backend framework relies on Lua, a lightweight multi-paradigm programming language which is layered on top of C++/OpenGL. The focus is on speed, portability, simplicity and extensibility, promising up to 10-times faster game and mobile development. This framework is a favorite among game developers, although it can be used for other types of applications.
Of course, a framework doesn’t necessarily have to be used for the entire application. For those that are ready to tackle their own enterprise development, frameworks such as our very own Deco UI Kit can be a helping hand when it comes top aspects that the developer is struggling with (such as the UI design).
There are many frameworks available, each one of them with various features included. A best-of list by the DevsPush team will be available at a later date. For now, the best take-away is to be open-minded and unafraid to test different options until you find the one that fits you best.