If you plan to develop your next app and are undecided whether you go for native or a cross-platform framework, this guide will give you 15 rock solid reasons you should think of Ionic as your framework of choice.
1. One Code To Rule Them All
Inside your project you will also have HTML and CSS, but those don’t really count anyway and I guess all developers have used these 2 friends at some point of his/her career.
If you have a project with only one language, of course more of your developers can understand it and work on it. You don’t have to train new developers with other languages
2. Low Entrance Barrier
Unlike Swift or Java we don’t have a special interface builder inside our IDE, but taking the first steps and creating our first elements, views and native elements is easily done even for beginners through HTML.
After you install Ionic, you start a new project based on one of the Ionic starter templates and you can directly preview your “app” inside your browser. The whole process might take you less than 5 minutes! Downloading the Android SDK or Xcode might alone already take an hour..
So once you start your app you will notice…
3. Beautiful User Interface Components
Yes, the UI of Ionic apps looks great out of the box – something they are very proud of. Ionic comes with predefined styling for different components, so all the elements you can use will look and feel like native elements.
This means, they will look even native across different platforms, so on Android our items will get the Material Design touch and on iOS the current iOS look! All of this comes automatically, right out of the box.
Whenever you use a component of Ionic, you will immediately notice that they already look quite nice how they come. This really helps to develop a good-looking prototype a lot faster, as you can simply rely on their styling and don’t have to put your own touches on each element!
4. Native Plugins
Indeed a good question, which is solved by Cordova. Cordova is built right into Ionic and packages our app into a webview and builds a native project once we start a certain command. And through a Cordova bridge we can also use native device features like camera, email client and almost everything you can imagine.
Ionic puts another layer of simplicity on top of this by offering a package called Ionic Native. This package wraps Cordova Plugins into a more friendly Angular way so we can use them more easy and natural inside our app!
If you fear you can’t access something, just search for “Cordova plugin xyz” and I bet there is already a wrapper for what you need. And if really can’t find something, you can still develop your own Cordova plugins (but then you need native knowledge).
5. Powerful yet Simple CLI
Ionic comes with a very handy command line interface. Whenever you need to create a new project, compile your project to native projects or do anything else inside your project, their CLI will support you a lot.
Need to create new files & folders? Let the CLI handle that part so you automatically follow the right architecture!
Want to preview your app? Start a live reload server with preview, showing you even the styling for different platforms right inside your browser!
The CLI is your tool belt for Ionic and comes with great tools to make your life easier!
6. You Have to Learn Angular
Doesn’t sound like a benefit or argument for Ionic at first, right?
But I think it really is. It’s not like you are only learning Ionic, a mystical framework from which none of the knowledge you can ever reuse.
No, you are learning Angular 80% of your time! And Angular is one of the best frameworks for modern web development out there, perhaps even the best (I’m not a big fan of who is the best, so others can decide this if they want).
If your developers learn Ionic, they will also be able to work with pure Angular projects after your mobile project.
And if you are a developer yourself, you get the benefit of learning one mighty framework which allows you to build stuff for the web and mobile in the end! Isn’t that awesome?
So in my eyes it’s a big plus for your that you are forced to learn a (new) framework with Angular, which you might be scared of first but the benefits for you can’t be denied.
7. Latest Web Technologies
Ionic is always on the edge of new development, so they also have support for PWA directly baked into Ionic!
8. Development & Testing Speed
If you have ever developed native applications you know that it can take a lot of time to develop and debug when you always have to re deploy your app to a simulator or a device. This process is so much faster with Ionic!
As already mentioned before, Ionic has a feature called “ionic lab” which will bring up your browser and show you how your app will look on the different platforms, even side by side. Plus, whenever you make changes to the code the live reload is triggered and everything is automatically updated.
Coming myself from iOS development, this feature feels so damn good and helps all developers to make progress faster on their apps.
9. Enterprise Companies Go For Ionic & Support it
It’s not like only nerdy developers and small businesses give Ionic a try. Enterprise companies and brands already feel the pressure to change their mobile landscape, and they turn towards Ionic as one of the best cross-platform frameworks.
Even Apple featured an App developed with Ionic on the Appstore!
Ionic is not a company which will be broke next week. They go some serious investors and are not running out of money, also they generate income through their Ionic Cloud services or products like the Ionic Creator.
10. Outstanding Support & Community
You measure how good a framework is by how active the community is. And the Ionic community is awesome helpful!
There are countless books or places like the Ionic Academy which offer special support tailored to your needs, so you will never be alone when learning and developing with Ionic!
11. The Ecosystem
From some of the links you might have already noticed that there is more to Ionic than just the framework itself.
Ionic is constantly trying to make your developer life easier by offering new features, packages or even full services which help you to implement stuff like push notifications, analytics or user authentication.
Further packages like a set of icons called Ionicons which come bundled with your app or the already mentioned CLI complete your package and offer you everything you need to immediately develop awesome apps.
12. Decreased App Project Costs
This is the classic argument for the higher management level.
Compared to developing 2 separate apps for iOS and Android, maintaining and bugfixing in 2 repos you can save a lot of time and money with Ionic. All changes can be done in one place, the same code, same language, same developer!
The equation is not that it will only take you 50% of the time due to problems that can still arise from targeting different platforms, but something like 70-80% is realistic for a cross-platform project.
Also, the ongoing cost when you deliver new features and fix stuff is definitely reduced a lot, so savings when you develop your project cross-platform are guaranteed. If you also take into account that the developers can reuse Angular code for your web app or use the learned skills from this project for your next project, deciding on Ionic is an absolute no brainer.
13. It’s Open Source
Haven’t mentioned this one before, right? Yeah, it’s open source!
This means everything is free, you don’t have to pay for any licence to develop your enterprise apps (besides for the iOS and Android stores).
Additional you can always track what the Ionic team is working on, which bugs and issues are open and you could even start your own pull request to fix stuff on their Github repository.
14. The Good Old Performance Myth
Cross platform development or especially “hybrid apps” have a bad taste for some people, a major reason were the (really) shitty performance some years ago of these apps, but devices, the browsers and the frameworks have changed a lot. And another major reason was that Facebook called betting on HTML5 over native was the biggest mistake they did.
Really, this is your counter argument?
A while ago I published another article on the topic of hybrid myths, feel free to check it out.
Baseline: If you are not as big as Facebook (and I bet you are not) this is no argument for you. The performance of Ionic apps is to most parts equal to “standard” native apps and users won’t see or feel any difference. It’s a different story when we talk about mobile games, but for 90% of the apps Ionic could deliver the same performance like other apps.
15. It’s FUN
We have seen 14 more or less technical reasons why you should develop Ionic apps, but I saved this final one as it really means a lot to me:
Developing Ionic apps is fun!
I’ve developed countless tutorials, courses and projects, and still every time I start a new project I’m fired up and love how easily and fast you can actually develop something. Once I built a tiny game in only one evening.
As a developer, we often have to do something, but working with Ionic feels most of the time like a pleasure, and this reason shouldn’t be ignored. Developer happy = faster development!
Do you have still open questions in your mind? Feel free to ask anything below!
Hopefully these reasons helped you to decide whether Ionic is good for you or not. And the best idea is now to just give it a try to see if I lied on those points or if you can agree with them.
You can also get a 7 day Ionic Crash Course where we take the first steps together, simply scroll a bit down and insert your email to get started!