NativeScript Vs Ionic : The Clash of Mobile App Development Frameworks

Nativescript vs Ionic

 NativeScript Vs Ionic

Telerik NativeScript, a new app developing technology has been taking the developer world by storm. Ever since its release, it has appealed to a large number of developers, many of which have adopted it as their development tool. The huge popularity it racked up was due to its native nature and fluid user experience. This was a blow to the existing hybrid app framework, Ionic. Ionic was famed eminently for allowing native feel and cross-platform usability to co-exist in hybrid apps. But the sluggish response of Ionic hybrid apps was a setback. NativeScript claims to get rid of that while keeping the favorable traits. Has the new boy trumped Ionic? Or has Ionic got what it takes to still be the hot cake? It’s NativeScript vs Ionic from now on.

What is Ionic framework?

The Ionic framework is an HTML5 mobile app development framework which is used to create hybrid applications. Essentially, all hybrid apps are web-based applications which use WebView instead of the web browser. These applications are wrapped in a native wrapper which enables access to almost all the system APIs that are usually denied to normal web applications.

The Ionic framework is a front end UI component of the application which deals with the look and feel of the application. It is also responsible for the native feel of the application. Unlike a web app, the Ionic framework has a native style to it. This makes it feel similar to that of a native application.

As it is compiled directly, hybrid apps require native wrappers like Cordova or PhoneGap to run as a native app. This grants it access to almost all the system API’s.

What is NativeScript?

NativeScript is an open-source framework by Telerik used to develop apps for Android and iOS. It offers a fluid app experience by getting rid of the sluggishness conventional hybrid apps had. Familiar programming languages like Javascript and TypeScript are used by NativeScript to code the applications.

NativeScript uses type conversion module to convert data from JavaScript to native types and vice-versa.This grants the application access to all the native APIs with no restriction at all. Though a conventional hybrid app has access to almost all the native API’s, in some areas it is limited. So NativeScript has better access to all the API’s. This gives NativeScript made application a native feel more genuine than that of a hybrid application as the commands are being converted to native formats instead of using native wrappers.

NativeScript vs Ionic: The differences in code

Installing NativeScript and Ionic

Install NativeScript with NPM

  1. npm install -g nativescript

Install Ionic Framework with NPM

  1. npm install -g ionic cordova

Creating a project with Ionic and NativeScript

Create NativeScript Android and iOS Project

  1. tns create DemoProject
  2. cd DemoProject
  3. tns platform add ios
  4. tns platform add android

New Ionic Framework Android and iOS Project

  1. ionic start DemoProject blank
  2. cd DemoProject
  3. ionic platform add ios
  4. ionic platform add android

Coding a UI component (List view)

NativeScript List View (XHTML)

  1. <ListView>
  2. <ListView.itemTemplate>
  3. <Label text=”This is a list item” />
  4. </ListView.itemTemplate>
  5. </ListView>

Ionic Framework List View (XHTML)

  1. <ion-list>
  2. <ion-item>
  3. This is a list item
  4. </ion-item>
  5. </ion-list>

Code courtesy:

How do they stack up against each other?

Feel of the applications

NativeScript applications do not feature a single layout or appearance on all platforms. Instead of using the same design, it depends on the platform it runs on to give it some aspects of its aesthetics. Material Design was a standard design Google announced for Android application a few years back. So if an Ionic hybrid app tries to use that design, it will have to stick with it even if it’s being run on an iOS device. This is because it has the same UI source code. An Android UI will be exactly the opposite of all the things to show up on an iOS device.

But on the other hand, NativeScript apps will use the native UI elements to their advantage. This happens even when the same UI source code is used as the source code is translated to the native language before running. Ionic hybrid apps are useful when a consistent design is required across all devices. This can pose some difficulties as elements are to be designed with all devices in mind. The feeling of an Ionic hybrid app is not bad, but NativeScript apps are more at home on any device. NativeScript vs Ionic in terms of the feel of the app? NativeScript has an edge in this department.

Learning curve

When it comes to learning to code with these two technologies, the learning curve is roughly the same. Both use familiar languages and coding methods to churn out applications. But there is a catch in the case of Ionic framework. When they came out with the Angular 1.x it was all good. Everything was easy to learn and implement. A year later, they rolled out an update to it, the Angular 2.x. Updates are good, right? But there was a problem.

Even though the 2.x did come with all the bells and whistles that allowed it to eat 1.x for breakfast, the developers were asked to learn a whole new thing. The info on the 1.x does not apply to the 2.x in any way. Thus annoyed the developers as getting the help they needed from the internet was harder because sorting them out was a big hurdle. To add to all of that, usage of Apache Cordova plugin required native knowledge. Finally NativeScript vs Ionic, here too, NativeScript has the advantage.

API access

NativeScript apps have full access to all the system APIs as it is completely translated into native code. It has a slight edge above Ionic as the native wrappers of Ionic do not grant it complete access.


Ionic has been the hot cake of the app development industry since its inception. But now NativeScript is swiftly eating into its territory. If this trend keeps up, there will be a shift from Ionic to NativeScript.


We pitted NativeScript vs Ionic and as we figured out, this is clearly a win for the NativeScript framework. The NativeScript has many advantages over the current market star, the Ionic frameworks. But the transition from ionic to NativeScript is going to be a slow one as many website development company have already settled in with the Ionic framework. Despite being better in many ways, it will take them a little while to change over to NativeScript. Till the point of complete transition arrives, Ionic will still be in the market unless they roll out something new. Then it will be NativeScript vs Ionic version 2. Let us keep our fingers crossed and see what happens when these giants lock horns again.

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