Best Open Source Mobile Development Tools

Time spent on mobile devices passed desktop computer usage recently. Today, adults spend just over 50 percent of their computing time on a mobile device, compared to 42 percent on the desktop. Likewise, open-source mobile development tools have gained a higher profile among programmers. Here is a closer look at some of the most popular.


 is a front-end Software Development Kit (SDK) for creating mobile apps. It uses AngularJS to build fast apps with hardware accelerated transitions and uses Phonegap or Cordova to deploy natively. Alternatively, you can run it as a Progressive Web App in your browser. Clean and simple, it offers ready-made mobile components, base themes and typography. Use Ionic when you want to use a hybrid approach to expand your iOS apps to include the Android market.


PhoneGap is a popular way to build native mobile apps with JavaScript, CSS and HTML. There are two versions: an open source version and a paid enterprise version. When you build an app using PhoneGap, you can use a single code base to create apps for multiple platforms. In addition, the cloud-based compiler PhoneGap Build lets you create apps without worrying about maintaining the native SDKs.


Rhodes is a mobile application development platform for creating native apps for devices like barcode readers, GPS, cameras and Bluetooth. Rhodes is part of the RhoMobile Suite. RhoMobile is now under the umbrella of Zebra Technologies.


Vim is a popular code editor that is available on your iPad or iPhone. It includes automatic indentation, macro recording and playback, visual mode, multiple clipboards, language-aware syntax highlighting and more. You can use the full Vim syntax and finger gestures. There is now a port for Android called VimTouch.


LoopBack is an extensible Node.JS framework. You can rapidly build dynamic REST APIs, create apps using iOS, AngularJS and Android SDKs, deploy the StrongLoop Arc to edit and monitor LoopBack apps and run in the cloud or on-site. Useful add-on components are available for OAuth2, file management and third-party logins.


Kurogo is middleware that is optimized for mobile. Ideal for creating content-rich sites, it is popular among higher education users including Georgetown University, Harvard University, Brown University and others. Named after Japanese theater stagehands, it chugs along silently in the background while your mobile app works in the user layer.


Hammer.js helps you add mouse and touch gestures to your app. Hammer.js is used to support gestures, while Hammer Time, a partial polyfill for CSS property touch action, is used to eliminate the delay from focus and clicks. Out of the box, it includes recognition support for press, pan, swipe, tap, double tap and pinch and rotate.


Phaser was created for rapid mobile game development in HTML5. It is a framework for WebGL and Canvas powered browser games. It features a preloader, physics, animation, particles, tile maps, plug-in system, device scaling and developer support. Phaser is well-known for its large and supportive developer community.

Sencha Touch

Sencha Touch lets you use JavaScript to build native-looking HTML5 apps. An MVC-based framework, it is ideal for creating cross-platform products. It taps the power of hardware acceleration to give you ultra-high-performance components for the user interface. There are more than 50 built-in components and themes for most mobile platforms including Windows Phone, Android, BlackBerry and iOS. It has an adaptive layout engine, smooth scrolling and fluid animations. Out of the box, you get themes for every significant platform so you can match the graphical look of target platforms easily.

Clearly, the world has gone mobile in a big way, and statistical trends indicate that mobile use will continue to grow. Open source mobile development tools like those listed here will continue to play a major role in meeting the escalating demand.

For more information, contact us today or visit our website.

More from our team

A Faster Way Forward Starts Here