4 min read

Did you know Ionic and Angular power roughly 10% of the apps on iOS and almost 20% of apps on Android? Let’s repeat that: Angular powers a significant chunk of apps in the app stores.

Why is it helpful to know this? Well, if you were on the fence about what technology choice you should make for your next app, it should be reassuring to know that apps powered by web technology are thriving in the app store. Let’s explore how we came to that conclusion and why it matters.

First, for a number of reasons, users visit these stores and download apps that help them in their day-to-day lives. Users are searching for ToDo apps (who doesn’t love a good ToDo app), banking apps, work-specific apps and so much more. A good portion of these apps are built using web technologies such as Ionic and Angular. But enough talk, let’s look at some numbers to back this up.

The Data

If you’ve never heard of Appfigures, it’s an analytics tool that monitors and offers insights on more than 150,000 apps. Appfigures provides some great insight into what kind of tools developers are using to build their apps. Like what’s the latest messaging, mapping, or development SDK? That last one is the most important metric we want to explore. Let’s look at what the top development SDKs are for app development:

Data from https://appfigures.com/top-sdks/development/apps

Woah, roughly 10% of the apps on iOS and almost 20% of apps on Android use Ionic and Angular. This is huge.

The data here is gathered by analyzing the various SDKs used in apps on the app stores. In these charts we see some options that are to be expected like Swift and Kotlin. But Ionic and Angular are still highly present. We could even include Cordova, since many Ionic apps are Cordova-based, and these stats would increase even more. But we’ll keep to the data that we know for sure.

Given the number of apps out there, even 10% and 20% are a significant size. If you ignore Appfigures, you can get a sense of how many Ionic/Angular apps are there by just searching for “com.ionicframework”, which is our starting package ID (also, people should really change this). Here’s a link if you’re interested.

Why Angular for mobile?

Developers are using Ionic and Angular power a good chunk of the app stores. With everything Angular has to offer in terms of developer experience, tooling for fast apps, and its ecosystem of third-party libraries (like Ionic), it’s no wonder developers choose it as their framework of choice. From solo devs, to small shops, to large organizations like the UK’s National Health Service, Boehringer Ingelheim and BlueCross Blue Shield, these organizations have selected Angular and Ionic for their tech stack, and you should feel confident to do so as well.

Web vs. App Stores

If Ionic and Angular are based on web technologies, why even target the app stores at all? With Progressive Web Apps gaining traction and the web becoming a more capable platform, why not just deploy to the web and skip the app stores? Well it turns out that the app stores provide a lot of value that products need. Features like Push Notifications, File System API, etc are starting to come to the web, but they are still not fully available in every browser. Building a hybrid app with Ionic and Angular can allow developers to use these features and gracefully fallback when these APIs are not available.

Discoverability is also another big factor here. While we can search for anything on the web, having users discover your app can be challenging. With the app stores they regularly promote new apps and highly rated apps as well. This can make the difference between a successful product and one that fails.

The Best of Both Worlds

The web is still an important step to shipping a great app. But when developers want to target different platforms, having the right libraries in place can make all the difference. For instance, if you want to build a fast and performant web app, Angular is an excellent choice and is statistically the choice many developers make. On the other hand, if you want to bring that app experience to a mobile device, with full access to every native feature and offline capabilities, then a hybrid mobile app using Angular plus a mobile SDK like Ionic is the way to go. Either way, your investment in Angular will serve you well. And you’ll be in good company, with millions of devs and nearly a million apps right alongside you.

Ionic + Angular: Powering the App store and the web was originally published in Angular Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.