Let’s be honest, finding a right application framework is not an easy task, especially if we’re talking about AngularJS environment. Most of these frameworks are not older than two years, and you should carefully consider their production value. To make things more difficult, most of these frameworks are using already established UI frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation.
What and how to choose then? That will solely depend on you, your experience, your UI preferences, and some pros/cons notes available in this article.
One last thing, some conclusions are subjective and based on my experience, so please don’t hold them against me. If you don’t agree let’s talk about it, we’re grown people, not babies.

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Table of Contents


  • Intended For: Mobile Development
  • Release Date: 2013
Official Site Documentation GitHub
Ionic Framework is excellent, open source application framework for hybrid mobile development with web technologies. Built on the top of AngularJS it offers mobile-optimized HTML, CSS and JS components, directives, and tools for a broad range of interactive mobile applications.
Unlike OnsenUI, Ionic Framework is intended and optimized only for mobile development and should not be used for classic web development.
Built with the speed in mind, Ionic behaves greatly on the latest mobile devices. What’s more, it features zero jQuery, minimal DOM manipulation, and hardware accelerated CSS.
Unlike other frameworks mentioned here, Ionic is wrapped around AngularJS, which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. At one point you’re receiving the best speed possible, on the other hand, you’re missing the most recent AngularJS features.
It offers a great tooling support, ranging from Ionic View (Server Side App Hosting), Ionic Market (market for plugins, themes, etc.), Ionic CLI (single best thing about Ionic), and Ionic Creator (HTML5 app builder).


  • Wraps AngularJS – Faster performance vise
  • optimized for touch devices (iOS and Android)
  • Excellent CLI tool
  • Offers a large number of 3rd party resources, plugins, themes, starter apps
  • Offers a sizable number or tools like Ionic Market, Ionic.IO, etc.
  • Excellent support, especially the Ionic forum
  • Developers who actually communicate with users (somethig jQuery Foundation should adopt)
  • Under never stoping development


  • Dull default UI
  • Wraps AngularJS – Missing the most recent AngularJS features
  • It’s a step behind OnsenUI, feature wise
  • Animations don’t perform well on slowe mobile devices

  • Intended For: Mobile Development
  • Release Date: 2013
Official Site Documentation GitHub
Onsen UI is probably the biggest Ionic Framework rival, less popular but always a step further. Think of them like two brothers from the different mothers.
Released almost two years ago (around the same time like Ionic), OnsenUI is a relatively new addition to the mobile framework market. Then again, compared to some other frameworks here, it feels like a lifetime.
Unlike Ionic Framework, Onsen UI helps you develop both mobile and web apps. Though, if your intention is to create a mobile web application you will fare better with Angular Bootstrap or Angular Foundation.
Frameworks UI segment is built around Topcoat; a JavaScript-less UI CSS library made with speed in mind. Onsen UI offers a distinctive flat Bootstrap looking UI. A little bit dull but fast like hell.
There one bad thing I need to point out, Onsen UI (and Ionic) suffers from the jQuery Mobile clone-like visuals, every application looks and feels the same. If you’re going to use this framework, use some CSS and make it looking distinct and significant.


  • Large 3rd party plugin support through jQuery and AngularJS
  • Usable for mobile and classic web development
  • Excellent tools like Monaca IDE
  • Custom routing, much easier than classic AngularJS routing
  • Under never stoping development


  • Dull default UI
  • Smaller community than the rest of competition
  • Support only through the StackOverflow
AngularUI Bootstrap

  • Intended For: Web Development
  • Release Date: 2012
Official Site Documentation GitHub
As its name so clearly implies, Angular Bootstrap is built on the top of AngularJS and Bootstrap, established UI library. Use it to create a web application with numerous Bootstrap components, remade as AngularJS directives.
A framework can boast a tiny footprint, almost 20kb gzipped, without any 3rd party dependencies (like jQuery or Bootstrap JavaScript). I can’t think of a mobile framework that can offer a same or smaller size. When you think about it, it’s a pretty impressive.
Personally I don’t like Bootstrap visual look and feel, nor do I like this particular UI, but it’s still a fantastic tool for a fast web development.


  • Bootstrap
  • Oldest and most stable framework here
  • Large community, especially at StackOverflow
  • Doesn’t require jQuery
  • Almost perfect conversion


  • Difficult to customize and add custom functionalities
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  • Great topic: “finding a right application framework is not an easy task, especially if we’re talking about AngularJS environment. Most of these frameworks are not older than two years…” So relevant right now with the overall pace of web tech progression and the advancement of some of the more dominant frameworks. There are so many great choices, it’s hard to figure out where to grow some roots.

    Your suggestion about styling to avoid the clone app syndrome is so important: Yes it’s possible to build a high quality app very fast with these new technologies, but devs/teams need to take the time to design the UX and style their apps in order to make them special. Good information!

  • Leslie Cecile Brown

    Thanks, great article, but I am new to this technology and some parts were a little too technical, can anyone point me to a high-level overview of the subject?