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Difference between Ionic and Cordova

Ionic and Apache Cordova are not considered competitors; instead, Ionic is built on top of Cordova. They are two popular technologies widely adopted in the market for mobile app development. The combination of these technologies forms a development platform which is known as hybrid app development. Both frameworks have a large community of passionate developers and are used in large enterprises. In this section, we are going to see how Ionic is different from Apache Cordova.

Apache Cordova

Apache Cordova is an open-source framework, which allows web developers to use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create a native application for different mobile platforms. Nitobi created it in 2009. In 2011, Adobe Systems purchased Nitobi and renamed it Phonegap.

Apache Cordova allows developers to access the native features of an application, such as camera, video recording, audio feature, location access, etc. With the Cordova, you can integrate a lot of different plugins in your application to fulfill all the requirement that uses the hardware of a device to run the application.

Advantages of Cordova

The most popular advantages of Apache Cordova are as follows:

  • It is a free and open-source technology.
  • It is easy to learn.
  • It is used for developing a cross-platform application.
  • It works on JavaScript.
  • It is used to make app development very quickly and effectively.
  • It has a lot of plugins, which you can integrate into your application to fulfill all the requirements to run the application.
  • It has good community support, which helps you to get rid of all the issues you are getting.

Disadvantages of Cordova

The disadvantages of Apache Cordova are as follows:

  • Its code is running in a web view, which makes its performance slow.
  • It has web-based UI running in a web view, due to which it does not provide a good look and feel to the app.
  • It is not the right technology to develop game application because it requires some higher-end plugins which are currently not available.


Ionic is an open-source UI toolkit for building high-quality Mobile apps, desktop apps, and progressive web apps. It uses web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create high-quality cross-platform apps. It allows developers to build once and run everywhere. It was created by Max Lynch, Ben Sperry, and Adam Bradley and developed by Drifty Co. in 2013. The first version of the Ionic framework introduced in March 2014.

The Ionic framework mainly focuses on front-end user experience or UI interaction, which handles all the look and feel of your app. It is easy to learn and can integrate with other libraries or frameworks such as Angular, React, Cordova, etc. Officially, the Ionic framework has integration with Angular, but it also provides support for Vue.js and React.js.

Advantages of Ionic

The advantages of the Ionic application are as follows:

  • If the developer has a basic knowledge of CSS, HTML, or JavaScript frameworks, then learning and developing apps using the Ionic framework is very easy.
  • Ionic provides simple, easy, and well-structured documentation. The official documentation covered most of the things required for the developers.
  • The ionic application can deploy on multiple platforms such as iOS, Android, Desktop, and the web, all with one codebase. The ionic apps can write once and runs everywhere.
  • The user interface of Ionic, such as themes and components are highly customizable. The ionic platform allows its components to adapt to the platform on which the application is running.

Disadvantages of Ionic

The disadvantages of Ionic application are as follows:

  • The performance of the Ionic app is not as good as compared to native mobile applications. However, the performance gap is not noticeable for most of the average users.
  • The app developed with the Ionic framework may not provide as much security as a native application. For example, if you are developing a financial app, e.g., the app for a bank, the Ionic framework is not recommended.
  • You cannot access any device-specific feature in Ionic without using Apache Cordova. Apache Cordova allows you to integrate the plugins which can add the functionality to access those features. However, there are many plugins available to cover most of the native functionalities.
  • Ionic technology is still in development. It regularly keeps changing its support and standard, and its libraries can be completely rewritten at any time.

Ionic vs. Cordova

The major differences between Ionic and Cordova are as follows:

Ionic vs Cordova
  • Ionic provides frameworks to use in the application. Whereas Cordova provides plugins to run the application similar to the native app.
  • Ionic provides many different functions, which need to be integrated with the application, whereas Cordova provides the hardware access of a device to the application.
  • The Cordova plugin allows you to make your own plugin, whereas Ionic does not provide you to make your own plugin.
  • The developers choose Cordova because of its plugins, excellent community support, and the ability to use JavaScript for mobile development. In contrast, developers choose Ionic for its rapid prototyping, great designs, and hybrid mobile style.
  • The companies use Cordova are BetRocket, HandHeld Hospitality, Die Coder GmbH, and Dial Once. Whereas the companies use Ionic are Edify, MAK IT, eTobb, and Dispatch.
  • The tools integrated with Cordova are Sentry, Wikitude, GameAnalytics, LokiJS, WebStorm, etc. Whereas tools integrate with Ionic are Atatus, Readymag, Backand, JScrambler, etc.

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