Cordova versus Capacitor
April 3, 2024 by Marvin

Cordova vs Capacitor: A Comparison in Building Ionic Framework Apps

When building apps developers can choose between two primary options for native functionality integration: Capacitor and Cordova. In this article we compare both tools, their advantages, and disadvantages to make an informed decision of which one to choose.

Ionic Framework: A Brief Overview

Before comparing Cordova and Capacitor, let's briefly review what the Ionic Framework offers. Ionic is an open-source framework used for building cross-platform mobile, web, and desktop applications. It utilizes web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, providing developers with a familiar environment for creating feature-rich applications.

What is Cordova?

Cordova, the commercial PhoneGap project open-source core created in 2009, is an open-source project designed to execute web applications on various platforms, excluding Electron and Progressive Web App as a web application. It allows developers to build mobile applications using web technologies while providing access to native device features through plugins. Cordova acts as a bridge between web technologies and native APIs, enabling developers to create apps that run seamlessly across multiple platforms.

What is Capacitor by Ionic?

Ionic introduced Capacitor as an alternative to Cordova for running Web Apps natively on Android, iOS, Electron, and Web with the aid of Progressive Web App technology (PWAs). With Capacitor, created in 2018, developers can construct a single application and direct it towards a unified set of APIs, irrespective of the platform where the application operates, thus eliminating the need to handle multiple APIs tailored for each platform individually.

Advantages of Cordova

Cordova still holds several advantages over Capacitor, particularly in certain scenarios:

  • Mature Ecosystem: Cordova has been in the market for a longer time, resulting in a more extensive plugin ecosystem and community support. This can be advantageous for developers seeking specific functionalities or facing complex requirements not yet addressed in Capacitor.
  • Legacy Compatibility: For projects with existing Cordova codebases or dependencies on Cordova-specific plugins, sticking with Cordova might be more convenient due to backward compatibility issues or potential migration challenges.
  • Simplicity for Small Projects: Cordova's project structure is relatively straightforward, making it easier for developers, especially beginners, to set up and start developing small-scale applications without the need for additional configuration or tooling.
  • Integration with Third-Party Tools: Cordova's longer presence in the market has led to better compatibility with various third-party tools, libraries, and services, which may not have full support for Capacitor yet.
  • Stability and Maturity: Cordova has undergone years of development and refinement, resulting in a stable and mature platform that may be preferred for projects prioritizing reliability and predictability over the latest features and advancements.

Advantages of Capacitor

Capacitor offers several advantages over Cordova, especially in modern app development scenarios:

  • Modern Architecture: Capacitor is built with modern development practices in mind, offering a more streamlined and efficient architecture compared to Cordova. It leverages modern tooling and practices, making it easier to integrate with modern front-end frameworks like Angular, React, and Vue.js.
  • Improved Performance: Capacitor's leaner architecture and optimized plugin system contribute to improved performance and stability compared to Cordova. This can result in faster app loading times and smoother user experiences, particularly in resource-intensive applications.
  • Support for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): Capacitor seamlessly integrates with Progressive Web App standards, allowing developers to easily convert their Ionic applications into PWAs. This enables users to access the app through web browsers while retaining native app-like functionality, enhancing reach and accessibility.
  • Simplified Project Structure: Capacitor projects have a simpler and more intuitive structure compared to Cordova, making it easier for developers to navigate and manage codebases. With Capacitor, developers typically work with a "www" folder for web assets and separate platform-specific folders for native code, reducing complexity and overhead.
  • Enhanced Plugin Ecosystem: While Cordova boasts a mature plugin ecosystem, Capacitor's ecosystem is rapidly growing and evolving, with an emphasis on modern plugins that leverage the latest native features and APIs. Capacitor's plugin system is designed to be more flexible and compatible with modern development workflows, allowing developers to easily extend their applications with native functionality.
  • Long-term Support and Compatibility: Capacitor is actively maintained and developed by the Ionic team, ensuring long-term support and compatibility with emerging technologies and platforms. This makes Capacitor a future-proof choice for developers seeking to build sustainable and scalable applications.

Check out our Docutain SDK
Integrate our Capacitor Document scanner into your apps. The Capacitor Scanner SDK can also be enhanced with Text Recognition and Data Extraction. Check out our Developer Documentation or contact us at

Capacitor vs Cordova: Which one should you choose for your mobile App?

As the landscape of hybrid app development continues to evolve, Capacitor emerges as a promising contender for building high-performance Ionic applications. Its focus on modern development practices, seamless integration with web technologies, and support for Progressive Web Apps makes it a compelling choice for developers seeking to deliver engaging and feature-rich applications across multiple platforms.

In conclusion, while Cordova has been a reliable solution for hybrid app development in the past, Capacitor represents the future of Ionic Framework applications. By embracing Capacitor, developers can leverage the full potential of modern web technologies while seamlessly integrating native functionality into their applications, thus delivering superior user experiences across platforms.

While Capacitor offers numerous advantages for modern app development, Cordova still holds relevance in certain contexts, particularly for projects with specific requirements, existing Cordova dependencies, or developers comfortable with its established ecosystem and workflow.

Therefore, the decision which platform to choose for your mobile app always depends on specific app requirements, e.g. the plugin ecosystem demand of your app, the level of support needed and development know-how.

How to migrate Cordova to Capacitor

Is it possible to migrate a Web App using Cordova to Capacitor.
For these cases, Ionic has prepared this step by step explanation on how to migrate Cordova to Capacitor.

The Docutain SDK is available for Ionic Capacitor and Cordova

As both Cordova and Capacitor have their advantages, it is important for us to deliver our Document Scanner SDK and Data Capture SDK for both platforms, Capacitor and Cordova.

Your contact to Docutain

Please tell our colleague Harry Beck how the Docutain SDK can help you with your project. We are looking forward to receiving your inquiry, either by telephone or contact form.