Ionic, created by Max Lynch, Ben Sperry, and Adam Bradley of Drifty Co, is a open-source software development kit.
Ionic is used for developing hybrid mobile apps using Web technologies.
First version of ionic was released in 2013, it was buit on the top of Apache Cordova and AngularJS.
The latest releases is known as ionic 3 or simply ‘Ionic’, it is built on Angular.

Ionic provides tools and services to develop hybrid mobile apps using HTML5, CSS and Sass.
It provides near about all the functionality which we found in native mobile development SDKs. User can build apps for Android as well as for iOS also.
Apps developed in Ionic, distributed through native app stores to be installed on devices by leveraging Cordova.

To start development of Ionic App we have to install following SDK and IDEs.
1) Node.js
2) NPM
3) Ionic CLI
4) Apache Cordova
5) Git
6) Command line tool like cmdr
7) Editor like Visual studio code

For more reading go to Hybrid App development using Ionic 3 part two

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