A Cross-platform development framework refers to software through which you would be capable to create an app that can run on multiple platforms. Cross-platform has its meaning not just limited to mobile apps or PC apps but also includes devices like Consoles, smart sticks, etc.
So where does Cross platform apps fit in the equation?
These apps open a whole new world of possibilities, which are, to be honest, still being explored, and are nowhere near saturation. Through portability and digital transformation, our lives have constantly moved to a level where both became a priority. In the world of mobile apps, cross-platform development would allow businesses to tap into the potential of Native apps, at a much lower cost and less development time.
Why should you focus on mobile app development?
Mobile apps have seen more user shifts than any other electronic device, and it’s all thanks to things they can do with small handy smartphones. We aren’t just talking on the enterprise level, but on the customer level too, no one wants to pick up their laptops for work which can be done through their phones. That leaves you with two big choices, setting up a mobile website, or getting a custom mobile app developed.
Mobile websites are a necessity too, but they simply don’t stand a chance when compared to user experience offered by quality mobile apps. If you are a simple business owner planning to just put a simple show on the web, mobile apps won’t be an immediate need for you, but would still help you with interactive marketing solutions in the future.
The scale of your business isn’t in question, as on the internet, good content and quality services are usually appreciated, but you can also grow the scale to 100 times through investing in mobile apps.
You have 3 typical choices when getting a mobile app developed:
1. Hybrid mobile app development
Hybrid mobile app development came into the limelight with its capabilities to run web views in application wrappers, it what brought the web apps from the browser to the mobile apps.
2. Cross platform app development
This development path offers the best of both worlds, the apps created are cheaper than native mobile apps, and much better than web view based hybrid apps.
3. Native app development
As the name itself suggests, Native app development is the creation of apps for a particular OS itself, the coding is done in the native language that the OS supports.
What is A Cross-Platform App Development?
Cross-platform app development is a methodology through which an app is created to run on multiple platforms (read operating systems). While a Hybrid app is capable of running on multiple platforms too, a cross-platform app remains truly native and doesn’t run on a web view. Everything from design elements to the performance of a cross-platform app is comparable to Native apps. Through cross-platform app development frameworks, about 70-90% code is reused to create the app for a second OS.
Typically, one can create both the iOS app and the Android app at much less cost and about half the time. As a hypothetical, if you would have to spend $30,000 for each Android and iOS app, you would be spending around $40,000-$45,000 in total for both apps when created through top cross-platform app development frameworks. The above example is why Cross-platform apps have gained immense popularity for both mobile app development companies and businesses.
What are the top cross-platform frameworks?
1. React Native
React Native as we know it, has been one of the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks that ever existed. React Native was created by Facebook as they saw web view based app development as less capable and less optimized. It could even be said that it is because of React Native app development, that cross-platform became mainstream, and is now top choice by almost every mobile app development company.
Pros of React Native
i) Hot reload
This is one of the most loved features of this framework, it allows the developer to see real-time changes in UI, when they change the coding, making development easier and faster
ii) Easy migration
If you already have a website built through React, migrating it to mobile design will be efficient and easier for React native developers, when done using React Native, saving a lot of work which would else go to waste.
iii) Code reuse
A lot of code can be reused when creating multiple apps, saving both the development cost and development time. Almost 80% of the code can be reused, which makes React native true to the write once, use anywhere ideology.
iv) Backed by Facebook
Almost every new technology faces a dicey future in our advancing world, React on the other hand is backed up by one of the top technology giants in the world, this makes React Native relatively trustworthy invest for the long term.
Read Also: Top Mobile Apps Built Using the React Native
Cons of using React Native
Although it is one of the most loves cross-platform app development frameworks, there will still be limitations associated with creating apps through it. These limitations usually resonate with the ones you will face with every single cross-platform app development framework like optimization issues, performance lag, complex debugging, time-consuming testing, etc.
Flutter is a cross-platform app development framework made by one of the two most famous mobile OS creators. Flutter was introduced very recently and has gained more than immense popularity in a very short period. Flutter app development focuses on providing the most, especially in terms of design. Flutter is aimed at the development of truly cross-platform apps that can be integrated with Native components built through OS’s native development languages.
Pros of Flutter app development
i) Multi-version support
Flutter supports multiple versions of both iOS and Google, and you can ensure the app looks and works the same on multiple OS versions. With lesser users upgrading to new Android versions, this feature can ensure saving a lot of costs for debugging and testing for various versions of the same OS.
ii) Best design elements
The widgets that Flutter has on offer would be the best you would find out there. The Cupertino widget offering adds the cherry to the top, it helps you make the app seamless when it is to be used on iOS devices.
iii) Faster development
When you hire Flutter app developers, they will ensure faster development speeds using Flutter’s inbuilt easy, and efficient coding mechanism. Dart adds more to it, coding in Dart is faster and smoother, due to its C-style syntax.
iv) Created and backed by Google
We already know how important this is, especially considering the world’s most popular OS being handled by Google too. Google can essentially make Flutter Android app development even better than Native one, if they want, making it one of the best bets out there, in choosing the cross platform framework for your web app.
v) Web support
Along with an app that works on both the popular mobile operating systems, Flutter is popular in the web app segment too, making it an all in one online business development solution.
vi) Great for MVP
Not all apps are suitable to made through cross-platform app frameworks for the long run, but with Flutter, you have the option to set up everything that your app would do in less time and money. What’s best about Flutter is, you can use the coded components when making Native apps, if you ever choose to switch to Native app development.
Cons of Flutter
Since Flutter is relatively new in the market, it would easily be the toughest to find and hire app developers for. Due to general demand and supply, you may face problems finding good Flutter developers in your vicinity. However, you always have the option to hire flutter developers remotely from India, which will ensure lower pricing. Another con cum pro is, Flutter is still in the development phase, while new features await, you may have to continuously improve and maintain your app to adapt to changes in Flutter in the future.
Pros of NativeScript
i) Single codebase
This is one of the only few Cross platform app development frameworks which would allow you to reuse the complete code base for Android and iOS, thanks to its Native API calling capabilities which are enabled through either JS, Angular, and Typescript.
ii) Plugin support
iii) Speed of development
The integrations and choice of different coding technologies ensure that the app you are planning is created in lesser time compared to other cross platform app development frameworks, ensuring early market entry.
iv) Ease of learning
Cons of NativeScript
NativeScriptisn’t very well suited to web development, many companies reported that the process would have been a lot easier in frameworks such as Flutter. The release of updates hasn’t been very consistent and can hamper the interdependencies of various components that complete the app, which can cause problems in the foreseeable future. There is also one more common feedback we don’t usually see for cross platform frameworks, you would actually need to keep Native app developers to work properly with NativeScript.
Another cross-platform framework backed by one of the biggest names in the tech industry, Microsoft. Xamarin is known for using a single tech stack, and primarily the use of C#. While it would be called just another tech giant backed framework, there is a lot more Microsoft has done for Xamarin than others have, for their cross-platform app development frameworks. Primarily, the maintenance and debugging spotlight available on the visual studio is the reason Xamarin is loved in the developer community. Xamarin is built to be truly cross-platform, from Windows to Android to iOS, Xbox to tvOS, you would be able to build apps for every platform.
Pros of using Xamarin
i) Native like performance
With Xamarin, a mobile app development company can achieve Native app like performance for your application. This is possible due to Xamarin’s capabilities of accessing each and every API, making it possible to use every Native component that exists.
ii) Microsoft’s backing
Xamarin has been popular only after being acquired by Microsoft, but they have done extremely well to take it to new heights. Even though Microsoft charges for Xamarin (a bit too hefty for enterprises), they justify the price with the amount of work they do to improve their software and Xamarin itself.
iii) Truly multiplatform support
With Windows being Microsoft’s product and realizing Microsoft’s own mobile OS didn’t actually work well, Microsoft extended its full support to cross platform apps for mobile OSs and for its desktops. Xamarin is also one of the only few frameworks, which support wearable OSs and TV OSs.
Cons of Xamarin
While Xamarin is free for individuals and small companies, Microsoft is typical Microsoft when it comes to subscription packages when it comes to enterprises. Xamarin is pricey even when compared to enterprise standards but is a well worth addition to the mobile app development cost when compared to the benefits and capabilities. If you are planning a complicated GUI, Xamarin might not suit the best to you due to its limited capabilities in this section, there is also some issue with importing libraries for iOS and Android, which we believe would be rectified in the future.
Choosing the development path for your mobile app could be tough, but you can always take free quotes from cross-platform app development companies for the same. Our guide to cross-platform app development was aimed at telling you all about cross-platform app development. If you thought cross-platform development could benefit you, you can contact us for more information about it.
While cross-platform isn’t for everyone, each of the frameworks stated above is unique, and this is how cross-platform is now adopted in even some of the biggest enterprises. To make a choice, the early points would be your budget, and if you are planning to target iOS or Android app as a business. Early market entry and low development cost are the top reasons our clients chose Cross-platform app development.