Cross-Platform App Development: A Complete Guide1
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Cross-Platform App Development: A Complete Guide

A decade ago we never imagined an era of the internet where we could order things online within a few minutes. Today, regardless of the time and location we are in, if we are hangry or want to purchase anything, the first thing we do is go online, search for a website or an app, and purchase from it, food or otherwise.

Consumers are so used to purchasing things online from the comfort of their homes that providing them a seamless experience regardless of the platform they use has become a need of the hour. Today businesses need to develop a responsive website and an application with uniform designs and experience. But, providing this seamless experience is difficult and expensive for companies due to native app development.

Many companies opt for cross-platform app development looking at the complexities of native app development and high investments. If you are wondering what cross-platform app development is, you are at the right place. Herein, I will walk you through everything about it, its framework, benefits, etc.

Keep reading:

What is Cross-Platform App Development?

Cross-platform app development involves developing a single app that runs on multiple operating systems instead of having different versions of the same app. Developers can start with mobile app development using a single code-base compatible with any operating system and work seamlessly.

Cross-platform app development uses the “Write Once, Run Everywhere” approach to build mobile apps; it removes the app development versions for Android and iOS. Reusability of code and a single code-base is one of the major reasons most startups opt for cross-platform development. This type of development is compatible with various mobile operating systems, and so it reaches a wider audience. It has a rapid development, turnaround time and is cost-effective, making it a go-to choice for everyone.

There are two types of development, i.e., cross-platform and native app development. Both have their merits and demerits, but most people wonder about the difference between native and cross-platform app development. So, let’s see the major differences between them:

Difference Between Cross Platform and Native App Development:

With cross-platform app development, users don’t need to write code multiple times; a single code base allows developers to write code once and run anywhere. Here, regardless of the platform, you are developing an application for, the application will run and support various operating systems. Whereas with native app development, you will need to code dedicatedly for multiple platforms, it will also require you to invest in dedicated employees for each of the technologies.

Native app development is costly compared to cross-platform development, and with the increasing demand for the applications, the market is competitive. To meet these increasing demands, companies shift their focus to cross-platform app development.

Going further, let’s see some of benefits of cross-platform app development:

Benefits of Cross-Platform App Development:

Increase Audience Reach:

Using cross-platform apps, you can deploy an application for multiple platforms at the same time. With the single app, you can target iOS, Android, and web platforms. This helps you reach broader audiences and attract the correct audience from across the world. As your application will be available on a large number of devices, it is obvious that you will reach a larger audience.

Code Reusability:

Code reusability is one of the major benefits why companies and developers prefer cross-platform app development. Developers can easily reuse and rewrite the code because of the “write once, run everywhere” approach. They don’t need to create new code for each platform, and as a result, it helps them save some time and money.

Faster Development Time:

Cross-platform app development uses a single-code base which makes the development process faster and easier. Developers need to write code only once on either of the cross-platform frameworks and while compiling it, the source code will run like native. Once the application deploys and there is a need for further updates like new features, security patches, tweaks in features, etc., you can write the code once and push the platforms’ updates.

Uniform Design:

Cross-platform app development helps you to develop an application that is responsive and has a uniform design. Regardless of the platform on which the user accesses your application, it will be responsive. The application developed using cross-platform recognizes the user interface elements easily and responds accordingly. This enables designers and developers to have uniform UI/UX for different devices and provide a better and consistent user experience.

Having uniform design on all platforms is essential as it helps businesses to have their brand voice and marketing strategy. It will help you to stand ahead of competitors, rank on various search engines, and retain customers on your website.

Native App-like Experience:

Application built using cross-platform technology feels and runs like native apps. Pick up any technology you want to develop an app in, you will have to write code once, and upon compilation, it runs like a native app. With the latest tools and advanced frameworks, the entire process of ecommerce mobile app development becomes easy. Today various frameworks make it easy to write the code, run it, and convert it into source code which helps apps run like native apps. When the application runs like a native app, it loads faster and is responsive. As a result, it helps in better customer experience.

Cost-effective Development:

In native app development, businesses need to hire multiple developers for each platform, increasing their investment cost. Whereas, with cross-platform app development, businesses don’t need to invest in hiring multiple developers. As cross-platform uses a single code-base, developers are skilled in developing applications for multiple platforms. Hence, cross-platform app development can help businesses to save time, money and increase their ROI.

Easy to Update:

Updating your application becomes easier with cross-platform. Let me explain how–with native app development, you will have to write the same code multiple times for different operating systems; next up you will have to test, check, evaluate and update multiple times. Further, based on different devices and operating systems, you might face different challenges, and based on it, you will have to make changes. All these things end up being extremely difficult and time-consuming.

On the other hand, updating using cross-platform app development becomes easy. You don’t need to write code multiple times, evaluate, make changes according to different platforms, etc. Just write code once, check, test, evaluate, and push the updates. Based on the platform, the code will work accordingly and provide better performance.

When it comes to the benefits of cross-platform development, there are no limits. Over the years, frameworks have become more robust and are helping the developer community and businesses. But, with benefits comes demerits as well, so let’s see some challenges of cross-platform app development in brief:

Challenges of Cross-Platform App Development:

Switching Platforms:

Most of the cross-platform framework use JavaScript, and this creates issues during reusable codes. In such a scenario, finding the issue in the whole code becomes a difficult task and consumes time, increasing the cost of mobile application development.

Third-party App Integration:

It becomes difficult to integrate third-party applications in cross-platform app development. The integration process becomes difficult and lengthy as application developers will need to make certain changes in the code based on each operating system and its interfaces.

Sluggish Code:

Cross-platform application development is not easy, especially for junior developers. They need cross-compliance during the development process, which leads to sluggish code and results in slow application. Cross-platform application development is a perfect solution for small and medium-scale businesses as it requires less investment and has more ROI.

There are plenty of tools available in the market which makes ecommerce mobile app development easy. The increasing demand for applications has given rise to strong framework tools, making it easy to develop complex applications. Today, plenty of frameworks have increased confusion about which are perfect for cross-platform app development.

If you, too, are confused about which platform is perfect for mobile application development, you are in the right place. Herein, I will share with you the top frameworks useful for cross-platform app development.

Top Cross-Platform App Development Framework:

Flutter:

Flutter is a popular framework for cross-platform mobile application development. Flutter’s official programming language is Dart; its open-source nature makes it approachable for development. Today Flutter is the second most used platform for app development because of speed, native performance, expressive UI, and Hot Reload. These features make it easy to develop an application; developers can also modify the code and see results in real-time. These are some of the notable features:

  • Key Features:

    • Fast Development
    • Responsive
    • Easy to use UI
    • Intuitive UI and widgets
    • Highly efficient apps
    • Structured coding
    • Easy to learn
  • Following are some of the companies using Flutter:
    • BMW
    • NUBank
    • Tencent
    • Square
    • Dream11

React Native:

React Native is an open-source, cross-platform framework built using Facebook that supports JavaScript codebase for developing high-quality apps. React Native development approach helps build high-performance mobile apps quickly and makes the framework robust and reliable. It changes the way cross-platform applications work today.

  • Key Features:
    • Open source development
    • Faster programming
    • Codebase sharing
    • High performance
    • Responsive UI
  • Companies using React Native:
    • Bloomberg
    • UberEats
    • AirBnB
    • Instagram
    • Skype
    • Facebook

Native Script:

If you are thinking about other alternatives of Flutter and React Native, NativeScript is your answer. It is a free and open-source cross-platform framework, useful for app development. NativeScript lets you build an application in TypeScript, JavaScript, XML, CSS, using Angular and Vue.js. When working with NativeScript, you don’t need to install any plugins to access the camera, GPS, or other features as they are in-built. This makes it easy to code in NativeScript and provides better performance.

  • Key Features:
    • Free and open source
    • Multiple components support
    • Native methods and libraries support
    • Easy to code
  • Companies using NativeScript:
    • QA Limited
    • University of California
    • Lorven Technologies

Corona SDK:

Corona SDK is an open-source, cross-platform framework perfect for building apps for desktops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. The framework is reliable as it offers a back-end framework language called Lua; it is a lightweight application development language. Corona SDK’s primary focus is on significant parts of app development like portability, scalability, and it is easy to use.

  • Key Feature:
    • Open-source frameworks
    • Easy to use
    • Multiple useful plugins
    • Lua Scripting language, easy to learn and use
    • Built-in analytics
  • Companies using CoronaSDK:
    • Source books
    • Lorven Technologies
    • IEEE

PhoneGap:

PhoneGap is also one of the well-known platforms for development tools that supports different languages like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. These tools make it easy for web and app developers to develop an application. If a business is looking to develop a cross-platform application, PhoneGap is a perfect choice as it develops apps for all major platforms and adds features like add-ons. Moreover, developers can too use this framework without the need to have any hardware restrictions.

  • Key Features:
    • Fast deployment
    • Quick and easy testing
    • Single codebase
    • Strongly typed language
    • Popular web technologies
    • Multiple libraries
  • Companies using PhoneGap:
    • Accenture
    • Typeform
    • WebbyLab
    • Zendesk

Xamarin:

Xamarin had an open-source, cross-platform mobile application development framework which Microsoft took over. Similar to other frameworks, Xamarin uses the same codebase for Android and iOS apps. Xamarin uses C# programming language, eliminating the need to learn Swift or Java and is more beneficial than React Native as it provides a more native app-like experience.

  • Key features:
    • Free and Open-source framework
    • Performance-oriented framework
    • Easy to maintain
    • Advanced technologies
    • Large community of contributors
  • Companies using Xamarin:
    • Fox Sports
    • Siemens
    • Pinterest
    • World Bank

Ionic:

Ionic is one of the popular cross-platform app frameworks which uses Angular and Cordova. This framework helps developers to create a user-friendly app interface. It is an open-source framework that allows developers to change the development process according to their unique project ideas. It is a framework for developing hybrid mobile apps using JavaScript. It also has an Ionic React that leverages React for building hybrid mobile applications.

  • Key features:
    • Fast prototyping
    • Concise documentation
    • Single codebase
    • Advanced technologies
    • Ready-made UI components
    • Plenty of in-built plugins
  • Companies using Ionic:
    • Airbus Helicopters
    • Electronic Arts
    • National Health Service (NHS)
    • Sworkit
    • Instapot

Conclusion:

Cross-platform app development is the NOW of application development. Today there is a massive change in the way we interact with technology. Applications have made it easy for users to do everyday tasks. The increase in the usage of mobile applications gives rise to app development. Today there is an application for almost everything which makes our lives easier.

Additionally, cross-platform applications are revolutionizing the app development experience. It is constantly pushing the boundaries of development and making the entire process simpler. If you are wondering how to develop an application, you can reach out to us.

We have experienced technical experts who will help you with the entire process of application development. We have helped many customers build their great products, which are cross-platform app development.

 
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