The rise of cross platform mobile app development solutions directly results from the need of many businesses that now face the issue of developing mobile applications for numerous platforms, notably Android and iOS.
Developing many platforms at once is a business-savvy approach to meeting customers’ demands quickly and effectively.
As much as 50% of mobile developers employ cross platform mobile app development trends, even if native solutions are still heavily used for most soft development activities.
Let’s explore the best tools for creating multi-platform solutions and the advantages and drawbacks of cross platform app development.
What is cross-platform mobile app development?
The development of software applications compatible with several mobile operating systems is referred to as cross platform mobile development. Initially, the difficulties of designing a backend that functioned across various platforms added to the complexity of producing mobile applications. Although time-consuming and costly, developing native apps for each mobile operating system was often simpler (OS). The issue was that code written for one operating system could not be reused for another.
For “write once, run anywhere” coding, programmers depend on a cross platform app development framework to provide the required tools, plugins, and UI components. There is a wide variety of frameworks to choose from, each with its own set of tools, programming languages, code reuse, learning curve, platform support, and documentation.
We will discuss these frameworks in this blog with a clear comparison!
Importance of cross-platform app development in 2023
With cross-platform app development, a single set of code may be used to create an app that is compatible with several platforms: iOS, Android, and the web. In today’s market, this is crucial because:
- Availability on many platforms means a larger pool of prospective customers may utilize cross-platform applications.
- In terms of cost-effectiveness, using a single codebase across various platforms significantly reduces development time and money spent.
- Cross-platform applications provide a unified user interface across all supported platforms.
- Cross-platform programming simplifies the process of including support for future platforms and devices.
- Time to market is reduced since the app may be released simultaneously on many platforms.
Is cross platform the best choice for mobile app development?
The digital age we now inhabit sees the launch of hundreds of new mobile applications every day. Businesses are pouring money into mobile app development because of the explosive growth of the smartphone market.
Cross platform app development is the way to go for organizations that want to get the most out of their app investments. Wondering why?
Here are the benefits that make cross platform the best choice for mobile app development:
1. Cost-effectiveness Along With Faster Development
Because just one version of the app has to be made for all platforms, the development process for cross platform apps may be completed much more quickly, which is why app design firms choose them. Instead of spending time developing separate applications for each platform, developers may save time by creating a single app that serves several platforms. This not only shortens development times but also lowers overall costs.
2. Easier maintenance with reduced costs
The convenience of app maintenance and updates is large because there is just one app to develop for all platforms. Syncing changes across platforms is a time- and cost-effective option. Furthermore, because cross platform applications are accessible through the internet, updates may be made automatically for each user. This ensures that end users always have access to the most recent version of the software.
3. Ability to effectively reach the target audience
Cross platform app development is a promising strategy for reaching the widest possible audience. With a single app that can function flawlessly across Android, iOS, and the web, leading software development companies can take advantage of all three platforms.
4. Reusable code
The ability to reuse code makes developing cross-platform apps much more efficient overall. Agency developers working on app designs don’t have to reinvent the wheel for each platform. In its place is the ability to utilize a single code again and over again, saving both time and effort.
5. Simple cloud integration
Another way in which cross-platform applications benefit your company is via their natural compatibility with cloud-based service providers. Given that a single code base can be used to support a wide variety of add-ons, the app’s functionality and scalability are both improved.
Top 4 cross platform mobile app development frameworks
There is a wide range of tools out there, each with its own unique software development process and outcomes. Using the right framework is essential when creating an app. To facilitate the creation of cross-platform mobile applications, we have compiled a list of the four most often-used cross platform mobile app development tools.
1. React Native
Xamarin is a popular open-source framework for developing hybrid mobile applications. Solutions built on the Xamarin framework may be deployed on any mobile platform while maintaining the same level of performance and usability as their native counterparts.
Developed in C# and the.NET framework, this prominent Microsoft cross-platform mobile app framework is licensed under the MIT open-source software framework and is included in Visual Studio.
An open-source framework developed by Google, Flutter facilitates the creation of high-quality, highly-scalable mobile and desktop apps that can be deployed anywhere. Flutter app development is easily possible as this software works on Android and iOS, allowing developers to create native-looking apps with the same speed.
Ionic is highly recommended as one of the finest hybrid app frameworks since it combines desirable qualities such as being open source, simple to maintain, scalable, and comprehensible. Ionic is a framework that includes a collection of mobile-friendly HTML, CSS, and JS components that can be used to create dynamic applications.
Ionic’s extensive range of features and capabilities includes built-in help for native-looking mobile UI components and layouts inspired by material design. In addition, it gives its users access to the latest information and tools from the programming community consistently.
Hybrid apps built with Ionic include native features, gestures, and tools that can be customized to improve the user experience. However, they use native app runtime environments provided by wrappers like Cordova or PhoneGap.
Pros and Cons of Cross Platform Mobile App development Tools
|React Native||Large community, hot reloading, native-like performance, reuse of code||Steep learning curve, compatibility issues with native components, limited customization options|
|Xamarin||Shared codebase, C# programming language, access to native APIs||Limited UI customization, larger app size, performance issues on lower-end devices|
|Flutter||Fast development, customizable UI, Hot reload, smooth performance||Steep learning curve, limited support from community and libraries, large file size|
|Ionic||Easy to learn, large library of UI components, fast development||Limited native functionality, performance issues, limited customization options|
Cross platform app development: Challenges
There are still issues with performance that might affect the user experience while developing software for cross-platform platforms. Problems with interoperability between a device’s native and non-native parts may significantly degrade its performance. Therefore, creators of software that runs on several platforms have to work harder to ensure uniformity.
Limited access to native features
Limited access to native features is one of the challenges in cross-platform app development. Some platform-specific features may not be available in cross-platform development tools and frameworks, leading to limitations in the functionality of the app.
Difficulty in debugging
Debugging cross-platform apps can present challenges, such as:
- Debugging cross-platform apps can be more complex as bugs may only occur on specific platforms.
- Debugging cross-platform apps on emulators or simulators may not accurately reflect the performance on real devices.
- Debugging tools may not be available or may be limited for some platforms, making it difficult to debug cross-platform apps.
- Cross-platform apps often have a larger and more complex codebase, making it harder to debug.
Potential for compatibility issues
There can be compatibility issues in providing cross platform mobile app development services. Some of the common problems include:
- Cross-platform apps may not perform as well as native apps on some platforms.
- Different platforms have different design guidelines, and cross-platform apps may not provide the same level of user experience as native apps.
- Some platform-specific features may not be available in cross-platform apps.
- Cross-platform apps often rely on third-party libraries, which may only be compatible with some platforms.
- Keeping the app updated across multiple platforms can be challenging, as compatibility issues may arise with each upgrade.
Future of cross platform app development
Choose development tools and frameworks optimized for your target platforms and provide access to your needed features and capabilities.
Thoroughly test the app on different platforms and devices to identify and address compatibility and performance issues.
Overall, the future of cross-platform development is bright, as the demand for cross-platform applications grows and development tools and technology increase.
How to Choose the right cross-platform app development framework
Consider the following aspects while selecting a mobile app development framework.
Consumption of time
It should be lower. People often dislike procedures that take too long to complete. The finest thing a framework can provide you is to implement the essential capabilities and deliver the project on time. The less time spent on development, the more money you can save. Choose a framework that will only consume a little of your time.
This is a crucial factor to consider initially when selecting a framework. The complexity of designing an app impacts time management and slows development, which impedes product availability. It also raises your finalised budget. Select a developer-friendly framework to provide a seamless transition to the final product.
This is an additional need. Choose a scalable mobile app development framework that can expand your user base. The rising client base should be fine with the user experience. As the app’s demand grows, it should include functionality for a wide variety of users’ requests per minute (RPMs).
Speed is the most important thing to consider since it directly influences app performance. The majority of applications rely heavily on speed. A quick experience keeps your consumers on your app. On the other hand, your users will only be addressed if they have to wait longer for your software to launch. So, choose a speedier and better-suited framework for your app’s needs.
Cost of development
The development cost is crucial, and your chosen framework should be within your budget. If you’re on a limited budget, choose a low-cost development framework and limit your app’s functionalities to the essentials.
Strength in security
When selecting a development framework, you should also consider security. Consider activating protection against subtle breaches and unknown source incursion when designing your app. Wi-Fi and mobile data are especially vulnerable to security threats. Select a platform that guarantees security and enough speed. For example, your app’s payment gateway should be isolated from risk sources and pass vulnerability and penetration testing.
Another consideration is the quality of the output. Apps of higher quality may attract a huge number of users. The quality factor may improve your app’s UX and bring in new clients. Poor quality might have an impact on the overall performance of the app. So choose a framework that provides a consistent and high-quality experience at every touchpoint.