Whether you are late for the office and order food online or too lazy to go out and get your food delivered at home, both explain your dependency on mobile apps & online services. In recent years, mobile application usage has been drastically increased. People tend to spend hours on these applications and the statistics are increasing every passing day.
Businesses are moving to the latest technologies and frameworks to build a better interactive application for their customers & clients. To attain maximum reach, it is important to cover both Android users and iOS users.
Developing separate applications will cost more money than cross-platform app development. Because the native development method requires individual codes for different platforms whereas cross-platform framework will only need a single code for both platforms.
Since there are lots of options available, choosing the right framework for your app development is tough.
What are the best cross-platform app development frameworks?
The overall development cycle depends on picking up the right framework, right platform, right development methodology, and correctly analyzing project requirements.
Applications built with Cross-platform frameworks are compatible with different operating systems. Cross-platform app development enables:
- Code re-usability
- Consistency in UI components
- Easy hosting
- Cloud integration
- Faster & safer development
There are many cross-platform frameworks in the market. Every framework has its own pros and cons. According to the recent marketing trend, we have mentioned the most preferred, popular and performing cross-platform frameworks along with their features, pros & cons, and a few app examples.
Flutter is more of a software development kit than a mobile app development framework built by Google. It is popular for faster & agile coding methodology. Moreover, it is a free open-source cross-platform framework that can create interactive native interfaces. Flutter permits to build beautiful native apps with a single code base in a quick way.
Although it has not been very long since Google released the Flutter framework, still it is acing the field with consistent updates. Recently, Google announced much more upcoming augmentations in Flutter at the Flutter Interact Event.
Why is Flutter on the top of the list needs no answer after analyzing the survey held by Stack Overflow that says Flutter is one of the top 3 most loved frameworks. Flutter is on its way to surpassing the popularity of its rival React Native framework.
Pros of Flutter Framework
- Flutter Hot Reload allows developers to instantly visualize the changes made in code.
- Cost-effective and time- saving development methodology. Hence, ideal for MVP development
- Easy to learn and implement because it is based on Dart language, an object-oriented programming language
- Supports material theme widgets for Google and Cupertino pack for Apple
- Allow developers to work with Continuous Integration platforms like Travis and Jenkins
Cons of Flutter Framework
- Applications built with Flutter framework do not offer any support for Android TV and Apple TV
- Limited library support
- Because of the use of built-in widgets, Flutter applications are comparatively larger in size than native apps
Popular Apps Built with Flutter
- Xianyu: An app built by Alibaba
- Google Greentea: Google’s internal CRM application
- Google Ads
React Native is one of the most popular mobile app development frameworks, launched by Facebook in 2015. It became one of the most popular cross-platform frameworks within just a few years of its introduction.
Be it a startup or a fortune organization, it allows faster development of high-performing mobile apps. It allows developers to implement declared components to build a UI rich mobile app.
Pros of React Native
- React Native framework allows up to 80% sharing of a code base across different platforms
- It offers ready to implement components and allows developers to preview the results instantly. Thus, resulting in shorter development time.
- It’s Hot Reload feature allows developers to quickly preview the changes made in the codebase.
- This framework provides a highly responsive interface resulting in beautiful UI
- Native features like accelerometer and camera can be used to create a native-like user interface.
Cons of React Native
- Not completely a cross-platform app framework, and requires native components for features like camera or accelerometer. A separate code base is required to access native components of Android and iOS
- React Native framework is not built with iOS and Android support, hence it can not surpass the native platforms at times
- There is no consistent release of React Native updates
- It takes a lot of time for debugging process
Popular Apps Built with React Native Framework
Xamarin, an open-source, cross-platform mobile app development framework. It was launched in 2011 and then later acquired by Microsoft in 2016. This popular framework works on the WORA model i.e write once run any model. Hence, a single code base will work for both native platforms Android and iOS.
This open-source platform was launched to overcome the issues of disjointed native technologies. Xamarin framework works on C# language that can run on server platforms. Therefore, no need to learn Swift or Java languages to build native apps.
Xamarin allows the code written in the framework to be utilized for different platforms. Because it is based on .NET, native APIs can be accessed using NuGet packages and plug-ins. A recent report says that around 10,000 companies are working on this framework.
Pros of Xamarin
- Xamarin runs effortlessly on various platforms because it uses C# programming language for coding
- It has a wide and strong community including more than 60,000 contributors
- Xamarin allows developers to share more than 75% of code across different platforms, based on WORA model
- Using a single tech stack results in faster development
Cons of Xamarin
- It is expensive for enterprises. Xamarin is a framework that comes free for individuals and startups. However, enterprises are required to buy a license for Microsoft’s Visual Studio.
- Xamarin is not recommended for apps that demand heavy graphics because each platform has a different method for visually laying out screens. A UX/UI-rich application is advised to be implemented natively.
- It also offers limited access to certain important libraries that the app developers need for mobile app development. Also, since the core of its user-interface creation is not mobile, creating the UI is time-consuming.
Popular Apps Built with Xamarin Framework
- Fox Sports
- Alaska Airlines
Ionic is an open-source, cross-platform mobile app development framework. It is compatible with all the iOS and Android versions above iOS 7 and Android 4.1. Ionic framework is built with Angular and Apache Cordova which allows it to develop cross-platform applications.
Applications based on Ionic framework are built using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and Angular. While Cordova allows the application to integrate the device’s native features.
The major advantage of using the Ionic framework is that it provides excellent UI features. The ionic framework has many default UI elements like action sheets, tab bars, forms, filters, and navigation menu, etc. This tool reduces the workload of developers and allows them to focus on development.
In fact, Ionic also has its own CLI (Command Line Interface) tool that makes the app development process easier.
Pros of Ionic
- As the Ionic framework uses web technologies, you need not hire a specific set of developers for mobile app development. Because your web development team is capable of doing this.
- It allows faster development process and saves and cost both
- Due to its dependence on web technologies, it is easy to use and implement
Cons of Ionic
- When Ionic apps are compared with native apps, they lack in the performance factor
- It does not go well with the applications that require high graphics processing requirements
Popular Apps Built with Ionic
It provides cloud-based solutions to developers which allows them to share the application during its development cycle with other developers to get their feedback. The applications based on PhoneGap are really impressive and interactive as it uses web technologies. Moreover, it supports in-built device features like GPS, Camera, Phonebook, Storage and more.
Pros of PhoneGap
- It allows developers to share the application in the development phase with its team to collect their feedback and suggestions
- PhoneGap framework provides features like access to third-party tools, huge community support, several plugins, etc to make it a better framework
- For mobile application development, it uses an intuitive desktop and delivers the application to the mobile devices connected to it
Cons of PhoneGap
- It does not adequately support the high-performance app development and hardware intensive app development like gaming apps. As it lacks in terms of performance and UI widgets
- It depends on iOS SDKs to develop an iOS application which asks for a MacBook for downloading
- Applications based on PhoneGap are less performant as compared to native applications
Popular Apps Built with PhoneGap
So, if you are planning to get a cross-platform application for your business, choose the right framework according to your requirements.
A right developer can guide you through this in an appropriate manner. As cross-platform app development is on the rise, many companies are emerging in the market. Amidst several companies, it is quite tough to opt for a suitable software development agency. We are a team of skilled developers offering top-notch development services across the globe.
Bhagyashree Soni is a Software engineer with soft writing skills. She is a degree holder from the International School of Entrepreneurial Leadership. She has been a state-level badminton champion and a chess player. A woman with a forthright attitude enjoys her writing passion as her chosen career. Writing in context of technology trends, Entrepreneurship, Social-cause and feminism is her forte.