Statista sources from 2022 show that Andriod and iOS combined cover almost 99% of the global mobile OS market with 3.5 million apps in the Play Store and about 2.22 million mobile apps in the App Store.
In today’s highly competitive and evolving digital ecosystem, enterprises do not confine their presence to a single platform. Since going for native application development for each platform is quite expensive, cross-platform app development is gained popularity.
A prediction by Forrester shows that over 60% of organizations are already using or involved with cross-platform app development.
What is a Cross-Platform Application Development Framework?
A cross-platform application framework is a tool that simultaneously operates on multiple platforms and operating systems like Android, iOS, and web applications. It follows the one-size-fits-all code and does not require separate coding for the different platforms or OS.
Cross-platform application development builds a software product or service development compatible with several platforms and OS. This process is achieved either by creating separate versions of the app or opting for a cross-platform app development framework.
Cross-platform Mobile Apps use a bridge similar to hybrid apps that allows the programming language to run on any device without the need to rewrite the program for different platforms.
Most enterprises develop a cross-platform application through their in-house development team or outsource the project to reduce expenses and time.
What are the Major Platforms and Operating Systems?
Here are a few key platforms and operating systems:
It is an open-source mobile OS owned by Google and mainly designed for touchscreen devices like smartphones, smart tech, smart TVs, and smartwatches. It is the most popular mobile operating system.
It is the second-most popular mobile operating system powered by Apple. It is a closed OS with open-source components. It is mainly associated with Apple’s products like iPhone, Macbook, iPad, and so on.
- Web Application
A Web app is a third-party software or application program in a remote server that you can access over the network through a browser on your device.
Which Programming Languages are cross-platform?
Difference Between Native and cross-platform App Development
Both Native and cross-platform development are emerging technologies that are continually and rapidly advancing. Although cross-platform is the latest buzzword, native application development is also quite popular because of the benefits it offers.
Native app development targets creating complex sustainable software with seamless performance and high UI consistency on a particular platform. In contrast, the cross-platform approach aims to cover multiple end devices at a relatively lower cost.
- Deployment Time
- Device Access
- User Interface Consistency
Native App Development
- Seamless performance since all features and functions are built to suit a particular OS
- Higher development cost
- Higher time to market since code needs to be written from scratch for multiple platforms
- The Platform Software Development Kit assures access to API of the device without barriers
- Comes with several in-built security features
- A highly consistent user interface
Cross-Platform App Development
- High performance, but compatibility issues and lagging may occur, sometimes
- Relatively lower development cost
- Code reusability significantly lowers the time to market
- No guaranteed access to APIs of the device
- Comparatively less secure
- Relatively lower UI consistency
Examples of cross-platform Application Development Framework Based on Programming Languages
Here are a few examples of common cross-platform app development frameworks and the language they are based on.
Cross-platform App Development Framework
- React Native, NativeScript, Cordova, Appcelerator
- BeeWare, Kivy
- Codename One
What are the Benefits of Cross-Platform App Development?
Provides Wider Market Research
Compared to the native app development approach, which faces the problem of limited reach and short market research, cross-platform app development wins this battle with wide market research and user reach.
In native app development, your app is developed specifically for Android and iOS, limiting user access. In contrast, cross-platform app development enables developers to launch the same app on multiple platforms. Market research enhances when you are not limited to any specific device or platform.
cross-platform app development has a quicker turnaround because developers don’t create multiple apps for different platforms but only one app for all platforms. That means cross-platform app development reduces the development time and workload.
Reduced Development Cost
Using cross-platform app development technology reduces the number of development hours and also the overall project budget. With a reduced development budget, the costs for all related services like deployment, quality testing, and ongoing support get automatically reduced.
Choosing cross-platform mobile app development over native app development technique organizations can cut overall costs by almost 30-40%.
Smooth performance and a smart look (UI) and feel (UX) attract users. Cross-platform app development requires only one common development team with a single codebase to give a uniform look and feel across different platforms. This means the cross-platform app development technology offers the same user interface and UX on all platforms.
Further, cross-platform development ensures that the app UI/UX will remain uniform for every update and easy to sync.
Easier Maintenance & Deployment
cross-platform app development, with the help of development frameworks like Flutter, streamlines the app development, maintenance, and deployment process. Maintenance is crucial after successfully deploying your high-quality apps across Android and iOS users, and with one codebase, it becomes easy too.
The development cycle may look pretty simple and straight, but there are many inevitable bug fixes and improvements even during the running phase. Imagine doing maintenance and deployment for multiple applications of one business for development platforms. Yes, it does not sound feasible, and that’s why you need cross-platform development technology as a one-point solution for all.
Quicker Development Process
Compared to the native apps, which are developed specifically for one platform, like Android or iOS, but not both. That means building a native app for Android and iOS is developing two apps, two codebase support, and two sets of teams that increase the development time.
However, the cross-platform approach needs only one codebase for all platforms eliminating the rewriting of code from scratch every time and quicker the development process.
Faster Time-to-Market and Customization
A single codebase cross-development approach reduces the development, deployment, and customization time, as testing is required on one single codebase. Also, when any customization or bug is fixed, it’s done in the same code for all platforms saving time and effort.
Reusability of code is one of the most significant benefits of cross-platform mobile app development, due to which business owners and organizations adopt this approach. Developers don’t have to write the same code separately for different platforms like Android and iOS Android, but they can reuse the same code.
Furthermore, cross-platform app development frameworks like Flutter have pre-written code for other functionalities, which developers can use to save time and effort.
Easy Cloud Integration
Cloud Integration is easy with cross-platform development solutions based on cloud technologies. Also, organizations can integrate with various frameworks with cross-platform applications to implement several ready-to-use plugins for improving pp functionality, aesthetics, validity, and so on.
Challenges in the Cross-Platform App Development Process
Cross-platform app development process offers several benefits, but it is not without some challenges. These drawbacks are not a deal-breaker, but it is essential to note them.
Inferior UX And UI Compared to Native Apps
Interior UI and UX are significant disadvantages of cross-platforms. This framework builds applications for all platforms using the same code, unlike native apps specifically built for iOS or Android platforms focusing on specific UX and UI design.
The biggest misconception is that cross-platform development is easy because developers have to work only on one codebase. However, novice developers face several difficulties during the development phase as they have to use cross-compliance during the development process.
Cross-compliance, when not used correctly, can result in sluggish code, which ultimately slows the application.
Possible Lower Performance
Performance built up with new features and updates is slow to possess in cross-platform apps compared to native apps because the framework you use for pushing a recent update or feature may or may not be packed with all the latest features and versions of releases for a particular OS.
cross-platform apps are less secure than native apps as they use APIs and native frameworks. Furthermore, cross-platform mobile apps have a high chance of security issues and breaches.
Best cross-platform App Development Frameworks
The rising popularity of cross-platform app development has given rise to numerous cross-platform frameworks. We have listed the best five cross-platform application development frameworks in the market pool of multiple tools.
React Native is one of the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks created by Facebook in 2015.
Flutter is an open-source, free cross-platform application development framework created by Google in 2018. Although Flutter has not been in the market for very long, its features and capabilities has made it one of the most loved frameworks by developers according to the Developer Survey Results by StackOverflow.
Xamarin is an independent, open-source, cross-platform app development framework acquired by Microsoft in 2016. It is the oldest framework, founded in 2011, and has a large developer community.
Ionic is an open-source SDK and is one of the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks that enables developers to create a fantastic UI with user-friendly interfaces and features. It also supports the development of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs).
How to Select a cross-platform App Development Framework for Your Enterprise
When you have decided to go for cross-platform app development instead of going native, the problem of determining the best platform suited to your business needs arises. The choice of the most suited framework depends on several factors, the most significant ones being the organizational size, required solution, and developer skills.
Here are a few parameters that can drive you to make the best decision.
- Security: If your project has sensitive data involved, you should choose a framework that offers maximum security benefits.
- Workload of the development: If you have a large project that involves several functions and processes, you should opt for a cross-platform app tool that can support heavy workloads.
- Scalability: If seamless performance is your primary goal, you can choose a platform that offers the best app performance.
- Compatibility: If you’re a brand with a target to cover as many end devices and platforms as possible, you can choose the most compatible framework.
Opting for cross-platform App Development? Partner with OnGraph
Going for cross-platform app development and choosing a framework is not enough. Several other processes are involved, from hiring the developers, planning, and development to testing, updates, bug fixes, and rolling out the software.
Here you have two choices: seek help hiring the best cross-platform app developers, or outsource the entire project. We at OnGraph provide staffing services and custom cross-platform app development on frameworks like React Native, Flutter, and Ionic.
Ongraph Technologies has been empowering enterprises and startups around the globe for the last 14 years with smart solutions and delivering sustainable technology. We believe in building long-term relationships with our customers by providing them with affordable, timely, and effective solutions.