Apps are the way by which we are leading our life now. Although, getting started with Mobile App Development for your business is both time consuming and expensive especially if you go native. Earlier when native apps were developed, they were built only for a single platform. Although, now one can easily get a cross-platform mobile app development tool and get the deed done.
These cross-platform app development tools cater to both Android and IOS. Also, they are more than capable of creating an app more or less equivalent to a native one. Therefore, in order to guide you with Cross-Platform App Development and tools, we have written this article specifically for you. A lot of these tools are being used by many small and large scale app development company.
What is a Cross-Platform Application?
A Cross-Platform application is one which is developed to run on multiple platforms such as Android, IOS, Windows etc. Initially, these applications were built as native for each platform. This made the development of a single application quite expensive and time-consuming. Although, now we have the tools that can cater to a single codebase to create an app for different platforms.
What is a Cross-Platform App Development Tool?
In simple language, a Cross-Platform App Development Tool is one using which you can create a single application for multiple platforms. Most of these Cross-Platform tools can be divided into basically two types. The first one involves the compilation of code for a specific platform. For instance, if you have written code then in order to make the application run on IOS or Android, you have to compile them separately with a designated compiler.
Secondly, the codebase for these applications is written once. Most of these applications can be run independently on any platform(mostly web apps) that too without any separation. There are tonnes of Cross-Platform Frameworks out there which can be used by you. Although, each of the frameworks for cross-platform serves its own purpose. Therefore, in order to sort you out, we tried to mention the best Cross-Platform App Development tools that are just right for Mobile App Development.
List of Top 10 Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Tools
Features: Single Codebase for Android and IOS.
- Comes with Hot Reload, therefore, just hit refresh and you will be capable of seeing changes just like TypeScript.
- Capable of Fixing Crashes and Bugs at the place where the development was left-off.
- Write less code and get more functionality because of the modern declarative approach.
- Get Material Design for both Android and IOS enabling to make beautiful Native apps.
- No OEM Widget support needed.
Platforms Supported: Windows, MacOS, Linus, IOS, Android, Google Fuschia
Applications: Pairing, Meeve, PostMuse, WaterManiac, MusicTutor etc.
Overview: Flutter is relatively new in the market and a lot of app creators have been saying that it is Google’s answer to Facebook’s React Native. Although keeping the rivalry aside it won’t be wrong to say that Google will definitely try to push its app development framework. Yes, there are chances that Flutter might turn huge in the future. Why? Well, because Google is currently working on Google Fuschia which might replace Android. This Operating System will be made for all the devices be it your Smartphone, TV, or Smartwatch.
Flutter is based on the language DART which is a little unknown for many but relatively easy to learn. The engine of Flutter is based on low-level components based on C++. What does this mean? Well, applications made on this framework are going to be fast. In fact, the framework has been capable of rendering 120 frames per second that too stable in the DART Developer Summit in 2015. This can be a great Mobile app development framework to adapt since it is capable of making great IOS as well as Android applications.
Features: It is really easy to select between 2D and 3D models for the projects.
- It comes with preferences to the Unity Editor.
- Get access to a more sophisticated VisualStudio Experience.
- Controlling the Versions is easy using the tools.
- Advanced options to control cutscenes and sprites.
- Great Physics Simulation for real dynamics to the mechanics.
Note: In case if you wish to read the full documentation of the features then click on the link here.
Platforms Supported: iOS, Android, Tizen, Windows, Universal Windows Platform, Mac, Linux, WebGL, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, 3DS, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Steam VR, PlayStation VR, Gear VR, Windows Mixed Reality, Daydream, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, tvOS, Nintendo Switch,Fire OS, Facebook Gameroom, Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore, Vuforia, and Magic Leap
Applications: Osiris: New Dawn, Assassin’s Creed Identity, Praey for the God, Deus Ex: The Fall etc.
Overview: Unity3D is among the most well-recognised gaming engine that is available in the market. The system allows the game developers to make stunning games such as Assassin’s Creed Unity. Using Unity3D one can create both 2D as well as 3D games with jaw-dropping visuals. Although, the best part about all this is that it can be done using zero code.
Unity was first announced and released in the year 2005. Since then it has become one of the more favourable gaming engines in competition with Unreal Engine. The gaming engine allows creating entire worlds around a character with zero code. It is practically possible to come with a much diverse game using the engine. Why? They have a great market space from where one can download sprites, animation, scenes, and much more by paying a little amount. Thinking of starting to make a gaming application then Unity3D may be the best Cross-Platforms framework you can bet upon. Also, the gaming engine is capable of great Cross-Platform Mobile App Development for Gaming apps for both Android and IOS.
Features: Capable of creating apps for Windows, Android, IOS, Web etc.
- More than 5000 APIs are available for Integration.
- Development in it is relatively faster.
- The Code is reusable with a percentage of 60%-90%.
- A great way to replace Native SDKs.
Platforms Supported: IOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows UWP
Applications: None of the applications are mentioned for this Framework.
It was estimated in 2013 by Business Insider that 10% of the world’s application was made on Appcelerator. The framework is capable of making Android, IOS, and applications for many other platforms including Desktops. The core component of the framework consists of the Titanium SDK. Therefore, in order to use the framework, the one thing that needs to be done is SDK installation.
Download Link: https://www.appcelerator.com/titanium/titanium-sdk/4/
Features: Can be used to render SVG Images.
- Capable of making applications for IOS and Android.
- Writing code in the language is quite efficient and faster.
- Has tonnes of third-party APIs that can be used along with it.
- The framework is UI-Centric.
Platforms Supported: Android, IOS, and Windows UWP
Applications: Airbnb, Facebook Ads Manager, Instagram, Ubereats etc.
Download Link: https://facebook.github.io/react-native/
Features: It is very easy to learn and absolutely free.
- Based on Lua which is light-weight and efficient.
- A vast range of Plugins available for added functionality.
- Capable of Calling any native library such as C/C++/Obj-C/Java.
- Capable of making cross-platform applications for TV, Mobile, and Watches.
Platforms Supported: Mac OS, Windows, IOS, Android, Kindle TV, Android TV
Applications: Zip Zap, PKTBALL, The Lost City, Fun Run 2, Hangover Rope Swing.
Overview: Corona is a 2D gaming application Software development kit which was developed by Corona Labs. The mobile app development framework was first released in the year 2009. The great part about Corona was that it could be used to make applications for IoS, Android, Kindle, and Desktop. Corona is capable of building great graphical applications all thanks to the integration of Lua and C++/OpenGL.
Corona can be divided into two segments which are: Corona Simulator and Corona Native. Using Corona Simulator one can directly build applications and watch the results simultaneously. Although, the Corona Native helps you in developing Native applications using the Lua Code and asset building Xcode or Android Studio.
Features: It allows you to make applications for Android, IOS, Desktop, and Mobile browsers.
- Ionic has various mobile components, typography, and custom themes.
- Ionic also gets an integrated development environment known as Ionic Studio.
- The Framework allows using Cordova Plugins and front-end packages.
- Ionic gets you to access host devices such as Camera, GPS, Gyroscope, Proximity Sensor etc.
Platforms Supported: Android, IOS, and Windows
Applications: Pacifica, JustWatch, ChefSteps, Diesel, SworKit, MarketWatch
Overview: Ionic was initially introduced to us in the year 2013. The mobile app development framework has been widely accepted by the developer’s community. This one is capable of making great hybrid applications using AngularJs and the Ionic infrastructure. Ionic can be used to make Mobile, Desktop as well as progressive web applications. One can create apps in Ionic and then deploy it to their prospective native stores. The great thing about this cross-platform framework is that you can also achieve full nativity with it if one wants it.
Features: MVC architecture which makes large scale productions flexible.
- Set of GUIs that gets Widget Components and Custom themes.
- Almost eight transition effects with animations and UI that is responsive.
- Gets access to infographics with pinch and zoom functionality.
- It lets you make different profiles as per different screen sizes.
Platforms Supported: Android, IOS, Blackberry, Kindle, Windows Phone, and Tizen
Applications: Applications are not mentioned for this Framework.
Download Link: https://www.sencha.com/products/touch/download/
8.SAP Mobile Platform
Features: Make Enterprise level applications compatible with Android and IOS.
- Modify native applications without writing any code.
- Creation of Micro-Applications is almost instantaneous.
- Secure access to data even on Mobile Platforms.
- Great Analytics tools for clients usage.
- Support system that works to provide assistance anytime.
Platforms Supported: Any Platform
Applications: None of the applications are mentioned for this Framework.
Overview: It is really easy to distinguish SAP from any other Cross-Platform Mobile App Development tool or framework. For all of us who know about SAP, well, they work in providing enterprise-grade applications. These applications are very complex and work on different systems at the same time. Also, an enterprise-grade application needs access to the database continuously whether it is online or offline.
SAP Mobile Platform was made to achieve all that we discussed. The framework is capable of connecting business to mobile platforms. It provides a middle-layer between all the different collection of data and the mobile interface. Most of the work that goes inside an ERP solution is more related to infrastructure. SAP lets the developer to write the business logic and the product automatically find its place using it. The translation is carried out in accordance with different Operating Systems and Mobile devices. SAP Mobile Platform is the only one in the market which lets you make a complex system easier and faster.
Features: Robust back-end system that helps speed up the process.
- The framework is compatible with all platforms.
- Capable of getting access to the device’s hardware.
- It is really efficient and least time-consuming.
Platforms Supported: Any Platform(Major Ones)
Applications: Snowbuddy, Untappd, Yoga+Travel, Bit Timer, Metar Reader
Features: Gets you native support for Android and IOS.
- Emulator to run the code on any platform.
- Diagnostics available for Troubleshooting.
- Various levels of code signing.
- It gets you custom controls.
Platforms Supported: Windows, Android, IOS, MAC, Windows Mobile.
Applications: OLO, FreshDirect, The World Bank, Skulls of the Shogun, Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Overview: Xamarin is another really great Cross-Platform Mobile App Development tool. The tool is owned by Microsoft and is really popular among the developer’s community. With Xamarin, you can really speed up your process of development. It allows you to write a shared code between different platforms such as Android and IOS. Although, it doesn’t touch the UI of the applications developed. It has been made so to enable the applications to keep their nativity. Xamarin is a widely accepted framework in over 120 countries. Also, approximately 1.4 million developers are there who use it making Xamarin a trustworthy ally for app development.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Cross-Platform System
There are multiple ways how one can approach the development path of an application. Taking that into mind it becomes essential to figure out the best. If you are thinking of creating an app going full native or going hybrid is the way.
Although being hybrid means that you are going cross-platform which has its own added pros and cons. Therefore, in order to have a clear understanding of why Cross-Platforms system of good or bad, below we have mentioned the advantages and disadvantages to it.
|The code written is reusable so can be run on any platform.||Cross-Platform applications are not performance intensive.|
|The system saves you from learning multiple since the code for these applications is written in a single language.||If you want a graphic-heavy application then this won’t be the best bet.|
|Cross-Platform Applications are very easy to maintain.||If you are thinking of making an app for a single platform then go for a native one.|
|You just need to make changes to the main code and everything will be changed.||Cross-Platform application has most of the basic features of all the platforms.|
|These applications are relatively very cheap in comparison to any other kind of applications.||Although, they do lack at most of the specific features at times.|
|They have a wider reach since they are not platform-dependent.||A Cross-Platform application cannot deal directly with the hardware.|
|The updates to these applications can come very late.|
Things to Keep in mind before Selecting a Cross-Platform App Development Tool
- Code Reusability: This is another really important factor to choose a Tool. The amount of code reusability your framework has, the better it will be in the future to maintain the app and deploy it for different platforms. For instance, Code Reusability of Appcelerator Titanium lies between 60%-90%.
- Platforms: Most of the frameworks that are made for cross-platform applications cater to all major platforms. Although, if you are thinking of making an app for Tizen then it becomes essential that the platform that you choose supports development in it.
- Nativity: This may sound a little ironic but it is important to check the extent of nativity a Cross-Platform Development tool can provide to your app. It is a known fact that native applications are faster. Although, in this context, it means how much control do you have over the code and integration. End of the day, nobody wants an app that isn’t that functional, laggy, or choppy.
- Libraries and Plugins: It is the battle between Flutter and React Native. React Native gets you access to all the plugins on the internet and has a decent library. Although, Flutter on the other hand is more in-house giving you plugins and libraries that are developed by the Google team itself. Both of those aspects have their added advantages. Although, it is up to you to decide which way you wish to go.
- Performance: Is the cross-platform Mobile app development tool which is being selected capable of giving performance savvy applications. It mostly depends on the code and the language used. Also plugins, libraries, and many other factors sum-up to the performance. Although, one can just check the list of apps developed and anticipate how performance these apps might be.
- Hardware Requirement: A lot of applications that are developed have hardware requirements. Just check whether the framework you are choosing gets you that kind of support or not.
- Time & Cost: Time is money, therefore, make sure the framework doesn’t take a whole lot of time to develop the application.
- Maintenance: It is indeed important to check whether the application that you have developed is easy to or not.
So this was our guide to Cross-Platform Mobile App Development tools. Getting a cross-platform application is relatively cheap and less time-consuming. Therefore, if you are doing so then it is definitely a nice move. We are an app making company and in case if you have any queries for app making then mail us at [email protected]. In case if you wish to read an article on Top AR Apps then click on the link provided. You can also read about us being ranked as Top Mobile Developer Company by Clutch.Co by clicking on the link provided.You can also write your queries in the comment box below. Also, if you like this article then stay tuned since we will be adding more in the coming future. We hope this article may have been of some help to you. Also, thank you for reading it until the end. Till then…Happy Reading !!!