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10 Cross-platform App Development Frameworks That You Need to Know About

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Mobile apps run the world! If you want to get something done on the internet, you first look for an app that could assist you, or better yet, do the task for you. And if you are a brand, it becomes all the more important for you to build an app that lets your potential customers find you easily.  

Now, with so many operating systems on mobile devices – iOS and Android being the primary ones, building a separate app for each operating system can be overwhelming. However, building multiplatform solutions is easier and more cost-efficient than ever, thanks to cross-platform app development frameworks such as React Native, Node.js, and PhoneGap. A cross-platform app development framework eliminates the need for preparing different code for different platforms, and, therefore, is a top choice among mobile app development services providing companies. 

If you are looking to build an app that doesn’t require advanced design or process data online, cross-platform app development can be your savior. 

Build Your Next App Using the Best Cross-platform App Development Frameworks 

Since cross-platform app development became the new norm in the mobile app development industry, the markets are flooding with cross-platform app development frameworks. With so many options to choose from, a developer might find picking the most appropriate framework for their next project a bit challenging. 

Here, we have put together the best, feature-rich cross-platform app development frameworks for app developers’ convenience. 

1. React Native 

React Native is hands down the most popular cross-platform app development framework among developers and businesses. Built on JavaScript, the framework is best known for enabling developers to write code in Java, Swift, and Objective C. Even operations that are not a part of the framework API can be performed in applications built in React Native by using native modules and libraries. It helps that it is an open-source framework as there is a community that constantly works on improving it by introducing new features and fixing bugs. React Native app development requires one-time coding (Write Once, Run Anywhere), making it the most cost-efficient cross-platform app development framework. It is also compatible with various third-party plugins. 

2. Flutter 

Flutter was introduced by Google almost 5 years ago. It is largely a software development kit which is also used for developing most Google Fuschia apps. Perhaps the most significant advantage of using Flutter as a cross-platform app development platform is that it promotes portable GPU, and thus, works seamlessly on even the latest interfaces. Thanks to its reactive framework, the developers do not have to update the UI contents manually. Several app developers use Flutter to quickly create MVPs. Some of the most popular apps developed using Flutter include Google Ads, and Alibaba. 

3. Xamarin 

Developers who are well-versed in C# and .Net use Xamarin for mobile app development. The highlight of Xamarin is that 90% of the code can be readily used on Android, Windows, and iOS. Part of the reason why it often gets a higher preference over other cross-platform app development frameworks is C# has leverage over Objective-C and Java. The plugins and specific APIs in Xamarin are well-designed, and that helps reduce hardware compatibility issues significantly. It supports WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere), and also, assists the developers in designing a native-like app. 

4. NativeScript 

As the name may suggest, NativeScript is a JavaScript based free cross-platform app development framework. It allows the users to reuse existing plugins as they are in the NPM. Readily available plugins for most operations eliminate the need for any third-party solution. NativeScript is also compatible with segments such as AndroidArsenal, and Cocoapods. 

5. Ionic 

Based on AngularJS, Ionic is a commonly used cross-platform app development platform. Its SaaS UI framework makes it a suitable framework for designing interactive user interfaces in mobile apps. Ionic’s extensive set of tools and features, along with its library of CSS, HTML, and JS components, make it a favorite among mobile app developers. Hybrid applications developed using Ionic are easy to identify as they come with native-style elements and layouts, customizable tools, and specific gestures. Features that make use of Camera and GPS can also be added seamlessly to these applications because of Cordova plugins. 

6. Node.js 

Largely used in the development of server-side and scalable networking applications, Node.js is a cross-platform app development framework built on the Chrome V8 JavaScript engine. The applications created using this framework are known for being highly responsive and exceptionally efficient. It is a reliable framework as it can efficiently handle concurrent connections. The availability of various JavaScript modules also helps in simplifying the application development process. Node.js is known for supporting scalable apps, thanks to the single-threaded model powered by looping functionality. 

7. Appcelerator Titanium 

Appcelerator is a relatively less popular framework, however, it does a good job streamlining the mobile app development process by using native components of the JavaScript codebase. It facilitates evaluation of user interaction with the user interface in less time. It also allows the developers to deploy data models easily by using ArrowDB - the schema-less data store. Delivery systems such as SCM solutions, among others, can be easily integrated to Appcelerator Titanium. The major highlight of this framework is that it has pre-built connectors for MS SQL, MS Azure, Salesforce, and more. 

8. PhoneGap 

As per some recently published mobile app development trends, the market share of PhoneGap, a distribution of the Cordova framework, was the highest among various other cross-platform app development frameworks. It uses JavaScript and HTML 5 along with CSS, and is backed by Adobe. The best thing about PhoneGap is it is highly compatible with most in-built device features including but not limited to GPS, camera, and storage. It also allows modular extension of the access to native device APIs, and can be used to create applications for most mobile operating systems. 

9. Sencha Touch 

Even though it was released nearly a decade ago, it continues to be relevant with today’s app development methods. Sencha Touch is primarily used in applications that use hardware acceleration techniques. The cross-platform framework allows the developers to build well-tested and securely integrated libraries and UI components. It also offers exemplary code compatibility, and comes with over 50 built-in user interface widgets that can be customized to suit the requirement. The UI widgets include carousels, forms, menus, toolbars, and more. 

10. Corona SDK 

While all the above mentioned cross-platform app development frameworks are largely used for creating mobile apps, Corona SDK is known for being used to develop apps for Amazon Kindle and Windows. The backend framework of Corona SDK relies on Lua, a lightweight and multi-paradigm programming language, allowing up to 10x faster app development. The free framework also supports real-time testing, making it a preferred choice among app developers. The developers can pick from over 1000 APIs and 200 plugins as required. 

Lesser-known Benefits of Cross-platform App Development Frameworks 

Are you still double-minded about building your next app on a cross-platform network? Let us take a look at some of the benefits you will enjoy when you decide to go with it: 

  • Increased reach 

Using a cross-platform framework for app development makes it easier for you to publish your application on multiple platforms instead of just one, making it easier for your potential users to find you, and ultimately, increasing your reach exponentially. 

  • Reduced development cost 

The idea behind building a cross-platform app is to reduce expense as well as time o development. Building on a cross-platform framework requires you to code only once as the code can be reused with little modification to suit practically any platform. 

  • Quicker development 

Development efforts can be reduced exponentially by building on a cross-platform framework instead of building separately for each platform. It speeds up the entire process of bringing an app to the market. 

  • Easier maintenance 

Since all the running applications would have a common foundation code, keeping up with any changes and synchronizing them across all the platforms would become much easier. 

Final Thoughts 

Since there are so many different cross-platform app frameworks, each with their own set of limitations and capabilities, choosing the best among these can be a bit confusing for the developer. 

When choosing the most appropriate cross-platform framework, one must consider factors such as the size of the company, the developers’ skillset, and the requirements of the project carefully.  

If you are looking to build something simplistic yet efficient, Iconic could be your best bet. Similarly, if performance and speed are your top priorities, Sencha and Xamarin would be the better options. 

Do you want to build a cross-platform app for your business? Cerebrum is a reliable mobile app development company that has a long-standing history of delivering high-quality business solutions to our clients at unparalleled prices. We have an exceptionally skilled team of developers who can build highly functional on-demand apps, clones, web apps, and more right from scratch in no time. 

Other than being a cross-platform app development company, we also specialize in software development, cloud computing, website & web app development, and more. 

Do you want to get something exemplary build? Feel free to reach out to us. 

FAQs 

What is a cross-platform app development framework? 

A cross-platform app development framework can be best defined as a tool developers use to create mobile apps for multiple operating systems (platforms) such as Android, Windows, and iOS, without having to write a separate code for each platform. The code written using a cross-platform framework can be run on practically any platform with just some minor modifications. 

Which framework can be used to develop cross-platform applications? 

There are a number of frameworks that can be used to develop cross-platform applications including but not limited to React Native, Ionic, Corona SDK, and PhoneGap. You can find more information about these and some other commonly used cross-platform app development frameworks above in this article. 

Which open-source framework creates native apps through cross-platform development? 

Some of the best open-source frameworks that support cross-platform app development are: 

  • Ionic (open-source front-end framework) 
  • React Native  
  • Node.js 

Which language is used for cross-platform app development? 

Different cross-platform app development frameworks support different programming languages. The framework programming language you are proficient in would largely decide what framework you work on. Some common programming languages supported by multiple cross-platform app development frameworks are JavaScript, Kotlin, Swift, .Net, and C#. 

What is the best cross-platform framework? 

While different cross-platform frameworks have different capabilities, it is also important to note that you must pick one depending upon your programming expertise and project requirements. For instance, Ionic could be the best cross-platform framework for someone who is well-versed in HTML5 and JavaScript while Corona SDK could be the best choice for someone who is familiar with Lua. You can pick any of the above-mentioned cross-platform frameworks for your next project depending upon the scope of your project and your programming skills. 

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Surbhi Sood

Surbhi is a passionate writer. She has been writing for several years now, and enjoys demystifying complex topics to make them understandable for a broader range of audience.

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