Mobile apps are now an indispensable ingredient of the globe, and the mobile app industry is gaining maximum traction. The number of smartphone subscriptions worldwide today surpasses six billion and is forecast to further grow by several hundred million in the next few years.
Mobile app development is gaining popularity and cross platform apps are the latest trend in this industry. The capabilities of cross platform app development have attracted most organizations around the world, to leverage its benefits.
There are many cross-platform app development companies building robust cross platform apps, serving multiple industry segments, be it startups, SMEs, or enterprises worldwide. These apps have been often compared to native apps, but have stood tough to face the comparison and move ahead.
This article is a detailed guide that takes you into the world of cross platform mobile app development, its salient benefits, limitations, popular cross platform app development frameworks, the process of cross platform application development, difference between native apps and cross platform apps.
Cross-platform app development is the process of designing and developing an application that can execute seamlessly on multiple platforms and mobile devices. It focuses on using the same code base for all platforms and a range of modern-day technologies for creating cross-platform apps. These apps empower the ‘write once, run anywhere’ approach saving on time and costs.
There are competitive number of cross platform app development frameworks, tools, plug-ins, and libraries that have made this technology ideal for all types of businesses. Especially with its fast development, turnaround time and high-end quality, it is fit for startups.
Cross Platform app development services are ideal for solutions that don’t need advanced design, processing of online incoming data and availability of all device-related features.
Based on the above attractive features, cross platform apps offer a range of benefits that have attracted developers to go in for cross platform app development, here are they:
With cross platform mobile app development, the overall development time goes much shorter with the right mix of frameworks, tools, and plug-ins. With its code reusability feature, the codebase remains uniform across devices and hence offers faster deployment results too.
Since the cross platform apps execute seamlessly on iOS, Android and other systems, the reach to newer clients and audience is higher. It also supports other devices like smartwatches and hence can connect easily with a wider target audience.
Since these apps are based on ‘write once, run everywhere’ concept, they reduce the upfront charges that can occur while the app is not released yet. This help in lessening the risks involved whenever upfront costs go high in any application.
Cross platform applications help in faster collection of data for market trend analysis and customer feedback. These applications facilitate access to the right information at the right time to the right audience.
Thanks to its salient benefits as mentioned above, cross platform app development has become a developer’s favourite and hence this is turning out to be one of the most leading benefits of cross platform apps.
Since it is compatible with all kinds of mobile devices, plug-ins and libraries, its integration with cloud-driven services and solutions is seamless and hence it becomes easy to manage applications within the cloud.
With code writing and deployment being compatible with all devices, it becomes easy to manage and maintain cross platform apps. These apps are synchronized evenly on all platforms.
Faster coding and deployment help these applications to reach the marketplace in an effective and quick manner. Also, any kind of update or addition will have to be done in a single codebase and hence the output is faster.
With the same codebase being referred to, across all devices, there is effective agile development following the standard set of agile principles. Also, there is an accurate and symmetric user interface and experience with a consistent design output.
With the involvement of a single codebase and reusable components, there is a great deal of enhancement in productivity leading to convenient coding efforts. Also, the cross platform apps have a native look and feel which offers a wonderful user experience.
As popular as it is, just like any popular technology, cross platform application development does have its own share of constraints:
Overall, any cross platforms app development company offers the following service areas, as an IT partner:
In the preliminary phase, the basic details about your idea, business, and clients are gathered. A comprehensive analysis of your requirements, to help you further in the app development journey, is executed.
The key objectives, goals and identification of scope is done by the team consultants and developers. This phase includes defining use cases and deciding functional requirements along with a roadmap considering time, resources, functionalities, and costs.
Engaging, intuitive, and user-friendly user interfaces with seamless navigations and UI designs are crafted by UI/UX designers. Wireframes are designed, feedback is collected, and ideas are prototyped with a visual structure.
The development happens with selected development approaches, technologies, and platforms. Developers work on the frontend, APIs, and backend part of the application and define deliverable milestones.
The SEO experts help in creating an interactive and attractive user experience to attract an increasing number of visitors and garner more traffic through social media handles.
QA engineers test the app’s functionality, security, serviceability, and reliability across different platforms and screens. Different types of tests are conducted during this period to check if an app is giving a positive response or not with different sets of inputs.
Apps are launched on the suitable app store after implementing the recommendations and release conditions. Once the app is installed and published, post-production support and maintenance follow.
Getting confused between cross platform apps and native apps is quite common. Even though cross platform application development gives a native-like experience, there is a difference. Here are some of the evident differences between the two known technologies:
|Parameters||Cross Platform Apps||Native Apps|
|Costing||Lower cost of ownership||Higher cost of ownership|
|Code Reusability||Single code works for multiple platforms||Single code works for a single platform|
|Consistent UI||Restricted UI consistency with a lag||Extensive UI consistency|
|Performance||High-end native like performance, may face hardware issues||Smooth performance, fully native if the application is for a particular OS|
|Deployment Time||Less deployment time since code is reusable and hence faster time to market||High deployment time since source code needs to be written from scratch|
|Number of Users||Can target higher number of users with multiple platforms||Can target limited range of users with a specified purpose|
|Skilled Expertise||Easily available web-based and mobile-based resources||Tough to find native app experienced resources|
|Background Processing||Does not permit background processing||Permits task execution even if in background|
|Device Availability||No guaranteed access to device APIs||Access to device APIs through platform SDKs|
|Advantages Over the Other||Cost-effectiveness
Shorter development time
Presence on all platforms
Lower maintenance costs
Native APIs and device features
|Architecture||Single app for different platforms||Different apps for multiple platforms|
Though there are many cross platform app development frameworks that are getting popular, here are some of the major ones that have carved a niche for themselves:
Flutter is Google’s open-source UI kit for creating cross-platform apps utilizing a single codebase. It creates intuitive, faster, and amazing user experiences for mobile, web, and desktop using cross-platform capabilities. It is the preferred choice of developers and businesses for cross-platform app development that saves time and cost.
React Native is a leading cross-platform framework that permits developers to create fully native apps with platform-specific native components. It is an open-source UI software framework designed by Meta Platforms, Inc. Developers use React Native to develop native applications for Android, iOS, Web, Windows, and UWP.
Firebase offers cross-platform SDKs and a set of hosting services for any type of application. It is supported by Google and provides real-time, NoSQL hosting of content, social authentication, content, databases, and a real-time communication server. Firebase is not a framework but a backend service to assist developers build, manage, and ship apps.
Kotlin is a cross-platform, general-purpose, free, and open-source programming language. It is deemed ‘pragmatic’ and initially designed for JVM. It is a formally supported programming language for Android app development. It is fully interoperable with Java and one of the most popular programming languages among Android developers.
An Interesting Read: Kotlin vs React Native: Which Is Best For Cross-platform App Development
When we come across so many of cross platform app development frameworks, it becomes a tough task on which one to choose. That is where the following parameters can help in selecting the ideal fit for your project, you must consider these factors while finalizing the technology:
In the modern-day digital era, it is a barren fact that mobile app development is on a sky rocketing high now and cross platform app development is the catalyst, flying it high, far and wide. Cross platform apps have proved their worth for all types of applications and businesses. You just need an experienced cross platform app development company who can understand your needs and transform them into effective cross platform applications.
Cross platform mobile app development is a courageous step in the arena of mobile app development since it is omnipresent across many devices through a singular codebase. It simplifies the entire process of app development and hence whatever tool you choose, the results are brilliant.
The above exhaustive guide has been created with an aim to appraise all facets of cross platform application development and we hope it has been able to offer value addition to your requirements.
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