Top 8 CrossPlatform App Development Frameworks
Within the developer community, the preference for transitioning from native to cross-platform app development frameworks has been significant. Developers have been looking for ways to reduce time, effort, and resources without compromising build quality. This is the possible scenario when they brought forward the concept of cross-platform app development.
To use a single piece of code for building a cross-platform mobile app. Don’t you think this can save developers much time and let them focus on brainstorming algorithms? Besides being a cheaper and faster alternative, developers use cross-platform development to repurpose nearly 70 to 95% of the written code.
Seems an effective approach to app development. Right? But for a successful cross-platform app development, you need to choose the right cross-platform framework. If you are unsure what to choose, this blog will guide you to select the right one.
Why Should You Not Go For Cross-Platform Mobile Development Frameworks?
If you are thinking not to go for cross-platform mobile Development, here are quick pointers you may consider.
- Want to spend hours with multiple codebases- If you're okay with managing multiple codebases for different platforms, don’t choose cross-platform frameworks. Cross-platform development, on the other hand, provides a consistent user experience across both Android and iOS and Android with a single codebase. How boringly efficient! Isn’t it?
- Want to pile up development costs- You can save several bucks with a single codebase in cross-platform development. But you don’t want to go that way. Right? Go for native development and increase unnecessary costs on development.
- Want to restrict your audience reach- If you're not interested in reaching the largest audience with the least effort, don't look into cross-platform frameworks. They allow you to target multiple platforms and broader demographics.
8 Best Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks
Without much delay, let’s learn about the 8 cross-platform app development frameworks.
The team of Google introduced Flutter as an ambitious project. They aimed to create a tool to build high-performance apps with a singular codebase. Given the support and expertise of Google, Flutter is still on the rise in popularity. It emerged as a solution to the longstanding challenges of cross-platform development, particularly performance and consistency across devices.
Its Reach and Community Strength
The framework enjoys an expansive and passionate community. This is evident through the following data insights.
GitHub Popularity: With more than 138k stars, it’s indicative that the developer community values Flutter.
Social Media Presence: Flutter has gained followers of 178k on Twitter, indicating the tech community's enthusiasm about its updates.
Engagements and Meetups: The real-world engagement is just as active, with over 60k members participating in Flutter-related Meetups.
Quality Performance due to Near-Native Experience: Given its unique architecture (its unique approach to rendering through its own graphics engine: Skia, and its emphasis on widgets), apps developed using Flutter offer an experience that's very close to native. This means the user experience of flutter-based apps is consistent across different platforms.
Single Codebase: Developers can build applications for Android and iOS concurrently.
Hot Reload: With this functionality in Flutter, developers can instantly view the changes made in the code on simulators, emulators, and hardware. This speeds up the debugging and development process.
Rich Widget Library: In Flutter, "widgets" are the primary building blocks. Instead of differentiating between view controllers, views, layouts, and other UI components, Flutter treats everything — from buttons to padding to fonts — as a customizable widget.
Code Shareability: The promise of 80% to 90% code shareability across platforms ensures reduced development time and effort. This is one reason that allows a top-quality React Native app development company to produce a dynamic app.
Community and Support: React Native is more than a product or a framework. With approx 112,000 stars and over 1,000 contributors on GitHub, React Native has grown to be a strong community. A rapidly growing ecosystem backed by tech giants like Facebook and Microsoft ensures the framework is ever-evolving.
Close-to-Native Performance: The hallmark of React Native is its near-native performance. This is achieved by directing code components straight to native APIs.
Quick Updates: Developers can see their changes or updates in real time without the repetitious cycle of restarting. This dynamic nature received a green signal from Apple, eliminating the typical wait for app update approvals.
Possible Use Cases
Looking for a framework to build Android and iOS apps: React Native is the go-to mobile app development framework for both platforms. Hence, you can save your resources, time, and cost.
Easy MVPs: Given its high reusability of code, businesses looking to quickly prototype their ideas and get feedback can consider React Native.
Community-Driven Projects: With an active community, projects that aim to leverage open-source modules will find React Native an effective choice.
Another cross-platform app development framework, ionic, is dynamic and backend-neutral. You can connect this with varied cloud platforms like Firebase, Azure, and AWS. The framework offers an extensive library of pre-built integrations. Such integrations, referred to as "Official", are crafted and updated regularly by the Ionic experts. Hence, it ensures dependable release schedules.
Philosophy and Foundation
- Global Impact- Ionic influences 15% of the app store space.
- Web-First Strategy- Ionic's commitment to web technologies like HTML, JS, and CSS is the basis for its versatile app creation.
Its Portals- It is used to build adaptable micro frontends, a boon for large-scale enterprises aiming for streamlined app deployments.
Synergy of Ionic Framework and Capacitor- This framework enhances the Capacitor's potential by bringing mobile-optimized UI tools and navigation.
Corona's app and game development journey showcases how frameworks need to be versatile, efficient, and community-driven to succeed in today's world. Its dependance on Lua, an open-source scripting language, and its commitment to open-source practices highlight the essence of adaptability and collaboration.
More than a Mere Framework
- You can find a community of over 500,000 developers. More than 12 years of trust and team bonding make the framework special.
- It is a central spot for all resources—project templates, plugins, or graphics. Everything one may need for a dynamic game or app is accessible in the Corona marketplace.
Transparent Pricing Structure
The framework costs free of charge and has no hidden costs. Hence, it serves the needs of both app publishing houses and indie developers.
The Top Advantage It Offers
- NativeScript is fully open source under the Apache 2.0 license. Also, it is free of charge.
- With 1.7K forks and 22.9K stars on GitHub, NativeScript's community is growing. Hence, you will find strong community support.
Native Elements At Its Core
Easy Access to API- in NativeScript, get the full potential of mobile platforms with 100% access to native platform APIs. Moreover, 60fps performance and a true native UX let your apps perform consistently on cross-platform.
.NET MAUI or .NET Multi-platform App UI is a development framework suitable for cross-platform. Use . Net MAUI and build native applications for both desktop and mobile platforms. However, you need to know C# and XAML to build apps for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS with a shared codebase. It’s a successor to Xamarin.Forms.
Objectives and Supported Platforms
Extended Reach- While a single project built with .NET MAUI serves multiple platforms, you still retain the flexibility to blend platform-based resources and code.
Shared Codebase- Its aim is to centralize as much of your application's logic and user interface layout in a zone. Hence, it eliminates redundancy during the production process.
But how is it possible?
It merges the APIs of macOS, Android, iOS, and Windows into one, allowing for an integrated development experience.
Distribution and Origin
- Being a distribution of Apache Cordova, PhoneGap enjoys a competitive edge as Cordova is a reputable mobile web application development technology.
- Adobe's support ensures PhoneGap is regularly updated. Hence, you get enhanced features and industry-level support.
Appcelerator Titanium is an open-source, cross-platform mobile app development framework that allows developers to build native apps for cross-mobile platforms. Only the knowledge of JavaSript suffices. Essentially, it bridges the gap between native app development and web technologies.
- Titanium APIs: These JS-based APIs provide access to native UI components and functionalities. Note that Titanium.UI is for UI components, while Titanium.Network for networking features.
- Hyperloop: One of Titanium's key features, Hyperloop provides direct access to every Native API. While Axway Titanium SDK offers numerous native APIs in a cross-platform space, Hyperloop is for more specific needs.
- Alloy: This is Titanium's MVC framework. It streamlines the mobile app development through consistent directory structure and theme-based UI.
Consider localization support for each framework to cater to a broader audience. While the initial investment in localization might seem additional, the potential benefits of user engagement, revenue, and market reach are noteworthy.
So, here is the localization support mentioned for each framework.
Flutter: It offers built-in internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) support, making it easy for developers to reach global audiences.
React Native: React Native supports localization with third-party library installation. Examples include react-intl, react-i18next, and react-native-localize.
Ionic: Ionic apps, being web-based, can utilize any web localization libraries or methods. You can consider tools like ngx-translate for Angular-based Ionic apps.
Corona: Supporting localization with Corona is complex and manual.
NativeScript: Consider plugins like nativescript-localize.
.NET MAUI: Being a part of the .NET ecosystem, consider .NET's extensive localization features like Resource Files (.resx), ResourceManager, Satellite Assemblies, CultureInfo, Blazor Localization, and ASP.NET Core Localization.
PhoneGap: There is no built-in support for localization in PhoneGap. However, you can go for manual methods and plugins like String Localization Using resx or JSON, checking the window.navigator object, PhoneGap's config.xml, and others.
Appcelerator Titanium: For localization support, you can access the platform's native capabilities and consider an easy-to-use XML structure. Examples include Localization Folders like i18n and strings.xml files in language-specific folders to define your localized strings.
Hence, while choosing the framework, look for a mature one that can support easy localization with a built-in guide and minimal manual efforts.
Final Consideration to Get the Choice Right
You can choose any framework mentioned in this article for cross-platform development. Yet, there are conditions which make the choice perfect. One of them includes the localization support. Others are mentioned as follows.
Proficiny and Skills
Stablity and Support of Vendor
Look at mobile apps built using the framework for real-world examples.
Extent of Framework Maturiy
Review the framework's bug reports on platforms like GitHub to understand its stability and the responsiveness of the maintainers.
Flexibility in User Interface
Measure the degree of customization the framework provides for building the user interface. It’s about user experience and meeting client demands afterall.
Ensure that the framework adheres to top security standards, especially for apps that involve critical operations, like financial transactions.
Consistency across platforms
Understand the differences and inconsistencies that might arise when developing for multiple platforms like Android and iOS.
Hope, you get the correct choice for your business needs.
A science graduate who has a keen interest to lean about new technologies and research area. With an experience in the field of data analytics and content writing, she aims to share her knowledge among passionate tech readers.