Everything You Need to Know About Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

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Mobile app development for iOS and Android devices separately is a time-and-money-consuming choice. That’s where cross-platform development comes into play. This definitive guide will tell you everything you need to know about cross-platform mobile application development. Read on till the end!

In today’s fast-paced world, the mobile app market is expanding by leaps and bounds. Apps companies are getting introduced to new trends, technologies, and approaches now and then. Today, deciding to build a mobile application is easy but determining the right approach isn’t. The development approach (depending on your app’s requirements) can make or break your app. Therefore, picking the right app development approach becomes critical for businesses to succeed.

That said, the cross-platform app development approach has emerged as the unrivaled choice for businesses that want to develop Android and iOS apps within less budget. In fact, per Statista, around one-third of developers use cross-platform technologies or frameworks.
Businesses can create app solutions (for Android and iOS) quickly and cost-efficiently by leveraging the cross-platform mobile development approach.

What Is Cross-Platform App Development?

Cross-platform app development is about developing a single app that can run smoothly on multiple OS (mainly Android and iOS). In other words, the cross-platform approach allows developers to build mobile applications that are finely compatible with more than one operating system.

All in all, the cross-platform mobile development approach follows the “Write Once, Run Everywhere” (WORE) ideology to build mobile apps and eliminates the development of app versions for Android and iOS individually. It is one of the reasons why startups should go for cross-platform app development.

Popular Companies Invested in Cross-Platform Approach:

Companies are highly adopting this approach because it helps them save time, money, and effort. Some big giants, including Instagram, Wix, Walmart, Bloomberg, SoundCloud Pulse, and Google Ads, have already leveraged cross-platform development approaches and reaped its benefits. Consequently, you should also seek a reliable cross-platform app development company to develop a high-performing hybrid app and increase your ROI.

The Difference Between Native vs Cross-Platform App Development

The internet is flooded with the never-ending native vs cross-platform app development debate. Native vs cross-platform applications have always been a prevailing debate point for experts. Some find the native app development approach the best, and some experts prefer the cross-platform app development method.

Both native and cross-platform app development have their pros and cons. Native app developers write codes for iOS and Android apps separately to give users the top-notch experience; however, the cross-platform development follows the “writing code once and running it on multiple OS” approach.

You can’t declare a definitive winner in this competition. You can’t declare one as the “globally best” app development approach. Depending on the requirements, businesses can (and should) choose either of them to stand out in the crowd.

Top 7 Business Benefits of Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

Wider Audience Reach

A cross-platform mobile development approach allows you to build an app and deploy it over various platforms, including the web. It means, with a single app, businesses can target iOS and Android platforms and widen their audience reach and attract audiences from all over the world. Maximum audience exposure means more users, which will ultimately result in more profit indeed.

Code Reusability

For developers, writing good, reusable code is a good practice, but it’s a real bonus when this only has to be done once. As mentioned earlier, the cross-platform app development approach follows the write once, run everywhere principle. In a cross-platform method, developers can reuse a single code and don’t need to create new codes for every platform. It helps mobile app developers to save time and businesses save money.

Faster Development Time

Due to ever-rising competition and user demands, it becomes crucial for businesses to release apps faster in the market, maintaining the quality. Due to a single codebase, cross-platform development allows developers to reduce time to market with quick deployment. Plus, if a business wants a slight change in the app, it’s easy for developers to do minor changes in a single code.

Uniformity of Design

The apps developed with a cross-platform approach allow users to recognize the user interface elements easily. Plus, foreseeing their imminent interactions over different platforms. Cross-platform app development tools readily enable the developers and designers to make a much uniform UX/UI that app users can seamlessly enjoy.

Native Alike Experience

Businesses prefer native app development because they offer impeccable performance. Essentially the significant objective of cross-platform technology is actually to deliver native-like applications. With the advanced tech and tools, hybrid apps can also match the performance of native apps if used the right way.

Cost-Effective Development

Native apps are expensive. Why? Businesses require to hire two different developers to build Android and iOS apps separately. However, with a cross-platform app development approach, one code is enough to work on multiple OS. That means businesses need to hire only one developer that will write a single code and run it everywhere. By doing this, developers can save time, and companies can save a lot of money, resulting in better ROI.

Easy Update Implementation

Numerous technologies these days like PhoneGap, Flutter, React Native, Appcelerator, etc., make it easier for developers to make changes/updates. Employing such technologies and tools ain’t only make the development of apps faster but also becomes easier to sync the updates across all mobile devices.

7 Best-In-Class Cross-Platform Technology and Frameworks to Leverage

Flutter

Flutter is a popular and one of the youngest cross-platform mobile development frameworks, developed by Google and written in Dart language. It is an excellent open-source mobile app development SDK, allowing mobile app development with one array of code. The hot reload feature allows developers to modify the code and see the results in real-time during Flutter development.

Key Features:

  • Faster Development
  • Highly Responsive
  • Easy to Use UI
  • Intuitive Widgets and Libraries
  • Highly Efficient Apps
  • Structured Coding

React Native

React Native is another open-source, cross-platform framework built by Facebook. This platform supports JavaScript codebase and uses the same codebase for developing high-quality apps. React Native development approach helps build a high-performing mobile app within a short span, making the framework robust and reliable. In fact, React Native is deemed the future of hybrid app development (for good reasons).

Key Features:

  • Open-Source Development
  • Faster Programming
  • Codebase Sharing
  • High Performance
  • Responsive UI

NativeScript

NativeScript is a great alternative for Flutter and React Native. It’s a free and open-source cross-platform framework to build a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. NativeScript allows building apps in TypeScript, JavaScript, XML, CSS using Angular and Vue.js. Unlike other powerful and emerging cross-platform frameworks, with NativeScript, you don’t need to install any plugins to access the camera, GPS, etc.

Key Features:

  • Free and Open-Source
  • Numerous Components Support
  • Native Methods and Libraries Support
  • Easy and Friendly Coding

Corona SDK

Corona SDK is an open-source, cross-platform framework ideal for building apps for desktops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. This framework is reliable as it offers a back-end framework language called Lua, a lightweight application development language. The best thing about Corona SDK is it concentrates on significant parts of app development, such as portability, scalability, and ease of use.

Key Features:

  • Open-Source Frameworks
  • Easy to Use Framework
  • Numerous Useful Plugins
  • Lua Scripting Language
  • Built-In Analytics

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is another cross-platform development tool that supports different languages — HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, making it easy for web and app developers. If a business is looking to develop an app beyond cross-platform, PhoneGap is a good choice. It develops apps for all major platforms and adds features in the form of add-ons. Developers can use this framework without any hardware restrictions.

Key Features:

  • Fast Deployment
  • Quicker Testing
  • Single Codebase
  • Powerful Languages
  • Popular Web Technologies
  • Multiple Libraries

Xamarin

Xamarin is an open-source, cross-platform mobile app development framework acquired by Microsoft. Like other frameworks, it also utilizes the same codebase for Android and iOS apps. Xamarin leverage C# programming language that eliminates the need to learn Swift or Java. Xamarin is considered more beneficial than React Native as it provides a native alike experience to cross-platform apps.

Key Features:

  • Free and Open-Source Framework
  • Performance-Oriented Framework
  • Easy to Maintain
  • Advanced Technologies
  • Large Community of Contributors

Ionic

Ionic is one of the most popular cross-platform app frameworks, built using Angular and Cordova. This framework helps developers to create a user-friendly app interface. Ionic is an open-source framework, allowing developers to alter the development process according to their unique ideas. It is a framework for developing hybrid mobile apps using JavaSCript. It also has an Ionic React that leverages React for building hybrid mobile apps.

Key Features:

  • Fast Prototyping
  • Concise Documentation
  • Single Codebase
  • Advanced Technologies
  • Ready-Made UI Components
  • Lots of Plugins

How to Build a Cross-Platform Mobile App (In 7 Easy Steps)

Building and launching an app can be difficult and can cost you time, money, and effort. This is where a cross-platform development approach comes in handy. To create a successful cross-platform mobile app, you need to follow a systematic approach. Here are some easy (yet pivotal) steps involved in cross-platform app development.

Understanding and Analyzing App Needs

A lot goes into the making of an app. So before the app development process begins, your hired apps-making company should understand your business needs and analyze your app requirements. They must gauge your potential users thoroughly, comprehend your app vision, and understand how your app will benefit the intended users. On that basis, they should move forward to the next step!

Market Research and Competition Analysis

This is a crucial step in the cross-platform mobile app development process. In this step, your hired apps development company must do the market research and competitor analysis to understand the market needs, what your competitors are doing, what’s their business model, what are mistakes you can avoid to stay ahead of them, etc. It always leads to successful app development.

UX/UI Design

Once you have grasped the app idea, done with the market research, and competitor analysis, it’s time to give the idea a needed shape. It’s time to leverage companies that design apps. This stage decides how your app will work and look; thus needs to be emphasized wisely. Aim for building an enjoyable and flawless app user experience to create a positive impression on the users.

App Development

In this phase, developers take the designs into their hands and start writing your app’s code. Leveraging the advanced cross-platform app development technologies and frameworks, developers go through several steps, including creating a database, front-end development, and back-end development and code from scratch to build intuitive cross-platform mobile apps.

Q/A Testing

Developing an app is not enough; your app must go through a testing process along with maintaining the quality. Q/A testing helps you keep the cost low and allows you to build a qualitative cross-platform mobile app because later, it becomes costlier to fix the bug. Before the final app launch, the Q/A team should run various tests to ensure that the app works flawlessly on multiple platforms and offers an impeccable user experience.

App Launch

Congrats! Your app is finally ready to be launched. Once everything is done; it’s time to release the app in the market. The Apple Store and Google Play Store have different policies to launch the app. A skilled mobile app development company will help you publish the app on Google Play Store and Apple Store, following all the guidelines and everything.

Post-Development

The job is not done once your app is live. It’s an ongoing process. Your app requires regular maintenance to stay competitive. You need to ensure that your app is updated, glitch and error-free, and working flawlessly on all the devices. That said, an app maintenance company keeps your app attractive, changes it according to the market needs/conditions and users’ feedback, and ultimately keeps your app ahead of your competitors.

In Conclusion

Building separate apps for iOS and Android is expensive and time-consuming, no? Well, thanks to the cross-platform development approach that follows the “write once, run everywhere” principle, thus saving your money and allowing you to launch your app way faster than native ones.

Seeing all this, we can say that the future of cross-platform app development is bright. We hope this ultimate guide helped you know everything about cross-platform app development and cleared all your doubts related to it. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give your idea the needed shape via cross-platform app development!

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