Creating applications has historically been a complex task in the mobile app development world. It’s tough when catering to both Android and iOS platforms separately. However, the advancement of cross-platform app development has significantly simplified this process.
Cross-platform mobile development not only widens the accessibility for companies to build mobile apps but also streamlines the resources required for larger organizations to reach diverse audiences. This has prompted a shift away from the traditional approach of operating system-specific native development.
Let’s explore the world of cross-platform mobile app development, and understand why a software development company favors this approach over native development. In addition, let’s talk about the top cross-platform development tools available today.
Cross-Platform App Development
Cross-platform app development involves creating apps that seamlessly operate on multiple operating systems using a single codebase.
Native applications are coded in specific programming languages tailored to a particular operating system. On the other hand, cross-platform frameworks empower developers to write code once and deploy it across various platforms.
Importance of Cross-Platform App Development
Cross-platform app development is not a shortcut – many large organizations today build cross-platform mobile apps or hybrid apps that are virtually indistinguishable from custom native apps.
Uber, Gmail, and Meta apps are just a few examples of apps that use cross-platform or hybrid technologies.
Here are some of the reasons why cross-platform development is so effective, and why you should consider building cross-platform or hybrid over native app development.
- Save Money and Time
Native app development can be costly, with expenses exceeding $150,000 per platform. Cross-platform development offers significant savings, cutting development time and costs by approximately half. Hybrid development has the power to use existing web code that can further reduce expenses by up to 90%.
- Consistency Across Platform
Maintaining consistency across multiple apps for various platforms can be challenging. Cross-platform development simplifies this by building each platform with the same team, ensuring a unified user experience.
- Easy & Cheap Maintenance
A single codebase and consistent development across platforms result in substantial long-term savings for app maintenance. This is crucial, as maintenance typically accounts for 15-20% of the initial development cost each year.
- Minimal Time to Market
Cross-platform development significantly reduces the time and cost investment required for launching an app. This allows companies to bring riskier ideas to market with higher potential upside.
- Reuse of Existing Code
The ability to reuse code offers advantages in terms of cost and efficiency. Features built for the web can be replicated in mobile apps without the need to rebuild them in a different programming language.
Essential Frameworks and Tools for Cross-Platform Development
If you’re considering cross-platform app development, several powerful frameworks and tools can bridge the gap between operating systems. Here are some top recommendations:
An open-source UI toolkit by Google, Flutter enables the development of natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase.
- React Native
Owned by Microsoft, Xamarin is a cross-platform app development framework using C# and the .NET framework, creating native-like apps for iOS, Android, and Windows.
A hybrid app framework combining mobile code with web technologies, Ionic is suitable for rapid prototyping and app deployment, supporting multiple platforms with a shared codebase.
Cross-platform app development has emerged as a game-changer, offering efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and a streamlined development process. By selecting the right frameworks and tools, companies can navigate the diverse landscape of mobile platforms. With this, they can reach wider audiences with compelling and consistent applications.