The best cross-platform development frameworks

Developers worldwide are embracing cross-platform app development because of the many benefits it offers. Today, multiple frameworks exist that allow developers to use the same code to create apps for various platforms. If you are researching the best cross-platform app development framework for your next project, you are in the right place. This article reviews the leading frameworks that allow you to achieve your cross-platform development objectives. 

Before we review the top options, let’s take an in-depth look at cross-platform development and its advantages.

What are cross-platform frameworks?

Frameworks are special programs consisting of tools and libraries that help developers create apps faster and more efficiently. However, many of these frameworks are designed to develop apps for specific platforms like Android or iOS.  

Cross-platform frameworks bring additional value to app development by providing the tools for creating apps for more than one platform.  With such frameworks, a developer can create a single code for deploying apps for the Web, iOS, and Android.  So, cross-platform frameworks are highly esteemed among developers because it opens a new frontier in application development. 

The benefits of Cross-Platform Frameworks

Below are some of the benefits of cross-platform frameworks

  • Create hybrid apps: Apps created with cross-platform frameworks are often hybrid apps. They offer the same experience across different mobile devices because the backend functions are basically the same.
  • Hassle-Free Code Management:  Code management is more straightforward with cross-platform frameworks because a single code is deployed to create apps on different platforms.
  • It’s Faster: Developers can create apps faster, thereby reducing the time to the market. 
  • Saves costs: Cross-platform frameworks lowers the overall costs of developing apps.

The Top Cross-Platform Frameworks

The leading cross-platform frameworks at the time of writing are listed below.

React Native

React Native is arguably the most popular JavaScript cross-platform app development framework. Developers can use it to create code and deploy Web, IOS, and Android apps. 

Since its release as an open-source framework in 2015, React Native has enjoyed wide acceptance among developers and emerged as one of the top platforms for cross-platform app development. 

The Merits of React Native

  • Cost-efficient:  React Natives helps businesses around the world reduce the cost of app development through code reusability.  Developers save money and development hours by deploying the same code for multiple platforms. 
  • React Native Community: React Native has an active community of developers that supports the platform.  You can find user-driven content such as tutorials, sample codes, and documentation online. New developers can also get help from the community without hassles.
  • Impressive Performance:  This platform has a reputation for creating excellent apps. React Native apps’ performance is enhanced by features such as different threads for UIs and APIs, Modules, and Native Controls.  React Native can talk to Native iOS and Android functions, so less processing power is required for interpretation.
  • Highly Stable: A child component cannot undermine the performance of parent data in React Native. Thanks to the customs data binding technology used by the platform. That is why React Native apps are secure and stable.
  • Supports Third-Party Plugins:  Developers can use third-party plugins such as JavaScript Mobiles and Native Modules.  These plugins allow developers to add cool features such as Maps to apps. 

Flutter

Google, the search engine giant, created Flutter and released it an opensource framework for mobile app development.  It offers tools and functions for creating apps for iOS and Android platforms. 

At the time of writing, developers can only use Dart Programming language with Flutter.  Flutter is made up of UI elements toolkits, SDKs, and frameworks.

The Merits of Flutter

  • Reduce Costs: This platform’s tools allow developers to create apps faster, saving costs in the process.
  • Excellent Performance: Flutter does not require an interpreter; it communicates with the machine code directly and works excellently.
  • Web Apps Creation: Flutter is an excellent tool for creating web-based apps, mobile apps, and browser-based apps that works offline. In 2019, Flutter Web version with enhanced capacity for developing Web apps was released.
  • Dart Support:  The use of Dart programming language is an excellent option for new programmers. It offers simple syntax and other features that make app development accessible.

Cordova

Adobe acquired Cordova, an app development framework from Nitobi, in 2011. The platform allows developers to create iOS and Android hybrid apps with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.  Cordova’s apps are not completely web or native, but they use API to access native functions. So, Cordova apps combine hybrid elements with native functions. 

The Merits of Cordova

  • Developers can access tools that simplify media management. They can also perform media queries efficiently and add CSS to app codes without stress.
  • Community add-on is another excellent feature of Cordova. These add-ons include several frameworks, libraries, and add development tools. 
  • Since Cordova uses CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, developers can take advantage of the scripting language to create a cool app feature without learning a new language.
  • Cordova makes multiplatform development easy and faster. It creates hybrid apps that work on the Web, Android, and iOS. 

Ionic

Over the years, Ionic has undergone significant transformations from an AngularJS frontend to Apache Cordova. It now consists of web components providing options to select a development framework from VU.js, Angular, or React.  Lately, an update was released that allows the developer to use ionic features without adding a user interface. 

The Merits of Ionic

  • Support for the popular AngularJS framework integration is beneficial for ionic app development. The developer has the option to select other frameworks too,
  • Ionic works on multiple platforms such as Windows, iOS, and Android.
  • Ionic allows developers to use various third-party plugins to perform multiple app development functions.
  • This platform allows developers to create apps for various platforms with one programming language. So, you do not need to learn an additional language to develop apps for iOS and Android.
  • It’s easy for an average developer to create excellent apps with Ionic since it uses basic markup and scripting languages like CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

Xamarin

While most cross-platform frameworks use JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, Xamarin framework uses C# to create cross-platform apps. Thanks to the Xamarin runtime environment that works on Windows, iOS, and Android.  The C# code of Xamarin can access iOS and Android native functions. That is why Xamarin apps look and feels like native mobile apps.

The Merits of Xamarin

  • Gives developers access to several resources for app development like charts, UIs, controls, and many more. 
  • A feature called Text Cloud allows the testing of apps in realtime by simulating various mobile devices. This feature is useful for fixing bugs and testing performance.
  • The premade UI layouts help developers kickstart app development projects and create functional and attractive UIs.
  • Xamarin works perfectly with Visual Studio, an excellent IDE. Therefore, developers can create quality native codes faster and efficiently.
  • Developers can deploy a single code to multiple platforms using the App Logic Sharing function.

Conclusion

Developers derive immense value from using cross-platform frameworks. But the many options in the market makes selecting the right framework challenging. However, this article reviewed the top cross-platform frameworks in the world today.  It would help new and experienced developers choose the best cross-platform framework for their project.

FAQ

What is a Framework?

Frameworks consist of tools that enhance the creation of quality apps faster and efficiently. Most flameworks supports development for a single platform, while cross-platform frameworks support creating apps for multiple platforms.  

Why use a cross-platform framework?

– Can create hybrid apps
– Simplifies code management 
– Expedite app development
– Saves costs 

What are the top cross-platform frameworks?

– React Native
– Ionic 
– Cordova 
– Xamarin
– Flutter 


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