Top 10 Cross-Platform Application Development Tools
This article will explore ten of the best cross-platform application development tools. The list includes Back4App, Firebase, React Native, Sencha, etc.
Smartphone applications have become a must-have for almost all organisations around the world. A highly responsive and functional mobile application provides a better way for brands to participate in customer engagement and push the latest news and offers directly to their fingertips.
With increased smartphone and internet penetration over the last couple of years, it is crucial that these applications run seamlessly across multiple platforms to ensure a good user experience.
With cross-platform application development tools, businesses can get these apps to the market quickly and cost-effectively. Such tools allow organisations with not much technical expertise to launch viable apps and gain a competitive advantage in the market.
In the following post, let’s take a look at the benefits of the best cross-platform mobile application development toolsand discuss some of the top tools that are available in the market right now.
- 1 What is cross-platform development?
- 2 What are the benefits of cross-platform development?
- 3 Top 10 Cross-Platform Application Development Tools
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 FAQ
- 6 What is cross-platform development?
- 7 What are the advantages of cross-platform development?
- 8 What are ten of the best cross-platform development tools?
What is cross-platform development?
As the name suggests, cross-platform app development primarily deals with building software solutions that are compatible with multiple operating systems, i.e., iOS, iPadOS, Windows, Android, etc.
The driving force behind cross-platform development is to create applications that are not limited to working on one specific digital environment, with the intent of increasing its reach to a wider audience. This is in contrast to native app development, which entails building different versions of a single app for each platform.
Originally, the development of mobile apps for multiple habitats entailed either building a separate backend for each platform or creating a backend that worked across multiple platforms. As a result, despite being sluggish and expensive, organisations built native applications for each platform, which could not be repurposed for another.
Cross-platform mobile application development tools made it easier for developers to launch applications on multiple operating systems simultaneously.
Today, there are several new approaches to cross-platform development, which include the following:
- Hybrid mobile app development, where the core codebase of an application is placed in native device wrappers for different digital habitats.
- Progressive web apps, which are essentially websites that look and behave like native applications, utilising mobile device features without downloading an actual app.
- RMAD, or rapid mobile app development, entails the use of low-code or code-free programming tools to build enterprise applications that address specific issues.
What are the benefits of cross-platform development?
- Use the app on any device
More often than not, consumers expect a consistent user interface across all their devices, which allows them to take their work from one device and continue in another.
For a better consumer experience, a single app that can run on multiple platforms with a seamless user interface that still utilises the native device capabilities provides a huge competitive advantage to organisations using cross-platform application development tools.
- Wider market reach
By making their software solutions available on multiple operating systems, developers can build and publish their products on multiple app stores simultaneously. This diversifies the reach of the app, providing a better chance at capturing new audiences and retaining the existing ones.
- Minimize upfront expenses
With the best cross-platform tools for mobile development at their disposal, organisations save a ton on the upfront expenses required to get an initial version of the application ready for the market. They can test multiple versions of an application and check how it is perceived in the market before going for mass release.
While the best cross-platform tools for mobile development help reduce the cost and development time, bear in mind that it is more difficult to customise an application beyond what is allowed in the frameworks. It is challenging to optimise an app that runs on abstraction layers, which can result in performance delays.
To overcome these challenges, it is imperative that you opt for one of the top app development tools as mentioned in the list below. These tools mitigate the challenges of cross-platform development, providing developers with the tools to create highly responsive applications with little to no performance drop.
Some of the platforms mentioned below also support utilising native hardware features for enhanced functionality.
Top 10 Cross-Platform Application Development Tools
Here are ten of the best cross-platform application development tools.
Back4App is one of the leading spreadsheet-like database solutions that provide a low-code backend for developers to build, update, and sync modern applications. Based on open-source technologies, Back4App allows its users to store and query relational data on the cloud and make it accessible over GraphQL, SDKs, and REST.
Being a low-code implementation, Back4App allows developers to build and release their applications, build relational data models, and perform complex relational queries quickly without managing the infrastructure.
Google’s flagship offering Firebase is a backend as a service implementation that provides developers with all the necessary tools and services required to develop high-quality applications without engaging in server-side programming.
Firebase is a highly versatile platform and can be deployed in various scenarios to solve different requirements. Being backed by Google, it integrates seamlessly with various Google and third-party services, providing developers with additional functionality, like hosting static and dynamic websites, tracking metrics, etc.
Acquired by Microsoft, Xamarin is a highly reliable, open-source, cross-platform development tool that can be used to build apps for different platforms like iOS, Android, and Windows using a single .NET code.
The popularity of Xamarin can be attributed to the fact that all apps built on Xamarin look and behave like native apps as it uses the native interfaces to work as desired. Almost 75% of the codebase can be reused, which significantly accelerates the time to market without compromising on the performance.
Flutter is essentially an SDK distributed by Google that allows developers to build high-performance enterprise-grade apps on multiple platforms using a single codebase. The UI toolkit uses the Dart programming language and supports hot reload by feeding the source code in Dart Virtual Machine, allowing developers to track code changes within seconds.
Flutter’s engine is primarily written in C++, provides low-level rendering support, and interfaces with platform-specific SDKs like those of iOS and Android.
It also supports rapid prototyping and provides high initial velocity, making it an excellent choice for Agile development.
It provides predesigned UI components, interactive paradigms, and typography, and uses TypeScript APIs and Virtual DOM to build hybrid and progressive web apps. Hardware-accelerated transitions and direct framework integration allows the applications to have a smaller footprint and excellent performance.
It is one of the most comprehensive mobile app development tools on this list, providing more than 100 tested UI components that can be integrated into the applications, end-to-end testing, and data visualisation tables to track app metrics. The “Themer” feature allows developers to create reusable themes based on Ext React, Angular, JS, and iOS themes.
Popularly known as a cross-platform game engine, Unity offers developers the tools and resources required to build high-graphics 3D applications and games. It can be used to export the software solutions to 17 platforms, including web, Windows, Xbox, iOS, Android, Linux, PlayStation, etc.
Unity also provides a metrics tracker that can be used to collect important user analytics and share the app on social networks. For new developers, Unity Connect is an important feature that enables them to connect with other Unity developers to find help with your implementations.
Alpha Anywhere is one of the most powerful enterprise-grade cross-platform application development tools for major mobile and desktop operating systems, allowing software developers and organisations to bring new SaaS solutions to the market quickly and cost-effectively.
It is a low-code implementation and provides the tools and resources required to build data-driven applications, validate data entries, generate custom reports, trigger email reports, etc. One of the most sought-after capabilities of Alpha Anywhere is the fact that it can be deployed on-premises, hosted on the cloud, or accessed via mobile devices, whichever convenient.
It’s a framework that works with a single codebase and for multiple platforms. It provides design and development tools and it’s a great choice for developers and enterprises.
If the application you are developing requires heavy processing or the use of low-level APIs, native app development is better suited for your specific situation.
On the other hand, if you simply want to display some information pulled off the network, cross-platform application development tools will help you get your high-quality applications on the market quickly and cost-effectively.
For further information on the ideal app development tool for your project, get in touch with one of the experts at a leading app hosting company and discuss your requirements with them.
What is cross-platform development?
Building software solutions that are compatible with multiple operating systems
What are the advantages of cross-platform development?
– Saves time
– Requires less developers
– Wider market reach
What are ten of the best cross-platform development tools?
– React Native
– Alpha Anywhere