The Best 10 Mobile Cross-Platform Frameworks

The introduction of mobile applications has made things a lot easier to handle. Businesses now operate differently compared to what used to be a decade earlier. The entire approach to marketing and serving the clients have changed and become a lot easier to manage.

Several SMEs are creating mobile apps for their businesses, and it has reaped significant benefits. With the launch of mobile applications in a different field, it has become a lot more convenient to access different tasks with the least amount of effort. The majority of mobile apps are developed using cross-platform frameworks.

According to Statista, React Native and Flutter are the most popular cross-platform mobile frameworks. Cordova, Ionic, and Xamarin follow them. Unity is by far the most used solution for game-related applications.

React Native usage remained steady between 2019 and 2020, and Flutter increased roughly 30% during this period. Cordova, Ionic, and Xamarin had a significant decline.

Here is a summary of what you will learn reading this article:

  • What is cross-platform development?
  • What is a framework?
  • Why use a framework?
  • Top 10 Mobile Cross-Platform frameworks

Ready to know more? Let’s move on.

What is Cross-Platform?

Cross-Platform is a concept used for developing applications on multiple operating systems. An app built upon a cross-platform framework will operate on multiple platforms without a separate coding base. In short, one coding structure is sufficient to make the app function perfect on different platforms.

A native cross-platform application will work fine on different platforms like iOS, Windows, and Android with one common codebase. These days, SMEs and startups prefer using a cross-platform framework over the native ones for app development due to less cost involvement and faster completion time.

What is a framework?

A software development framework can be defined as a foundation used by developers to design and develop software applications in a better and faster way. Software frameworks play a crucial role in standardizing the development process while ensuring a faster completion rate.

StackOverflow’s answer below explains the concept of a framework perfectly.

Why use a cross-platform framework?

When we use a framework, it is easier and less time consuming for developers to design a software app. These days, most developers are focusing on using open source frameworks. Using such frameworks, developers will not have to write separate codes for an app to function on different platforms.

One single coding structure will be sufficient to make the app work fine with all the platforms, thanks to the open-source framework. Have a look at all the significant advantages of using a framework for app development:

  • Big savings on time and cost 
  • Highly scalable
  • Better integration
  • Strong security
  • Extremely scalable
  • Extremely robust 

The best ten mobile cross-platform frameworks for your app

This a summary with the top ten mobile cross-platform app development frameworks:

FrameworkProgramming LanguageFamous Applications
React NativeJavaScriptBitesnap
FlutterDartGoogle Ads
American Cancer Society
Outback Steak House
IonicHTML5McLaren Automotive
CordovaHTML5, CSS3, and JavaScriptSpark Chess
Clever Baby
Series Seven
UnityC#, Unity Script, BooLeague of Legends
Nascar Heat
Native ScriptJavaScriptStrudel
BitPoints Wallet
Daily Nanny
Apache FlexActionScript, JavaAnagramR
Ardisia Labs
PhonegapHTML, CSS, and JScriptHockey Community
Yoga Travel
Trip Case
Kotlin MultiplatformKotlinTarget
Space by Jetbrains

Learn more by reading a comprehensive review below:

1. React Native

React Native is similar to React (A Jscript library to build interfaces) but with a difference. While React uses web components, React Native focuses on using native components as building blocks. If you have sound knowledge about React, it will not become difficult to learn React Native. Here also you need to learn about JSX, State, Props, and Components. 

React Native uses only Javascript for developing mobile apps. Using React Native, you will be able to compose a feature-rich user interface for mobile apps using declarative components. Using React Native, it becomes easier to develop a real mobile app that’s much different from those developed using Java and Swift.  

Benefits of using React Native

  • Codesharing is possible on different platforms 
  • Any existing knowledge of JavaScript is enough to develop native mobile apps  
  • A vast community for sharing thoughts, discussing issues, and get guidance related to React and React Native  

Please read the article React Native Advantages for a comprehensive list of benefits.

 2. Flutter 

Flutter is another excellent cross-platform framework used for developing mobile apps for both Android and iOS. The applications developed using the Flutter framework assures high performance and excellent quality. Flutter has a smooth and simple UI that offers a powerful way to develop mobile applications using Google’s coding language, Dart. Be it the installation, setting up, or accessing this framework, Flutter is easier to handle than you may have ever imagined..  

Flutter comes with numerous widgets for developing modern and powerful mobile applications. Developers find it a lot more convenient to design mobile applications using these Flutter widgets. The best part about Flutter widgets also offers support for gestures and animations (based on reactive programming). These widgets come with their state that can be altered based on the requirements. 

Benefits of using Flutter

  • A very simple and clean user interface
  • Dart programming language is easy to learn
  • Promises great performance for all the apps developed
  • Wide range of widgets
  • Reactive framework
  • Fluid user interface
  • Supports automated testing 

3. Xamarin

Xamarin is a San Francisco based software company having an open-source and cross-platform framework of the same name. The Xamarin framework is based on .NET and C#. Using Xamarin, it becomes developers can create applications capable of running on multiple platforms.  

Xamarin is a delight to the coders. This framework makes it a lot easier for developers to design applications capable of running on multiple platforms. The dilemma often faced by coders when writing separate coding for the same app to work on different platforms gets dissolved once you use the Xamarin framework. Using this framework, you can use C# as the basic coding language to write the codes to make the app function on any platform, be it Android or iOS.

Benefits of using Xamarin

  • Relatively seamless performance when developing cross-platform apps
  • Excellent community support available
  • Offers shared codebase
  • Excellent native UI and offers great controls
  • Seamless API integration

 4. Ionic

Ionic is a compelling cross-platform framework for mobile app development. Ionic comes with several tools and different types of services to develop native mobile user interfaces. But it must be kept in mind that a certain native wrapper is required for the Ionic framework to run seamlessly on mobile devices.   

Ionic framework is developed using Cordova and Angular JS with HTML as the scripting language. Using this framework, it is possible to develop hybrid apps for mobile devices. This framework promises catchy design, slick animations, and inclusion of all the necessary native mobile components required to make an application stand out in the crowd.

Benefits of using Ionic framework

  • Offers a simple layout and easy to understand UI
  • Works combined with Google for best results
  • A perfect framework to develop apps for multiple platforms (using a single source code)
  • The apps work fine on different platforms, be it iOS, Android, or Windows
  • Can be updated easily
  • The widest range of CSS components

5. Cordova

Cordova is a cross-platform framework that uses CSS, JavaScript, and HTML for developing mobile applications. Apps developed using Cordova comes with native mobile functionalities. Cordova acts as a connector between the mobile device and web apps. Using this framework, it becomes easier to develop hybrid mobile apps with all the essential native mobile functionalities like the file system, geolocation, camera, etc.  

Cordova’s command-line interface can be used for installing plugins, building processes for multiple platforms, and starting projects. In short, Cordova makes it easier for developers to handle the development processes. Another great feature of Cordova is its offering of a set of core components that are a must for every mobile app. These components are required to create the app base.

Benefits of using Cordova

  • There is no need to learn any platform-specific language.
  • JavaScript manages all the coding part for every platform.
  • Saves a lot on the development time
  • Various community add-ons like libraries and frameworks can be used with Cordova
  • A single platform builds it all

6. Unity

Unity is a cross-platform framework, ideally suited for mobile game development purposes. Unity framework is used for developing interactive content, ideally two dimensional and three-dimensional games. Presently this framework supports more than twenty different platforms for deployment, most popular being Android, Windows, and iOS.  

Unity comes with a detailed toolkit featuring interfaces for audio and graphics and also level building tools. The toolkit is perfect for building and designing games and ensures minimal usage of external programs. The only thing to keep in mind when using Unity is that you download the development environment and the Unity engine. The core engine is not the only thing to download; you can even download the optional modules and tools as per the need.   

Benefits of using Unity

  • Extremely flexible and truly open source
  • Offers support for custom container extensions
  • Service location capability
  • Allow clients to cache or even store a container
  • Simplified object creation 

7. NativeScript

NativeScript is a highly effective cross-platform framework, ideal for developing native apps using Jscript, TypeScript, and Angular. This framework allows for the development of mobile and web apps using a single codebase. Being open-source in nature, NativeScript makes it happen effortlessly.  

Use this framework to develop platform-independent apps efficiently and within minimal time while saving a lot of effort and cost on testing, training, and development.  The best feature of NativeScript is the reusability of codes and tools for multiple application development purposes. 

Benefits of using Native Script

  • The authentication process is easier
  • Easy to update, modify, and troubleshoot newer versions
  • APIs are platform-specific
  • Reusability for codes and tools
  • Setup is simple
  • Developers can build rich animation effect
  • Extensible

8. Apache Flex

Apache Flex is one of the most powerful cross-platform frameworks available. Using this framework, you can develop mobile applications for Android, Windows, Blackberry, iOS, and other platforms. Apache Flex can also create traditional applications for desktops and browsers, all using one single codebase and tool. Adobe’s Flash Builder can be used for developing flex applications.  

Flex comes with a very powerful SDK that comprises of compilers, debuggers, ActionScript classes, Actionscript programming languages, MXML, and several other utilities required for developing extremely interactive and expressive RIAs (Rich Internet Applications). This powerful framework handles the client-side functionality of a web app perfectly, while the server-side functionality is dependent on components written in Java, PHP, or other traditional languages.

Benefits of using Apache Flex

  • Offers a user rich experience through a perfectly intuitive interaction
  • Reduces server load
  • Can interact with the server while being compatible with every major server-side technology
  • Can run desktop as well as browsers
  • Can run on Blackberry, iOS, Android, and other operating systems
  • Promises to be platform-independent 

9. PhoneGap

Important Note: Adobe is no longer making investments on PhoneGap.

From the same team that created Apache Cordova, the Adobe PhoneGap framework is an open-source distribution of Cordova — offering the benefit of technology created by a diverse team of pros along with a robust developer community — plus access to the PhoneGap toolset, so you can get to mobile faster.

PhoneGap makes it easy for developers to develop cross-platform apps for developers using standard web APIs. It is free to use. Sound knowledge of CSS, Jscript, and HTML is required to develop apps using this framework. PhoneGap automatically converts the data contents to different app files upon uploading to the website. 

Benefits of Phonegap

  • Easy to develop cross-platform apps using HTML, JS, and CSS
  • Open-sourced
  • Robust backend support
  • Maintains uniformity throughout the system
  • Support different plugins 

10. Kotlin Multiplatform

As of 2019, Kotlin is the preferred language to use for Android development. On iOS, the Swift language has replaced Objective-C as the de facto development language. Swift and Kotlin have several similarities, such as support for the functional, type safety, static typing, safe-handling of null values, and OOP paradigms. The languages are also syntactically very similar. 

The arrival of Kotlin/Native has released the possibility of integrating Kotlin code into iOS projects. The approach of Kotlin Multiplatform (KMP) uses the same logic for different platform-based applications, thus making it easier and less time-consuming to develop apps. Kotlin runs on Java Virtual Machine and provides code safety, interoperability, and code safety for developers. 

Benefits of using Kotlin

  • Easy to develop interoperable apps in the least complicated ways
  • A concise approach helps in reducing the need to write hefty and lengthy codes
  • Extremely expressive and easy to learn
  • Less runtime and better performance


We have tried to cover some of the most effective cross-platform frameworks available presently to develop mobile applications. React Native and Flutter are two of the most used frameworks for general purpose mobile apps. Unity is the most used framework for game development.

The right choice will depend on your project requirements and specifications. If you are finding it challenging to decide on the best option from the list, do reach us to get the best guidance.


What is Cross-Platform?

Cross-Platform is a concept used for developing applications on multiple operating systems. An app built upon a cross-platform framework will operate on multiple platforms without a separate coding base. In short, one coding structure is sufficient to make the app function perfect on different platforms.

Why use a cross-platform framework?

– Big savings on time and cost 
– Highly scalable
– Better integration
– Strong security
– Extremely scalable
– Extremely robust 

What are the best mobile cross-platform frameworks?

– React Native
– Flutter
– Xamarin
– Ionic
– Cordova
– Unity
– Native Script
– Apache Flex
– Phone Gap
– Kotlin Multiplatform

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