Cross-platform mobile application development continues to gain popularity. This is due to the sharp rise in the creation of native software products that do not always bring the expected results. For instance, a cross-platform application can run on multiple operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Below, we will discuss cross-platform development and the tools to create multi-platform applications.
It is worth considering that creating a high-quality cross-platform application without high-level programming languages is impossible. Choosing the right development environment that supports conditional compilation is also crucial. The principle of multi-platform development is based on using a single code base, ensuring compatibility with different platforms. Stability is achieved by timely and correct translation of the application code under a certain operating procedure.
What is Cross-Platform Development?
Cross-platform application establishment has shown to be a financially sound choice given the range of hardware and software that make up the mobile industry. Unlike its application, the multi-platform establishment tool's code can be used for various systems and devices. For instance, creating a multi-platform app would lower your programming costs and spare you the hassle of managing and updating programs.
Developing your application is no longer just sound in many industries but is part of a mandatory program. Whether it's an online store, a booking portal, a streaming offer, or a social enterprise, the app can no longer be avoided if you want visibility on mobile devices. In addition, the application offers a specific added value for the user.
What are the Benefits of Cross-platform Application Development?
The main advantage of cross-platform development is that it saves time and, therefore, money to create software. Faster development allows the software to be released quickly and focuses on user outreach and monetization. It is also more efficient to support a multi-platform application (single source code also saves time and money) since, in the case of the native version, you must create separate fixes for both operating systems.
However, convenience has its price. It consists of the following:
- lower application security
- limited access to equipment components,
- less control over application performance (greater dependence on open-source solutions).
What is the best cross-platform development framework in 2023?
Let's consider the top 3 cross-platform development frameworks.
React Native is considered one of the most effective tools for developing cross-platform applications. A key feature is an open-source code owned by Meta. Many experts use this framework to create universal software products. It is worth noting that compared to other development environments, React Native allows you to make applications more functional. The advantages of the framework include the following:
- readable code;
- support of leading IDE;
- possibility to apply JS frameworks for the introduction of new functions;
- support of the Hot Reloading function, thanks to which you can use a single code on different operating systems;
- wide range of ready-made blocks;
Another open-source framework that allows you to create applications for Android and iOS operating systems. One of the features of Xamarin is the ability to develop unique user interfaces that can be adapted to any mobile platform. A framework in C# functions, so you can use Visual Studio 2019 to launch it.
The main advantage of Xamarin is providing full cross-platform support with code sharing of up to 90%. It is worth considering that this approach saves money for development and reduces the time for testing and running the utility. It supports Xamarin.Android/iOS and Xamarin.Forms. With the latter's help, you can speed up the development process.
Flutter is the best tool for developing cross-platform programs of any type. It has been used for desktop applications for several years. The framework is also suitable for PWA development, which is conditioned by supporting linked libraries. There are several reasons why many experts use Flutter. First of all, this tool's innovative features can make complex applications for different platforms. In addition, Flutter allows you to make a better UX, which positively affects the performance of the software product.
Is cross-platform development in demand?
The subject of cross-platform establishment is now on everyone’s lips. The idea is to develop software with a joint code base for different systems. The platform is implemented using software in the background. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Adobe sent their horses into the race.
We could fill the whole article with frameworks now available for establishment (and perhaps we will do so soon). In this case, the framework is the library the developer: refers to in the code. The library contains all information on how this code should be translated later to access the interfaces of the respective platforms.
The choice of framework used by the developer:e usually depends on their own experience, as different solutions, in turn, require mastery of other programming languages and tools. Currently, the most famous and popular cross-platform frameworks are React Native from Facebook, Flutter from Google, and the open solution NativeScript from Progress.
To create any application, follow six general steps:
Step 1 - Conceptualize the application
To complete the mobile development process quickly and efficiently, focus on proper planning. This includes creating an accurate application concept to define the goals you want to achieve with the mobile app. A well-developed project vision will guide the entire software development cycle.
Step 2 - Determine the revenue stream
In general, application developers and developers determine how the revenue stream from applications will be implemented at a later stage. However, this should be considered at the beginning of the development process, as it may affect the overall application budget and user interface design.
Step 3 - Assess requirements
You should not allow errors by adding too many features and functionality to one mobile application, especially in its first version. A practical application creation solution is to include only the required elements in the first version and add other features based on user feedback. The requirement assessment process can become more efficient if you create accurate documents such as Software Requirements Specifications (SRS).
Step 4 - UI/UX design
Designing a user interface is one of the most critical steps, as common user experience affects the success of each application. This step includes adding the right colors, graphics, style, and overall design to ensure a satisfactory user experience. Professional app designers create high-quality layouts at this stage to help you evaluate the overall appearance and feel of the application. Layouts are also essential to ensure the availability and consistency of application design. Adobe XD layout, Placeit, and custom scene are the most popular design tools.
Step 5 - Establishment and testing
When an app is already developed, the next step is to test it. You must select a test environment to ensure the application is tested throughout the establishment phase. It is important to emphasize testing to remove multi-types of error problems that may appear in the first version of each application. In addition, you should use the password management tool to keep your encryption files safe. It also helps to create a safe work environment, especially when working with developers.
Step 6 - Marketing and accommodation
The final step is marketing the application to the target audience using appropriate photos, videos, and marketing channels such as social media systems.
Is cross-platform development expensive?
The cost of developing a mobile application depends on the planned functionality and many factors: whether you need assistance in preparing documentation, design, server development, and technical support. The question of determining the price of cross-platform development should be approached systematically:
- Formulating a marketing strategy is the main task that determines all further steps (including the technologies used) and costs.
- Decompose the whole process to see which areas require evaluation.
- For each area, define the goal to be achieved by the works.
If your budget is insufficient to develop your application or the added value does not justify the effort, mobile development or specially adapted mobile applications can be a good compromise. In any case, a website must be created, and several additional features, including a mobile view, are usually simple to implement. On the other hand, the need for access to hardware features and built-in interfaces severely limits such software's potential range of features. Multi-platform development has a good reputation among many programmers. They redeem the user experience of the native application when downloading it from the App Store due to technical implementation. Regardless, cross-platform development is the most affordable way to be present in app stores for an existing mobile site. This will undoubtedly help things like organic traffic for your app.
To Sum Up
Developing multi-platform software products is relatively easy; in most cases, doing everything from scratch is unnecessary. You must choose an efficient framework with all the tools required to implement the application functionality. The main thing - carefully study the market and select the option that fully meets your requirements.