There are 2.5 billion active Android users and 1.2 billion iOS users worldwide. Businesses must tap into both markets to survive the cut-throat competition.
So, how can businesses create innovative apps for both markets without spending much money, time, and effort? By building cross-platform mobile application software that seamlessly work on both markets. Such mobile apps are in high demand these days.
Many businesses have started considering cross-platform mobile apps as they save around 30% - 40% on app development costs and significantly reduce their time-to-market.
What does it take to build high-performing cross-platform mobile apps? Having spent enough time working with a cross-platform mobile app development agency, I'll be sharing the six best cross-platform app development frameworks to help you easily create cross-platform mobile apps. Let’s get started.
Top 6 Frameworks For Cross-Platform Mobile App Development
1. React Native
React Native is popular among developers because of its simplicity. This cross-platform development framework allows you to complete even the most complicated tasks efficiently. Also, you can manage the code for all platforms from a single codebase, thus saving you time and effort. Moreover, React Native is open-source, meaning you can seamlessly modify the code the way you want.
Upsides of React Native
- You can easily reuse and recycle previously developed components in React Native.
- React Native's vast ecosystem makes it highly flexible for mobile app development.
- You can easily collaborate with others to work faster.
Downsides of React Native
- Despite the availability of custom modules, you need to build some specific components from scratch in React Native.
Over 1.4 million developers use Xamarin for cross-platform app development. It uses C# and .NET for developing apps instead of JS libraries and HTML. As a result, developers can use 90% of the code to build apps across both platforms.
Xamarin also reduces the problem of hardware compatibility problems with its plugins and APIs. Also, developers can get a native-app-like functionality with the apps they develop with Xamarin.
Pros of Xamarin
- The write once, run anywhere (WORA) mechanism of Xamarin allows developers to reduce time and cost.
- Xamarin developers experience fewer runtime errors because of its robust compile-time checking mechanism.
- The impressive native user interface and controls assisting help developers in creating the feel and design of a native app.
Cons of Xamarin
- Xamarin apps are usually heavy in size.
- It takes time to develop the UI of apps in Xamarin, and sometimes it could be more user-friendly.
NativeScript offers all native APIs, which means developers can directly reuse plugins from NPM in their projects.
Upsides of NativeScript
- Developers can run code for anyone in NativeScript. All they need is to define it once. NativeScript even allows UI customization for specific devices.
- NativeScript offers complete plugins for cross-platform development, so there’s no need to integrate third-party solutions.
- Developers can easily access native Android and iOS APIs. They don't have to acquire additional knowledge of native development languages to build apps in NativeScript.
- NativeScript releases frequent updates, ensuring no compatibility issues with different browsers.
- Apps built on NativeScript feel native on almost all platforms.
Downsides of NativeScript
- Developers can't use libraries like JQuery in NativeScript as it lacks support for DOM or HTML.
- Debugging in NativeScript is trickier than in other cross-platform frameworks like React Native.
- The knowledge of Android and iOS APIs is a must to access some native platform features.
- Developers need to pay to use some UI components.
With Ionic, developers can create highly immersive user interfaces and user-friendly features in mobile apps. These things also make Ionic a reliable choice for developing progressive web apps.
Pros of Ionic
- Since Ionic is open-source, developers can easily alter the code structure to suit their business needs.
- Ionic offers a myriad of UI components to develop robust applications.
- Since Ionic is based on AngularJS, you can easily extend the HTML syntax and core functionalities to add attractive features to your mobile app.
- Ionic lets developers access native device features like a Camera, mic, and GPS using the Cordova plugin.
Cons of Ionic
- Debugging an Ionic application is challenging and time-consuming.
- You may experience random build crashes, usually when a file in the original folder is corrupt.
- It takes some time for developers to get familiar with Ionic as it uses live reloading instead of hot reloading.
Flutter is a cross-platform app development framework introduced by Google in 2017 to help you build apps that seamlessly run across multiple platforms. That's why Google primarily used it for developing its Fuschia apps.
Upsides of Flutter
- You can work on the latest user interfaces with the portable GPU of Flutter.
- Since Flutter has a reactive framework, developers only need to update the variables, and the UI changes will be visible.
- Developers don't have to worry about building separate interfaces for Android and iOS, as Flutter has an inbuilt engine.
Downsides of Flutter
- Apps built on Flutter are heavier than the ones built natively.
- Developers can feel restricted due to the comprehensive nature of Flutter and its tools.
- Dart, the language used in Flutter development, is powerful, productive, and comprehensive but is also known by a few developers.
Pros of Node.js
- Node.js uses asynchronous APIs, which means Node.js servers don't have to wait for data from APIs to send a response. Hence, apps built on Node.js work faster.
- The cross-platform app development framework allows faster code execution. Hence, Node.js apps don't buffer but work seamlessly.
- Node.js is easily scalable because of its asynchronous and event-driven nature.
- A strong community of developers supports Node.js and can guide you when things are going differently than you want.
- Node.js supports caching to help you improve the performance and speed of your cross-platform mobile apps.
Cons of Node.js
- Node.js APIs are unstable and create difficulty in writing programs that need stable APIs.
- The cross-platform development framework doesn't have a robust library support system. Hence, developers must rely on third-party libraries to complete tasks that the core Node.js library doesn't support.
- Maintaining code in Node.js is challenging as it does not support a synchronous programming model.
Now, you know what different cross-platform mobile app development frameworks can do and what they can't. Now, it's time to evaluate which of these frameworks suits your requirements and use that to develop cross-platform apps.
It is also best to get help from a company specializing in cross-platform app development, as they know which platform may work best for your project.
Please share in the comments if you're looking for a cross-platform app development company.
Tricia Pearson is an experienced writer at Net Solutions with five years of domain experience across marketing, Tech, and B2B solutions.
She works to inspire creativity and encourages team members to bring their best to each project. She prefers reading by the beach, hiking, and discovering new local cafes.