A Complete Guide About Cross-Platform App Development [Updated]

a complete guide about cross-platform app development itechnolabs

The story of building mobile applications took many swift turns in 2022 from how it stood five years ago. The mobile application market reached a whopping 106 billion USD in 2018 and has shown a steady compound annual growth of 18.4 percent ever since. With the advent of IoT (Internet of things), enterprise mobility, and eCommerce, mobile applications have acquired an entirely new role. Companies are turning to app developers to develop a tool for distributing their content, managing smart devices, assisting their clients in faster transaction execution processing, and having on-the-fly access to their corporate data.

The mobile market stands today with more than 74% share of Android apps, approximately 24% share of iOS, and KaiOS coming third with 0.35% share. The erstwhile famous mobile operating systems like Blackberry, Windows, Symbian, etc., have all gone into oblivion. It is the time of Cross-Platform App Development, and companies that develop cross-platform apps like a React Native App Development Company are sure to see a boom in their business.

Choice Between Cross-Platform App Development And Native Apps

choice between cross-platform app development and native apps itechnolabs

Now the question arises if one should develop native apps or cross-platform ones. The choice between these two types of apps is no longer about developing cheap apps for iOS or Android which have slow performance or are frequently crashing.

A native app is developed using the SDK (software development kit) of a specific mobile operating system (for example, iOS or Android). Native apps are developed taking into account all the device configurations like its hardware memory, sensors, cameras, and various other programs. The advantages of a native app include high performance, seamless user experience, and robust functionality.

A cross-platform mobile app can run on any device and platform like your smartwatch, tablet, smartphone, connected TV, and PC. With cross-platform development, you gain a shorter time to market, around 70 to 90% reusable code, a broader reach, and easy updates and maintenance of apps. For these reasons, many businesses are turning to react native app  to build their cross-platform apps.

Let us delve into the nitty-gritty of cross-platform apps and their benefits.

Cross-Platform App Development Vs. Native App Development

cross-platform app development vs. native app development itechnolabs

Apps that are built using the cross-platform can reuse the same code to run on different operating systems, and no separate coding is required for each platform.

Having said that, the debate about which is a better method for developing apps (Native or cross-platform) has been an ongoing one.

Native apps are developed with the specific platform they will be installed on, like iOS or Android. The language chosen to create these apps is compatible with the operating system. For instance, Apple prefers Swift and Objective C for iOS, while Google apps are primarily developed in Java. Using platform-specific languages, developers can better use the natural features of that particular platform. So an app that is designed for Google will not work as expected in Apple devices.

Cross-platform apps can work on multiple platforms, and since Google and Apple dominate the mobile apps world, most cross-platform apps are developed for these two platforms. These apps use standard web technologies which are platform-independent, like HTML and CSS.

Let us see where each of these stand so that you can choose the ones that suit you when you wish to develop an app for your business.

Native App

Cross-Platform Apps

Cost of deploying on multiple platforms

One would need to invest in adopting the architecture of the app so that it can work on multiple platforms.

You can save around 80% on your project investments with the use of cross-platform apps. The deployment of cross-platform apps on different platforms needs little to no extra investments.

The time needed for deploying the app

The app source needs to be written from scratch for each platform.

Code of cross-platform apps is highly reusable and it greatly reduces time to market.

The magnitude of app users

If you are developing apps for a specific platform you are approximately losing out on 50% of app users.

You can target a large number of users as cross platforms can be promoted simultaneously on various platforms.

Challenges involved in app design

The operating system provides a lot of support and services for developing native apps.

Developers of cross-platform apps need to add certain features explicitly.

Expertise level needed to develop the app

The cost of native app developers’ skills is difficult to obtain hence it is expensive.

Since most of the cross-platform apps are web-based you can get a huge pool of talent of web developers to choose from at a much affordable rate.

Performance of app

Native apps are high-performing since the apps are designed for the OS.

They have a high performance though they may lack compatibility at times.

Background processing

Native apps can perform tasks even when they are not in the foreground

They do not allow background processing.

UI consistency

They have a relatively better UI/UX consistency

There is a lag in the UI/UX consistency of cross-platform apps.

Many Reasons for Developing Cross-Platform Applications

many reasons for developing cross-platform applications itechnolabs

The cross-platform app development market stood at 10 billion USD by the end of 2022, with google play store and apple app store having more than 50% of the market share. If businesses do not want to risk missing out on the two giants of the mobile platform (Apple app store and google play store), they must plan on launching more and more cross-platform apps.

Amongst its many advantages, the key benefits which make cross-platform apps a winner are:

  • Development time is much shorter

If you select the right technical stack like hire React Native app Developers from a React Native App Development Company, you can reuse up to 80% of the original code, both for UI and backend logic on multiple platforms. This way, companies need to spend much less time fixing backend issues (takes just 10 to 20% of total project time) and can launch apps much faster.

  • Exposure to a broader customer base

Most cross platform apps work on Android, iOS, and other systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS. They also support smartwatches and other connected home appliances. This way, you can maximize the reach of your app with a single code base.

  • Synchronization of updates

In today’s digital world, mobile apps get updated very frequently (an average of four updates in a month). Maintaining such apps can cost a massive amount of revenue, and that is where cross-platform apps come out as a clear winner.

  • Upfront costs are reduced

One cannot earn a single penny from an app until it is released; hence, it is vital to reduce the upfront costs to minimize risks. Cross-platform apps are built on the principle of “writing once and running everywhere,” which drastically reduces the cost to develop an initial version to try it out in the market.

  • Easy development and deployment process

You can build feature-rich cross-platform apps with just 20 to 50 percent development effort. Since a single developed app is being used on multiple platforms, it is remarkably easy to deploy and maintain these apps.

  • Easier market analysis

All product companies must gather data, measure success, and garner customer feedback early on in their process to take adequate measures to ensure the success of their app. With cross-platform apps, such adjustments can be made much earlier and quicker, which gives companies the right information at the right time to head in the right direction and secure the place they desire in the market.

  • Developers paradise

With faster development speed, prototyping, and easy maintenance, developers are saved from the drudgery of repetitive and recurring tasks. As only a single codebase is required across platforms and other plugin components increase development speed making prototyping faster and reducing time. Since developers need to focus on just one codebase, bug fixes and deployment are much more manageable.

  • Smooth cloud integration

Due to being compatible with different kinds of mobile devices, integrating various plugins with the cloud is seamless. The app’s functionality and scalability can be achieved swiftly as it is easy to coordinate multiple plugins with a single source code.

  • Uniformity in app design

The UI and UX have a consistent look and feel with cross-platform apps since the process is highly streamlined when there is the same codebase on multiple platforms. This enhances users’ experience since users can foresee how the app would interact across platforms.

React Native App Development Company for Startups

Cross-platform apps are a boon especially for startups and SMEs as it is low budget development. This technology has also given a boost to developers. Businesses are more than ever looking to hire React Native App developers and others who are deft in cross-platform technologies. Last year, i.e., in 2022, there was an upsurge of more than 80% in demand for experts in these frameworks, and it is assumed that 2023 and 2024 would see greater heights in this demand. iTechnolabs is a leading React Native App Development Company serving Mobile app development Services such as Android App development, iOS App development all across the globe. You can directly hire React Native App Developer from us at your own convenience.

Best Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

best cross-platform app development frameworks itechnolabs

  • React Native
  • Xamarin
  • Flutter
  • Ionic

Just five years back, companies for whom mobile apps were pivotal for business development had no other choice but to build native apps. Now that we have many mature frameworks for cross-platform apps, businesses are turning to a app development company to construct mission-critical apps which are also native-like.

  • React Native –

React native is hands down the best tool for developing cross-platform mobile apps; hence you are sure to see a surge of clients if you are a app Development Company. Launched by Facebook in 2015, react-native has caused a steep rise in the hybrid frameworks market. React native uses Java to build native applications. Its most robust feature is writing modules in many different languages like Java, Swift, and C with this framework.

Few other cool features of this tool include its ability to edit images and video processing capability, which is not found in other API frameworks. React native has support from a large audience and is getting constantly improved, which gives you all the more reasons to hire react native app developers. If you want to develop apps for both iOS and Android, then respond native speakers are the best choice for development. Some of the apps made using React Native are Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Pinterest, and Myntra.

  • Xamarin –

Xamarin apps are built using MS Visual Studio .Net code, and they work on iOS, Android, Windows, etc. Xamarin apps have the look and feel of native apps, and you can also give them a platform-specific hardware boost to operate as efficiently as native apps. You can use the same Xamarin code on both Mac and PC systems, and the framework offers many tools to developers like UI design tools, debugging, code editing, etc. Xamarin has taken the world by storm in its seven-plus years, with more than 1.6 million developers spread across 120 countries. Companies that have used Xamarin for their app development include The World Bank, Alaska Airlines, MRW mobiles, etc.

  • Flutter –

Flutter is a free and open-source platform for creating high-performance apps on various platforms like iOS, Android, Web, desktop, etc. The flutter SDK was developed and released by Google in 2017. Java developers can quickly work with the flutter framework as it uses the Dart programming language, which is similar to Java in syntax and uses object-oriented notions. Alibaba, Google Ads are some of the famous apps that have used flutter for cross-platform app development. Flutter has also been rated as one of the top 3 platforms in a recent survey. One of the most notable features of this framework is its widget, which helps enhance the look of the app with features like scrolling, fonts, navigation, icons, etc., that provide full native-like performance. According to the recent study by developers, flutter Mobile App development framework is better than Ionic .

  • Ionic –

If you are looking for a powerful SDK for developing apps with a native feel, Ionic is the one for you. Ionic uses advanced technologies like HTML, Javascript, and CSS, and its main focus is on the UI and looks of the app. With a single ionic codebase, you can develop apps that will work on iOS, Android, web, and desktop. Developers would find it extremely easy to work on this framework as it uses many APIs which are best suited for PWA (Progressive Web App) like TypeScript, JSX, Virtual DOM, and async. Nationwide, MarketWatch, MacDonald’s, and Pacifica are some of the companies that have used the Ionic framework for their app development.

Are You Looking for Cross-Platform App Development Company?

are you looking for cross-platform app development company itechnolabs

In today’s digital era’s challenging and competitive market, businesses must look at developing cross-platform apps for faster time to market and reduced cost. One of the pioneers of cross-platform frameworks  is React Native, if you are looking to hire react native developers from iTechnolabs to develop high-performing apps that can be finished in much less development time.

Frequently Asked Questions to Cross-Platform App Development

  1. How to develop cross platform mobile apps?

  • Given below is the step-by-step guide for the cross-platform application development. Have a read –
  • Clearly defining your app objective is definitely going to be your foremost task in multi-platform app development
  • Get familiar with the relevant industry, competitors, and consumers before moving any further
  • Prepare an elaborate outline of the distinctive functionalities of your app based on the prior research
  • Now, hire a cross-platform app developer like iTechnolabs that can effectively transform your app dream into reality
  • Discuss in detail your app idea with your cross-platform app development company and accordingly choose a suitable cross platform app development framework
  • Make sure that your developers have designed both the frontend and backend of your app, complying with the guidelines of all the platforms
  • If your developers are relying on module-based development approach, then rest assured that your app is in safe hands
  • It would be wise if the third-party integrations are developed according to the prerequisites of each platform involved
  • Rigorous testing is the only way to assure that the app has met all the quality standards, once its it developed
  • Double-check to be certain that your app id fully compliant of all the guidelines of the respective app stores before the launch

2. What are some of the best cross-platform app development frameworks?

For the purpose of cross-platform development of iOS and android, there are cross-platform app development frameworks. Using such frameworks, it becomes extremely easy to build apps for multiple platforms with just a single code.

For your reference, we have listed down the best cross-platform frameworks of 2023. Take a look –

  • Flutter
  • Xamarin
  • Ionic
  • React Native
  • Node.js
  • PhoneGap
  • NativeScript
  • Corona SDK

The developers at iTechnolabs will make sure that you are apprised of the pluses and minuses of each of the aforementioned frameworks before you make your choice. 

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