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Cross-Platform App Development – Explore Frameworks, Technology and Business Benefits
In the following article, we will discuss what cross-platform development is, what benefits it brings, and what frameworks you can use for it. Let’s dive in!
What is a Cross-Platform App Development?
Cross-platform application development is about building a single application that can run on various operating systems, instead of developing different app versions for each platform.
The driving force for cross-platform application development is to produce software that works well in more than one specific digital environment, with the main purpose of selling it to a wider customer base.
Business Benefits of Cross-Platform Development
Let’s review the benefits associated with cross-platform application development.
Launching the software simultaneously on various platforms
When you work on cross-platform app development, you can launch your software quickly on various platforms. The source code is written once for all platforms. This means you don’t need to hire a separate software development team for each platform, as it’s possible to launch and update the software by using a variety of cross-platform development tools.
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Faster development time
It requires the deployment of a single script instead of writing separate scripts for each platform. This significantly speeds up development time and cuts time to market, which benefits everyone, from the dev team all the way to marketing.
Reaching a wider audience
Cross-platform application development offers you an opportunity to reach a larger audience. How so? Think about it – if your app is compatible with multiple platforms and operating systems like the web, iOS, and Android, it can be used by a larger number of users. It’s a great way to maximize your exposure – with less effort and time.
Faster and easier updates
Since cross-platform applications are Internet-based, updates are nice and easy. Users don’t have to download separate updates, which would require the maintenance and support of multiple app versions. The app is updated automatically for all customers to ensure they always have the most current version of the app, which positively impacts its performance.
Cost savings & shorter time to profitability
All of the above-mentioned advantages entail significant cost savings. With the development speed cross-platform development brings, your time-to-market for each platform is shorter than if you had to create each app from scratch. This means you can get your software to generate revenue much sooner. You don’t need to maintain a software development team for each platform you launch your app to, which will bring significant savings over time.
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That said, you might be wondering whether there are any disadvantages you should be aware of. As explained by Techopedia, cross-platform development can make programs less efficient in that you will need to maintain file storage for all the systems the software supports. This could also mean that you would be limited by various technologies’ constraints when choosing the right software environment. All in all, these drawbacks do not make cross-platform development any less popular, with the advantages outweighing the solution’s limitations.
Cross-Platform Technology and Frameworks
Hopefully, we’ve managed to persuade you that cross-platform application development is an approach worth considering. Now it’s time to look at some of the frameworks you can use while building your apps, starting with Flutter.
Flutter is considered the perfect framework for developing high-performance web apps. Brought to life by Google in 2018, it’s an advanced, open-source software development kit (SDK). Since it is one of the descendants of the above-mentioned tech giant, it’s pretty much guaranteed that Flutter will be continuously developed, and its community of supporters will grow.
Using Flutter as your cross-platform app development framework can bring benefits like:
- A wide choice of UI elements and widgets, which make app development not only fast but also visually appealing
- High-performance rendering engine that enables developers to customize animations quickly
- Hot-reload feature, which lets programmers view any coding changes live without the necessity to save their work.
Here are the main benefits of using React Native as your cross-platform app development framework:
- Hot-reload; just like in Flutter’s case, developers can monitor any code changes live without having to save them first
- It allows access to third-party plugins
- Its User Interface is simpler and resembles a JS library rather than a framework, as it focuses on mobile UI
- It offers a more stable app in comparison to all other frameworks.
Progressive Web App (PWA) frameworks for web applications
Next to native app development, PWA is also a popular cross-platform development method. Let’s look at three popular progressive web app frameworks below.
What are the benefits of using Angular?
- One of the major benefits of Angular is that it allows the developer to convert HTML (which is originally static) documents into dynamic content. With this dynamic feature, your web application will be able to update its contents periodically. Static web app’s contents are known to be the same
- It is created with a Model-View-Controller. This means that whenever data changes in the model, the view of the application changes as well
- It has a large community that supports each other.
Here are a few benefits of using this cross-platform app development framework:
- The size of the Vue framework is tiny. The downloadable zip file weighs 18 KB. It is fast and easy to install
- It has a good performance level when it comes to creating a progressive web application
- It is excellent for unit testing.
Created by Facebook for internal use (such as powering the platform’s News Feed and Instagram functionalities), React became open-sourced in 2013. According to Stack Overflow’s 2020 annual survey, it is the second most loved web framework among the developer community.
What makes React this popular? Let’s take a look at the top benefits:
- It’s easy to scale; you can start with as little or as much of its features as you need
- It offers a gentle learning curve and has an extensive developer toolset
- Like several of the above-mentioned frameworks, React boasts a thriving online community
- The cross-platform app development framework is stable – changes to ‘child’ structures don’t affect the major, ‘parent’ architecture.
- It is SEO-friendly (especially with SSR enabled); even when React is used for creating a mobile app, the data is still analyzed by browsers, like in the case of a webpage.
Cross-platform app development has become an important alternative to traditional, native development. There are many reasons behind its rising popularity. Firstly, it allows you to launch your app on various platforms simultaneously. This means you can reach a wider audience than in the case of developing an app for a single platform. Secondly, it offers a quicker time-to-market, as the code doesn’t need to be written from scratch separately for web, iOS, and Android. Finally, this translates to significant savings in the development and maintenance phase, as you only need one development team to cover all platforms.
You will see two types of cross-platform app development services in your search online – native and PWA. The first approach includes the popular React Native and Flutter, while the latter lets you create your app with React.js, Vue, and Angular, among others. When deciding on the right approach, we recommend that you refer to the article above to make an educated business decision.
Good luck with your app development project!
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