Last Updated on June 13, 2022

Cross-platform app development has emerged as the unrivaled choice on a global pace for companies in advanced technology. It has established itself as the universal preference with its manifold merits, creating apps for numerous platforms using a single codebase top of the chart. It has become appallingly obvious that every other mobile development business is working on a cross-platform app development framework and tools to reach a larger audience with an economical approach. The result- the market is floating with an overwhelming amount of options. However, specific benchmarks need to be cleared in inspection before declaring any cross-platform app development framework as the final choice. 

Before making any abiding decision, let’s look at the basics. 

What Is A Cross-Platform App Development Framework? 

Cross-platform is referred to as the type of software compatible with multiple computing platforms, i.e., Blackberry, Android, Windows, iOS, etc. The present-day competitive digital sphere has compelled developers to look for better results with minimal cost and effort. The ‘one-of-a-kind technology’ embedded in cross-platform allows the developers to code once to create the foundations for the app to run effectively on various platforms. Developers use different programming languages to develop cross-platform applications. The most common toolkit includes JavaScript, HTML, Java, and CSS. 

Best Frameworks For Developing Cross-Platform Apps

Statistic: Cross-platform mobile frameworks used by software developers worldwide from 2019 to 2021 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista
Characteristic201920202021
Flutter30%39%42%
React Native42%42%38%
Cordova29%18%16%
lonic28%18%16%
Xamarin26%14%11%
Unity12%11%11%
NativeScript11%5%5%
PhoneGap11%6%4%
Kotlin Multiplatform2%2%
Apache Flex5%2%1%
Kendo UI4%1%1%
Kivy1%1%
Other8%10%
Statistic: Most used web frameworks among developers worldwide, as of 2021 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

1. Ionic

Ionic is a cross-platform app framework based on AngularJS and is one of the most unique and popular options available in the space. It enables developers to access native platform controllers using a combination of languages, including HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, and a Cordova wrapper. Ionic allows developers to create a beautiful user interface while also including user-friendly functionality in their app. Because the apps built with this framework are dynamic and native-like, Ionic is an excellent choice for PWA development

Features Of Ionic

  • It’s an open-source front-end framework, which means developers can change the code structure to suit specific needs while saving a lot of time. Delivers high competition to contender Ionic in the Ionic and React Native war.  
  • Based on the SAAS UI framework 
  • Specially designed to work on mobile operating systems
  • Another of its prominent attributes is that it is built on AngularJS, which makes it simple to add HTML syntax extensions, fundamental functionality, and valuable yet engaging features and components to the program.
  • One of the critical advantages of cross-platform development tools is the usage of Cordova plugins, which give access to device in-built functions such as Camera, GPS, and Audio Recorder.
  • Ionic’s popularity among developers stems from the fact that it gives apps a native-like experience. It assists in developing cross-platform apps and assures that they run smoothly across multiple platforms. 

Ionic Usage Statistics

2. React Native

A JavaScript framework enables users to create actual code and associate a native feel with the app. Because of its outstanding capabilities, React Native is not only favored by developers but also by businesses that believe in devising productive solutions. It’s fortunate that React Native, like Ionic, is an open-source, cross-platform app framework. As a result, it has a vast community to help it grow and improve by addressing issues, improving, and adding new features. React Native combines the advantages of JavaScript and React.JS and the ability for developers to write modules in Objective-C, Swift, or Java. Likewise, developers can perform complex operations like image editing, video processing, and other activities that are not part of the framework APIs by using native modules and libraries in React Native cross-platform projects.

Features Of React Native

  • Based on React- one of the tops in class JavaScript libraries 
  • One of the benefits of cross-platform development is that it only takes one-time code (WORA) for platforms like Android and iOS. This eliminates a significant drawback of competing frameworks: developers must code twice for the same program on different platforms.
  • One-time coding cuts the app’s development time in half and keeps the expense of developing a React Native app to a minimum.
  • React Native is remarkably compatible with third-party plugins like Google Maps. 
  • React Native places a strong emphasis on the user experience, resulting in a highly responsive interface. This implies that the React Native environment reduces the amount of time it takes for applications to load and provides a pleasant user experience.

React Native Usage Statistics

3. Flutter

Flutter is the youngest of all cross-platform app development frameworks and holds a special place in the modern market. Here’s the exciting part being an open-source, this cross-platform app framework was built to assist in the expeditious iOS and Android app development. Flutter allows apps to function on multiple platforms with a uniform and dynamic approach. 

Features Of Flutter

  • Flutter encourages using a portable GPU, which renders UI power and allows it to function with up-to-the-minute interfaces.
  • Flutter’s reactive framework eliminates the need to update the UI contents manually. The only thing that Flutter app developers need to do now updates the variables, and the UI changes will appear.
  • The Flutter cross-platform app framework is an excellent choice for producing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) because it speeds up the development process while simultaneously being cost-effective.
  • Developers may quickly and easily recreate a widget tree and understand the code changes.
  • Flutter comes with a built-in graphics engine. Developers would not have to worry about creating distinct interfaces for Android and iOS if they followed this path.

Flutter Usage Statistics

Learn more: Flutter vs. React Native What is better for app development?

4. Xamarin

Xamarin is a streamlined framework primarily used for developing Windows, Android, and iOS with the help of .Net and C#. Developers can use 90% of the code for creating new platforms while using Xamarin. 

Features Of Xamarin

  • C#, a modern cross-platform app development language that leverages Objective-C and Java, is used to create apps for the Xamarin framework.
  • Eliminates hardware compatibility issues. It also encourages the use of native libraries, which opens a path for customization and native-level functionality.
  • Xamarin supports the direct incorporation of Objective-C, Java, and C++ libraries. This makes it one of the most remarkable cross-platform frameworks because it allows developers to utilize various third-party codebases written in Java C++ and Objective-C.
  • Xamarin speeds up and lowers the cost of mobile app development.
  • Offers compile-time checking that, in the long term, helps developers to attain well-functioning apps and witness lesser run-time glitches.

Xamarin Usage Statistics

5. NativeScript

Native-Scripts-LOGO

NativeScript is probably an ideal choice for developers exploring WORA functionality. Additionally, NativeScripts also proffers all native APIs offering a choice for developers to reuse existing plugins directly from NPM into the existing projects. NativeScript creates stunning, accessible, glitch-free, and platform-native UI without using WebViews. Developers have to define it once, and NativeScript will adapt to run anywhere. They can even tailor the user interface to particular devices and screens. 

Features Of NativeScript

  • Unlike React Native, NativeScript provides developers with a comprehensive web resource that includes plugins for various applications. Third-party solutions will inevitably become obsolete as a result of this.
  • NativeScript allows developers to quickly access native Android and iOS APIs without understanding native development languages.
  • For programming, it makes use of Angular and TypeScript.
  • NativeScript invokes local strategies from libraries and supports segments like Cocoapods and AndroidArsenal.

NativeScript Usage Statistics

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6. Node.js

Node.JS

Node.js is built on the Chrome V8 JavaScript engine. It functions as an open-source environment that backs up scalable networking apps and server-side development. Node.js are inherently responsive and highly effective cross-platform apps.  

Features Of Node.js

  • Flexible to handle various concurrent connections at one time. 
  • All Node.js APIs can be regarded as asynchronous, which means they aren’t blocking. This means that servers running Node.JS don’t have to wait for data from APIs. After calling one API, it instantly moves on to another. The server can acquire a response from the previous API call using a notification mechanism programmed in Node.js. 
  • The Node.js library is incredibly fast at executing code.
  • Node.js cross-platform programs do not buffer data. Alternatively, it’s output data chunks.
  • Node.js employs a single-threaded model with event looping functionality to produce smooth and flawless apps. This event mechanism allows the server to respond in a non-blocking manner, allowing for greater scalability. 
  • Slow apps benefit from Node.JS applications since they reduce reaction time. 

Node.js Usage Statistics

Also Read: How To Hire a Node.JS Developer?

7. Appcelerator Titanium

Appcelerator-Titanium-LOGO-1

Appcelerator works to streamline the app development process with native components present in JavaScript code. 

Features Of Appcelerator Titanium

  • Offers tools for faster application development, indicating rapid prototype creation and evaluation of user interaction with UI. 
  • ArrowDB-(a schema-less data store) helps developers install data models to eliminate any extra efforts required for setup ultimately. 
  • Allows integrations of continuous delivery systems, for instance, SCM solutions. 

Appcelerator Titanium Usage Statistics

8. PhoneGap

PhoneGap (Cordova) is the next significant phenomenon for cross-platform app development using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. Developers also gain access to cloud solutions to share the app development process within the community for feedback. Another pressing advantage of PhoneGap is that it supports in-built device features such as cameras, storage, GPS, and so on.  

Features Of PhoneGap  

  • Provides access to embedded payment systems like App Store and Google Play Store. 
  • Applications developed using PhoneGap are eligible to run on leading OS platforms with negligible differences. 
  • PhoneGap allows the developers to use other libraries like Mootools, Sencha Torch, etc., and JavaScript. 
  • Due to the plugin-able architecture of the framework, the APIs can be extended in a modular way.

PhoneGap Usage Statistics

9. Apache Cordova

Apache Cordova

Apache Cordova is an open-source platform used for building mobile applications using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. It offers a bridge between mobile devices and web applications. 

Features Of Apache Cordova

  • Cordova includes several core components that are required by any mobile application. These components provide the foundation of an app, allowing us to concentrate on developing logic.
  • This program is in charge of creating processes and installing plugins for various platforms. 
  • Cordova plugins allow an application to access device functions like the camera, battery, and contacts.

Apache Cordova Usage Statistics

10. Sencha Touch Now Merged With Ext JS

Sencha Touch now merged with Ext JS

Sencha Touch, which was first released about a decade ago, aids in developing web-based cross-platform apps. It is commonly used to construct efficient applications that employ hardware acceleration techniques. Sencha Touch allows developers to build well-tested, securely connected UI components and libraries. Massive corporate apps can be developed using Sencha Touch and maintained efficiently. 

Features Of Sencha Touch Now Merged With Ext JS

  • Popular for having native-looking themes built-in for all major platforms, including  BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone, iOS, etc.
  • For working with data sources, it comes with an excellent agnostic backend data package.
  • Sencha Touch enables Cordova integration for native API access, one of its most well-known capabilities.
  • Provides code compatibility between old and new ones. 
  • Includes collections of 50+ built-in widgets and display of rich UI specially made for mobile platforms like forms, carousels, toolbars, lists, menus, etc. 

Sencha Touch With Ext JS Usage Statistics

Worldwide 5 Year Google Trends Of Sencha Touch with Ext JS
Worldwide 5 Year Google Trends Of Sencha Touch with Ext JS

11. Codename One 

Codename One

Codename One is a mobile-first cross-platform for Kotlin and Java developers. It can compile Java bytecode to native OS executables. Codename One is the only platform that supports seamless Continuous Integration. 

Features Of Codename One 

  • Developers can build their app using IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, or NetBeans. The essential requirement for this is the Codename One plugin installed on either IDE. 
  • Codename One unifies different concepts and technologies into a single facade. 
  • Codename One backed up the ability to an offline “in-house” build cloud, which eliminated the use of Codename One build servers completely. 

Codename One Usage Statistics

12. Kivy 

Kivy is a multi-platform Python GUI development library on iOS, Android, Windows, OS X, and GNU/Linux. It aids in developing apps that make use of cutting-edge multi-touch user interfaces. Kivy’s core concept allows developers to create an app once and deploy it across all devices, making code reusable and deployable and enabling quick and easy interaction design and prototyping.

Features Of Kivy 

  • Extensive support for  TUIO, mouse, keyboard, and  OS-specific multi-touch events 
  • Kv language helps in designing custom widgets effectively. 

Kivy Usage Statistics

Worldwide 5 Year Google Trends Of Kivy

13. Corona SDK

Corona SDK allows developers to create 2D mobile apps for all major platforms, including Kindle and Windows.

It allows developers to design mobile and game apps ten times faster. The backend framework works magnificently and is based on Lua, a lightweight, and multi-paradigm programming language. The language concentrates on the most critical aspects of development, such as extensibility, speed, scalability,  portability, and ease of use.

Furthermore, it is a free framework that supports real-time testing and works on Mac OS X and Windows.

Features Of Corona SDK

  • 1000 APIs programmed in it allow developers to sprite music, animations, object tweening, audio, native elements, Box2D physics, data, and many other features.  
  • It reacts almost promptly to code changes while providing a real-time preview of the app’s performance on an actual device.
  • Almost 200 plugins are supported, including in-app advertising, analytics, media, and hardware functions.

Corona SDK Usage Statistics

14. BeeWare

BeeWare is a suite of libraries and tools that allows the user to write native GUI applications in Python while using one codebase. 

Features Of BeeWare

  • Helps the user to develop apps with a rich interface using Python. 
  • Runs on tvOS, iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, and more 
  • BeeWare suite of tools is licensed by BSD and is flexible for modifications. 
  • Beware uses native functionality and native widgets compared to the theme-based approach. 
  • Provides tools that facilitate debugging, development, and analysis of Python projects. 

BeeWare Usage Statistics

15. RubyMotion

RubyMotion

RubyMotion is a commercial toolchain for OS X, iOS, and Android development using the Ruby programming language. The RubyMotion Apps executes in an iOS simulator with a read-eval-print loop (REPL). Package managers like CocoaPoda or manual methods can be used to include 3rs-party-Objective-C in a RubyMotion project. 

Features Of RubyMotion

  • The RubyMine IDE includes code completion and visual debugging for the RubyMotion toolchain.
  • Projects can be developed using any text editor. 
  • With the development of version 2.0, RubyMotion supports the application development for OS X and iOS. 
  • Examples include A Dark Room for iOS, A Dark Room for iOS,  37signals’s Basecamp for iPhone, and the Bandcamp iPhone app. 
  • RubyMotion plans to support Android in version 3.0. 

RubyMotion Usage Statistics

Cross-Platform Apps Examples

1. Apps Made With Xamarin Cross-Platform App Framework

  • Fox Sports
  • Alaska Airlines
  • HCL
  • American Cancer Society
  • BBC Good Food.

2. Apps Made With React Native Cross-Platform App Framework

  • Instagram
  • Bloomberg
  • Pinterest
  • Skype
  • Tesla

3. Apps Made With Flutter Cross-Platform App Framework

  • Alibaba
  • BMW
  • Google Ads
  • Tencent

4. Apps Made With Ionic Hybrid App Framework

  • Sworkit
  • JustWatch
  • McLaren Automotive
  • Diesel

Native vs. Cross-Platform: What’s The Difference?

Parameters Native Apps Cross-Platform Apps 
App development and Maintenance Cost High cost of development as it requires building multiple apps if the user wishes to distribute products on various platforms. Maintenance is also costly and time-consuming. Relatively cheaper in context to both maintenance and development. 
Code Usability Works for a single platform One code can be used for multiple platforms to ease portability 
Device AccessEasy access to device API No assured access to device APIs 
UI Consistency Consistent with UI components of the device Limited consistency 
Performance and Speed High performing, less risk of crashing Comparatively slower 
Time to market High as the development of two apps takes timesCode reusability saves time to make a launch 
User Experience Magnificent user experience resulting from optimum utilization of device features, better performance, low cost, high speed, and better visuals. Relatively low as it is difficult to cater to all the UX requirements on a single app. Attempts to enhance UX hinders speed. 
Programming ExpertiseDeveloper skills are expensive and difficult to obtain.Required skills are easier to find. 
Customer Reach LimitedBroader user base 
Authorization from Google Play and App store EasyLong and detailed process (every update is  separately authorized) 
Dependency Less dependent on other platforms and open-source libraries Largely dependents on different tools and libraries 
3rd Party SDK’s availabilityExcellentAverage 
Team Size Big ( Different teams for each platform) Medium to small ( single team for all platforms) 
ToolsKotlin, Java Flutter, Xamarin, React Native 
Examples Pinterest Bloomberg 

Benefits of Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

1. Maximum Exposure To The Target Audience 

A corporation can use a mobile cross-platform development technique to create an app and deploy it across various platforms, including the web. This means that one can target both iOS and Android platforms with a single app. As a result, their reach is optimized.

2. Reduced Development Cost

The principle of cross-platform app development is “write once, run everywhere.” The development cost can be reduced by using Reusable code and Agile app development procedures and tools. As a result, cross-platform apps are the only option to improve a business across numerous platforms cost-effectively.

3. Easier Maintenance & Deployment

A single and universal app is compatible for running on all platforms in cross-platform app development. As modifications are made, this makes it easier to maintain and deploy code. Updates can be synchronized quickly across all platforms and devices, saving time and money. Furthermore, if a flaw is discovered in the shared codebase, it only needs to be corrected once. Developers may save a lot of time and money this way.

4. Quicker Development Process

When it comes to developing cross-platform apps, the speedy development process is another win-win situation. Single source code for numerous platforms can help developers save 50 to 80 percent on development time. The method aids in the development of a feature-rich business app in a shorter amount of time. In cross-platform app development, the team of developers can achieve the specified timeframes.

5. Reusable Code

Another advantage of this platform is that the code may be reused multiple times. Instead of writing new code for each platform, developers can reuse existing code. Because it minimizes repetition in the work of developing codes, this saves both time and resources.

6. Easy Integration With Cloud

Cross-platform mobile apps are fully compatible and can take advantage of various plugins integrated with cloud settings. Another way, the app’s scalability, and usefulness are improved by coordinating the single source code with numerous plug-ins and extensions.

Challenges In The Cross-Platform App Development Process

Cross-platform app development was once limited to creating simple mobile apps and games. Emerging technologies have improved cross-platform development over time, making it more versatile, powerful, and flexible.

Cross-platform app development, on the other hand, still faces problems such as:

  • Inconsistent communication between native and non-native components of devices causes performance issues.
  • Cross-platform app developers struggle to perpetuate cross-compliance across devices and operating systems.
  • Glitches in performance might lead to a poor user experience.
  • If a business app runs a division of a company and saves user data, cross-platform apps aren’t usually the best choice due to security considerations. 

How To Choose The Appropriate Hybrid App Framework?

why

It is difficult to weigh the pros and cons of numerous frameworks; here are a few pointers that might assist in making a schooled decision: 

1. Make A List Of Native-like Features

Making a list of preferred native-like features will assist the business in adding value to the end solution. 

2. Envisage The Future-Driven Path For The Business

While defining the framework, it is essential to evaluate traits that need to add to the future scope of application. For instance, the framework should be flexible and compatible with new features that could be a part of the app’s future. 

3. Identify Limitations

As a decision-maker, it is crucial to assess the flip side of hybrid app development. 

4. Choosing An Appropriate Interface Design

To create frictionless apps, it is essential to opt for frameworks that can abide by design laws and are seamless for developers in terms of usability, ease of operation, and accessibility. 

5. Selecting The Partner Company

Outsourcing the work to experts will help the businesses to minimize the involved risk of failure and make an informed decision. 

6. Evaluate The Scope For Evolution

With the changing time, it is necessary to opt for the option that can sustain and evolve with new developments and amendments in the domain. 

Conclusion 

With the unification of convenience with excellence, cross-platform app frameworks have gained more popularity. Cross-platform app frameworks promote the concept of universal compatibility and cost-efficiency by creating apps for multiple frameworks. The question lies, which of the above-mentioned cross-platform app development framework is a suitable choice for your business? The solution: depends on business needs and the app’s functional requirements. If you need skilled and experienced app development experts on the same to make a well-acquainted decision, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to seek further guidance. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

What is the best cross-platform framework?

The user can choose from a generous amount of a variety of cross-platform app frameworks available in the current market. These frameworks will ensure smooth sailing for your apps on a native app and various other platforms. Some of the popular choices are Flutter, Ionic, React Native, NativeScript and Corona SDK, etc. 

How do you make a mobile app cross-platform?

The solution is smooth. Choosing an excellent cross-platform app development company with the experience and right tech stack required for effective app development. 

Which is better, React Native or Xamarin? 

The answer to this query is highly tailored to the company’s demands and project specifications. While React Native has many appealing features, such as Hot Loading and rich libraries, it might not be the best fit for your project. Xamarin can be a compelling option for various reasons, including the near-native user experience. 

Why is Xamarin better than Flutter?

In terms of development tools, Xamarin is a better option than Flutter as it is easy to use and will result in faster and iterations-free processes. 

Which frameworks are used in iOS?

React Native, SwitUI, Flutter, and Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile are some of the frequently used frameworks for iOS. 

What is the most used mobile framework?

The most used mobile Framework is “React Native” 

Which is better: NativeScript vs. React Native? 

Both belong to the cross-platform category and deliver relatively homogenous benefits. However, in some fields, React Native performed exceedingly well in contrast to NativeScrtip; for instance, React Native renders apps by using SDKs that turn it into a highly performant framework to deliver faster UI. Additionally, React Native is more inclined toward native performance than NativeScript. 

Author

I am an eCommerce consultant, a member of the Forbes technology council with a decade of experience in the ecommerce development segment. My expertise can make your business overcome any obstacles while you are dealing with the Magento ecommerce platform!