How to Build a Cross-Platform Application

Hi everyone, Daniil from AppVesto is here!

Today we are going to discuss an interesting and VERY important question for every newbie developer: How to develop a cross-platform application? Keep reading and find the answer!

Why creating cross-platform apps is so important

Any application should focus on the target audience and should be compatible with the platforms this audience is using. For instance, if your main audience is business owners who aim to use your service anytime, anywhere, and from any spot of the world, make sure they can easily do this.

How? The answer is in the runoff, develop a cross-platform service, and that’s it! In such a way, users become able to launch your product on different platforms: Android phone, iOS tablet, macOS laptop, Windows PC, and whatnot.

A quick comparison between native and cross-platform apps

Just so we are on the same page, native applications are developed exclusively for a specific platform, in a language compatible with this platform.

Cross-platform apps, in their turn, are compatible with multiple platforms, such as iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, and other popular OS. In other words, cross-platform applications could be used on any common platform.

Let’s compare these two types of services and figure out which one is better to choose.

As you can see, developing cross-platform applications could make developers’ life much easier as they can write code once and then run it on several platforms without any extra effort. This approach is called WORA: Write once, run anywhere. That’s great time and resources saving, isn’t it?

Benefits of cross-platform app development:

  • Code reusability;
  • Cost-effectiveness;
  • Consistency in UI components;
  • Shorter time to market.

Now, it’s high time to deal with top frameworks that can be used for developing cross-platform apps: React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter.

React Native

React Native is an open-source mobile application framework created by Facebook. It is used to develop cross-platform apps compatible with the most popular operating systems: Android, iOS, macOS, Web, and Windows.

This framework is great for cross-platform application development because it gives stability to the app and is perfect for transposable architecture. It also ensures the app performs optimally and also is not a costly affair.

And the icing on the cake is the Fast Refresh feature. This feature makes your React app reloads slick and painless while you make any changes to the code. Therefore, you can see your changes and test them as soon as you press the Save changes button. No more waiting for native builds to finish! Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Xamarin

Now, let’s take a look at the Xamarin framework that is developed by Microsoft. This framework is an open-source leading tool that perfectly suits native-like applications. One slight clarification, native-like apps work the same way a user wants to use them. Using this framework you can easily build apps for different platforms such as Windows, iOS, and Android using a single .net code.

To the top of it, Xamarin offers a seamless user experience and complete development ecosystem. It offers lots of convenient tools such as debugging, UI design tools, code editing, and much more.

Unfortunately, I have not had a great experience with developing cross-platform apps using Xamarin features. Have such an experience? I’d appreciate it if you’d share it in the comments!

Flutter

Flutter is the next top framework we are going to consider. First things first, this open-source software development kit created by Google provides different sorts of unique features like pre-built widgets, Hot Reload, APIs, and CLI tools to provide high native-like performance on various platforms like iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and even the web using a single codebase.

Moreover, Flutter’s widgets incorporate all critical platform differences such as scrolling, navigation, icons, and fonts on both iOS and Android devices. This framework utilizes Dart programming language that is easy-to-understand for both JavaScript and Java, or C# developers. Therefore, if you use Xamarin or any other framework that supports JavaScript, starting with Flutter will be a piece of cake for you!

You can choose either Flutter, Xamarin, React Native, or a native mobile app development framework. My choice is Flutter and here are the top 5 reasons why I choose this framework:

  1. Similar to native app performance;
  2. Fast and clean development process;
  3. UI and logic don’t change depending on the platform;
  4. Increased time-to-market speed;
  5. Minimizes the risks and losses for your business.

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Feel free to write them down in the comments below. Thanks!

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