Top 5 Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Frameworks
While many companies decide whether to opt for Android app development or build their business mobile app for iOS, there is always a third option – develop one app for multiple platforms with the help of cross-platform mobile app development technologies.
Cross-platform development allows businesses to expand to several most popular platforms among their customers, making their services more accessible and their customer services more effective.
The quick growth in popularity of cross-platform development has contributed to the emergence of diverse tools and frameworks that alleviate the development process of multiplatform mobile solutions. In this article, we’ve gathered the top 5 cross-platform mobile app development frameworks that can make the software development process much faster and with fewer mistakes.
The first top cross-platform framework worth mentioning is Xamarin. It’s a popular open-source framework used by software developers that code in C#. Xamarin has been a part of Microsoft’s development ecosystem since 2016.
Xamarin allows building applications for Android, iOS, and Windows platforms, sharing and reusing over 90% of code between them. When building cross-platform solutions with Xamarin, software developers can opt for one of the development options – Xamarin.Native or Xamarin.Forms.
Xamarin.Forms is a UI framework with some reusable basic features that allow the quick building of a mobile app with one code base that will run on several platforms though with some generalized and basic functionality. Meanwhile, Xamarin.Native better suits the projects with demanding interfaces as mobile developers have to create separate UI versions for mobile apps depending on the platforms they’re intended for.
So what are the pros and cons of Xamarin app development and when to choose this framework for cross-platform mobile app development projects? Here is a short summary.
- Single technology stack – only C# is required to build a solid, multiplatform mobile app.
- Shared app code – with Xamarin, software developers can build apps with shared code that run on Android, iOS, and Windows platforms.
- Open-source solution – Xamarin allows adding various components that can effectively meet any project needs such as third-party web services, cross-platform libraries, UI controls, and more. It also supports Java, Objective-C, and C++ libraries.
- Easy maintenance – with Xamarin, it’s easy to deploy any changes or updates for the developed solution. Software developers only need to make changes in the source files for them to be applied in the app over all the platforms.
- Great technical support – Xamarin is developed and supported by Microsoft, therefore, the technology is actively developed and improved. Moreover, there is a strong online community that can always provide quick and clear answers on how to work with the framework.
- Not free for enterprises – Xamarin is considered to be a free solution for individuals and start-ups, though when it comes to enterprise development, companies are required to buy a license.
- Not the best solution for heavy graphics – Xamarin isn’t the best choice for building apps with demanding UX/UI. That’s because each platform has its own methods of the screen layout. Therefore, natively developed mobile apps would work better in this case.
The framework offers a rich set of various out-of-the-box features and tools that help software developers significantly speed up the development process while creating native-style mobile layouts and UI elements for Android and iOS platforms.
Ionic simply integrates with several front-end development frameworks, including Angular.js, Vue.js, and React.js, and uses Cordova and Capacitor as wrappers to access native platform features.
Let’s have a look at the main pros and cons of the Ionic framework.
- A rich toolkit of various tools, plugins, and UI components. Access to native features via plugins, e.g. fingerprint scanners, NFC, camera, push notifications, etc.
- IDE Ionic Studio was created especially for building and prototyping multi-platform mobile apps with minimum coding.
- Use of a single code base for building iOS and Android apps.
- Debugging can be complicated due to unclear error messages.
- Ionic can have unstable builds and some performance hindrances as native plugins can conflict with each other.
- UI routing is rather complex, therefore, building in-app navigation can be challenging.
- The free Ionic version offers limited features and functionality.
When reviewing top cross-platform mobile development instruments, it’s impossible to ignore React Native. This Java-based mobile framework developed by Facebook is hugely popular among mobile software developers for its smooth and responsive UI, outstanding app load time, and development speed. Moreover, React Native helps reduce the codebase and saves many resources during the development process.
React Native utilizes a component-based approach for b