Cross-platform frameworks have sped up mobile app development processes and reducing costs. From startups to established multi-million companies, mobile apps are proved highly beneficial. What is more, mobile apps help businesses in a wide variety of ways and also provide convenience for users.
And Cross-platform frameworks are the best for you if you are looking for mobile app development for your business. However, choosing the best mobile Cross-Platform Frameworks is the most crucial aspect. If you go for the wrong cross-platform app development framework, you may have challenges maintaining the app. This is why up to 7 most popular Cross-platform frameworks have been compiled in this article.
Why are Businesses Investing in Mobile Applications?
As of April 2020, research has shown that there are 4.2 billion unique mobile users with access to the internet. That is about 58 percent of the global population. More than anything else, this offers a logical explanation as to why businesses are investing in Cross-Platform app development Frameworks these days.
What is Mobile Cross-platform App Framework?
Mobile app developers employ mobile cross-platform app frameworks for creating mobile apps with the same codebase that runs seamlessly on different platforms or operating systems i.e., Android and iOS. Developers can write the code only once and still be able to run it anywhere for every other platform, thus enabling the release of a product or software that is faster, safer, and with better quality.
Mobile app solution providers are readily exploiting Cross-platform frameworks for the plethora of benefits they offer which include:
- Code reusability
- Low costs
- Easy cloud integration, etc.
Despite being of great benefit to mobile app developers and mobile solution providers, there are specific restrictions generally experienced with the use of Cross-platform frameworks such as control and navigation elements that frequently tag along.
Before showcasing the top 7 mobile Cross-Platform Frameworks as well as their pros and cons, some of the benefits of Cross-Platform app development Frameworks will be discussed.
Benefits of Cross-platform App Framework Development
Hybrid mobile apps, along with emerging technologies, are currently changing the way businesses operate these days. Mobility is highly integral to our day-to-day activities, and this is why enterprises that hope to stay in business in this era should not neglect the mobile-first approach.
Statista has released a report stating that 59 percent of businesses presently target to launch a mobile app on Apple's App Store, whereas 83 percent of respondents develop applications for Google Play Store.
A new report of Sensor Tower also indicated that both the Google Play Store and iOS App Store combined generated up to #39.7 billion app revenue in the first half of 2019, and there is no sign that the number will slow down any time soon. That should be more than enough to inform any company looking to make headway in this era that adopting the mobile-first approach is the way to go.
For organizations that are still on the fence about adopting this innovative business strategy, here are the benefits of investing in mobile Cross-Platform Frameworks:
Quicker development time
Developing a single codebase for multiple operating systems or platforms significantly minimizes development efforts by more than 75 percent. This enables your enterprise to create intuitive and feature-rich mobile apps in less time and for less costs.
Cross-platform app development supports code reusability, meaning developers can generate code just once and reuse that specific codebase to run mobile applications on other operating systems or platforms.
This ends up eliminating repetitive tasks leading to a considerable reduction in operational costs.
Fewer technical barriers
Developers generally encounter fewer tech barriers when utilizing Cross-Platform app development Frameworks since there is no need to learn specific languages like Swift or Objective-C.
Easy cloud integration
Utilizing Cross-Platform app development Frameworks enhances seamless cloud integration with hosting services. When a cross-platform hybrid application is developed, it implies that your business mobile application can take advantage of all cloud hosting services.
The effort spent in mobile application development is far less when developers use Cross-platform frameworks. The less time and resources spent on developing mobile apps, the lower the costs.
Since developers need to only work on developing a single codebase, it quickens the development timeline while promoting testing, deployment, and ongoing support after launch.
Mobile app developers are only required to develop one source code, making it incredibly easy to maintain, pass update packages, or create a few changes.
Once changes and updates are made, they can automatically be synced over all the other operating systems or platforms and devices instantly, thereby saving money, time, and effort.
7 Mobile Cross-platform Frameworks to Consider
Several Cross-Platform app development Frameworks are in the market today, and each one comes with its advantages and drawbacks.
However, after careful research and feedback, here are the top 7 Cross-platform frameworks for 2020:
Google has significantly contributed to open-source mobile app developments by presenting Flutter to the world.
Flutter is a software development kit (SDK) released in 2018 and presently stands way taller than other SDKs on the market today. It is a UI toolkit for developing natively compiled apps for web, desktop, and mobile from a single codebase.
Flutter, which is an object-oriented language, relies heavily on the Dart coding language. However, it also extends support for multiple languages, including Swift, C, Java, etc.
Flutter is listed among the top 3 most-loved Cross-platform frameworks in the Developer Survey Results 2019.
Benefits of Flutter
- Positive developer feedback
- Intuitive widgets and libraries in Apple’s style with the Cupertino pack and Google’s Material Design
- Easy and quick development
- Hot reloading
- Reduced testing efforts
- Perfect choice for MVP development
- Clear documentation
- Easy-to-use user interface
Drawbacks of Flutter
- Bigger app size
- No flexibility
- Limited support
- Usability is somewhat questioned
2. Ionic Framework
Ionic Framework is a jaw-dropping open-source, cross-platform framework licensed by MIT. In an ideal situation, Ionic Framework is the first choice for mobile application development as it inherits several elements from both iOS and Android. The benefits that Ionic brings to the table make it one of the most sought-after mobile Cross-Platform Frameworks in the world.
A recent study suggests that mobile application built on the Ionic Framework has recorded a significant rise of 53.3 percent since 2019.
Benefits of Ionic Framework
- Preferred by veteran developers
- Loaded with a massive library of tools as well as the latest components
- Supported by a huge and vibrant community of over 5 million developers across more than 200 countries
- Easy to learn
- Fast prototyping
- Concise documentation
- Single codebase across the different operating systems
Drawbacks of Ionic Framework
- Fundamentally built on Cordova
- Certain limitation on the free version
- Security-related issues
- Found wanting in overall performance
3. React Native
React Native is the world's largest social media platform – i.e., Facebook – contribution to the open-source mobile application development platforms.
One thing that should be stated at this point is that React Native is not for neophytes. If you want to develop decent mobile apps based on this cross-platform Framework, ensure you hire a team of highly experienced professionals so that you can generate lots of rewards.
Benefits of React Native
- Built-in library of components
- Easy integration
- Good performance
- Allows codebase sharing of up to 80 percent, depending on the complexity of the app
- Employed for developing robust mobile applications
- Allows previewing results almost immediately
- Hot reloading feature
- Grants access to several impressive functionalities like camera and accelerometer
- Highly responsive interface
Drawbacks of React Native
- Not suitable for beginners
- Involves an incredibly steep learning curve
- Minimal errors may render an entire project unstable
- Compatibility issues
- Not entirely usable for cross-platform development
- Lags behind native platforms at times
4. Adobe Phonegap
Adobe Phonegap, formerly known as Adobe Cordova, is owned and sourced by Adobe. And it is a simple cross-platform app development framework that is extensively acclaimed for profoundly improving mobile app development, thanks to the powerful Phonegap toolset as well as a vibrant and robust community.
The best part about Adobe Phonegap is its ability to enable app developers to code and play with several languages without encountering any hardware restrictions.
Benefits of Adobe Phonegap
- Smooth and swift debugging with major web inspector tools
- Independence over sophisticated text commands
- Compatible with a wide range of APIs and third-party tools
- Provides cloud solutions that enable app developers to create mobile apps directly within the platform.
- Fast deployment
- One codebase when it comes to various operating systems
Drawbacks of Adobe Phonegap
- Lacks UI widgets
- Not recommended for hardware intensive apps and high-performance applications
- Highly dependent on iOS SDKs and downloading the latter requires a Mac
- Apps built with Adobe Phonegap have a tendency to go somewhat low when it comes to performance compared to native mobile apps.
Xamarin is one of the most well-liked Cross-platform frameworks in the market today and was launched in 2011. However, it was acquired by Microsoft in 2016, and this has significantly boosted its credibility than ever before.
Xamarin is an open-source framework designed to solve problems relating to disjointed native technology stacks that made mobile application development an expensive and challenging process.
Xamarin is different from some of the Cross-Platform app development Frameworks discussed earlier because it is based on the Write Once, Run Anywhere (WORA) model.
WORA is a term that refers to the supposed ability of a particular program to run on all standard operating systems. Sun Microsystems coined it in reference to Java. Xamarin is based on .NET language, enabling mobile app developers to share up to 75 percent of the code across different operating systems or platforms.
Benefits of Xamarin
- Access to NuGet packages and APIs
- Requires no more than one stack of technologies for different operating systems and faster development
- Support for libraries, the latest APIs, and programming languages
- Easy to maintain
- Mobile user interface framework that ultimately delivers a consistent look across different platforms.
- The performance level is incredibly close to Native.
- Uses C# for coding, making it work seamlessly on an array of operating systems
- Backed by a vibrant and robust community of more than 60,000 contributors from over 3,700 companies
Drawbacks of Xamarin
- Getting a full license can be too expensive for startups
- Access to Open Source Libraries is severely limited.
- Not recommended for mobile apps with heavy graphics
- High-cost factor
- Time-consuming for user interfaces not created for mobile
6. Sencha Touch
Sencha Touch is one of the Cross-platform frameworks that are extremely popular among mobile application developers. It was introduced to the market about a decade ago and is used for creating native-looking themes. It offers options for integration for UI components, easy testing as well as huge libraries.
The upside of working with Sencha Touch is that it is among the rarest mobile Cross-Platform Frameworks that allow developers to code and maintain large business apps effectively. Sencha Touch is highly popular for inbuilt Cordova integration.
Benefits of Sencha Touch
- Reliable and super fast
- Agnostic backend package
- Easy-to-use plugins
- Great documentation
- Adaptive layouts
- 50+ collection of high-performance, inbuilt UI widgets
- Easy integration with plugins and APIs
- Community support
Drawbacks of Sencha Touch
- Heavy DOM (Document Object Model) elements
Benefits of Node.js
- Swift execution
- Enormous in-built library
- All Node.js APIs don’t need to wait for data from APIs
- Reliable and impressive performance
Drawbacks of Node.js
- Callback concerns
- Laggy performance when developing web interfaces and a heavy GUI app.
Choosing any of the best Cross-platform frameworks can speed up your business and revenue. You can consider the top 7 mobile Cross-Platform Frameworks and go for the option that best matches your app project’s requirements.
Most of the Cross-Platform app development Frameworks outlined here are different in terms of what they offer developers at their core.