Everything You Need to Know About Building Cross-Platform Mobile Apps in 2024

June 6, 2024

10 Min Read

Research shows that the app development market is expected to reach a global volume of $673.8 billion. Out of these apps being developed, cross-platform apps are the hottest things in town. 

They provide users with a similar experience across all platforms, without the need to change too much code. But building cross-platform apps can turn into an entirely different experience. In today’s blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about building cross-platform apps in 2024. So stay tuned and keep reading.


What is Cross-Platform App Development?

Cross-platform app development is building apps for multiple platforms, such as IOS, MAC, Android, and Windows. Before cross-platform apps, developers used to develop Native apps: This meant that you would need to develop separate versions of an app for each platform, which was a time-consuming process. 

Next came Hybrid app development. Hybrid app development is producing an app that looks like a website but uses a native framework to function. However, hybrid apps still resulted in functionality issues, because of limited access to native APIs, and also led to continuously changing user experiences. 

Now, enters cross-platform development. Cross-platform development saw the move toward cross-platform frameworks to produce apps for multiple platforms such as the IOS, Android, and the Web. 

Through cross-platform, there was no need to use a separate Native framework for each app. Now, using the same framework and minor code changes, you can create an app across both platforms. 
Now let’s look at how you can build cross-platform mobile apps.

How to Build Cross-Platform Mobile Apps?

There are four steps involved in building cross-platform mobile apps:

1. Choose a framework

 Popular options include React Native (JavaScript), Flutter (Dart), Xamarin (C#), and Ionic (web technologies). Consider your team’s expertise and the desired app features when selecting a framework.

2. Develop the app and integrate platform-specific features

Write the app’s core logic using the chosen framework’s programming language. These frameworks often provide pre-built UI components that resemble native elements on each platform.

For functionalities that require deep access to native device features (camera, GPS), you might need to write some platform-specific code using the native languages (Java/Kotlin for Android, Swift/Objective-C for iOS).

3. Test and deploy  

Test the app thoroughly on different devices and platforms using emulators or real devices. Once satisfied, package the app for respective app stores (Google Play Store, Apple App Store) and deploy.

 

Benefits of Cross-Platform App Development

Here’s how going for cross-platform app development benefits your business. 

1. Cost Effective

You don’t need to put in double effort and prepare two separate codes for the same app. Instead, you can duplicate the same code and make minute changes to duplicate the app on another platform. 

2. Faster Time-To-Market

Because a cross-platform app development framework develops apps for multiple platforms, you can make it go live across all platforms in time, making your app available to all audiences. 

3. Easy Maintenance

Because cross-platform apps have a unified codebase, it becomes easy to arrange for updates and maintenance, as you don’t need to put up the update separately for each app. 

However, building a cross-platform app also comes with its fair share of challenges. So, let’s dive into them.

Challenges Associated with Building Cross-Platform Mobile Apps

The challenges associated with cross-platform app development are as follows:

1. Performance Issues

Cross-platform apps may be a good option to market your apps across all platforms, but building a cross-platform app also results in performance issues. Some performance issues are poor graphics rendering from one platform to the other, abstraction layers that introduce overhead, and memory management issues. 

2. User Experience

Achieving the same level of user experience across both platforms can prove to be difficult. Depending on which framework you have used for development, you may face operating system issues. Moreover, cross-platform development doesn’t provide the same level of response to various inputs such as touching and sliding. 

3. Limited Access to Native Features

Although some cross-platform frameworks may provide you with access to complete native features, others don’t provide you with access to the full range of features needed to execute your task. 

4. Framework Limitations

Every cross-platform framework has a certain set of limitations. For example, React Native’s debugging tools are less advanced as compared to native environments. Similarly, Flutter provides a set of performance optimization tools, but the capabilities are less mature as compared to native. 

Now that we know about the limitations of cross-platform app development frameworks. Let’s look at some of the best cross-platform app development tools used by developers for developing apps for Android, IOS, and Windows.

 

Top Frameworks to Build Cross-Platform Mobile Apps in 2024

Here is a list of top app development frameworks for developing apps across multiple platforms. 

1. Flutter

Developed by Google, Flutter uses the Dart language for developing cross-platform apps. It offers high performance and a Native UI, coupled with its rendering engine. Flutter also has its widget library which allows developers to choose from a wide range of widgets, depending on their preference. 

Flutter has divided its widgets into various categories, so there is a wide range for you to choose from. Flutter is best for creating sleek and aesthetically pleasing apps that meet modern expectations. 

2. React Native

React Native is an App development framework created by Meta Labs, and owned by Facebook. What sets React Native apart is its extensive library of components. Moreover, you can also integrate React Native into your existing Android and IOS projects, which makes it a very convenient tool to use. 

Moreover, React Native also offers a fast refresh rate, allowing you to immediately view the changes that you have made in your app. 

Here is a list of some of the apps developed on React Native.

  • Facebook 
  • Shopify 
  • Amazon
  • Airbnb 
  • Pinterest

3.  Xamarin

Xamarin is a framework that Microsoft owns. The platform is directly integrated with the .NET platform, providing developers with a wide range of libraries to choose from. Xamarin also lets you integrate with Microsoft’s Azure and other available tools, which provides you with the ability to create better-looking apps and share your work with other members of your team. The platform also provides access to native features, which improve the performance and outlook of your app. 

4. Ionic

Ionic uses web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and also leverages frameworks such as Angular or React. Ionic is an ideal framework if you’re looking to create apps that provide a web-like experience. Ionic’s hot-refresh feature allows you to view the changes you have made instantly, which provides you with the results for every step while developing your app. 

Now that we know about the top four cross-platform frameworks used to build apps, let’s discuss which factors you should consider before choosing one. 

 

 

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Cross-Platform App Development Framework

Here are four points that you should consider when choosing a framework to build cross-platform mobile apps:

1. App Complexity

Flutter and Xamarin are good frameworks for complex apps, whereas Ionic is better suited to design simpler apps. 

2. Performance

Flutter and Xamarin outperform frameworks that rely on web technologies, such as Ionic.

3. Development Team’s  Expertise

Which framework you choose will depend upon your team’s familiarity with different web technologies. For example, if your team has expertise with C# or React Native, then Xamarin would be a good fit. 

4. Project Timeline

If your project has a tight timeline, it’s better to use a framework that provides a huge amount of resources to choose from. In this case, React Native is a better option. 

Now that we know all that is necessary about platforms to build cross-platform mobile apps, let’s recap what we learned throughout the blog. 

 

 

The Takeaways

Cross-platform app development has gradually evolved from Native and Hybrid apps to its current form. Building cross-platform mobile apps is cost-effective, takes less time to market, and it’s also easy to maintain. 

However, cross-platform app development also brings various challenges, such as performance issues, user experience issues, limited access to Native features, and framework limitations. 

The best frameworks for cross-platform app development are React Native, Ionic, Xamarin, and Flutter. React Native hosts abundant resources for developers to choose from, whereas Ionic is more suited to developing less complex apps. Xamarin provides the ability for developers to integrate Microsoft’s Azure services, and also take help from other Microsoft tools, and Flutter provides you with a large gallery of widgets. 

Which platform you choose will depend on various factors, such as the experience of your team, the project’s timeline, app performance, and the complexity of the project. So choose wisely before making a decision.

Written By

With the help of predictive analytics, potential issues can be anticipated, thereby reducing the risk of crop failure. These advancements driven by AI not only streamline operations but intensify productivity in the farming industry.

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