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Journal - App Development

What Is Cross Platform App Development? Latest Guide in 2024

Written By Mashia Aftab – Last Modified On April 19, 2024

Cross-platform app development is a mobile app development process that allows you to build one application and then deploy it on multiple platforms. This is an excellent option for companies wishing to develop an app that can be used across multiple devices and operating systems, reducing costs significantly.

Cross platform mobile application development can help businesses develop customized apps for their customers by efficiently leveraging their existing resources and time.

What Is Cross Platform App Development?

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Cross platform app development is the development of software programs that work with various mobile operating systems. It is developing a single application that can be used on multiple devices. 

Cross platform app development is usually done by building a web application that can be accessed by different devices using a single codebase that can be used or published across several platforms. 

Now it’s okay if you didn’t get a hold of what we just said. Let’s look at it this way: you are a citizen of the US and want to travel to the UK. Now, each nation has its currency. You can’t use US dollars in the UK. The same is true when developing mobile applications. Each Android, iOS, and Windows has its coding. Your app’s coding must match that platform’s coding for it to run. 

In short, the process of cross platform app development is used to generate apps that work on several platforms. 

Process of Developing a Cross Platform Application

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Developing a cross platform application (also called an “XPA”) is a process that can be broken down into three main steps:

Step 1: Choosing the Platform

The first step in cross platform app development is choosing which development platform you will use. This can be done using a free or paid version, depending on your budget and needs. Some of the most popular ones include Xcode, Android Studio, and Cordova.

Step 2: Coding

Once you have chosen a development platform, you’ll need to create an account with your chosen provider before proceeding with the development itself. Next comes coding your app’s functionality into one or more languages supported by your chosen platform, such as Swift or Java.

This includes everything from user interface elements like buttons and menus to data storage options like databases or web services.

Step 3: Testing and Integrating the Above Two

After completing coding, it’s time to test out each part of your app separately before putting all parts together into one complete package, known as ‘building’. This allows you to ensure everything works properly before releasing it publicly through an app store such as Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

When you’re ready to publish, there are a few different options for distribution. You can choose to host an app store yourself, for example, by setting up a website that allows users to download your app directly from it, or you can submit your app to a third-party app store such as Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

Both of these options have pros and cons. If you host your app store, it’s easier to control your app’s look, feel, and functionality, but this also means that you’re responsible for all aspects of its operation. You’ll need to ensure that your website can handle the traffic from users downloading your app, or else you may run into issues with performance or scalability.

What Are the Benefits of Cross Platform Mobile App Development?

The option to use the code from one app across other platforms is the whole point of cross platform app development services. Let’s look at the benefits of cross platform app development.

1) Only Ever Write Your Source Code Once

Cross-platform app development is a process that lets you write your code once and then have it run on multiple platforms. This is a great way to save time and money since you don’t have to rewrite your code for every platform your app will run on. 

For example, if you want to publish an app for Android and iOS devices, cross-platform development would let you write the code once and then deploy it on both devices without having to rewrite any of your code.

2) The Convenience of Using the Same Applications

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Chances are, you may have an Ios tablet and an Android phone. Now imagine having to operate the same application differently on both platforms. You might stop using the application in annoyance, let alone start hating it! 

As a user, you might want similar qualities in an application’s UI and UX, regardless of the platform. Cross-platform mobile app development accomplishes this. It permits you to use an application on any device without creating any roadblocks or fuss. It is both easy and convenient. 

3) Quicker Pace of Innovation

The software can be marketed more quickly because developers don’t need to rewrite the code to run it on different platforms. They can create and store several apps jointly. This implies that you can instantly reach your audience whether they use an Android, iOS, or MAC device.

And who doesn’t like a simple, quick solution?

4) Affordable – Low Cost

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Cross-platform apps are usually more affordable than native apps. They are more cost-effective since they can be deployed on multiple platforms simultaneously.

You can avoid the costs associated with having multiple teams working on different versions of the same app

5) Increased Market Reach

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Cross platform app development is a great way to increase your market reach and attract new customers.

If you’re thinking about developing an app, you might ask yourself whether it’s worth building for the web or multiple platforms. Well, the good news is that building multiple platforms can help you reach more people than ever!

Cross-platform apps are built with tools that allow developers to create apps that work on multiple operating systems (like iOS and Android) and desktop computers. This means that someone with an iPhone can still use your app if they’re at their computer, so they won’t have to buy a different device just because they want to check in on their favorite hobby or find out what time the next train is scheduled.

By building cross-platform apps, you open yourself up to a much larger audience than if you were only creating content for one platform at a time. This can lead to increased sales and better brand recognition among consumers who may have never heard of your company!

6) Simple to Implement

You may have already guessed this. It is practical and straightforward to implement cross-platform app development. A developer can write code in any language who can easily convert it for use on many platforms as required.

7) Simple Product Maintenance

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It is challenging to create an app. There are constantly numerous bugs to address and advancements to be made. For the developing team, concentrating on these issues for numerous applications of one firm is neither practical nor convenient. 

However, with cross-platform app development, they may concentrate on fewer bugs and identify more straightforward ways to make changes. Cross-platform apps can be developed faster since they use less code, making maintaining them more accessible.

Read More: What Is Included in the Website Maintenance Services List?

8) Uniformity 

Cross platform app development promotes uniformity.

When developing a new cross-platform app, it’s important to remember that you are making the same product for multiple platforms. If you have any code specific to one platform or operating system, it will not work on the other platforms.

If you have chosen a language with different syntax on different platforms, you will also need to make changes to your code to compile correctly in each language. To avoid these issues and ensure your app runs smoothly on all platforms, it is vital to keep things consistent across all platforms and languages.

In addition to keeping things consistent with how the user interacts with your app (such as gestures), this approach also promotes uniformity in design and functionality within each platform’s ecosystem. For example, building an iOS app using Swift and Objective-C would mean using the same design elements and features across both languages. Hence, they look and feel like they belong within the same ecosystem (iOS).

From this, we can conclude that there are a lot of advantages of cross platform app development.

Top Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

It is possible to create cross-platform apps using a variety of frameworks. We try to list as many cross platform mobile app development frameworks as possible.

1) Ionic 

Ionic – This front-end framework allows you to build mobile applications using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You can use this framework to build Android, iOS, and Windows mobile apps. Ionic also provides access to native device capabilities like camera, storage, etc., which makes it easy for you to integrate with existing codebases or build new ones. It is one of the top cross platform app development frameworks.

You can use this framework if you don’t want to learn native languages and want to use some of the existing libraries rather than writing everything from scratch.

2) Xamarin 

This offers similar functionality as Ionic but is used more frequently by .NET developers because it’s built on top of the .NET foundation.

3) Flutter 

Flutter cross-platform app development is an open-source SDK for building high-quality apps for Android and iOS from a single codebase in record time. Flutter cross platform app development uses Google’s Dart programming language for its UI components with a reactive programming model based on hot reloading for rapid development cycles; it uses the Skia graphics library

4) React Native 

React Native is an open-source JavaScript framework that allows you to build native apps using only JavaScript. Facebook and Instagram originally developed it.

5) Native Script

NativeScript is another open-source framework that allows developers to write code in any language they want (JavaScript, TypeScript, AngularJS, C#, etc.), then compile it into native applications for iOS and Android.

6) Js

This one isn’t technically a framework because it’s just JavaScript itself. But since it works on every platform, such as the Web and iOS/Android, we’ll include it anyway.

7) PhoneGap

PhoneGap is another cross-platform solution that lets developers use HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to build mobile applications for both iOS and Android devices with minimal effort

8) Titanium 

Titanium is an open-source tool that gives you access to native components and APIs on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry OS 6/7, Symbian S60 5th Edition, WebOS 1/2/3, and Tizen (1.0). With Titanium, you can use HTML5 or CSS3 to build your user interface with JavaScript as the programming language.

There are several more cross-platform mobile app development frameworks and many cross platform app development companies.

Challenges in the Cross-Platform App Development Process

1) User Experience

Many challenges come with developing a cross-platform app, but the most significant challenge is getting the user experience right. The user experience must be sound regardless of your platform and consistent across all platforms.

This cannot be easy because each platform has different standards and guidelines that need to be followed. There are also differences in how users interact with their devices and how they expect an application to behave on one platform over another.

2) Consistent Code

Another challenge with cross-platform development is ensuring your code is consistent across all platforms. This can be hard because you need to ensure that your code works correctly on each platform without causing any errors or crashes.

This means you’ll have to test your application multiple times on each platform before releasing it for sale or distribution so that users won’t experience any problems running it on their devices.

3) Finding Someone Who Is Experienced

The final challenge faced by developers who want to create a cross-platform application is finding someone who knows how to do this kind of work well enough so that they can hire them as part of their team if possible.

The Difference Between Native and Cross-Platform App Development 

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Native cross platform app development is a process that involves the creation of applications for a specific operating system. For example, if you’re developing an Android or iOS, your app will be compatible with only those platforms.

Cross-platform apps, on the other hand, are developed using HTML5 and JavaScript. They can be built using any code editor and run on any device or operating system.

Cost and Code Usability 

Cross-platform apps have a comparatively low development cost compared to native apps, which have a high development cost.

One code works for a single platform in native apps, but many platforms can be supported by one code in cross-platform apps.

Device Access

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Within native apps, Platform SDK guarantees uninterrupted access to the device’s API while using cross-platform apps, access to all device APIs is not guaranteed.

UI Consistency

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Cross-platform apps have less consistency with the UI components of the device compared to native apps, which are consistent with them.

Read More: What is User Interface Design

Performance

Native apps obtained Seamless performance because the software was made specifically for the OS of the device. Despite having high performance, cross-platform apps may have latency and device compatibility problems.

Native vs Hybrid Apps – Which One Is Better?

As you can see, both native and hybrid apps have advantages and disadvantages. Native apps are better for performance and user experience, while hybrid apps are better for development costs.

However, there is no correct answer to this question because it entirely depends on what you need from your app.

Bottom Line

Cross-platform app development helps you to create a single application that is workable across multiple platforms and devices. We encourage you to contact us today if you’re interested in cross-platform app development. We are happy to answer any questions and explain how we can help your business thrive.

FAQs

How Do You Test Your Cross-Platform App?

To test your cross-platform app, there are a few different things that you can do.
1. You can test it yourself using the device or platform you’re developing.
2. Consider enlisting volunteers from around the world who have access to these devices so that they can test them for you.
3. You should also consider testing your cross-platform app through automation.

What Is the Most Difficult Thing About Cross-Platform App Development?

The most challenging thing about cross-platform app development is that you’re always working with a moving target. You’ll have to learn the most recent version of each platform’s SDK and then keep up with future versions as they roll out. You’ll have to figure out how to communicate between native code and web code or native code and mobile code, which will be different depending on the platform etc.

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