Based on the goals you want to achieve with your mobile application, you can hire mobile app developers for native app development, cross-platform app development, or hybrid app development services. A cross-platform mobile app is an effective solution for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) if you have a limited budget and time, but huge potential. Also, if your application is simple and does not have any complex functions and animations, then it is wise to go with a cross-platform mobile app development approach. There are several frameworks that make the cross-platform app development process easier and faster. Cross-platform app development frameworks enable developers to develop mobile applications using a single codebase on multiple platforms. However, all frameworks come with their own sets of pros and cons. This article describes the top cross-platform mobile app development frameworks to use in 2021.
Best Cross-platform Mobile App Development Frameworks
There are many robust cross-platform app development frameworks on the market. A mobile app development company or developer should consider all these frameworks to build high-quality mobile apps within the shortest timeframe. Below are the most competitive and high-performing cross-platform app frameworks to use in 2021.
1. React Native
Launched in 2015 by Facebook, React Native has taken mobile app development to a whole new level. Since its inception, this incredible framework has become the most desirable framework for cross-platform app development.
- React Native is a free, open-source framework and is supported by a large community.
- Depending on the complexity of the app, about 80% of the source code base can be shared over different platforms.
- The framework can be used to develop mobile applications for iOS, macOS, tvOS, Android, Android TV, Web, Windows, and UWP.
- While React Native allows for code reusability, it also helps developers to preview results instantly and offers ready-to-use elements. This reduces the app development time significantly.
- React Native comes with the Hot Reloading feature that assists developers to identify changes made in the code in no time when employing native technologies.
- React Native helps in creating a fast-loading and highly responsive user interface.
- With React Native, it is possible to leverage great native functionalities such as camera, accelerometer, etc. Hence, you can easily build the finest-quality native-like interface using React Native.
- React Native is not a completely cross-platform app development framework. You need to use native components to access mobile phone features like the camera, calendar, or accelerometer. Therefore, developers need to write separate code for both iOS and Android.
- As React Native is not developed in conjunction with Android or iOS, it gets defeated by native platforms sometimes.
- React Native does not receive regular updates.
- While the framework speeds up the development process, it also increases the time consumed in code debugging, especially on Android.
Handy Developer’s Tools
- JS editor
- Android Studio, SDK, Emulator
- Xcode along with and $100/year for each developer account to create and publish apps
Apps Built Using React Native
Like React Native, Xamarin is also an open-source cross-platform mobile application development framework that is free to use. While this framework was developed and released in 2011 as an independent cross-platform app development platform, Microsoft acquired this framework in 2016.
Xamarin is a unique cross-platform framework developed to solve the issue of disjointed native tech stacks that made mobile application development very difficult and costly. This amazing framework is centered on the open-source employment of the .NET framework called Mono. This employment incorporates its own C# compiler, runtime as well as core .NET libraries.
The main goal of Xamarin is to run programs written in C# on multiple operating systems including Windows, macOS, Unix systems, etc.
- Xamarin app development involves the usage of C# for coding, thus it works flawlessly on multiple platforms, including iOS and Android.
- The framework is backed by a vast, active community of 60K+ contributors from 3,700+ companies.
- As it is based on the concept of ‘Write once, run anywhere’ up to 75% of the source code can be used across multiple platforms.
- It is a single technology stack for rapid cross-platform mobile app development.
- While this framework is free for independent developers and startups, enterprises need to buy a Microsoft Visual Studio license which makes it very expensive to use.
- Xamarin is not an ideal solution for apps with heavy graphics as each platform comes with a different method for the app’s visual layout screens. An application with rich UI/UX should be implemented natively.
- There’s limited access to important libraries that developers require for mobile application development. Also, the User Interface development is a time-taking process as the core of its UI creation is not mobile.
Apps Built Using Xamarin
- Fox Sports
- Alaska Airlines
- BBC Good Food
- American Cancer Society
Handy Developer’s Tools
- Xamarin Studio
- Visual Studio Code
The Hot Reloading feature of Flutter enables developers to modify code and view the results right away. The app can be updated in no time. Flutter allows you to create cross-platform apps for Android, iOS, and other mobile platforms. Today, Flutter is the only option to build an app for the Fuchsia OS. Below are some of the major advantages why people prefer to invest in a Flutter app development company.
- Flutter is a great choice for building an MVP. Instead of building two separate apps for iOS and Android, you can create a Flutter-based mobile app that looks and feels native on both platforms. This way, you can save yourself from investing extra money, time, and effort.
- As Flutter is based on the Dart programming language which developers find easy to learn and use.
- Flutter comes with a complete set of widgets available in Apple’s Cupertino pack and in Google’s Material Design.
- Apps created using Flutter are fast, responsive, and high-performing.
- Flutter comes with its own graphic engine so you don’t need to create user interfaces separately for iOS and Android.
- Flutter offers limited or no TV support for both Android and Apple.
- Despite the fact that Flutter is developed by Google and has many libraries with ready-to-apply functionalities, it is still nowhere close to native development.
- Flutter apps use built-in widgets instead of native platform widgets and thus, the applications are generally bigger in size. Presently, the smallest possible Flutter app has a size of 4MB.
Apps Built Using Flutter
- Google Ads
Handy Developer’s Tools
- Android Studio
- VS Code
4. Appcelerator Titanium
According to Wikipedia, about 10% of all mobile phones across the globe use a Titanium-based app. Titanium’s community of developers frequently makes contributions to enhance the framework for better cross-platform mobile app development.
Furthermore, independent developers, software providers, and other partners create high-quality modules for extending the capabilities of the Titanium SDK with mobile interface controls, take advantage of native platform APIs, and access third-party services. Here are some of the reasons why enterprises hire mobile app developer who hold expertise in Titanium app development.
- Titanium works seamlessly across all standard platforms.
- There are more than 5,000 APIs available.
- It comes with a live reloading feature.
- There are several modules for the client-side marketplace and cloud services available.
- It is backed by a massive and active community of developers.
- Developers need to locally direct Titanium SDK. It is optional to maintain a well-controlled development environment, a continuous integration (CI) process, especially when aiming at different platforms.
- Versions and builds may lead to SDK-related problems. It can consume a lot of time that can be utilized for product delivery and features.
- The normalization of the interface over other platforms can be seen as both advantage and disadvantage. It requires the development team to be well-versed with the proprietary technology, and that skills are not relevant outside Titanium.
Apps Built Using Titanium
- RSS Reader
5. Adobe PhoneGap
It is backed by a powerful backend system that ensures rapid app development. The framework is suitable for developing simple applications without any native mobile phone features.
- PhoneGap-based applications exhibit minimum differences on multiple platforms.
- You can integrate payment methods in the app through Google Play Store for Android, App Store for iOS, and more.
- PhoneGap does not support plug-ins with hooks.
- It is not ideal for hardware-intensive applications.
- It can be inefficient at times when working with native applications.
- The performance of PhoneGap-based apps is quite low as compared to native apps.
- Adobe PhoneGap allows developers to build applications only once. After that, the platform charges monthly fees.
Apps Built Using PhoneGap
Ionic is a free, open-source framework based on AngularJS and Cordova. An app development company can leverage Ionic for delivering hybrid app development services. Ionic is simple and easy to learn and write and is supported by a huge community of developers.
- There are several easy and ready-to-use UI components available.
- There isa wide array ofplug-ins available that can be utilized to access native mobile phone features.
- It ensures a fast development and code reusability.
- Sometimes native plug-ins are not stable and compatible with each other.
- Debugging an app is very complicated and time-consuming because of ambiguous error messages.
- Builds can even crash at times.
Apps Built Using Ionic
- StockPlan Connect
- National Museum of African American History and Culture
- McLaren Automotive
Today, Android and iOS platforms are the two prominent parts of the mobile app development world. Cross-platform mobile apps are a cost-effective way to capture both Android and iOS markets. If you’re planning to hire mobile app developers for cross-platform app development, you should consider hiring someone who specializes in any of the above-mentioned cross-platform app frameworks. But the question is which framework you should choose for your project. Well, you may consult with a professional mobile app development company to see which out of the mentioned frameworks fits your project requirements and budget. After making a well-informed decision, you can get started with cross-platform app development.