11 Popular Cross-Platform Tools for App Development (Updated Version 2021) by@AmyraSheldon

11 Popular Cross-Platform Tools for App Development (Updated Version 2021)

Cross-platform app development is prevalent in the diverse and cut-throat mobile app development platform market. It allows developers to deploy - Write Once, Run Anytime (WORA) technique across all platforms. From 2020, companies are inclined towards cost-effective ways to make a stronghold amongst their target audience. For enriched features and high-performing apps, offshoring of expert cross-platform developers is turning to be a necessity. In 2020, the hike of 75.97% was seen and will be gaining more heights in 2021 and 2022.
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Amyra Sheldon Hacker Noon profile picture

Amyra Sheldon

I am a passionate tech writer. I write on latest technologies (Blockchain, AI, ML) for Valuecoders.

From 2020, companies are inclined towards cost-effective ways to make a stronghold amongst their target audience. It allows developers to deploy - Write Once, Run Anytime (WORA) technique across all platforms. Don’t you think perhaps it worked as the reinvention of cross-platform strategies?

Let’s know about the popular cross-platform tools:

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Cross-platform app development is prevalent in the diverse and cut-throat mobile app development platform market. If developing a mobile app is the first thing that comes to entrepreneurship, cross-platform development is the first ladder towards business goals. So, is it easy to make an app?

By Cross-platform app development, enterprises across industries produce the most popular applications for Android and mark their presence in the Android-centric smartphone market and iOS development.

According to Statista, around one-third of developers opt for technology frameworks

While the rest opted for native apps. Perhaps not a big reason to surprise - since this is a proven approach for companies to save time, money & effort.

For start-ups & SMEs, cross-platform development is perhaps a perfect choice as an excellent form of technology on various platforms like Android, iOS & Windows.

This technology up-gradation boosted up the requirement of developers, as to compete the market, and for a rich feature and high performing apps offshoring of expert cross-platform app developers is turning to be the necessity.

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This technology up-gradation boosted developers’ requirements to compete in the market. For enriched features and high-performing apps, offshoring of expert cross-platform app developers is turning to be a necessity. In 2020, the hike of 75.97 % was seen and will be gaining more heights in 2021 and 2022.

The cross-platform application demands in the outskirts of the app development market will surpass the figure of $7.9 Billion in 2021.

In the first quarter of 2021, Android apps could choose between 3.48 million apps, making Google Play the largest app store. But, of course, developing a native app is full of intricacies, be it time, investment, or resources. In present times, Cross-platform mobile app development services are phenomenal for business success amidst this post-pandemic phase. 

But you would be wondering which tools to use for making Android applications.

People Also Ask:

What is cross-programming?

As the name suggests, cross-programming is about programs that can also run on another platform. Instead of using different apps for different platforms, developers use cross-platform app development frameworks for brilliant execution and saving time. If you develop apps for Android platforms, you no longer have to think about building an app for iPhone?

So, move onto the list of the best cross-platform mobile app development tools to go for in 2021.

1. React Native

React Native — Best app development software

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Source: Google Images

React Native allows you to create native applications and uses JavaScript as a programming language to build apps. The strong side of React Native is that you can write modules in languages such as C, Swift, and Java. 

The best part of this tool is working on image editing and video processing that aren’t possible with the other API frameworks.

React Native is unarguably the best app development platform for cross-platform because it interprets your source code and converts it to the native elements in less time. Both Facebook and Instagram have used React Native to build their native apps that are the most used applications of the world. So, you can trust React Native. For enterprises, React Native apps are a huge hit, as illustrated in the above graphical representation.

It is an emerging framework that enables rapid prototyping and offers high initial velocity. Moreover, it is easy to learn the basics and get started if you are talented in JS. 

An ideal choice for agile development and turns out to be effective in building phone apps using cross-platform techniques.

 It sounds incredible; the codes in JavaScript use much memory for calculation-intensive tasks. Hence, an ideal choice for Agile development and turns out to be more enterprise-friendly.

Takeaways of React Native :

  1. It makes your app reach faster in app stores
  2. Intuitive and modular architecture using advanced web technologies
  3. Community-driven

2. Xamarin

Xamarin — Best cross-platform mobile app development tools

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Source: Google Images

Microsoft Visual Studio Xamarin allows you to build apps for different platforms such as Windows, iOS, and Android using a single .net code.

The best part of the Xamarin cross-platform tool is that all the apps built on it look and feel like native apps, and this appears because it uses the native interfaces that work the same way a user wants to use them.

With Xamarin mobile application development, you can give your app a platform-specific hardware boost to achieve performance similar to native apps. Also, most of your coding approx. 75% will be the same, regardless of the platform you’re building your mobile application. Xamarin works on a single code by identifying it and accelerates the process for cross-platform mobile app development.

The native-friendly interface adds a flexibility quotient to the application development platform. It empowers developers to handle any client-side modifications furthermore, as it is a ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL  program with HTML tools to help both-----developers and end-users.

Xamarin is an ideal prospect for various development platforms, including cross-platform development for mobile and tablets. In both Android and iOS, quick-start helps developers build native UI components. In addition, Xamarin supports languages like C#, F#, and the Razor template engine.

With the leverage of a NATIVE-FRIENDLY INTERFACE, developers handle specific client needs. As the one-size-fits-all program with HTML tools helps both developers and end-users.

Xamarin works on both Mac and PC systems and provides debugging, UI design tools, and code editing.

Primary attributes:

  1. Quick Installation since it has a lower disk impact
  2. Incredible visual experience for --iOS and Android
  3. Automatic Android SDK installation

3. Flutter

Flutter - Best Software Development Kit

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Source: Google Images

Flutter is an (SDK) allows you to high-performance applications on various platforms such as iOS, Android, Web, and desktop from a single codebase. Quite enough to make it viable for cross-platform mobile app development services in enterprises. Google creates this open-source UI SDK, initially released in May 2017.

It uses Dart programming language as it is easy to understand for JavaScript or Java developers; it helps most object-oriented notions. However, if you want to develop a custom application for iOS & Android platforms, Flutter app development will suit your cross-platform ambitions also.

This platform utilizes for developing well-known apps like Google Ads, Alibaba, etc. The best feature of this application is that it supports a widget; that enhances the look of the most famous app. 

Flutter is all about quick and dynamic mobile app development. Putting the source code into a Dart Virtual machine(DVM) - the hot reload works. It rebuilds a widget tree automatically. The widget has features like icons, scrolling, navigation, fonts, etc.- to launch a full-fledged iOS & Android app creation.

Hallmarks of Flutter:

  1.  Best suited for developers to build iOS & Android using a single codebase
  2.  Rich set of material design with higher customization
  3.  Create brand-driven designs with OEM widgets

What is the best cross-platform mobile development?

Xamarin is an ideal cross-platform, C#. Net-based mobile application development platform for iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile app engineering and development.

4. Ionic

Ionic - Leading App development Tool

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Source: Google Images

Ionic is a powerful HTML5 SDK that mainly allows you to develop native platform apps by utilizing advanced technologies such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript. This SDK primarily focuses on the look and UI interaction of an app.

The applications developed on the Ionic framework use multiple distinct platforms such as Android, native iOS, desktop, and web with a single code base. It provides pre-designed components, typography, interactive paradigms, and superb themes.

This framework is easy to use and understand and uses APIs such as TypeScript, Virtual DOM, JSX, and async best suited for Progressive Web App (PWA). Pacifica, Nationwide, ChefSteps, etc.

Ionic mobile app development framework uses HTML5 to build hybrid apps. Hybrid apps give the upper hand over pure native apps when one considers support, speed, and third-party access. Thus, it gives you the best option if you are running out of time to market your app.

Latest Updates:

  1. Stencil – A web component compiler suitable for building standard compliant web designs.
  2. Capacitor – With this layer(cross-platform API), native SDK is called using web code. 
  3. Lazy Loading – It expedites app loading time and performance by breaking into small bundles.

Also Read: 
React Native Vs Ionic Vs Xamarin [A Comparison]

5. Appcelerator

Appcelerator — Most popular mobile app development tools

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Source: Google Images

Appcelerator is a cross-platform mobile app development tool that gets your app ready faster by simplifying the whole process. It uses a single JavaScript code that lets you build native-like apps with cloud-like performance. Another benefit of an Appcelerator is its quality and usage for making apps for any device or operating system.

 You can test your apps using automated mobile tests that allow measuring your app usage and the results of your app project. It detects bugs, crashes and makes some adjustments to improve overall apps performance.

With Appcelerator, you will have access to Hyperloop, one of the best cross-platform APIs for multi-platform application development.

Appcelerator provides a schema-less database with Arrow DB for deploying data models with zero setup efforts. It provides pre-built integration with MS Azure, MongoDB, MS SQL, and Box and eases issues like speed and lagging.

Remarkable Features :

  1. Titanium framework makes it cost-effective
  2. Cloud services ensure packing, distributing, and examining
  3. Users can access fundamental codes at any time.

6. Adobe PhoneGap

PhoneGap — Best Mobile app development tool

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Source: Google Images

PhoneGap is an Adobe product, making it the best cross-platform android app development software to use in 2021. It’s based on the open-source framework Apache Cordova that gives you access ----to a complete set of PhoneGap toolset; it helps streamline the app development process, including the options:

Debugging tools allow you to inspect HTML, CSS, and debug codes in JavaScript. Here is the list of tools:

For iOS App Development

Safari Web Inspector Tool

Steps to Use:

  1. Take your iOS device and connect it to your computer.
  2. Now, install and launch Safari on your system. 
  3. Make your PhoneGap application launched on an iOS device.
  4. Open the menu of Safari Develop, and look for your iOS device in the list.
  5. Select “PhoneGap Webview” listed under your iOS device.

Hence, it is very straightforward to develop iOS app on Windows for developers.

For Android App Development 

Chrome Developer Tool

Steps to Use:

  1. Make sure your Android test device supports all the developer options.
  2. Now launch your Google Chrome web browser.
  3. Look for chrome://inspect in Chrome.
  4. Select the PhoneGap Application on your device.

For Windows, visit the page Microsoft Visual Studio. One of the reasons I am suggesting PhoneGap is that you can learn how to use their tools, even if you don’t have experience using them. In addition, PhoneGap takes care of the development process by compiling all your work in the Cloud, so you don’t need to maintain native SDKs.

Singular Features :

  1. A sturdy backend that assists beginners
  2. Open source, hence easy to share
  3. Immensely flexible for developers

7.  Corona

Corona- Another good Apps development Tool

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Source: Google Images

Corona is a cross-platform ideal for creating games and apps for mobile devices, Desktop, and TV devices using just one codebase. 

This tool speeds up your coding process, and you can easily update your code, save the changes, and instantly see the results on real devices. 

With Corona, you optimize app performance because of the lightweight scripting power of Lua that optimizes the app at every level.

Corona is free to use, a cross-platform app development tool primarily used in 2D games as it’s excellent for high-quality graphics and high-speed development of games.

8. Qt

QT - Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Kit

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Source: Google Images

Qt is the best cross-platform tool for mobile app development. I’m counting this tool in the best cross-platform tools because of its quality features that create fluid UIs, applications, and embedded devices same code Android, iOS, and Windows.

If your app is not performing well and work it, you can easily make changes to your app using Qt, automatically making all the changes applied to your app. 

This software tool also allows you to see how your app is performing on different platforms. Moreover, it’s easy to use and doesn't have a complex interface like some other cross-platform tools I’ve seen.

  1. A faster and wiser way to create innovative devices
  2. Qt support multiple-platform
  3. Helps developers in automation in building & installing QT applications

9. Sencha

Sencha: Easy Mobile App Development Tool

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Source: Google Images

With Sencha, you will get all the modern Java and JavaScript frameworks that help you build your web apps quickly for any device. In addition, it provides you 115+ fully supported and tested UI components that you can easily integrate into your apps.

 It is one of the most comprehensive tools to perform end-to-end testing of apps on all platforms.

In addition, Sencha provides you with the “Themer” to create reusable themes by customizing themes built on iOS, Ext JS, Ext Angular, and Ext React. Finally, Sencha offers a data visualization table that makes it easier for you to track your app information. 

This tool also makes it possible to organize your app content how your content appears on the browser, device, and screen size.

Since it utilizes HTML 5 for development, you can leverage running applications on browser and mobile apps. Also, it is compatible with different cross-platform tools like Adobe PhoneGap for building full-fledged apps.

Characteristics: 

  1. IDE plugins enhance development productivity
  2. Cost-effective web app development 
  3. MVC architecture improves codes readability

Also Read: 
How to Develop an Android App like WhatsApp

10. Unity3D

Unity3D: Open source Web App Development Tool

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Source: Google Images

This cross-platform app development tool is so popular because its graphics quality is absolute. In addition, it’s easy to use this tool, and you can use it for more than just a mobile app. 

With the Unity3D tool, one can export your app or games to 17 platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, Xbox, PlayStation, Linux, Web, and Wii.

Unity3D tracks user analytics and shares your app on social networks. You can also connect with the network of Unity3D developers called Unity Connect to find help and get your questions answered if you are having tech issues with coding or something else.

Characteristics:

  1. Powerful cross-platform 3D engine
  2. User-friendly development environment
  3. Create 3D games applications for mobile & web & consoles

11. 5App

5App: iOS and Android App Development Tool

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Source: Google Images

An app is a unique tool designed specifically for businesses in learning, HR consulting, and firms that want to organize and deliver resources to their employees or the right people at the right time.

5Apps uses HTML5 and JavaScript for coding apps, emphasizing the security of app data. 

The tool allows you to quickly create relevant content to support your employees’ learning and performance.

The finished app is compatible with Android and iOS devices to choose accordingly as per project needs.

The 5App Hub is an easy-to-use learning and communications platform that helps access information and resources for respective jobs.

Features:

  1. Support Learning Programs
  2. Fosters a Continuous learning culture
  3. Engage employees as an internal communication channel

Final Thoughts

App development is all about generating ROI. However, choosing the genre of cross-platform app development proves substantial, unlike native apps where you have limited flexibility. So don’t you think it is an easy way to make an app?

So choosing a cross-platform mobile app development service will not do any good unless you choose the right tool. We have come across these outstanding frameworks that’ll be helpful to stay competitive in the app development industry.

If you’re looking for an open-source app builder, you should look for cross-platform development using these mentioned 11 cross-platform mobile development tools; you can find a tool that meets your mobile app development needs. Moreover, to build your mobile app, you can get expert mobile developers, which prove vital in many ways.

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Frequently Asked Questions: 

Q1~ How do you make an app for all platforms?

 Cross-platform apps are the best platform for developers to make an app for all platforms.

The issues while developing an app make it compatible for all platforms when addressing its unique needs.

Here are the points that help :

  1. Make Your App Attractive
  2. A platform-independent approach
  3. Designer-friendly approach
  4. Follow UI Guideline for both platforms

Q2~ What are the best tools for making a cross-platform application?

Here are the most suitable platform for cross-platform apps;

  1. Xamarin
  2. React Native
  3. Flutter
  4. Apache Cordova
  5. Ionic
  6. Appcelerator

Q3~ Which is the best tool for making a cross-platform application?

React Native is one of the best cross-platform tools you’ll come across ever.

It is an ideal prospect for developers and emerged as one of the most popular coding languages to create applications for any platform.

Check out our podcast about how to build an API powered platform.

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