How to Build a Cross-Platform App: A Guide that Covers the Main Aspects by@andreysolovev

How to Build a Cross-Platform App: A Guide that Covers the Main Aspects

The Software application market has got a thriving and competitive nature – and it’s no wonder. Mobile, desktop, web, embedded applications help businesses make their services more accessible for the users. Surely, every service provider strives for winning a larger audience of users and keeping the quality at a high-level at the same time. What can make it possible? This is cross-platform development.
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Andrey Solovev

Co-founder and CTO at Integra Sources PhD in Physics and Mathematics

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The Software application market has got a thriving and competitive nature – and it’s no wonder. Mobile, desktop, web, embedded applications help businesses make their services more accessible for the users. Surely, every service provider strives for winning a larger audience of users and keeping the quality at a high-level at the same time. What can make it possible? This is cross-platform development.

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Cross-platform applications can run on various operating systems and devices, be it a mobile phone, a smart bracelet or a complex computer system. Targeting a single software or hardware platform is not always profitable and cost-efficient. 

Let’s explore the difference between cross-platform and native software. 

The main difference between cross-platform and native software is that native software is developed with the help of native technologies. Besides, native software targets only one operating system. And it is a challenging task to rewrite a native software code for running on another computer environment.

Cross-platform software is created using various frameworks and tools that allow for creating a solution that can run on several operating systems and devices. It is easy to make a cross-platform software code to be compatible with other operating systems or hardware platforms. One code = many platforms.

So, cross-platform software is more flexible and requires fewer development costs. However, cross-platform development has got its advantages and disadvantages, let’s talk about them.

Pros and Cons of Cross-platform Development

If you choose cross-platform development, you can experience the following benefits:

  1. Reaching a broader audience. Software with cross-platform nature enables your product to be available for customers who use iOS, Android, macOS, and other operating systems and different devices. It allows for deploying a product on various products.
  2. Reducing time-to-market. Cross-platform frameworks and tools speed up the development process. The development team writes a single software code for the operating systems and platforms that you plan to reach. It drastically reduces development efforts and costs. In so doing, it allows for launching your product in less time.
  3. Easy customization, updates, and changes. Cross-platform software is easy to customize and change. It means that you can make changes and updates to your software product when your customers have new wishes and requirements. This allows you to respond to your users’ feedback quickly.
  4. Reducing development costs. In the case of cross-platform development, engineers have to write only one single code base for all the platforms, instead of several codes that individually target each operating system. Besides, native software development can require employing several technical teams, and it can lead to an increase in development costs. In so doing, you can use one technical team instead of multiple teams. Besides, cross-platform development includes tools that make a software product compatible with cloud settings. It allows you to sync your product with various plugins, extensions, and other technologies that can improve and broaden functionality.

When choosing cross-platform development for your software product, you should also consider some cons:

  1. Issues in performance. In comparison with native development, cross-platform approach loses in the aspect of performance. The reason is a possible conflict and inconsistencies between non-native tools of cross-platform technologies and native components of operating systems and devices. 
  2. Compliance maintenance. This issue appears because of the integration process between non-native and native elements. Cross-platform development requires non-stop adapting cross-platform design to the targeting operating systems and devices it is intended to run on.
  3. Issues in user experience. It is well known that UX is a vital aspect of any software product. Cross-platform development has certain limitations in building UX designs, and it’s better to consider this fact and carefully plan the UX design of your software product.
  4. Security issues.  In the modern world, there is a high possibility of cyberattacks on any software and, of course, this risk grows higher when we talk about software solutions for organizations, stores, and other clients that share critical data. In cross-platform development, the data become more attackable as a cross-platform product lacks frequent updates that provide data security.

It is worth mentioning that these cons are not the reason to refuse cross-platform development, in most cases this approach can be a really right choice.

5 marks that cross-platform development is the best approach for your software product:

  1. You wish to reduce time and budget resources and create a software product that will run on several platforms.
  2. Your goal is to create a Minimum Viable Product in a timely manner.
  3. You aim at creating a software product that has clear and simple functionality without complex and heavy characteristics.
  4. You wouldn’t like to employ several technical teams for building each native software product.
  5. You have strict deadlines and wish to have your software product developed, tested, and approved as quickly as possible and achieve high quality and performance.

5 popular frameworks for cross-platform software development

According to the statistics, there are a myriad of cross-platform frameworks and tools. Some of them are open-source and have mature nature and provide developers with a full stack of components for creating software apps with sleek UI/UX designs, high performance, and various features.

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Now it’s time to look through the 5 most favourable cross-platform frameworks.

Qt framework

Qt is based on C++ programming language and provides the developers with the advantages of this technology. Qt framework is open-source and includes various components for building mobile, desktop, web and embedded applications and designing look-and-feel UI/UX solutions. 

The cross-platform software developed with Qt can be compatible with iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, ad macOS.

.NET framework

This is an open-source platform that is based on C# programming language. .NET includes .NET core that allows for building cross-platform software for Windows, macOS, and Linux. This framework is free and is available on GitHub. 

.NET allows for developing a wide range of solutions: from machine learning applications to game development.

React Native Framework

This cross-platform framework is developed by Facebook and is used for creating native mobile and desktop apps using JavaScript and TypeScript. Besides, React Native supports Objective-C, Kotlin, Swift, and Java.

The UI/UX designs developed with the use of React Native are fully native for targeted platforms. It means that this framework contains cross-platform and native characteristics. You can build software compatible with iOS, Android, macOS, Web, and Windows environments.

Xamarin framework

Xamarin is a cross-platform framework that uses the advantages of C# and .NET. A software product developed on Xamarin has a high level of compatibility with targeted operating systems as Xamarin-based code connects with the native codes of iOS and Android.

With the use of Xamarin, you can develop mobile apps for iOS and Android as well as apps for Apple and Android wearable devices.

Flutter framework

Flutter is also an open-source and cross-platform framework that is used for developing apps for iOS and Android, and other operating systems. The most significant peculiarity of Flutter is that it is based on Google’s Dart language. It allows engineers to create a cross-platform code in a very fast manner. 

It makes Flutter an ideal framework for building MVPs. With Flutter, you can create a cross-platform software app with sleekness of a native app.

Conclusion

Now we can see that there is an affluence of various cross-platform technologies and tools for developing a high-performance software product that will target a large market. You can use the framework that will satisfy your needs and requirements in the best way and make your software product to be useful and successful.

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