Top 15 Cross Platform App Development Frameworks for 2023
Cross-platform app development allows developers to use the same codebase for developing applications for different platforms. This saves resources (time, effort, and money), helps reach a wider audience, and allows app development companies to push their apps more quickly into the market. No wonder cross-platform app development is becoming increasingly popular.
However, to make the most of this technology, you need to ensure that your team has the right cross-platform app development frameworks at their disposal. After all, a framework is what offers the fundamental structure to an application, helps integrate native features, and makes the overall process easy.
Due to the market being full of cross-platform app development frameworks, determining which one’s best can be hard. If you're also stuck in this dilemma, we got you covered.
This blog features a curated list of some of the most reliable cross-platform app development frameworks that'll make your developers' lives easy. You can go through the list, check out what features they offer, and choose the one that fits the best. This way, you can make an informed decision and ensure that the framework you choose works in your favor.
Top 15 Reliable Cross Platform App Frameworks
Released by Google in 2017, Flutter is a young and really popular cross-platform app development framework. It was reported to be the most popular cross-platform app development framework in 2021, according to Statista.
Flutter has a low learning curve which makes it suitable for new developers. It uses Dart programming language, which helps developers structure their code better. Equipped with a built-in graphics engine, Flutter makes creating immersive UIs easy. Furthermore, apps build using Flutter are faster, have an attractive UI, and are completely customizable.
On the downside, apps built using Flutter are quite large. Also, there are limited libraries, and the tool itself is somewhat unstable. Furthermore, Dart, the language used in Flutter, is a pretty uncommon one. So, it may be hard for the new developers to master it.
However, unfortunately, Ionic apps are a little slow when it comes to performance. Also, the native plugins aren't perfectly stable and can conflict with each other.
Using a single codebase, developers can craft intuitive applications for both iOS and Android. As it's a UI-focused framework, you can use React Native to create a variety of attractive apps. Furthermore, there's a budding community that offers decent support when required.
Coming to the disadvantages, React Native apps are hard to debug. Your developers will have to be experts in Java/Swift/Objective-C to be able to debug the apps. Also, parallel threading cannot be performed using React native, which degrades the performance.
However, if you're planning to do CPU-intensive Node.js is not for you. Also, it's not scalable, which can be limiting for several organizations.
Backed by Google, Angular is a dynamic, robust, and powerful framework known for creating web apps, single-page apps, and cross-platform applications. Built using NativeScript, Angular supports native OS APIs that developers can use for creating high-performance apps for Linux, Windows, Mac, iOS & Android (using NativeScript).
Unfortunately, Angular has a steep learning curve. Also, the CLI documentation seems to be a problem for new developers as it's brief and lacks details.
Acquired by Microsoft in 2016, Xamarin is a reliable cross-platform app development framework with a single technological stack, C#, making development very convenient. And because Xamarin can access native APIs and toolkits, developers can produce near-native performance and design.
Also, 75% of the code is reusable, which helps developers craft apps for iOS, Android, and Windows at the same time by making some slight changes. Furthermore, there's decent support available from Microsoft in case your developers get stuck.
Apps crafted using Xamarin are very large, which can be a problem. Also, you cannot develop graphic-heavy applications using Xamarin.
Publicly released in 2015, NativeScript is an open-source framework that comes with a customized tech stack. Developers can use TypeScript, Vue.js, or even AngularJS to develop cross-platform applications.
NativeScript allows developers to access native iOS and Android APIs enabling them to craft near-native applications. Also, several reusable plugins are available that help reduces the overall time required for the development.
Unfortunately, most plugins NativeScript offers are unverified, which kind of makes it less secure. Also, DOM and HTML aren't widely supported in NativeScript, creating UIs becomes hard.
Corona SDK is over a decade-old cross-platform framework known for its scalable and robust nature. It uses Lua scripting language, which is easy to learn. Equipped with hundreds of APIs and plugins, Corona SDK makes cross-platform development pretty easy.
Another striking feature of Corona SDK is Open GL hardware acceleration that enables developers to integrate high-quality animations and graphics into their apps.
While Lua (language) is easy to learn, it's hard to find developers who master this language. And as the application becomes more elaborate, Lua becomes more complex, which is a big downside.
Unfortunately, this framework isn't meant for hardware-intensive development. The documentation is also pretty complex which can make it hard to master this framework.
Sencha Ext JS
However, when it comes to integrating 3rd party libraries, Sencha Ext JS acts as a barrier. Also, looking at the price point, Sencha Ext JS is expensive.
Appcelerator's Titanium SDK is another amazing cross-platform app development that uses Java Script. It allows developers to access hundreds of visual and non-visual native components, which helps give a native touch to the apps.
Titanium SDK also has a cross-platform API, which helps access UI and MVC-based framework: alloy. Furthermore, it supports numerous premium integrations using which developers can include different 3rd party modules in their applications.
The API docs are outdated, and there isn't enough support from the community, which can be a real bummer for developers.
Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile
Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile is technically a cross-platform SDK that allows developers to build cross-platform applications for iOS and Android. Developers can use a single codebase across both platforms and only need to write unique code while dealing with native APIs and UI components.
If your developers are already using Kotlin for Android development, they can use it for developing iOS apps with Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile.
Because Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile is new, the available resources and community support it limited. It also comes with a complex debugging process that can delay the devolvement process.
Created in 2012, Codename One is a leading open-source, cross-platform framework for developing cross-platform apps for iOS, Android, web, or desktop. Using Codename One, developers can write code in Java or Kotlin and make it native to different platforms. And as Codename One is WORA (write once run anywhere) framework, a single codebase is required for different platforms. Amazing, right?
What's more, this framework comes with a huge range of UI widgets which makes creating attractive designs easy. Last but not least, Codename One is developer friendly as it makes debugging and testing the app pretty easy.
Codename One comes with limited documentation, making it hard for developers to understand how the framework works. Also, it's not meant for large projects or creating games (FPS).
Qt is a pretty mature GUI and cross-platform app development framework that dates back to 1995. Developers can use Qt for crafting applications for mobiles, embedded platforms, or desktops. As Qt is based on C++, any developer with a decent C++ experience (pretty easily found) can help you craft a cross-platform app using Qt with a single codebase.
Unfortunately, the UX of the app builds using Qt isn't smooth. Also, it's hard to get the true look and feel of iOS and Android platforms using Qt GUI, which is, again, a sad thing. Moreover, there are several better and newer alternatives to choose from, such as React Native, Flutter, etc.
Last on our list of cross-platform development frameworks is RubyMotion. It allows developers to craft native cross-platform applications for OSX, Android, and iOS using Ruby (a boon for Ruby developers). Developers can access native iOS and Android APIs, which helps give a native touch to the applications.
What's convenient is that RubyMotion doesn't necessarily need an IDE; developers can use simple editors to write cross-platform applications. Also, Ruby is really easy to learn, even easier than Java, Swift, and Objective-C, which is another plus.
RubyMotion comes with really limited documentation, which can make it hard for beginners. Also, it's hard to debug and test the code using RubyMotion.
Looking for developers to Build Cross Platform Apps? We got you Covered!
While finding the right framework for developing a cross-platform application is important, having the right developer holds even more importance. After all, only if you have an experienced developer on your side can you expect amazing results. But where can you find reliable developers?
Here are some commonly asked questions on cross-platform app development frameworks:
Q1. What are cross-platform app development frameworks?
In general, a framework is a toolkit that comes with different ready-made components for customizing and speeding up the app development process.
Speaking specifically, cross-platform app development frameworks are the toolkits that enable developers to craft cross-platform applications for multiple platforms using a single codebase (or a majority of it).
Developers need to write the code once, and with minimal modifications to the codebase, the apps can be deployed to run across different platforms such as Windows, Android, iOS, etc.
Q2. Which is better Ionic or Flutter?
If you're building a lightweight app with detailed user interfaces and numerous moving pictures and graphic elements, you should choose Ionic. However, if you're building something heavy with a seamless backend, you must opt for Flutter.
In case you're still confused, you can simply lay down your business requirements such as:
- Expertise your team holds.
- Support provided by the framework.
- Functionalities you want to include.
- Code reusability.
- Learning curve.
- Platform consistency.
- Quality of documentation and other learning resources.
Whichever framework, out of the two, checks most of the aforementioned requirements is what you should choose for your next project.
Q3. Is Angular good for cross-platform?
Angular is a pretty reliable cross-platform app development framework that was designed while keeping flexibility in mind. Due to this point, you can choose angular for crafting apps for browsers, servers, and even mobile devices.
Angular comes with several UI templates and command line tools, supports clean code, and helps create fast-performing applications. Furthermore, Angular offers reusability, which means developers can save time and release more apps faster across different platforms.
All you need are some reliable Angular developers who know their way around this framework. And you're set to craft amazing cross-platform applications.
However, make sure to consider other cross-platform app development frameworks as well. This will help you determine which framework fits your requirements the best.
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