5 Advantages of Developing a Cross-platform Mobile App and Some of its Popular Tools

25 / Jan / 2017 by Anuradha Ishwaran 6 comments

Digital revolution is advancing at a rapid pace redefining the future of industries, society, and economy as a whole. Emerging technologies and engaging mobile apps are significantly changing the way we work and live today. Mobility is becoming an integral part of every application and digital product of most organizations. Enterprises have started considering the mobile first approach to remain ahead of the competition. Today, every organization aims to connect to a larger audience through an intuitive app that runs glitch-free on multiple mobile platforms.

Mobile apps will continue to revolutionize the digital landscape and will play a significant role in the business world as per the experts. However, with new devices, platforms, versions, operating systems, the organizations are confused whether to choose a cross-platform app or a native app. It has always been a struggle for the developers and organizations to find the best development approach as both the approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages.

While some developers may prefer a native app others might believe that developing a cross-platform app makes more sense as it is device agnostic and runs on multiple platforms. Moreover, developing a cross-platform app has high potential to tap the greater market.

Developing a cross-platform app allows the developers to create an application using a single language for scripting including CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. It increases productivity and accelerates app development cycle to deliver a high quality app that works on any iOS, Android or Windows device.

Outlined below are some of the advantages of developing a cross-platform mobile app:

  • Reusable code: Cross-platform mobile app development simplifies the task of maintaining and deploying codes and eliminates repetitive tasks. Rather than writing a fresh piece of code for specific task or action, developers can directly reuse the codes for the other platforms.
  • Cost-effective: Building a cross-platform mobile app turns out to be economical for organizations as it works on multiple platforms and leverages a single codebase. Companies can get an app without investing heavily in the resources, tools, and technologies for a particular ecosystem. Also, the same development team can be leveraged to work on various platforms, instead of having a dedicated team for each one like we have in the current native scene.
  • Faster time to market: Cross-platform app development framework leverages the unified codebase that enables businesses to fast track the mobile application development and timely delivery of the app for its customers.
  • Easy deployment: Most of the framework offers a variety of modules and extension that seamlessly integrate with other tools to improve the app’s functionality and look. It becomes easier and faster for the developers to deploy and maintain codes for the apps to run across all platforms. Also, the latest update to the app gets easily synced across the devices and platforms.
  • Uniformity: One of the most important considerations for any app or software is its User Experience (UX). The single codebase used for developing a cross-platform app helps in maintaining the overall look and feel and consistency of the app on all platforms.

Top Tools or Platforms for Developing a Cross-Platform Mobile App

The mobile marketplace is immensely fragmented due to different mobile devices with a variety of interfaces, programming languages, and SDKs. Developing an application for these platforms is a challenging task for every organization. Hence, the concept of cross-platform mobile app development is gaining popularity as it allows the developer to code once and deploy the app across various platforms. However, there are numerous cross-platform mobile development solutions and tools available, but which one should enterprises choose?

Outlined below are seven popular cross-platform mobile app development tools or platforms that enable organizations to ship mobile apps faster:

  1. React Native: It is based on React, Facebook’s JavaScript library used for building user interfaces. React Native provides a robust framework that helps developers to ship cross-platform mobile apps faster. It uses the fundamental UI blocks to compose a rich mobile app for both iOS and Android platform using the same JavaScript codebase. React Native enables developers to leverage amazing tools to develop truly native mobile apps for both the platforms.
  1. NativeScript: NativeScript is a new-age, open-source framework for building native iOS, Android and Windows mobile apps using a single code base – JavaScript. It simplifies the mobile application development and increases the productivity by allowing developers to leverage native components, native APIs and reuse features and functionality across platforms. One of the key highlights is the Declarative UI support that enables developers to create the app’s UI once which can be easily used on the other supported platforms.
  1. Xamarin: Owned by Microsoft, Xamarin uses C# codebase to develop a robust cross-platform mobile app for Android, iOS and Windows devices. One of the key features of Xamarin is that it allows code sharing on multiple platforms. It also has a cloud service that allows mobile app testing on various devices.
  1. Appcelerator: It is an open-source tool that uses a single JavaScript codebase to develop cross-platform mobile apps. It offers value add-ons such as real-time mobile analytics and rich MBaaS to develop mobile apps faster. Appcelerator’s Titanium allows developers to reuse codes while creating iOS, Android, BlackBerry, as well as HTML5 and hybrid apps.
  1. Kony: It provides one of the industry’s popular mobile application development platform that creates native, mobile web, and hybrid mobile apps for smartphones, tablets, kiosks and desktops. It uses a single unified codebase to build apps for major mobile operating system including iOS, Windows, Android and BlackBerry, Java ME, Symbian, and WebOS.
  1. PhoneGap: Owned by Adobe, PhoneGap is the most popular tool to develop a cross-platform mobile application. It is a free tool that allows naive developers to write their applications using HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. Apart from iOS and Android, it also develops apps for BlackBerry and Windows platform.
  1. Sencha Touch: Sencha Touch is a leading cross-platform mobile web application framework based on HTML5 and JavaScript. Based on MVC style architecture, it enables developers to create an impressive app in HTML5 that look and feel native to iOS, Windows, BlackBerry and Android. It offers adaptive layouts, fluid animations and smooth scrolling features which make apps more engaging and user-friendly.

The cross-platform development approach has been widely accepted by developers across the globe as it makes the entire development process agile. Before taking a technology decision whether the cross-platform approach is the right strategy, it is important for organizations to understand their customers’ need. A smarter approach is to study and analyze various parameters such as customer demographics, diverse mobile devices used, coverage of supported platforms, customers’ interaction with apps, etc. to see if a cross-platform solution is a right choice.

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comments (6)

  1. John D

    Very informative article. Cross platform feature helps in developing and maintaining apps with the same look all other platforms. You are providing very nice article.

    Reply
  2. Richard Shaffer

    I tried to use these tools to create an application, but I could not do it. Perhaps there was a problem with original program creation of the app, I have no idea… I tried to complete this puzzle for a long time, but later, I simply decided turn to native app development then problems were gone. I did not waste my time on working out and guessing what I was doing wrong.

    Reply
  3. Mathew Lewis

    For one thing, most successful apps are free and ad-supported, which means you only make pennies per user- even if you get a million downloads, you’re still not making an immense amount of money to split between all of the people who worked on the app, plus paying for whatever servers you need to run to support the app. For another, there’s very little loyalty to app developers compared to traditional desktop applications.

    Reply
  4. rachana

    Thank you for this article. Cross platform feature helps in developing and maintaining apps with the same look and consistency on all other platforms.

    Reply
  5. govindrajput

    Nice artical and very nice information this post he cross-platform development approach has been widely accepted by developers across the globe as it makes the entire development process agile. Before taking a technology decision whether the cross-platform approach is the right strategy, it is important for organizations to understand their customers’ need. A smarter approach is to study and analyze various parameters such as customer demographics, diverse mobile devices used, coverage of supported platforms.

    Reply
  6. padhma

    Great and really helpful article! Adding to the conversation, providing more information, or expressing a new point of view…Nice information and updates. Really i like it and everyday am visiting your site..

    Reply

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