Developers prefer cross-platform frameworks because it offers better cost-efficiency, excellent ROI, and shorter time to market.
There are plenty of reasons, like reduced development time, targeting multiple platforms, reduction in development time, etc., to think about cross-platform app development frameworks. However, if a business is not thinking about it, it is important to understand that enterprises are already moving towards it.
To further think, there are 10.2 billion non-IoT devices and 24.4 billion IoT devices, as reported by Exploding Topics. This signals a huge need for cross-platform development and opportunities associated with it. Adopting a cross-platform framework would potentially mean we would use the same code on multiple platforms. It means faster production and delivery to the market.
Therefore, we have created a list of popular cross platform mobile application development frameworks below. Also, we have provided other important information for the visitor to make a knowledge-driven decision.
A report by Statista suggests that around one-third of the mobile developers in the world use cross-platform applications. The reason is simple: most mobile app development companies primarily cater to Android and iOS platforms. This means they need a faster solution. A solution that can help them build and deliver apps faster to the market.
The best cross platform frameworks fundamentally include compatibility in both Android and iOS with other popular OSs like Windows, Linux, and more. This best hybrid app framework enables the components to write the code once and run it on any of the platforms when you hire an app developer.
In the past few years, few errors were observed in the performance of cross platform app development frameworks, but most are precisely rectified. These frameworks have become popular among developers because native application development is increasingly in demand.
Before we dive into the top cross platform app development frameworks, it is essential to learn about two features. These are WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere) and native-like app experience. Both of these features are available on all these frameworks. Therefore, we have avoided mentioning them.
Now, let's learn about the top frameworks in detail.
React Native is one of the most popular cross platform app development frameworks. In 2022, a StackOverflow survey revealed that 12.57% of developers use React Native of all respondents who participated.
React Native was developed in 2013. However, it was officially released by Facebook on 26 March 2015. The framework earned a good reputation and is capable of being one of the best hybrid mobile app development frameworks.
Several other cross-platform app development tools are often pitted against React Native. However, over the years, the framework has gained popularity by providing a native-like experience with more stability among apps.
In fact, there are several brands that have adopted React Native. For example, Facebook, Instagram, 2048 VR, Gyroscope, etc.
Launched in the year 2013, this is among the best cross platform app development frameworks that developers prefer for creating apps. Apps for iOS, Android, and the web. It uses a single codebase, much like any cross platform framework.
Furthermore, Ionic stands out because of its integration with popular frameworks like Angular, React, and Vue.js. Also, it focuses on performance, customizability, and developer experience. These factors make it a popular choice for creating versatile and scalable applications for multiple platforms.
Ionic is a popular open-source framework used for building cross-platform mobile applications. The best cross platform mobile development frameworks use web technologies to help create native-like experiences for mobile apps on iOS, Android, and the web. Here's an overview of how Ionic works:
1. Angular or React Integration: Ionic primarily relies on Angular. It is a web application framework used to build the application structure. However, it also supports React as an alternative framework.
2. Cordova/PhoneGap Integration: Ionic uses Apache Cordova (or PhoneGap), which bridges web technologies and native device capabilities.
3. UI Components: Ionic offers a set of pre-designed UI components that mimic the look and feel of native mobile components. These include buttons, navigation bars, modals, tabs, etc.
4. Ionic CLI (Command Line Interface): The Ionic CLI is a powerful tool that streamlines development. It allows developers to create, build, test, and deploy Ionic applications.
5. Web View: Ionic apps are essentially web applications that run inside a WebView component. This WebView is embedded within a native container on the target platform (iOS, Android, or web browser).
6. Cross-Platform Compatibility: One of the main advantages of Ionic is its ability to create cross-platform applications. A single codebase can be used to deploy apps on both iOS and Android platforms. This reduces development time and effort.
7. Deployment: Once the development is complete, Ionic apps can be packaged and deployed to app stores or distributed as progressive web apps (PWAs).
This, amongst the best cross platform mobile development tools, is supported by Linux, macOS, and Microsoft, officially. Needless to say, the integration between those is better than any other framework.
1. Development: Install Node.js and npm. After that, select a suitable code editor, such as Visual Studio Code, WebStorm, or Atom. Set up a repository and install project dependencies.
2. Coding: Embrace Node.js’s event-driven nature with callbacks, promises, or async/await for efficient handling of I/O bound tasks. After that, build core functionalities that connect logic with frontend or external APIs. Integrate databases and APIs and implement user authentication and authorization.
3. Testing: Create unit tests to ensure components and functions. Test how different modules and APIs work with continuous integration (CI) via tools like Jenkins or CircleCI to automate testing. Lastly, use Node.js to identify and fix errors.
4. Deployment: Select a suitable hosting platform like Heroku, AWS EC2, or DigitalOcean. After that, automated deployment pipelines will be built to release and minimize manual steps.
Not ideal for CPU-intensive tasks: Single-threaded nature makes it less suited for computationally heavy workloads.
Callback complexity: Extensive use of callbacks can lead to spaghetti code in complex applications. Promises and async/await can help manage this.
Owned by Microsoft, it is one of the major cross platform development tools which writes great mobile applications for any operating system. It is an open-source platform launched to resolve the issues of the disjoined native technology stack.
This uses C# code hands; it can work on server platforms. Companies utilize this best cross platform mobile development framework to extract the efficiencies and conduct its frequent upgrades, making it the best framework for creating multi-platform applications.
Xamarin is based on .NET. Hence, developers can also access native APIs with the NuGet package and Plug-ins. It has been estimated that around 10,000 companies are already using this cross-platform mobile development framework for their mobile applications.
Xamarin offers a powerful set of features for building cross-platform mobile apps with native performance and functionality. Here's a breakdown of its key offerings:
Xamarin is a platform that allows developers to build native mobile apps for iOS, Android, and UWP (Windows Universal Platform). For this, it uses C# and shared code. Here's an overview of how Xamarin works:
1. Shared C# Codebase: You write the core logic of your app in C#, which can be shared across all platforms with minimal platform-specific adjustments.
2. Native UI Rendering: Each platform (iOS, Android, UWP) has its own set of UI components rendered using platform-specific technologies. Xamarin provides tools and libraries that access these native UI elements from your C# code.
3. Xamarin.Forms vs. Native Development: There are two primary approaches:
4. Xamarin.Essentials: Provides access to common device functionalities like sensors, GPS, and device storage across all platforms.
5. Building and Deployment: The built app is a native app for each platform (e.g., .ipa for iOS, .apk for Android), packaged and deployed like any other native app.
This one of the top mobile frameworks supports various target platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, embedded, and web. With
NativeScript, developers can create modern, flexible & beautiful apps compiled natively using the same APIs used in Xcode or Android Studio.
Apps created with NativeScript cross-platform development can be integrated with CocoaPods, Maven, and npm.js without integrating any wrapper. It uses reflections to handle native API standpoints and gain information. All the tools used for native platform API can be used for NativeScript apps.
With the launch of NativeScript 2.0, one of the best cross platform development tools, the use of Angular for building cross platform apps has been made possible.
With this advanced integration of the cross-platform mobile development framework, developers can now re-use a large chunk of code for their web and mobile cross-platform applications.
NativeScript is a framework that allows you to build truly native mobile apps for iOS and Android. Here's a breakdown of its core functionalities in terms of process:
1. Cross-Platform with Native Performance: Unlike some other cross-platform frameworks that render a web-like UI, NativeScript builds truly native apps. It uses the platform's native UI components and APIs. This ensures your app looks and feels like it belongs on each platform, with performance comparable to native apps built with platform-specific languages.
Adobe PhoneGap is another one of the top mobile frameworks, previously known as Apache Cordova. It is a cross platform framework which is owned by Adobe.
In case the developer of the cross platform development wants to build the application directly, then it also provides a cloud solution. It gives independence over convoluted text commands and access to third-party tools and components. With the help of this mobile development framework, developers can view the change in dynamics easily.
2. Use PhoneGap API or plugins to access native functionalities.
3. Build platform-specific app packages using tools like PhoneGap Build.
4. Submit your app to the respective app stores (App Store, Google Play, etc.).
Apps that Use Adobe PhoneGap:
Owned by Google, the Flutter app platform is an open-source, cross platform application development framework. It was designed to develop native interfaces for Android as well as iOS in a comparatively shorter period.
Developers across the world use this framework as it can work over preexisting code as well. This one of the best mobile app development platforms can also utilize the 2D rendering engine to develop the visuals, like- Skia.
Flutter primarily uses DART as the programming language. However, the users might need to rely on platform-specific languages like Objective-C, Java, etc., for Android and iOS apps. Here is the core process used in Flutter for app development:
1. Building Blocks: Instead of traditional instruments, Flutter uses widgets, and pre-built UI components like buttons, text fields, images, and more. Each of these widgets has their own attributes and behavior.
2. Code Creation: You write the "score" for your app using Dart, a modern programming language. The code defines how these widgets are arranged, interact, and respond to user input.
3. Code Rendering: Flutter has its high-performance rendering engine called Skia. Skia takes your widget composition, drawing each element precisely and efficiently on the user's screen.
4. Adapting to Different Operating Systems: Flutter apps are cross-platform by nature. The same code can be adapted to run seamlessly on Android and iOS devices. This is achieved through a blend of Dart compilation and platform-specific communication channels.
5. Adding Elements: For more complex interactions and animations, Flutter provides powerful tools like state management and animation libraries. These "special effects" enhance the user experience and make your app more engaging.
6. Testing: Flutter excels in hot reloading, a feature that lets you see changes in your app instantly without restarting it.
Titanium SDK is a mobile application development platform that allows users to include native features like menus, dialog boxes, and navigation bars. The mobile platform development also supports transparent access to native functionalities covered by native modules and hyperloops. Being a web technology, Titanium SDK helps the apps interact with the web in a much more integrated way.
1. Cross-Platform Development with Native Performance: Write your app's core logic and UI once using familiar web technologies.
2. Titanium Developer Kit (TDK): Get core libraries and tools for building Titanium apps.
3. Alloy UI Framework: An optional pre-built UI framework based on Titanium.
4. Building and Deployment:
2. Building: Tools like Sencha Architect and CLI help build platform-specific app packages (.ipa for iOS, .apk for Android).
3. Deployment: Submit your packages to the respective app stores (App Store, Google Play).
Corona SDK mobile cross platform development framework is free to use, easy to learn, and powerful enough to create applications for multiple platforms like iOS, Android, and Windows.
You can create apps that can run seamlessly on multiple devices like Smartphones, tablets, wearables, and SmartTVs.
Corona SDK, the one of the best cross platform mobile applications frameworks, is based on Lua, which is an open-source language. It is designed to be fast yet wonderful for developing applications. Corona SDK is open source, which means it is well-supported by various plug-ins for enhanced features and functionalities.
Corona SDK is a cross-platform framework for building 2D games and apps for mobile devices (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire) and desktops (Windows, Mac). Here's a breakdown of its basic working process:
1. Write your code: Use Lua (programming language) to define your game logic, UI elements, and interactions.
2. Create assets: Design and import images, sounds, fonts, etc.
3. Test and debug: Use the simulator or deploy it to a real device for testing and refining your project.
4. Build and deploy: Generate platform-specific app packages for submission to app stores or desktop distribution.
.NET MAUI (Multi-platform App UI) is a cross-platform framework for building native mobile and desktop applications using C# and XAML.
This best cross platform mobile app development framework is a powerful and versatile framework. It is used to build native mobile and desktop applications using C# and XAML. It takes the baton from Xamarin.Forms extending its capabilities to desktop platforms. It offers a revamped architecture and enhanced performance. It aims to provide developers with a single codebase for developing apps that target iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows platforms.
.NET MAUI is the successor to Xamarin.Forms. It boasts a range of impressive features that empower developers to create high-quality, cross-platform mobile and desktop applications. Here's a basic breakdown of how it works:
1. Develop your code: Write your app's core logic and UI layout using C# and XAML.
2. Target multiple platforms: Choose the platforms you want to target (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows) and leverage platform-specific APIs if needed.
3. Build and deploy: Generate platform-specific app packages (.apk for Android, .ipa for iOS) for submission to app stores or deployment on desktops.
Cross-platform mobile app development frameworks offer several benefits compared to traditional native platforms. Therefore, we have mentioned the benefits of using these platforms below. Let’s check them out:
Choosing the right cross-platform app development framework in 2024 involves evaluating several key factors to align with your project's goals, technical requirements, and the target audience's needs. Here's a structured approach to making an informed decision:
Choosing the right cross-platform app development framework in 2024 involves the evaluation of several key factors. To give the right direction, we have consolidated a list of those factors. These are:
Assess the complexity of your app. This includes its UI/UX requirements, desired performance levels, and specific functionalities.
It is important to consider frameworks known for close-to-native performance for complex apps requiring high performance or extensive device hardware access. For example, Flutter or React Native.
Budget and time constraints play a crucial role. Cross-platform mobile app development frameworks can reduce both. However, the choice of framework also impacts these factors.
Evaluate the development ecosystem. This should include available libraries and tools, which can accelerate development and reduce costs.
Determine which platforms (iOS, Android, web, desktop) you want your app to support. Ensure the framework you choose offers robust support and a good development experience. This should be for all target platforms.
A vibrant, active community and a rich ecosystem of libraries and tools can significantly ease the development process. Check the size of the community, available resources, and the frequency of updates to the framework.
Analyze the performance requirements of your app. If your app demands high performance, such as smooth animations or intensive data processing, look for frameworks that compile to native code or are known for their performance optimizations.
For projects where a highly customized UI/UX is crucial, select a framework that offers flexible UI development capabilities. A framework that can closely mimic native app behavior.
It is important to consider the future maintenance of your app. A framework with a clear roadmap, consistent updates, and backward compatibility ensures your app remains functional and competitive.
If your app requires third-party services, hardware functionality, or external SDKs, ensure the framework supports seamless integration.
Evaluate the framework’s support for testing and deployment. Efficient debugging, testing tools, and easy deployment processes significantly impact development workflows.
In order to figure out the top cross platform app development frameworks from our list above, we took the help of Google Trends. Based on our analysis, we factored in the top 5 frameworks.
These frameworks are:
Therefore, let’s checkout a detailed a comparison between these cross platform frameworks with the help of a table:
|C# with .NET
|High (compiles to native code)
|Good (compiles to native code)
|High (with native modules)
|Moderate (uses WebViews for rendering)
|Good (access to native APIs)
|High (custom widgets for each platform)
|High (native UI controls)
|High (uses native components)
|Moderate (standard web components)
|High (uses native components)
|Moderate (need to learn Dart)
|Moderate-High (requires .NET and C# knowledge)
|Low-Moderate (web development knowledge)
|Community & Support
|Large and growing
|Emerging, backed by Microsoft
|Large and active
|Large and active
|Active but smaller than others
|Fast (hot reload, rich set of widgets)
|Fast (hot reload, .NET productivity)
|Fast (hot reload, large ecosystem)
|Fast (use of web technologies, hot reload)
|Fast (hot reload, access to native APIs)
|iOS, Android, Web, Desktop (beta for some)
|iOS, Android, macOS, Windows
|iOS, Android, (Web via third-parties)
|iOS, Android, Web
|iOS, Android, Web (with limitations)
|Ideal for apps requiring custom UI, high performance
|Suitable for .NET developers, enterprise solutions
|Ideal for projects leveraging web tech on mobile
|Best for web developers moving to mobile app development
|Good for apps with heavy native functionality
|Rich ecosystem with packages and plugins
|Integrated with .NET ecosystem, growing libraries
|Extensive ecosystem of libraries and tools
|Extensive web tech ecosystem, plugins for native capabilities
|Access to native APIs, plugins
The table will simply help you with an overview. However, the actual should not be based on popularity but rather on project requirements. Assess your requirements and find a relevant support framework.
Judgement based on popularity is essential because it ensures long-term support, a mature community, third-party libraries, insights, etc.
Before choosing any of the best mobile app development platforms, you have to initially consider your targets and then your project's resemblance to them. Therefore, make up your mind whether to go with a hybrid app framework or mobile platform development. Mobile application cross platform tools are critical aspects of mobile application development, hence, seeking experts' opinions is advisable. We would suggest you consult some good cross platform app development companies before you take concrete steps. Seek guidance and learn how the businesses are using these app cross platform tools to leverage their cost-friendly and time-saving features.
If you want to ask any queries or give any suggestions, or, if you are a mobile app owner who wants to get your app reviewed, contact MobileAppDaily. Stay in touch if you are building your first mobile application or starting a mobile app business!