Application Development

Top Cross Platform App Development Frameworks

Developers prefer cross-platform frameworks because it offers better cost-efficiency, excellent ROI, and shorter time to market.

Top Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks

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.

A report by Gartner suggests that 70% of enterprises will adopt cross-platform strategies by 2025. Furthermore, around 87% of developers reported faster development using cross-platform development. 

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 Brief About Cross Platform Mobile Application Framework

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.

Best Cross Platform App Development Frameworks

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.

1. React Native

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.

Features of React Native, One of the Best Cross Platform Mobile Development Frameworks:

  • Build UI by composing reusable components while taking care of maintainability and scalability.
  • Supports JSX Syntax for UI that provides HTML-like syntax.
  • See UI changes without reloading the application via Live Reloading.
  • Update components without restarting the app using Hot Module Replacement.
  • Debug your application, such as web pages, using React Developer Tools.
  • Get access to a huge community and get extensive resources, tutorials, and pre-built components.
  • Dedicated code notification and preview screens.

How React Native Works?

React Native works in a unique way. It is one of the top cross platform frameworks for mobile application development that builds applications using JavaScript and React for both iOS and Android platforms. Here is a breakdown of its key processes:

1. Development: Write your app's UI and logic in JavaScript using React components.

2. Bundling: React Native’s CLI (command-line interface) is bundled with the JavaScript code and assets in a single file for each platform.

3. Communication: A "bridge" connects your JavaScript code to the native code on each platform. The moment your React code needs to interact with the device (e.g., access sensors, display alerts), it sends messages through the bridge. The native code receives these messages and performs the necessary actions on the device. The results are then sent back to the JavaScript code through the bridge.

4. Rendering: The native code uses the information from the JavaScript code to render the UI elements on the device screen. It ensures that your app looks and feels native despite being built with JavaScript.

5. Threads and Performance: React Native uses several threads to ensure smooth performance. The JavaScript thread handles your app's logic and interacts with the native code through the bridge. The UI thread on each platform renders the UI elements on the screen. Other threads handle tasks like layout calculations and background operations.

Apps that Use React Native:

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Discord
  • Soundcloud
  • Flipkart

Considerations for Adoption:

  • Learning curve for new developers unfamiliar with React or mobile development.
  • Can be slower than native development for complex apps.
  • Limited access to some platform-specific features.

2. Ionic Framework

Ionic Framework is an open-source UI toolkit. It is used to build high-quality, cross-platform mobile and web applications. The framework utilizes technologies like HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

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.

Features of Ionic, One of the Best cross platform mobile development frameworks:

  • Develop familiar web technologies that reduce the learning curve.
  • Seamlessly integrate with existing libraries and frameworks
  • Utilize device hardware for smoother animations and transitions.
  • Allow users to access functionalities even without using the internet.
  • Use ready-made buttons, lists, menus, and more.
  • Access to custom colors, fonts, and styles.
  • Simplify dynamic UI updates by linking data sources to UI elements.
  • Get numerous plugins and APIs for integrations.
  • Get access to a large community that provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and a growing community.

How Ionic Framework Works?

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.

  • Cordova provides APIs allowing web apps to access native device features like camera, geolocation, contacts, etc.

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.

  • These components are styled using CSS to provide a consistent and appealing user interface across different platforms.

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.

  • Developers can use the CLI to generate components, pages, and services. They can use it to run and debug the application on various platforms.

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).

  • The WebView renders the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, making the app look and feel like a native application.

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).

Apps that Use Ionic Framework:

  • MarketWatch
  • Sanvello
  • JustWatch
  • Calla
  • Firstly

Considerations for Adoptions:

  • Learning Curve: Requires understanding of web technologies and Ionic-specific concepts.
  • Potential Performance Trade-offs: Complex apps might require optimization for each platform.
  • Limited Access to Some Native Features: Not all native functionalities are available through the framework.

3. Node.Js

Node.Js is one of the best cross platform development tools for mobile development and is built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime. It allows easy, fast, and scalable network application development. 

It is open-source, and its JavaScript runtime provides an environment that executes code written in JavaScript. Also, outside a web browser. “.js” is the extension of a JavaScript code, hence the name Node.Js. 

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. 

Features of Node.JS, One of the Best Cross Platform Mobile Development Frameworks:

  • Allows writing in the front as well as back end in Javascript 
  • Offers the benefits of a full-stack JS on a hybrid platform.
  • Efficient management of multiple requests through the event loop for I/O-bound tasks.
  • Handle asynchronous operations like file I/O, network requests, etc., without blocking main threads.
  • Promise-based development to improve readability and error handling in asynchronous code.
  • Install thousands of pre-built modules and libraries.
  • Active community all around the globe.
  • Leverages Google’s V8 JavaScript engine.
  • Enable bidirectional communication between servers and clients.
  • CLI (Command-Line Interface) to interact with tasks like package management and script execution.

How Node.js Works?

Node.js enables server-side scripting and helps in building powerful web applications. It is because of its JavaScript runtime environment. Here's a breakdown of its key working:

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.

Apps that Use Node.JS:

  • Netflix
  • PayPal
  • eBay
  • Groupon
  • Hulu

Considerations for Adoption:

  • 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.

4. Xamarin

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.

Features of Xamarin, The Top Cross Platform Frameworks for Mobile Development:

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:

  • Native UI components and APIs.
  • Integrated easily with essential device functionalities like accelerometer, GPS, camera, etc.
  • Avoid repetitive code when accessing common device features.
  • Develop with a familiar Visual Studio environment.
  • Develop on Mac using dedicated Xamarin Studio IDE.
  • Hot Reload for UI changes without restarting your app.
  • Apps compile native code for each platform.
  • Access platform-specific APIs.
  • A large, vibrant community of developers, extensive documentation, and numerous third-party libraries.
  • Test Cloud for automated testing across multiple devices and platforms.

How Xamarin Works?

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:

  • Xamarin.Forms: A cross-platform UI framework that lets you define your UI once using XAML (a markup language similar to XML) and have it rendered natively on each platform.
  • Native Development with Xamarin: Write platform-specific UI code for each platform using the native languages (Swift for iOS, Kotlin for Android, etc.). This offers more control but requires more effort.

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.

Apps that Use Xamarin:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • BMW Connected
  • Storyo
  • Starbucks
  • CBS Sports

Considerations for Adoption:

  • Learning Curve: Requires understanding of C# and platform-specific concepts.
  • Limitations in UI Customization: Xamarin.Forms might offer less flexibility compared to native development.
  • Testing on Multiple Platforms: Testing on each platform is required to ensure a seamless experience.

5. NativeScript

NativeScript is one of the few cross platform mobile development frameworks that can write codes in JavaScript, TypeScript, and Angular languages. 

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.

Features of NativeScript, The Best Mobile Cross Platform Framework:

  • Choose from languages like JavaScript, TypeScript, or Angular.
  • Get pre-built UI components for rapid development.
  • Define UI layout using familia XML syntax.
  • Support Vue.js.
  • Interact directly with platform-specific APIs for granular control and optimal performance.
  • Bypass performance overheads by direct access to native APIs.
  • Get ‘Hot Module Replacement (HMR)’ to check UI updates without restarting your app.
  • Utilize thousands of open-source plugins and libraries.
  • Active community of developers, extensive documentation, and tutorial.

How NativeScript Works?

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.

2. Bridge and Native Bindings: A "bridge" connects your JavaScript code to the native code on each platform. Whenever your JavaScript code needs to interact with the device (e.g., access sensors, display alerts), it sends messages through the bridge. The native code receives these messages and performs the necessary actions on the device. The results are then sent back to the JavaScript code through the bridge. NativeScript uses a clever Native Bindings system to represent native objects and functionalities within your JavaScript code. This allows you to interact with native APIs in a familiar and intuitive way.

3. UI Development: You define your app's UI using XML files for layout and JavaScript or TypeScript for logic and styling. It translates your XML and code into platform-specific native UI elements, ensuring a seamless look and feel on each platform.

Apps that Use NativeScript

  • Mercado Libre
  • Philips Hue
  • Telerik 
  • 9GAG
  • Swiss Airlines

Considerations for Adoption:

  • Learning Curve: Requires understanding of JavaScript, TypeScript, or Angular, and specific framework concepts.
  • Debugging Potential: Asynchronous programming aspects might introduce complexities compared to traditional approaches.
  • Plugin Availability: While extensive, certain niche functionalities might require custom development.

6. Adobe PhoneGap

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. 

Adobe PhoneGap utilizes HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript for the development and allows the users to share the application that they are developing. The framework helps you get active feedback, enabling the team to work on it.

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. 

Features of Adobe PhoneGap, The Best Cross Platform Development Framework:

  • This app platform framework can be used to develop applications for various operating systems
  • With the help of the plugin, developers can add more functions
  • This mobile cross platform development framework is devoid of any hardware restriction
  • No licensing fees.
  • Large active community that supports insights, numerous plugins, and extensive documentation.
  • Tailor app’s appearance and behavior with themes, custom styles, and platform specific adjustments.
  • Interact using CLI for building, packaging, and deploying apps.
  • Extend functionalities with APIs integrating camera, GPS, sensors, and more.

How Adobe PhoneGap Works?

Adobe PhoneGap, now known as Apache Cordova, uses web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Here is the core basic working process of this among the best cross platform mobile app development frameworks:

1. Develop your app's UI and logic using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
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:

  • Build.com
  • TripAdvisor
  • Crossy Road
  • Angry Birds
  • Evernote

Considerations for Adoption:

  • Potential Performance Trade-offs: Apps might not be as performant as native apps.
  • Limited Access to Some Native Features: Not all device functionalities may be available through plugins.
  • Testing on Multiple Platforms: Requires testing on each targeted platform for consistency.

7. Flutter

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. 

Features of Flutter, One of the Best Cross Platform Mobile Development Frameworks

  • Hot Reload to see UI changes without restarting the app.
  • Skia rendering engine for high-performance 2D rendering for smooth animations and graphics.
  • Ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation that allows pre-compilation of code for specific target platforms.
  • Reusable widgets facilitating modularity and maintainability
  • Access to common UI elements like buttons, lists, menus, and more.
  • Capability to create custom widgets for unique UI elements and experiences.
  • Analyze app performance, memory usage, and network activity.
  • Vibrant community for documentation, tutorials, and open-source libraries.
  • Firebase integration for backend services.

How Flutter Works?

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. 

Apps that Use Flutter

  • Reflectly
  • eBay Motors
  • Nubank
  • Hamilton
  • Chime

Considerations for Adoption:

  • Learning Curve: Requires familiarity with Dart and widget-based thinking.
  • Not Ideal for Everything: Complex native features might require additional effort.
  • Performance Considerations: While performant, might not always match fully native apps.

8. Appcelerator Titanium

Appcelerator Titanium mobile cross platform development framework is an open-source, cross platform development framework that supports iOS, Android, and Windows UPW and uses a single javascript codebase. It was launched in 2008, and by 2011, it had held 10% of the total cross-platform app market share. Currently, it boasts a little shy of a million registrations. What lies at the heart of this best mobile cross platform framework is the Apache-licensed software development kit, Titanium SDK.

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.

Features of Appcelerator Titanium, The Best Cross Platform Development Framework:

  • JavaScript makes the front-end as well as the backend development easy.
  • This  mobile platform development enables rapid prototyping to evaluate user interactions 
  • Mobile platform development is easy cross-platform interaction.
  • Direct access to iOS and Android APIs using Java, Objective-C, and Swift alongside JavaScript code.
  • IDE offers visual development tools with drag-and-drop functionality and integration with code editors (Sublime Text and Atom).
  • Extensive documentation, tutorials, and a large community of 200,000+ developers.
  • MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework with Titanium simplified app structure and organization.
  • Style apps with pre-built themes or create custom skins.
  • Build app function even without an internet connection.
  • Integrate push notifications to keep users engaged and informed.
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) integration to build mobile web experiences.

How Appcelerator Titanium Works?

Appcelerator Titanium is a framework for building native mobile apps for iOS, Android, and other platforms. It uses JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Here's a breakdown of its core working process:

1. Cross-Platform Development with Native Performance: Write your app's core logic and UI once using familiar web technologies.

  • Deploy your app to multiple platforms (iOS, Android, etc.) with minimal platform-specific adjustments.
  • Titanium ensures your app utilizes native UI components and APIs for optimal performance on each platform.

2. Titanium Developer Kit (TDK): Get core libraries and tools for building Titanium apps.

  • The framework includes a JavaScript interpreter, platform-specific modules, and APIs for accessing device functionalities.

3. Alloy UI Framework: An optional pre-built UI framework based on Titanium.

  • Offers a wide range of components like buttons, menus, and sliders, simplifying UI development.

4. Building and Deployment:

  • Build your app for each target platform using the TDK tools.
  • Generate native app packages (.ipa for iOS, .apk for Android) for submission to app stores.

Apps that Use Appcelerator Titanium:

  • HSBC Mobile
  • ING Bank
  • PayPal
  • Sephora
  • MonsterInsights

Considerations for Adoption:

  • No Longer Actively Developed: While still functional, the framework officially reached its end-of-life in 2020, meaning no further updates or bug fixes will be released.
  • Community and Ecosystem: Due to its discontinued development, the community and ecosystem might be less active compared to some other frameworks.
  • Potential Security Concerns: Using an unsupported framework introduces potential security risks due to the lack of updates and vulnerability patching.

9. Sencha Touch

Sencha EXT JS is a comprehensive JavaScript framework. It came to being after Sencha Touch merged with EXT JS. The framework is used to develop data-rich, modern, and cross-platform web and mobile applications. It empowers developers to create high-performance, scalable, and visually stunning applications with robust features and enterprise-grade capabilities.

The framework got its initial release on 8th January, 2007. It is a proprietary technology and is used by companies like Samsung, Boeing, Pfizer, etc. Sencha is often ranked amongst the top players in the enterprise. This JavaScript based framework is also known for its robustness and feature-richness.

Sencha is ideal for creating data-intensive web and mobile applications. It is amongst the top cross platform frameworks for mobile application development that prioritizes enterprise-grade features like security, scalability, and offline support. Furthermore, it gets front-end developers a rich UI component library and development tools for faster development. Also, it is great for a team that is familiar with JavaScript and web technologies.

Features of Sencha EXT JS, Amongst the Cross Platform App Development Frameworks

  • Expand the codebase to build desktop applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Access to a wide range of ready-made components for grids, charts, data lists, menus, and more.
  • Built-in themes and extensive customization options.
  • Create adaptive layouts for different screen sizes and devices.
  • Leverage device hardware for smoother animations and transitions.
  • Offers offline functionalities to users.
  • Visual tool for rapid prototyping, UI design, and code generation.
  • Access to detailed documentation, tutorials, and resources.
  • Active community that offers insights, assistance, and a support network.

How Sencha EXT JS Works?

Sencha is a JavaScript framework designed for developing native-looking mobile applications for a range of platforms. Platforms like iOS, Android, and WebKit-enabled devices. Here's a basic breakdown of how it works:

1. Development: Write your app's logic in JavaScript. Define the UI of the app using components and layouts, and handle user interactions with controllers. Sencha Touch provides APIs for accessing device functionalities and integrating native features.
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).

Apps that Use Sencha Touch:

  • Salesforce
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Overstock
  • WebMD
  • Reddit

Considerations for Adoptions:

  • Learning Curve: While web technologies form the foundation, understanding platform-specific concepts and Sencha-specific features might require initial learning investment.
  • Potential Performance Trade-offs: Complex apps might require additional optimization for specific platforms to ensure optimal performance.
  • Limited Access to Some Native Features: Not all native functionalities might be readily available through the framework, and deeper platform access might require custom development.

10. Corona SDK

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. 

Top features of Corona SDK, Best Cross Platform Mobile App Framework

  • This mobile development platform supports more than 1000 APIs and Plug-ins
  • Saves time in writing codes for various platforms
  • Can call any native library
  • Amazing plugins to monetize the app
  • Fast emulator
  • Use OpenGL for high-performance graphics for stunning visuals.
  • Get Lua to make fast and efficient code for game development.
  • Corona SDK optimizes code for each platform.
  • Hot Reload to update code, save changes, and see results instantly.
  • Functionality of Corona SDK with a variety of pre-built libraries and plugins.
  • Access to a vibrant community of developers, extensive documentation, tutorials, and forums.
  • Manage app assets such as images, sounds, and fonts within Corona SDK IDE.
  • Built-in Box2D physics engine.

How Corona SDK Works?

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.

Apps that Use Corona SDK

  • Farmville
  • Dropbox
  • The Home Depot
  • WordPress
  • Angry Birds

Considerations for Adoption:

  • Learning Curve: Lua is a relatively easy language to learn, but there is still a learning curve involved in using Corona SDK.
  • Limited Access to Some Native Features: While Corona SDK provides access to most native features, some niche functionalities might require platform-specific development.
  • Community Maturity: Compared to established frameworks like React Native, the Corona SDK community is smaller but still active and supportive.

11. NET MAUI

.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.

Features of .Net MAUI, The Best Cross Platform Framework for Mobile App Development:

  • Write code in C# and XAML for multiple platforms with minimum adjustments.
  • Get UI rendering engines like Skia for optimal performance and responsiveness.
  • AOT compilation for app startup speed and memory usage.
  • Pre-built UI components like buttons, lists, menus, and more.
  • Custom UI elements for specific needs using C# and XAML.
  • Streamline UI updates by linking data sources with UI elements.
  • Extend app functionality by integrating native device features like sensors, cameras, and geolocation.
  • Utilize hardware acceleration for smoother animations, transitions, and graphics rendering.
  • Develop using C# and XAML for an easier learning curve.
  • Hot Reload to see instant changes.
  • Benefit from a large community with extensive documentation and third-party libraries and components.

How .NET Maui works?

.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.

Apps that Use .NET MAUI:

  • Wells Fargo Mobile
  • Xbox Game Pass
  • Honeywell Forge
  • StudentLife by Instructor
  • MVVM Toolkit

Considerations for Adoptions:

  • Learning curve: Requires understanding of .NET, C#, XAML, and specific platform nuances.
  • Potential performance trade-offs: Complex apps might require platform-specific optimization.
  • Limited access to some native features: Not all native functionalities might be readily available through the framework.

Benefits of Cross Platform Mobile Application Development Frameworks!

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:

Reduced Development Time and Cost:

  • Write once, run anywhere (WORA): Develop logic of the app once and deploy it across multiple platforms (Android, iOS, Web, etc.). This significantly reduces the development time and effort.
  • Smaller Development Team: Development can be achieved with smaller teams, making it ideal for SMEs. However, one needs a team with broader skill sets. This implementation reduces development costs.
  • Faster Time-to-Market: It reduces time to reach the market faster as the development team has to write one codebase. This codebase can be implemented to several platforms with minor adjustments.

Increased Market Reach:

  • Target Wider Audience: It helps cater to a larger user-base who uses devices of different platforms.
  • Reduce App Store Rejection Risk: Maintaining a single codebase can minimize the risk of app store rejections due to platform-specific issues.

Simplified Maintenance and Updates:

  • Unified Updates: Bug fixes and feature updates can be implemented once and automatically applied across all platforms. This help saves time and resources.
  • Reduced Maintenance Costs: Managing a single codebase is more efficient and cost-effective than maintaining separate native apps.

Performance and User Experience Considerations:

  • Native-Like Performance: There are frameworks that offer close-to-native performance. This ensures a smooth and responsive user experience.
  • Access to Native Features: Many frameworks allow access to native functionalities. This enables developers to leverage platform-specific features for enhanced performance and user experience.

Other Benefits:

  • Rapid prototyping and iteration: Develop and test app ideas quickly across platforms, facilitating faster feedback and refinement.

How do you Choose the Right Cross Platform App Development Framework for your Project?

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:

1. Project Requirements and Complexity

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.

2. Development Cost and Time

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.

3. Target Platforms

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.

4. Developer Skill Set

Consider the technical proficiency of your development team. For example, frameworks, like React Native, leverage JavaScript which makes them accessible to web developers. Meanwhile, Flutter uses Dart, which might require additional learning.

5. Community and Ecosystem

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.

6. Performance Requirements

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.

7. UI/UX Design

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.

8. Long-term Maintenance and Scalability

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.

9. Integration and Plugins

If your app requires third-party services, hardware functionality, or external SDKs, ensure the framework supports seamless integration.

10. Testing and Deployment

Evaluate the framework’s support for testing and deployment. Efficient debugging, testing tools, and easy deployment processes significantly impact development workflows.

Cross Platform Mobile App Development Frameworks Comparison - From the Top of the List!

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:

  • Flutter 
  • .NET MAUI
  • React Native
  • Ionic
  • NativeScript

Therefore, let’s checkout a detailed a comparison between these cross platform frameworks with the help of a table:

Feature/Factor Flutter .NET MAUI React Native Ionic NativeScript
Underlying Technology Dart C# with .NET JavaScript (including JSX) HTML, CSS, JavaScript (Angular, React, Vue) JavaScript, TypeScript
Performance High (compiles to native code) Good (compiles to native code) High (with native modules) Moderate (uses WebViews for rendering) Good (access to native APIs)
UI Consistency High (custom widgets for each platform) High (native UI controls) High (uses native components) Moderate (standard web components) High (uses native components)
Learning Curve Moderate (need to learn Dart) Moderate-High (requires .NET and C# knowledge) Moderate (familiarity with JavaScript helps) Low-Moderate (web development knowledge) Moderate (familiarity with JavaScript helps)
Community & Support Large and growing Emerging, backed by Microsoft Large and active Large and active Active but smaller than others
Development Speed 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)
Platform Support 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)
Use Case 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
Ecosystem 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.

Final Words

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!

General FAQ

  • How do you make a mobile app cross-platform?
  • Which framework can be used to develop cross-platform applications?
  • Which are the best backend technologies for cross-platform development?
  • Which factors should I consider when choosing a cross-platform framework?
  • Which is the most used cross-platform mobile development?
  • What is the best programming language for cross-platform mobile development?
  • What are the most popular cross platform frameworks for app development?
Sakshi Kaushik
Written By
Sakshi Kaushik
A passionate writer and tech lover, she strives to share her expertise with mobile app developers and fellow tech enthusiasts. During her moments away from the keyboard, she relishes delving into thriller narratives, immersing herself in diverse realms.
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