Your Guide to Cross Platform Web App Development

In today’s digital world, app development is booming as companies of all shapes and sizes are integrating new trends, technologies and approaches. As such, many companies are looking to develop apps to improve efficiencies and reach and engage with new customers. However, when it comes to creating an app, there are lots of decisions to be made. One of the most challenging is often which development approach to use. You understandably want to have a native feel and functionality, however, you probably also want to make it as accessible to users as possible. Then there is the budget to consider; developing a separate app for every platform will soon ramp up development costs. This is where cross-platform web-app development comes into play, giving you the best of both worlds. 

The development approach can be critical to the success of your app. If cross-platform app development sounds like it might be for you, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for everything you need to know about cross platform web app development and how to get started. 

What is Cross Platform App Development? 

Cross-platform development refers to the development of apps that can be used across multiple platforms such as iOS, Android, web, desktop and embedded devices. The approach was initially constrained to simple apps and games but, over time, new technologies have made it more adaptable, powerful and flexible than ever. With the use of cross-platform software, the source code is compiled into native code for the various operating systems. The alternative is native app development, where an app is developed for a specific platform alone.  

The Benefits of Cross Platform App Development

The choice between native and cross-platform development is a debate that often divides opinion. Both, of course, have their advantages. Native app development removes the complexity of considering multiple platforms and focuses on generating the most competent and optimised design for the target platform. However, if your users aren’t uniquely on that platform, you may well be missing out. Cross platform frameworks enable you to create an app that will reach out to as many people as possible, covering a wide number of devices from the outset. 

Given the huge rise in cost for development for each platform and the need to quickly bring ideas to fruition, cross platform development has a lot to offer. In fact, cross platform web app development offers several advantages over native development:

  • Cost-Effectiveness – through the idea of writing once and running everywhere, reusable code and agile development tools work to reduce development costs.  
  • Code Reusability – instead of new code needing to be developed for every platform, a single code can be used across them all. This saves time and resources and eliminates repetition.
  • Consistent Design – as there is one team building effectively one app across multiple platforms, it is much easier to create a uniform user experience and to deliver consistency in UI components.
  • Cloud Integration – the source code used for cross platform apps is coordinated with several plug-ins and extensions which work to boost scalability and functionality. This makes cross platform apps entirely compatible with cloud settings. 
  • Faster Time to Market – having a single source code during development for multiple platforms can reduce efforts by up to 80%. This means your business can more easily meet deadlines and get a feature-rich business app to market faster. 
  • Maximum Exposure – leveraging cross platform development enables apps to be deployed across various platforms, including the web. That means that you can maximise reach, exposure and impact. 
  • Simpler Maintenance – the cost and complexity of app development doesn’t end once it’s deployed. By having an app that runs over all platforms, there is only one set of code and updates can be easily synced across all platforms and devices. 

Of course, as with anything in life, there are also some disadvantages to using cross platform development. There is no assured access to device APIs and hardware compatibility issues can occur. However, these challenges are minimal when compared to the advantages. What then becomes important is choosing the right development framework. 

The Leading Cross Platform App Development Frameworks

There are a number of cross platform app development frameworks to choose from, each with its own strengths. Some of the most competitive and top-performing of these include:

  • Xamarin – an independent framework that was acquired by Microsoft in 2016, Xamarin has a lot of credibility amongst developers and a huge community of contributors. The framework uses C# for coding instead of HTML or JavaScript like other frameworks. The shared codebase enables it to work seamlessly across several platforms while delivering native user interfaces. 
  • React Native – launched by Facebook in 2015, React Native quickly became one of the most popular frameworks in the market. With React Native, over 80% of the codebase can be shared across platforms, hot reloading enables changes to be seen quickly and a focus on UI delivers highly responsive interfaces. 
  • Flutter –  developed and maintained Google, the same company that develops the Android native framework, Flutter has a lot to offer and focuses on giving a native feel to all apps through design elements and development kits. Its extensive tools and ready-made widgets make the framework very accessible. 

Finding Cross Platform Mobile App Development Services

Cross platform development frameworks are an effective solution to build robust, scalable and flexible applications that will work across iOS, Android, Web and more. With every business looking to save costs and speed up development, the approach makes an awful lot of sense. The difficult part, however, can be deciding which framework to choose.

By partnering with an experienced cross platform app development company, you will be much better placed to make a well-informed decision. They will be able to help you to review why you are creating an app, what user problem it is aiming to solve and which platforms it needs to run on. Once you know this, you can ascertain the best development framework for your needs and start building a solution that will help your business to grow and reach its goals. 

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