The best frameworks for cross-platform development

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If you need a mobile application, first it is very important to decide for which platform to create it. But what if you need to cover several at once? Developing for each separately is long, arduous… and expensive. This approach is only justified in certain cases. However, there is another way out - to create a cross-platform application that will cover everything. Frameworks for mobile application development will help to do this. Let's see what they are, and which is better to settle on.

What is a cross-platform framework?

what is cross-platform

Firstly, let's start with what a framework is in general. The framework is a software platform for a specific programming language, which consists of various libraries and tools and helps to significantly speed up and simplify the development process. Even so the frameworks available for mobile development also differ from each other: some provide for the ability to create only native applications (for a specific platform, such as iOS or Android), while others are adapted for cross-platform development.

Cross-platform frameworks make it possible to develop an application that runs and functions as desired both in a web browser and on any of the platforms: Android, iOS, Windows. The fact is that the set of tools and libraries of these frameworks is universal and can be used for each of the platforms.

Advantages of cross-platform frameworks

Advantages of cross-platform frameworks

We have already talked about the fact that frameworks for development are very useful, but let's once again dwell on the advantages of cross-platform frameworks to dispel any doubt:

First of all, it is the ability to create cross-platform or hybrid applications. Thus, once written code will work wherever you run it, which means that your application will be usable for your entire target audience, regardless of their devices.

Secondly, working with the code is simplified significantly: in order to make any modifications, you need a minimum number of actions, because they need to be made only once, and not changed across each platform individually several times.

Thirdly, it's time saving. Your product enters the market faster due to the fact that you develop only one application for all segments. It takes remarkably less time to develop cross-platform applications than to create a native product for each of the systems.

Fourthly, cross-platform development saves you money. By creating one application instead of several, you pay for one application instead of multiple, which makes cross-platform applications much more profitable for business, and the return on investment increases dramatically.

The Best Cross-platform Frameworks

The Best Cross-platform Frameworks

Now that we have figured out what cross-platform frameworks are and identified the benefits that their use brings to business, it's time to get better acquainted with the frameworks themselves. Let's look at the most popular options, their features and advantages.

React Native

At the moment, if React Native is not the most popular framework for creating mobile applications, then it definitely is one of them. As you have already understood, this framework is suitable for developing web applications, as well as for applications for iOS and Android. The main programming language for this framework is JavaScript. It is noteworthy that the source code is open here, which is one of the reasons why this framework is so loved by developers. Let's take a look at the advantages of React Native:

  • Code reuse: due to the fact that individual parts of code can be reused for several platforms, you get rid of the need rewrite everything, which means that developers save time and you save money.
  • Great community: the community of this framework is extensive and constantly growing, thanks to this the framework is constantly maintained and developed. If necessary, it is easy to find training materials, videos andmanuals that help to solve any problem. This, in turn, somewhat simplifies the development process and helps programmers cope with those tasks that can cause difficulties, but are necessary to overcome for the project.
  • Performance: applications written with this framework require minimal device resources, because the device does not require any additional fixtures to "read" the application code, they interact directly. Thread separation for API and UI, Modules and Controls also contributes to high performance. As a result, applications work quickly and efficiently.
  • Stability: nothing can reduce the performance of this framework, which components, and how many, do not have to be bound. This ensures reliable operation of applications on React Native.
  • Plugin support: as you know, not all functions can be implemented through a pure language or only one framework.For this purpose plugins are configured that expand the capabilities of the resource. React Native supports the ability to bind third-party plugins, providing even more features and prospects for development.

Flutter

This application development framework is also open source, which is very convenient for developers. It was created by Google and is intended specifically for cross-platform development. The main programming language is Dart andcompatible systems include iOS and Android. Regarding the advantages of Flutter, they include:

  • Programming language: using Dart as the main language, this framework is easy-to-use for beginners, because of a fairly simple syntax and the presence of many functions and features that make it easy to learn, but at the same time a respectable tool for creating cross-platform applications.
  • Savings: of course, no cross-platform framework is without this advantage, because due to inherent features they significantly reduce time and financial development costs.
  • Performance: Like the previous framework, Flutter interacts directly with the code of the platform on which it will be installed, which means that its interpretation does not require additional effort from the device, which contributes to the high performance of the application.
  • Ability to create Web applications: for some time now, the capabilities of this framework have expanded even more and now provide programmers with the opportunity to create not only cross-platform, but also web applications, allowing owners to reach an even larger audience and save more money.

Cordova

The framework for the mobile development Cordova is currently owned by Adobe. With the help of the API, applications created with this framework are allowed access to native functions, which makes them convenient on any operating system. When combined with hybrid elements, development becomes highly effective. The main programming languages are HTML, CSS and  JavaScript. The advantages of Cordova are also noteworthy :

  • Easy multimedia management: thanks to the features of this framework, developers get access to tools with which they can effortlessly perform media requests and embed CSS code into the application.
  • Community: thanks to the developments of the community, Cordova has a multitude of libraries, as well as a set of additional development tools that further simplify work and expand your opportunities.
  • Popular languages: due to the fact that this framework is based on the fundamental development languages - HTML, CSS and JavaScript - Cordova is easy to learn and use in development.
  • Variety of platforms: this is the main advantage across the entire list of cross-platform frameworks, but we will emphasize that on Cordova you can write applications not only for iOS or Android, but also web applications to run on a browser.

Ionic

Another cross-platform framework for application development, which has undergone many changes. As a result, all these transformations led the framework to providing developers with a wide range of technologies - VU.js, Angular, React. The slogan of this framework reads: "One code. Any platform." And it really is. Among the advantages of Ionic:

  • Support for other frameworks: thanks to the integration capability present, Ionic can be combined with several different frameworks, which makes development that much more convenient.
  • Cross-platform: unlike previous options, this cross-platform framework provides for development not only for iOS and Android, but also for Windows, which significantly expands the audience.
  • Plugin support: integration of third-party plugins allows you to further expand the capabilities of the framework, add additional functions and solve even more problems using the Ionic application.
  • Universal use of the language: by choosing one of the frameworks, you save yourself from having to use different languages for different platforms. Using one programming language, an application is created that will work on both iOS and Android.

Xamarin

This cross-platform framework, unlike all previous ones, uses the C# programming language. Thanks to this, it is especially compatible with any platform and allows you to create a sense of having a native application on each of them. The framework allows you to create applications for iOS, Android and Windows, and among its advantages it is worth noting the following:

  • Resources for development: developers who choose this framework get access to all kinds of tools and libraries that make it easy to create user interfaces, charts, controls and so on.
  • Convenient testing: thanks to the Text Cloud function, you can test ready-made applications in real time, while simulating the actual operation of the application. This approach to testing helps to find and correct errors faster and easier, as well as to check and improve the performance of the application.
  • Ready-made UI layouts: this cross-platform framework offers developers to use ready-made user interface layouts, which allows you to develop applications much faster, provide an attractive aesthetic and native interface for various platforms, and make sure not to miss the requirements for certain elements.
  • Compatibility with Visual Studio: VS is a development environment that allows you to turn the creation of an application into a very convenient and compelling process, and the Xamarin framework is perfectly compatible with it.

NativeScript

This framework for cross-platform development of mobile applications has existed for a long time. It is also open source and uses JavaScript and TypeScript as its main languages. Among its advantages, we note:

  • Versatility: thanks to full access to the platform API, applications developed using this framework are not only adapted to two platforms - iOS and Android, they also look and feel native, as if they were developed in XCode or Android Studio.
  • Community: from the first release, this framework has won the favour of developers, thus growing a wide community that develops more and more plugins for NativeScript no less successfully than the creators of this framework themselves.
  • Support for third-party frameworks: when developing an application, it is not necessary to limit yourself to this one framework, support for third-party ones, such as Angular, allows you to expand the boundaries of development capabilities.
  • Support for third-party libraries: despite having your own libraries, this cross-platform framework, even without additional layers, allows you to connect with other libraries, enabling developers to also use the tools of Cocoapods, Android Arsenal, Maven and npm.js.

Codename One

This is another open cross-platform framework that provides for the ability to create not only mobile or web applications, but also desktop applications. The main technologies that this framework works with are Java and Kotlin. Let's take a look at the advantages of Codename One:

  • Popular language: the main language of this framework - Java - has been one of the most popular programming languages for many years, which guarantees the readability and support of the code of applications created on this framework for many years to come.
  • Performance: This cross-platform framework allows you to activate applications using a native virtual machine, which means that they are processed and function as quickly as native ones.
  • Additional tools: developers can use this framework together with many available tools, such as IntelliJ IDEA, NetBeans, Eclipse, which significantly expands possibilities. Also,Codename One offers its own graphical user interface designer, which greatly simplifies development.
  • Portability: thanks to cloud technologies, any solutions created on this cross-platform framework can easily be adapted to other environments, so they boast of high compatibility with a large number of devices.

RubyMotion

Last but definitely not least isthe cross-platform RubyMotion framework, which is also open source, allows you to create applications for iOS, Android and OS X, all while using the Ruby language as the main programming language. The advantages as follows:

  • Performance: due to peculiarities of its work and structure, this framework allows you to develop applications whose performance will not be inferior to native ones.
  • One language for everything: in addition to the fact that this framework allows you to use the same language for cross-platform development, you can also use it to test your own products, which increases the accuracy of tests and makes their writing and passing easier.
  • Community: a wide-ranging community of Ruby language lovers who already appreciated this framework can easily help you find instructions, guides, additional tools and answers to any development questions.
  • Abundance of libraries: this cross-platform framework allows you to not only use its own libraries, but also to integrate third-party libraries, such as CocoaPods, which expands development capabilities and makes the process more convenient and efficient.

Conclusions

Conclusions

There are quite a number of cross-platform frameworks, and all of them are unlikely to fit into one article of appropriate length, so we have considered only the most popular of them. As you can see, each framework has its own features and advantages, which makes each of them useful in certain situations.

Different applications with different purposes and functions do not have to be implemented using the same tool. So, it is not necessary to choose one framework for every occasion. Based on the features and needs of your application, we will select the best option that will help you implement your project faster and most efficiently.

If you are a novice programmer, we recommend choosing a framework based on the programming languages you know, because each of them is in demand.

If you are a business owner and are interested in how to implement your project, we recommend making your choice based on the features of the project itself. Some languages do better with some functions, but worse in others. This means the main language should be taken into account when choosing a framework. Also, the capabilities of the frameworks themselves are slightly different, so the choice should be made based on the specific project and your capabilities.

If you have any questions, write to us and we will be happy to answer them. If you are interested in developing an application with Wezom, leave a request on our website, or contact us using any other convenient channel, our manager will call you back and advise. Having learned the details about your project, we will be able to name the approximate cost and timing of its development. We always select the optimal technologies that allow us to create tools that most effectively solve the problems of our customers.

The choice of framework depends on your project. First of all, you need to decide on the functionality you want to implement in your application, as well as what features you need to focus on. After that, it is worth studying which programming language (and therefore which framework) best handles the tasks. For example, some frameworks will be able to provide high performance with not too diverse a functionality, while others will please with an abundance of functions, but at the same time the application will run somewhat slower. The choice depends solely on your goals.

In order not to explore the features of each language and framework on your own, we advise you to leave the solution to specialists to whom you are going to entrust the development of your application. The development company will be able to best determine the technologies with which it will be possible to implement your application in the most sensible possible way.

Which programming language is best suited for developing cross-platform applications?

Each programming language, as well as the framework, has its own features and advantages for why it may be selected. We recommend starting from the functionality of your application, as well as pondering key aspects. You should also be warned that if much emphasis is placed on one aspect, something else generally has to be sacrificed. For example, you will have to choose between a unique or diverse user interface design and download speed.

In order not to get lost in a cascade of languages, libraries and other tools, we recommend entrusting this decision to specialists. We at Wezom always select technologies based on the client's needs. To get advice, leave a request on the website, and our manager will call you back at the earliest convenient time for you.

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Zavatsky Denis Back-end developer
Share the details of your project, such as scope, timelines, or business challenges you would like to tackle. Our team will carefully study and structure them, determine the detailed cost and make recommendations on the technology stack, and then we will deal with the next step together.
Work with Roshen, Interpipe, Delivery, Bepec, Elf-Decor, Elit Ukraine etc.
6 years in the
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28 successful
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a cross-platform framework?

A cross-platform framework is a kind of tool, or environment, that presents various opportunities for development. Thanks to frameworks, you can create applications much faster and more conveniently using sets of libraries and other tools that expand capabilities and allow you to create a wide variety of elements and functionality. The specificity of cross-platform frameworks is that they help to create applications that can be run on various devices and platforms. This helps to significantly save time and money on development, avoiding the need to create multiple native applications.

How to choose a cross-platform framework?

The choice of framework depends on your project. First of all, you need to decide on the functionality you want to implement with your application, as well as what features you need to focus on. After that, it is worth studying which programming language (and therefore which framework) best handles the tasks. For example, some frameworks will be able to provide high performance with not a diverse functionality, while others will please with an abundance of functions, but at the same time the application will run somewhat slower. The choice depends solely on your goals. In order not to get lost in the features of each language and framework on your own, we advise you to leave this issue to specialists,to whom you are going to entrust the development of your application. The development company will be able to accurately determine the technologies with which it will be possible to implement your application in the best possible way.

Which programming language is best suited for developing cross-platform applications?

The programming language, as well as the framework, has its own features and advantages for which it will be used. We recommend starting from the functionality of your application, as well as taking into account key aspects. You should also be warned that if much emphasis is placed on one aspect, another will have to be sacrificed. For example, you will have to choose between a unique or diverse user interface design and download speed. In order not to get lost in a cascade of languages, libraries and other tools, we recommend entrusting this to specialists. We at Wezom always select technologies based on the client's needs. To get advice, leave a request on the website, and our manager will call you back at the nearest time convenient for you.

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