Cross-platform is the ability of an IT product to work fully on any device, regardless of the operating system (OS) type. The development team uses cross-platform technologies and tools to develop a single app version that will run on all devices.
Thanks to cross-platform development, there is no need to develop native applications separately for iOS and Android. This speeds up development and speeds up time to market. Cross-platform app development also simplifies maintenance, so you won’t need to maintain several parallel app versions.
In this article, we will talk about the advantages of cross-platform support and its best examples.
Benefits of Cross-Platform Software
You can optimize your business strategy by using cross-platform mobile app development services. The main benefits of cross-platform software are:
- Cost savings. Instead of making two applications, you make only one. This makes it possible to reduce the time spent on development and testing and to focus on the work process as much as possible. Reducing development time will help you save your budget and integrate ready-made components into your budget faster.
- Faster time to market. Thanks to cross-platform development, you can write code only once and use it on different platforms. This way, you reduce the amount of time allocated to the project and can launch your application much faster and see the return on investment shortly.
- Broader audience reach. With just one app, you can expand your audience and reach customers with different OSes. This is a great advantage and affects the maximum turnover from the application.
Challenges of Cross-Platform Software Development
The disadvantages of cross-platform application development have something in common. The inability to provide native functionality is one of the main problems with cross-platform.
- Limited access to platform-specific features. Cross-platform apps may not support all features and APIs a particular operating system provides. This can limit the software’s functionality and lead to less user engagement. Developers may need to use additional plugins or implement workarounds to access native features, which can increase development time and complexity.
- Reduced performance. Cross-platform apps may not be as optimized as native apps for each platform. This can result in lower performance and a less fluid user experience.
That is why it is necessary to choose a developer with enough experience in developing cross-platform apps and knows how to minimize these challenges.
Cross-platform apps are not as flexible as native apps because it is difficult to implement all the features so that they work well on different devices. App stores have their own requirements, which must be considered during development. This creates additional discomfort and difficulties.
Cross-Platform Development Technologies and Frameworks
Cross-platform is a popular approach, and many technologies and frameworks can be used for development. Most modern high-level programming languages can be called cross-platform. For example, C, C++, Free Pascal, FreeBASIC, and PureBasic are cross-platform languages at the compilation level. That is, there are compilers for various platforms for these languages.
But to make development faster and more efficient, some frameworks add additional value to application development by providing tools for creating applications for several platforms at once.
The most common frameworks are:
- Xamarin. Xamarin is a descendant of. NET. It is equipped with tools and libraries to enable developers to create applications ranging from machine learning to game development.
- Flutter. Flutter is both a UI framework and an SDK. With Flutter, developers can create mobile apps for iOS and Android, as well as develop software for computer operating systems, including Linux, Windows, Mac, and Fuschia.
- Tenemos Quantum. Quantum can improve UX by using native progressive web applications (PWAs).
- Corona. Corona is a cross-platform framework based on the Lua scripting language. Inside Corona, you can create apps and 2D games for iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, Windows, and even Apple TV, Android TV, and Fire TV.
- Unity. Unity is a cross-platform game engine for 3D and 2D games.
Cross-platform is an integral part of website functionality, increasing page conversion and ranking in search engine listings. The visitor will stay longer on the site with an adapted and intuitive interface.
Mobile application development frameworks make it possible to write code only once to get a program that starts and functions correctly on: Android, iOS, and Windows platforms.
Best Practices for Cross-Platform Software Development
There are several strategies for developing software that combines cross-platform functionality and complex functionality:
- Graceful degradation. This practice is used to design software so that it continues to function even if certain features or components are not supported on a particular platform.
- Single code repository. With this approach, developers maintain a single codebase that can be deployed across multiple platforms. This strategy often relies on cross-platform frameworks like React Native, Xamarin, or Flutter to create a consistent user experience. While a single codebase can save time and resources, developers may need to make additional efforts to manage platform-specific features and optimize performance.
- Third-party libraries. This practice helps developers access platform-specific features or APIs in a cross-platform project.
- Responsive design. This approach ensures smooth adaptation of the user interface to different screen sizes, resolutions, and orientations. Also, thanks to this practice, we get optimal interaction with the user on other devices and platforms. This is especially important when cross-platform, as it allows the app to serve a wide range of devices without compromising usability or aesthetics.
There are also smart testing tools in the best cross platform app development, such as Page Object Model, that allows you to run a single test script for different versions of software products.
Cross Platform vs. Native Development: Choosing the Right Approach
The fundamental difference between a native app framework and cross-platform app development is that native app development relies on native technologies. Any application created through cross-platform development ensures cross-platform compatibility.
These two types of development have their pros and cons. A native application is created for a specific operating system in a programming language.
In the realm of cross-platform development, programmers utilize frameworks—software structures—to which they add necessary functions. These frameworks are universal and facilitate the creation of applications compatible with multiple operating systems simultaneously. In essence, it’s a case of ‘write once, run anywhere’.
If you have budget constraints or you need to speed up time to market and provide a consistent user experience across all platforms, cross-platform development is a go-to choice for you. Also, such a platform will suit you if:
- You are a small company needing a mobile application, but spending millions on its development is not an option.
- You represent a large company, but the budget for your project is limited.
- You have a startup and need to make an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) quickly and efficiently. The sooner you do it and the less you spend, the better.
A lot depends on the experience of the developer. You can achieve great results with cross-platform app development with the right approach. Let’s look at examples.
Case Studies: Successful Cross-Platform Software Examples
Here you can see development frame examples of well-known apps developed using cross-platform development.
#1. Google Ads Mobile App
This mobile application was the first example of Flutter. The application meets all the requirements and needs of customers. There are a large number of options that help to effectively manage advertising and optimize all processes using a mobile phone. This is an effective tool for those who have a business or work in the marketing field and are obliged to be constantly in touch.
It is a well-known provider of digital banking services in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Active users of this program can optimize their work processes by carrying out financial transactions through the mobile application. Constant, useful updates and innovations make it possible to increase the application’s functionality and attract more customers.
This is a useful laptop program for those looking after their care and wanting to improve their mental health with just one app. Here is all the functionality that helps improve mood, reduces anxiety, and provides practice to improve concentration. The best techniques are collected here, which help you get results faster without harming your health. The program based on artificial intelligence also helps generate new ideas.
This app is built on Flutter. Thanks to it, you can receive real-time information about card exchange rates. This lets you track market and currency movements and quickly access updated data.
This is the official app for Hamilton, the Broadway musical, built using the Flutter framework. It was a gift for fans who wanted to be aware of all the new music. It was created especially for many band fans so they would be aware of all the music news. The program lets you sing your favorite songs through karaoke, take music quizzes, and play lottery games. It also has unique movies and music shows. The application interface has wide functionality and was created considering all users’ needs.
Cross-platform offers many advantages and is a great solution for relatively simple applications that need to run quickly on all platforms. Sigma.Software works with both cross-platform and native application development, and will be happy to provide advice and guidance on choosing the approach that will work best for your business.