Cross-Platform Development: Top 3 Tools to Consider

Cross-Platform development involves the creation of applications that can be used across multiple platforms. The rise of the cross-platform development use can be explained by the need of creating highly maintainable code which can be shared across various devices.

Among the benefits of cross-platform development can be mentioned the follows: code reusability whereby code can easily be shared across platforms, reduction in implementation time as all the development can be run all in one single codebase, cost efficiency by reducing the resources required. Debugging performance is much faster on cross-platform than working on multiple native applications. The reason is that cross-platform apps do not intact with devices hardware of the various platforms thus need to minimize the interaction between the user and devices.

Overall, Xamarin, React Native, and Flutter can be mentioned as the most popular cross-platform tools.

Xamarin

Xamarin provides both a platform for native applications development as well as cross-platform applications development. The environment for Xamarin apps is the Visual Studio and the language is C#. Xamarin implementation is based on Model-View-View-Model(MVVM) architecture.

Xamarin provides suitable APIs for the developers which they can use to enhance applications suitability to their needs as well as provide core functionality. In cross-platform development, the APIs can easily be integrated into diverse platforms without affecting user interface and functionality. Visual Studio App Center is a tool where developers can test their application on different platforms before they would be released. Xamarin Test cloud has a wide range of devices which a developer can customize depending on user audience he intends to serve. Xamarin forms are cross-platform and developers can easily create native interface layouts which can be widely used across multi-platforms. In case of any programming troubles, there exists a free Xamarin Community support where specialists can ask a question from the fellow Xamarin developers.

The only minus is that Xamarin framework suffers code complexity, .Net developers have to understand sometimes other native languages and frameworks.

Flutter

Flutter is a hyped framework developed by Google. It provides cross-platform development for IOS and Android. Flutter uses Dart programming language, an alternative to TypeScript and JavaScript. At the moment Flutter is the fastest growing cross-platform framework and has managed to create a large community in all programming learning centers like Medium, Stack Overflow and Youtube.

Dart as a compiled language implies direct communication with a native platform which allows the developers to create complex applications with high-performance levels. Dart features for cross-platform development include its testing framework which means that applications can be quickly tested across different devices. Skia, a flutter library, offers 2D graphics which can be used to animate applications. Flutter uses the simple widget and make the framework user-friendly for beginners. The framework offers a wide variety of packages like Websockets connections and embedded databases which can be used for applications integration.

As for minuses, Flutter suffers immaturity since it has been developed not so long ago and made a big step in building developers trust. It doesn’t support many third-party services; therefore, it will take time for Flutter to reach a competitive level as other cross-platform tools.

React Native

React Native is a framework owned by Facebook and it uses JavaScript and native APIs. It is a young and fast-growing framework. React Native UI on cross-platform has the same user experience as a native application and this unique feature differentiates it from other cross-platform development tools.

Programming paradigm used in React Native is imperative and declarative programming. Imperative programming means the sequence of actions that should be defined to determine how the application will work. Declarative programming specifies what should be performed and how optimally make the code simple and highly maintainable. React Native deploys use of modules in application creation which leads to flexibility and ease of debugging. The various modules can easily be integrated with the available APIs and third parties plugins.

As for React Native disadvantages, a developer may face certain problems with handling complex tasks thus this framework is not favorable for large and complex applications. Moreover, apps made with React Native take a longer time to initialize due to the use of JavaScript.

Many businesses are now interested in building cross-platform applications for their companies because of economy and convenience reasons. It is also a great option which can help you to make a quick start, check your ideas and switch to other technologies in the future, if necessary.