A Quick Guide to Cross-Platform App Development

Written By Shivang Jain

Mobile apps are everywhere. More than 65,000 new Android apps were released through the Google Play Store in the last month of 2021. As a result of this competition, it is incredibly challenging for businesses to get their apps noticed.

Even when an app does get noticed, it’s difficult to retain users. On average, an app loses 77% of daily active users (DAUs) after just three days, while more than 95% of them are gone within three months.

What does it take to get a mobile app noticed and get users to keep using it? Is there a formula that results in a large number of app downloads in the blink of an eye? If you’re ready to learn the secret sauce, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide to cross-platform mobile app development, I will discuss what cross-platform app development is, how it differs from native development, what benefits it offers, and what the best cross-platform app development frameworks available for businesses are today. In a nutshell, this is going to be your complete guide to cross-platform app development.

What Is Cross-Platform App Development?

Mobile apps that are compatible with more than one operating system are known as cross-platform apps. These apps are developed using cross-platform frameworks.

Cross-platform apps are gaining tremendous popularity due to their ability to support multiple mobile OS. This way companies can save thousands of dollars by releasing their product relatively faster using a single codebase. Google’s Flutter and Facebook’s React Native are two widely used cross-platform mobile app development frameworks.

Some popular apps built using cross-platform app development frameworks include:

  • The New York Times
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Google Ads
  • Skype
  • Pinterest
  • Bloomberg
  • Tesla

How Does Cross-Platform App Development Differ From Native App Development?

Cross-platform vs native has been a never-ending debate throughout the years. Both are champs and capable of delivering a robust mobile app.

However, there are some significant differences between native and cross-platform app development approaches. These differences in approach can help you build an active strategy for your minimum viable product and path forward.

So let's take a closer look at the differences between these two approaches.

Basis Native Cross-Platform
User Interface/UX Platform specific interactive UI Generally common UI for all sorts of apps
Customization Full Full, yet varies from app to app
Manpower  Big team size; different team for different platform Small team is enough for all platforms
Development Cost Comparatively higher than cross-platform Cost-effective
Technologies Used Object C, Swift, Java, Kotlin JavaScript, C#, Dart
Performance Smooth Performance issues can be resolved with certain workarounds
3rd Party SDKs Excellent availability Easily available
Ease of Development Smooth Smooth

Ultimately, no matter how good native might be, cross-platform technologies have always been the first choice of app developers and entrepreneurs. Let’s see why.

What Are the Benefits of Cross-Platform App Development?

Now that you have an idea about cross-platform vs native, it’s time to explore further and get to know the benefits of cross-platform mobile app development.

Easy and Fast Development Process

The IT and tech industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. So if you choose to go with cross-platform technologies, you will be able to launch your product much faster. Thus, neither the developers nor the businesses have to wait around for their initial release.

Loved by People

The UI/UX is one of decisive factors in any app’s future success. A well-designed UI would touch the heart of your audience, while a bad one would puzzle them. Here, cross-platform technologies work wonders.

Apps designed in this way are able to take full advantage of UX components. This not only simplifies the user interface but also enhances the overall design. Furthermore, this is one of the reasons why chief design officers (CDOs) prefer cross-platform applications—such as React Native—for UI design.

Exposure to Wide Customer Base

There was a time when native app development was most prevalent. That means, if an app was developed for iOS, it was meant for iPhone users only, not for Android or Windows.

This practice failed to capture the attention of the masses, and then the cross-platform app development approach came into the picture. Now almost all apps made using cross-platform frameworks are able to run on a variety of operating systems including iOS and Android.

Moreover, some smartwatches and smart home appliances/devices are supported as well. This way, businesses can maximize their outreach with just a single codebase.

Quick and Easy Updates

As I mentioned, IT and tech is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. As a result, apps tend to get updates quite fast. However, updating apps frequently—and, above all, adding new features in the updates—would have been an absolute nightmare for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) if cross-platform frameworks were not available.

Cross-platform built apps’ code can be reused up to 90%, which drastically reduces the cost without hurting the total revenue.

Cost Effective

With so many benefits at such little cost, it is pretty obvious that cross-platform built apps are easy on the pocket. Even a bootstrapped business or someone with a tight budget can have their app developed with a minimum investment.

What Are the Best Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks Available for Businesses?

There are many cross-platform app frameworks available to use for free. If you asked me to pick the best of the best, I would choose React Native without a second thought. Nevertheless, here are some of the best cross-platform app development frameworks along with case studies for you to consider.

You Are Now Ready to Develop a Cross-Platform App!

Apps are the trend. They are your users’ demand. They are truly revenue-generating machines masquerading as tiny programs. Lots of businesses have established themselves with the help of mobile apps, and many are continuing to do so.

From easy and fast development to a wide customer base, and from quick updates to cutting cost, cross-platform development definitely has many benefits. Take advantage of them, and take your app to the next level—the simple way!