When many businesses think of building an app, their mind goes straight to cross-platform app development. This should not come as a surprise since it enables developers to build apps for different platforms with a single codebase, thus saving time, money, and effort. As of today, roughly 1/3rd of mobile developers use cross-platform frameworks.
The good news is there are many cross-platform development tools that you can use — depending on what you want your app to achieve, your budget and timescales. But when that is the case, selecting the most appropriate tool for your development process becomes challenging. But do not worry!
13 most popular cross-platform development tools
In this article, we will look at 13 most popular cross-platform development tools that are creating a buzz in the market in 2021:
Flutter is a by-product of Google , making it a sustainable software development kit [SDK] for developing web-based applications. Its iconic 'Hot Reload' feature facilitates developers to view live variations in the coding without saving it.
It helps build high-performance apps on Android, iOS, desktop, and web from a single codebase. Launched in May 2017, Flutter has quickly become a favorite of developers as it allows them to customize the apps using slick animations.
It also utilizes the programming language Dart, which can be easily understood by Java developers. Flutter also offers many widgets that help in enhancing the look of an app. They can help developers provide a full native-like app performance to the users — from scrolling and navigation to changing fonts and icons.
Famous brands or apps using Flutter: Google Ads, Alibaba
2. React Native
Not only is it highly compatible with secure third-party plugins, but it also takes up little space in memory. React Native simplifies the app development process and ensures that businesses can launch an app on both platforms promptly without compromising quality.
Introduced by Facebook in March 2015, React Native is preferred by a whopping 42% of developers for developing apps. It enables them to write modules in various native languages such as Java, Swift, C++, Objective, and Python.
Moreover, it lets you do other exciting activities, including video processing and image editing—both of which are not possible with other API frameworks. React Native is the perfect choice for startups, small-sized businesses, and even large enterprises.
Famous brands using React Native: Facebook, Walmart, Uber Eats, Skype, and Instagram
Moreover, you can gain access to app-store ready apps without the headache of maintaining native SDKs. It lets you focus on what is more critical while building apps — strategy, features, tech stack. That not only saves time but also shortens the development cycle.
In addition, PhoneGap's 'Hydration' feature allows you to streamline app development by pushing updates to the users who have tested the app previously. This ensures that everyone works on the most recent version, thus eliminating any delays in the process.
Famous brands using Adobe PhoneGap: Accenture, Typeform, Angry Ventures, GoGoVan
Its open-source development framework makes Appcelerator agile and most suited for repairing glitches through automated mobile testing. Measuring app usage and results of the app project are made easy — thanks to this phenomenal framework.
Over time, Appcelerator has built a vibrant community of more than 200,000 developers. This framework has been applied in 35,000 apps so far. With this tool, you are also bound to get mobile-optimized access to any data source.
Famous brands using Appcelerator: Comerica Bank, The Body Shop
Xamarin is an open-source platform and one of the top Android app development tools that also builds apps on iOS and Windows. Launched by Microsoft, developers can use their Microsoft Visual Studio license to access Xamarin, built with C# — a shared codebase for producing high-performance apps.
The apps built on this cross-platform development tool look and feel like native apps, and that is because Xamarin uses native interfaces that work in the way users want to use them. It also comes with a plethora of features such as code editing, UI designing, and debugging.
Moreover, it accelerates the app development process with its single codebase. You will especially like working on Xamarin if you are a .NET developer. That is because its test cloud allows you to run tests for thousands of devices with 100% reusability of code.
Famous brands using Xamarin: AOX, MRW, Alaska Airlines, Oro
Millions of Apple users enjoy exploring the web with Safari. What if you want to modify, debug, and optimize a website for the browser? You use Safari's Web Inspector!
It is the command centre that aids you in inspecting all of the resources and activities on a web page, thereby making development more effective across various Apple platforms such as iOS, macOS, and tvOS.
It facilitates cross-platform frameworks with a unified design that puts each core function in a separate tab. You can rearrange to suit your workflow and debug memory using Timelines and adjust 'styles' using widgets showcasing CSS properties.
Safari's Web Inspector Tool is handy for those developers whose primary target audience aggressively uses Apple products in their daily lives.
Qt is a cross-platform software development tool for the desktop and embedded services where you can code using C++ and export once the coding is complete.
Its modern UI features comprise a comprehensive set of libraries ideal for cross-platform development and ready-made functionality. Another USP is Qt's interface, which enables you to run, test, and make changes in the code hassle-free.
Plus, if your app is not performing well and you want to rework it, it is possible to make changes to it in real-time without disturbing its foundation. There are several benefits of using Qt:
- Access to well-tested libraries to develop your code feature
- Ability to shorten the codebase
- Opportunity to decrease the testing burden and debug visually for enhanced code stability
You can also write the code swiftly using its built-in documentation, extensible IDE, and easy-to-use APIs. Unlike other cross-platform development tools, it has a simple interface, making it a hot favorite among amateur developers.
Famous brands using Qt: AirServer, BOSCH, Gimasi, LG, Ubuntu, Novartis, T-Mobile
The cross-platform development tool provides pre-designed components, interactive paradigms, and attractive themes. It is also easy to use, and it makes use of APIs such as Virtual DOM, async, JSX, and TypeScript that are best suited for Progressive Web Apps.
If you want to develop highly interactive and engaging apps in a shorter period, do not hesitate to leverage the brilliant library of mobile-optimized and reusable UI components, tools, and gestures provided by Iconic.
Another fantastic feature of this tool is its massive community support, which helps Iconic developers to do their job in the best possible way.
Famous brands using Iconic: McDonald's, NationWide, ChefSteps, Pacifica, Market Watch
5App is a multi-platform app toolkit designed to cater to businesses in learning and HR consulting. Those companies that want their employees to access the information and resources easily they need in their jobs should utilize 5App technology.
Built-in workflow reporting, data reliability, geolocation reporting, and transactional integrity are some of the most common features of 5App. More importantly, it enables cross-platform development of mobile apps serving as extensions of backend business processes.
5App allows you to create relevant content to support learning and performance quickly. It integrates with your current learning management systems (LMS) and other commonly used collaboration and communication tools that you need every day.
Famous brands using 5App: Fitbit, Calm, Reddit, Masterclass
10. Apache Cordova
That means you can build more compelling applications by using the properties of Native app functionalities and features, including compass, contacts, phone camera, accelerometer, geolocation, notifications, and networks.
Famous brands using Apache Cordova: Walmart, Teleport, Hogangnono
If you want to build data-intensive apps, you can do so with Sencha, as it was recently merged with ext JS. Acces its high-performance components that are entirely customizable and further use the Sencha Test as an end-to-end testing solution.
Besides, Sencha provides you 115+ fully supported and testing UI components and comes with "Themer" that helps create reusable themes by personalizing themes built on Ext JS, iOS, Ext React, and Ext Angular high visualization.
One of the major USPs of Sencha is that it allows you to organize the app content and displays it on different browsers, devices, and screens — which helps in far more efficient output, minus the overhead expenses and delays.
Famous brands using Sencha: MSLGROUP, SAS, Internet Brands, Inc., Whole Foods Market Inc
Solar2D, based on the Corona SDK, is a cross-platform framework ideal for producing games for mobile, TV, and desktop using a single codebase. Not only that, the "game engine" lets you easily update the code, save the changes and quickly see the results in real-time.
Since Solar2D is based on Lua scripting language, it is lightweight and contributes to the app's speedy performance. Perhaps that is what makes Solar2D an excellent choice for creating 2D gaming apps with superior quality graphics. Many popular games can vouch for it!
Solar2D comes with numerous plugins to support features such as analytics, in-app advertising, media, and so on. You can also access C, C++, Java, and Obj-C libraries or API using Solar2D. One of the USPs of Solar2D is you will never have to pay for core functionality - irrespective of whether you are a large publisher or an independent developer.
Famous games built using Corona: Angry Birds ™, Civilization ™, Warcraft ™
Unity 3D is a cross-platform game engine by Unity Technologies that was released in June 2005. The best part about this cross-platform app development tool is that its graphics quality is phenomenal!
Moreover, this game engine is used to create three-dimensional, two-dimensional, virtual reality, and augmented reality games and other similar experiences and supports 17 gaming platforms, including PlayStation, Wii, Windows, Xbox, Android, iOS, and so on.
Video gaming, film, automotive, architecture, engineering, construction, and other industries have adopted Unity 3D because of its splash screen customization, advanced cloud diagnostics, ads, and in-app purchase functionalities, iterative source and technical support.
Another great thing about Unity 3D is that it also has a thriving community that allows developers to connect and resolve queries regarding the framework.
Famous games built using Unity 3D: War Robots, Autoliv, Last Day on Earth, Fall Guys
Wrapping it up
As you move ahead with developing more robust, up-to-date, and newer applications, your need for using sustainable tools to rely on also increases.
That is where Intuz steps in. We are experts in designing and delivering the best software development solutions and can help you too — irrespective of your business requirements, industry niche, or budget.
If you are keen to know more about us, please visit our website or share your contact details so that our team can get in touch with you at the earliest.