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Cross-platform app development is highly popular because of its flexibility and ease of use. With constant technological advancements, cross-platform tools also started increasing in number and performance. As a result, almost every top cross platform app development company began experimenting with the tools and frameworks.

Now, there are several different cross platform frameworks, and it is hard to choose the right one for yourself. You must look at the capabilities of each option, their limitations, and the support system for better learning. This way, you will be able to choose the right framework and reap the amazing benefits of mobile apps for your business.

However, don’t worry; we have done all the hard work for you. This blog features a detailed list of the ten best cross platform app development frameworks. Moreover, we will discuss the challenges you may face during the app development process and strategies to overcome them.

What Is A Cross Platform Framework?

In simple terms, cross platform app development platforms help build apps that can run on multiple operating systems, i.e., iOS, Android, Windows, etc. Developers just have to write the app code once and use it as a foundation to develop and deploy apps on other platforms.

The app codes that come from the mobile development framework are highly versatile. The resulting applications are better, effective, and efficient.

Want to build a cross-platform application?

Take our help to choose the right framework!

Top 10 Cross Platform App Development Frameworks

10 Best Cross Platform frameworks

According to Statista, the top most used cross-platform app development framework is Flutter, with 46%. It is followed by React Native with 35%, and third place belongs to Cordova with 10%. The study also states that around one-third of mobile app developers use cross platform technologies, and the rest use native frameworks.

Now, let’s get right into the list. Here are our curated options of mobile app development frameworks to choose from.

  1. Flutter

Flutter is the most powerful open-source and one of the best cross platform development frameworks. The user-friendly interface and functionality of Flutter help users easily build, test, and deploy apps for mobile, web, and desktop from a single code base.

Launched by Google in 2017, Flutter is a fundamental development tool to build native apps that seamlessly run on multiple devices. Flutter contains a reactive framework and promotes portable GPU which enables faster performance and swift updates.

Examples of Apps Using or Built With Flutter

  • Virgin Money
  • Alibaba Group
  • Tencent
  • Philips Hue
  • Ebay
  • The New York Times
  • ByteDance
  • Toyota
More Information Best Features Pros Cons
Flutter 3.22 and Dart 3.4 have been introduced at Google I/O 2024. Learn more about all of Flutter’s latest versions. Flutter utilizes Google’s open-source Skia graphic library for rendering UI.

 

Hot Reload that instantly shows changes in the code.

Fast and efficient app development.

 

Cost-effective.

 

Short time-to-market.

Large-size applications.

 

Have some limitations in third-party library support.

2. React Native

React Native holds a significant place in the list of hybrid app development frameworks. It is a JavaScript-based development tool that enables developers to give native-like feels to apps for all platforms. It is a great choice of platform to build apps for both Android and iOS.

The fact that React Native is an open-source development tool, it has tons of support. A large community and developers are present to support and improve the platform and remove bugs to enhance features.

Examples of Apps Using or Built With React Native

  • Facebook
  • Meta Quest
  • Microsoft Office
  • Xbox Game Pass
  • Skype
  • Amazon Shopping
  • Shopify
  • Discord
  • Mercari
More Information Best Features Pros Cons
The React Conf 2024 revealed that React npm crossed 1 billion downloads in 2023. Node Package Manager or NPM speeds up the React Native installation process.

 

The two separate screens in React Native helps work faster. One screen is where you code and the second one shows changes.

Easy and fast to learn.

 

Simple and friendly UI.

 

Accelerated development process.

 

Some custom modules are lacking.

 

Some users may face trouble with compatibility and debugging.

3. Cordova

Previously known as PhoneGap, Apache Cordova is a free and open-source mobile development framework. It uses CSS, HTML, and JavaScript for cross platform mobile app development.

Cordova also includes tons of quality plugins that allow developers to integrate device-specific hardware features, such as camera, GPS, and others. It helps give a native feel and interface. Moreover, the Cordova codes are reusable across multiple platforms and it supports offline scenarios.

Examples of Apps Using or Built With Apache Cordova

  • JustWatch
  • Pacifica
  • Buildr
  • Keepe
More Information Best Features Pros Cons
Cordova’s January 2024 survey reveals that among 228 respondents, the most used platforms are Android (97.4%), iOS (89%), Browser (21%), and Electron (7%). Plugins are the best thing about Cordova, and there are many to choose from.

 

Offers 2 development paths; Cross-Platform Workflow and Platform-centered Workflow.

Easy to learn and apply.

 

Users do not need to learn a specific programming language for Cordova development.

 

Follows a plugin architecture.

Does not support all plugins with every platform.

 

Hybrid apps may seem slower than native ones.

users most used platforms when working cordova

4. .NET MAUI

.NET MAUI is an upgrade to Xamarin that enables building native, cross-platform mobile apps for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows. It includes latest technologies and support Visual Studio which allows developers to build apps faster and easier.

With .NET MAUI, you also get Microsoft Learn training, a .NET eShop app, and a .NET MAUI e-book with tons of amazing features. These include .NET 8, ASP.NET Core, Blazor, Enterprise Applications Patterns, and more.

Examples of Apps Using or Built With .NET MAUI

  • NBC Sports Next
  • Escola Agil
  • Irth
  • Streav OTT Web App
More Information Best Features Pros Cons
Microsoft ended support for Xamarin on May 1, 2024, and recommended users to migrate to .NET MAUI with existing and future apps. Learn how to upgrade or migrate your existing Xamarin apps to .NET. Provides ability for efficient menu bar implementation.

 

Hot reload enables maximum uptime.

Flexible and modern toolkit for developers to build engaging applications.

 

Unified libraries, that allow users to merge Xamarin.Essentials libraries into .NET MAUI.

 

Single development project experience with .NET CLI.

Sometimes, users may experience slower application startup or less responsiveness.

 

There may be random slows and bugs.

5. Kotlin Multiplatform

The open-source, cross platform framework built by JetBrains, Kotlin Multiplatform is designed to speed up the cross platform app development process. It enables developers to use a single code base for different platforms while maintaining the flexibility and scalability of native programming.  

KMP seamlessly integrates into different projects and also allows creators to use platform-specific APIs. It is a modern tool with complete code-sharing ease, which allows users to share both the logic and the UI. 

Examples of Apps Using or Built With Kotlin Multiplatform

  • McDonald’s
  • Netflix
  • 9GAG
  • Cash App
  • Quizlet
  • Philips
  • Autodesk
  • Meetup
More Information Best Features Pros  Cons
According to JetBrains, more than 2M developers regularly use Kotlin to write codes, and 92% of them are satisfied with it. Compose Multiplatform lets users share up to 100% of the code.

Users can build UIs with customizable widgets to use for all target platforms.

Efficient performance.

Cost-effective.

The developed application with Kotlin Multiplatform is native to each platform.

Some limitations when using KMP for an iOS app.

Requires understanding of platform-specific requirements and dependencies.

6. Ionic

Released in 2013, Ionic is an open-source hybrid app development framework and is one of the perfect platforms to build hybrid applications. Users can use the single code base with technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with different integrations, such as Angular, React, and Vue. 

Ionic is designed to be fast with seamless hardware accelerated transitions and also touch-optimized gestures. Moreover, it allows users to integrate light and dark themes for ease of app customers. Also, it provides pre-built modern UI components, powerful CLI, an enhanced editor tool set, and hot refresh to track changes instantly. 

Examples of Apps Using or Built With Ionic

  • Machine IQ
  • Sanvello
  • H&R Block
  • EGYM
More Information Best Features Pros  Cons
More than 2580 companies worldwide have started using Ionic as a Frontend Framework tool as of 2024. One of the best cross-platform mobile app development tools.

Offers a huge library of plugins and UI components.

A wide community of developers.

Better integration capabilities.

Faster time-to-market.

It may show issues in performance.

It does not have hot reloading.

7. Unity

Unity is one of the most favored and powerful tool for stunning game app development. According to Unity itself, it supports 20+ end-user platforms to run Unity creations, apps built with Unity has 3.6B downloads per month, and 82 out of 100 games have used Unity to grow. 

Unity provides state-of-the-art creation tools and enterprise support to bring CAD and 3D app data into applications. If you have a game app idea, you can use Unity’s powerful set of tools and services to turn it into a success. 

Even if you are building a free game app, don’t worry; learn how free apps make money through various methods.

Examples of Apps Using or Built With Unity

  • Convergence
  • Venture to the Vile
  • Pokémon Go
  • Among Us
  • Fall Guys
More Information Best Features Pros  Cons
The 2024 Unity Gaming Report shows AI is frequently used by developers to speed up several aspects of the development process. [see image] Helps developers create dynamic animations and realistic images.

Highly user-friendly for beginners as well as seasonal developers.

Tons of guides and tutorials.

Free and easy to use.

It contains an open-source error-tracking tool for efficient debugging, fixing errors, and reducing downtime.

The paid Unity versions may seem expensive.

Unity games consume high memory and energy.

how app developers use ai to speed up development process

8. Firebase

If you want to build and deploy stunning AI-powered apps with modern experiences, Firebase by Google is the one to choose. It provides powerful cross-platform development tools and allows faster and more secure development with global scaling potential. 

Not only that, Firebase also provides products for app hosting, data connect, and Genkit. Also, it includes AI-assisted app distribution tools, crash analytics, and remote config for successful applications’ development. 

You can also easily integrate your favorite tools like Slack, Jira, Android Studio, and many more team and third-party tools with Firebase.

Examples of Apps Using or Built With Firebase

  • Lyft
  • Venmo
  • The Economist
  • Gameloft
  • Trivago
  • Wattpad
More Information Best Features Pros  Cons
Gemini API merges with Vertex AI for Firebase. It will help users add powerful AI personalization, build an AI chat experience, create AI-powered optimization and automation, and many more functionalities. Powerful ingrained privacy and security features.

Firebase provides detailed documentation and cross platform app development SDKS.

Provides testing services to enhance app quality.

Fast and safe development.

Extensive and dependable databases.

Many components of Firebase are closed source.

The free plan only consists of basic features.

9. NativeScript

With NativeScript, you can keep your affection for JavaScript and use Android and iOS APIs directly. It integrates easily with tools like TypeScript, Angular, Vue, React Native, Ionic, and more. 

Released in 2014, NativeScript is open-source and another one of the best mobile app development framework. It provides various plugins and pre-built app templates, so users do not feel the need to use third-party solutions.  

Examples of Apps Using or Built With NativeScript

  • ActiveLook
  • Aura CO2
  • Badabee
  • Breethe
More Information Best Features Pros  Cons
According to Enlyft, 1826 companies use NativeScript. Also, around 41% or 747 NativeScript customers are from the United States. Provides direct access to each native platform’s native APIs.

Allows users to push minor app updates without republishing them.

Helps build native user interfaces.

Supports existing and new libraries.

Applications built with NativeScript behave and feel like native apps.

Steep learning curve.

Available components of UI are not completely free.

10. Node.js

 

Node.js is a free and open-source cross platform development tool with JavaScript runtime environment. It allows developers to quickly and easily build servers, web apps, scripts, and command line tools. 

The Google’s V8 JavaScript engine-based tool is highly efficient and responsive that can handle several simultaneous connections together. It provides a rich library of JavaScript manuals and simplifies app development. Also, Node.js features a single-threaded model along with event looping that helps enhance app functioning.

If you have an app idea, learn how you can develop and deploy it

Examples of Apps Using or Built With Node.js

  • LinkedIn
  • Yahoo
  • Mozilla
  • Netflix
  • Uber
More Information Best Features Pros  Cons
A Statista report shows that Node.js became the most-used web framework among software developers in 2023, with more than 42.6% of people reported using Node.js. Node Package Manager allows users to download and directly use the code packages.

Node.js features an asynchronous and non-blocking architecture that allows users to execute multiple operations simultaneously.

High performance and flexibility.

Easy to learn and fast to apply. 

Offers easy and strong scalability for modern applications.

Does not support libraries.

Less support and experienced developers.

most used web frameworks among software developers

If you are confused about your app idea, here are unique mobile app ideas for both iOS and Android. 

Or 

If you want to build a game app, here are best offline iPhone games that will surely spark inspiration. 

Why Use Cross Platform Framework To Build Multi-Platform Applications?

Benefits of Cross Platform Apps

Mobile phones have taken over the world. According to a Statista study, there are over 4.8 billion mobile users in the world. This number will cross 6.3 billion to form a new peak in 2029. 

So, it is crucial for today’s businesses to target customers from a range of different devices and platforms. As a result, cross platform app development frameworks have gained huge popularity, and for many good reasons apart from targeting multiple platforms. Some of the most significant benefits are as follows.

  • Reduces Cost and Effort

Cross platform tools allow developers to write code once and use it for multiple platforms. Some of the tools also provide the ability to use device-specific features, like camera and GPS, to help build apps with native-like feels. 

As a result, since developers do not have to write codes from scratch every time, it significantly reduces the development and market time. 

Moreover, it also reduces the overall costs, as app maintenance becomes much easier. Developers can add updates or fix bugs in the single codebase and apply it to every platform. 

Learn how much does it cost to make an app to get an exact estimate of your cross platform or hybrid app development cost.

  • Easier to Maintain

Since cross platform app development utilizes a single codebase, the overall app maintenance and updates become easier to handle. Developers only have to make changes in a single code rather than platform-specific codebases. This results in less maintenance time and costs and reduces downtime for apps. 

  • Broader Target Market

Quoting Statista study results; In the global mobile operating systems market, Android holds 70.7% share while Apple has 28.5% share. However, in the US, there are more Apple users than Android. 

So, if you want maximum benefits, you must target both platforms and cross platform app development frameworks help you do just that. Also, it helps you better prepare for the future in case the market share shifts. 

You must use different platform-specific features and powerful integrations to give the best app experience to both iOS and Android users. 

  • Faster Time-To-Market

Since cross-platform development allows quick prototype building and multiple-platform testing, the time-to-market significantly reduces. Developers can use a single codebase to create apps for multiple platforms simultaneously, rather than duplicating the same work. Also, it allows producing consistent applications for all platforms, utilizing less resources, and encouraging faster deployment. All of it is crucial to secure a competitive advantage. 

Challenges of Cross Platform App Development And Tactics to Overcome

challenges of cross platform app development

With every great power comes great responsibility. It is the same for cross platform app development power. The different complexities, rules, and regulations associated with cross platform app development make it the primary reason why businesses focus on a single platform. If you are not careful, your application may run into issues and thus delay the deployment process. 

However, it is not the end of the world. With the right strategies and tactics, you can overcome each hurdle and deploy a stunning app. Here are some challenges of cross platform app development and ways to overcome them. 

  • Low Performance

If you include too many features, components, and APIs in your app, it may take long time to load or face performance issues. It can be devastating for your app as it directly affects the user experience and satisfaction. 

In order to overcome this hurdle, make sure to include only necessary and relevant features. For example, for an online business app, only essential eCommerce app features are necessary for both iOS and Android app developments. Other than that, any extra integration or feature will only make it heavy. 

Doing so, will help ensure a seamless, secure, and engaging app experience which will increase the chances of success.

  • Security Risks

Top-notch security and privacy is mandatory for all applications, especially banking, finance, and work management apps. If you do not include relevant security gateways, your app may fall prey to unauthorized access, data breaches, or critical security concerns. 

So, integrating essential security features and testing their performance is important before deployment. Some mobile app security standards include OWASP and HIPAA compliance. Other than this, you can improve security through: 

  • SSL certificates via HTTPS
  • Validating certificates’ content
  • Hard-coding resources
  • Using SHA-2, RC4, and DES Cryptography

Also, you must include authentication methods, which are as follows:

Level 1: Username and password requirement for access.

Level 2: Single-factor authentication and identity-proofing process.

Level 3: Multi-factor authentication.

Level 4: A combination of all of the above methods with cryptographic algorithms.

Different types of apps require different levels of security. Thoroughly understand your app goals and the audience and implement tight standards for maximum security.

  • Restricted Device API Access

A restricted API refers to an access or use restriction on an application program interface set intentionally by developers for security or other reasons. API keys are used to restrict APIs. It is helpful is limiting the devices that can access it. However, unnecessary or strong restrictions can change the behavior of the app. Also, it may not run on different devices as you intended. 

If you want to remove API restrictions, you will have to look at each respective API manufacturer, such as Android or Microsoft. They have essential guidelines and steps for using the API.  

  • Fewer Design Options

The different types of app have different UI and UX needs. Some cross-platform app development frameworks are easy and perfect to use, but they don’t provide enough design options. 

For that, you will have to go with a custom app development. However, it is much more complex, and you will require the expertise of a professional and reliable cross-platform app development company

How To Choose The Right Cross Platform Framework for Mobile App Development?

factors to consider before choosing a cross platform app development framework

Today, we discussed ten cross platform app development frameworks. There are many more, and they will continue to appear or evolve in the market. 

So, with this many options, it can be stressful to pick the right one for your mobile app project. First, you must understand your app goals. After that, follow the tips below to choose one that fits your needs and requirements.  

  • Understand Your Team’s Expertise

Different cross platform app development frameworks use different programming languages. So, it is necessary to understand its skill requirements and if your team or yourself are familiar with it.

For example, if your team mostly works with Flutter or React Native, they will be more experienced and knowledgeable with those tools. Here, if you introduce Cordova or Unity, they may have to learn and understand it first, thus delaying the app development. 

  • Framework Reliability and Support

A framework with a good future is mandatory. Ensure it will continue to receive updates from the manufacturer and remain viable for a continuous period of time. You must also research the companies and teams behind the framework and see their success stories or apps built using it. 

  • Customization and Personalization

The next thing to check in the framework you are considering is the level of customization that it allows. Depending on the type of app development you are going for, you may have to adjust the user interface and experience. 

However, the more customization a framework has, the more complex and steep the learning curve will be. So, for fully custom cross-platform app development, you will need to collaborate with an experienced app development company. This will help you build a powerful app with complex integrations, robust security, and a seamless experience.

Want to build a custom application?

Discuss ideas with an expert!

  • Framework Maturity

Before finalizing your consideration, check the version or changes in the app development framework.  If they are too frequent or too big, they can break the internal and external functions. As a result, you will have to optimize your application to make it stable again. 

For this, you can check the reviews, ask in forums or communities, and browse GitHub for news and bugs in the framework. Also, check the manufacturers’ response to those queries, concerns, and issues and how often they handle and resolve the issue. 

  • Security and Privacy

Robust security and encryption are crucial for successful cross platform app development. It is even more critical for banking, business, or work management applications. Many reputable cross platform app development frameworks offer robust security solutions, so you must check them thoroughly and see which best fits your app.

Some security standards include end-to-end encryption for messaging apps, a zero-trust policy for work management apps, and data protection from breaches. 

  • Learning Material

No matter which framework you choose, you may have to learn and practice. At this point, the guides, community forums, and blogs or educational materials help you understand and master the framework. 

Some frameworks also have official online and offline conferences, documentation, and courses for users to easily build applications with it. 

Final Thoughts

There are thousands, if not millions of cross platform apps in the market. We use many of those every day, including Facebook, Netflix, Messenger, Snapchat, YouTube, and Skype, to name a few. Also, Gmail, Instagram, and Twitter are some of the best hybrid app examples

The point is that developing applications for multiple platforms is the new norm, and the above-mentioned cross platform app development frameworks will help you do just that. You can use these tools to build any type of application for iOS and Android, using a single codebase., reducing time, cost, and effort. 

We have also listed the factors to consider when choosing the best cross-platform framework for your app. Lastly, the choice is yours to make!

About The Author

blog author
Ahsan Shahid

Meet Ahsan, the wordsmith behind some of the most electrifying pieces on app development. Armed with a keyboard, a cup of coffee, and an insatiable curiosity, Ahsan has spent years exploring the wild and wonderful world of app development. Currently working at Trango Tech, an app development company, Ahsan brings his expertise to the forefront. So buckle up, grab a cup of coffee (or tea, we won't judge), and get ready to dive headfirst into the exciting and ever-changing world of app development with Ahsan as your guide.

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