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A Guide on Cross Platform App Development Tools

A Guide on Cross Platform App Development Tools

According to a new market research report published by Technavio, “The global mobile apps market size will grow by close to USD 165 billion during 2019-2023.” But the global mobile app market trends will keep changing from time to time. As highlighted by the report, cross-platform app development or hybrid app development is currently one of the key emerging trends in worldwide mobile apps market. Many businesses these days opt for hybrid mobile apps to keep users engaged by delivering native app-like user experience.

Like web apps, hybrid mobile apps are also developed using popular web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. But these apps are wrapped or packaged inside a container that accesses the native functionality of each targeted mobile device and platform. The developers can further distribute and publish the cross-platform mobile apps through platform-specific app stores. But they need to explore ways to make the hybrid apps deliver native app-like user experience to increase app downloads and generate revenue.

The developers can simplify and accelerate cross-platform mobile app development using a number of tools and frameworks. The frameworks enable developers to build iOS and Android apps using a single and shared codebase. They further help developers to reduce the time and cost required to deploy or publish the same app on multiple mobile platforms. The developers can further leverage these tools to build mobile apps without being proficient in official programming languages for iOS and Android platforms. However, it is always important for developers to compare various cross-platform App Development tools according to precise project requirements.

Overview of 12 Widely Used Cross-Platform App Development Tools and Frameworks

1. Xamarin

The mobile app developers have the option to choose from three distinct editions of Xamarin – community, professional and enterprise. Xamarin accelerates iOS, Android, and Windows app development by allowing programmers to reuse 75% of code, APIs, and data structures across targeted mobile platforms.The developers can write iOS, Android, and Windows apps in C#. They even have the option to use a widely used integrated development environment like Visual Studio compatible with both Windows and macOS. The Xamarin apps deliver native app-like user experience by accessing native APIs of the underlying mobile devices and platforms. Also, the developers can build apps using native user interface (UI) controls and leveraging platform-specific hardware acceleration.

2. Apache Cordova

The open source framework allows developers to build iOS and Android apps using a single and shared codebase. The developers can use Apache Cordova to build hybrid mobile apps by combining HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. They can further simplify cross-platform mobile apps development using Cordova command-line running on top of NodeJS. Cordova command-line makes it easier for developers to install platform-specific dependencies. Cordova wrap the app code in a container that can access native feature of the underlying mobile platforms. Also, the Cordova apps deliver native app-like user experience by accessing native device APIs.

3. React Native

React Native allows developers to build iOS and Android apps using JavaScript. The developers can further simplify hybrid app development by leveraging a widely used JavaScript framework like React. The React Native apps deliver native user experience by using the UI building blocks used by native iOS and Android apps. The hot reloading feature provided by the framework helps developers to run new code without recompiling the app. The developers can further enhance the app’s user experience using components written in Java, Kotlin, Objective-C, or Swift. In addition to being supported by Facebook, React Native is currently being used by many Fortune 500 companies.

4. Adobe PhoneGap

The open source framework allows developers to build cross-platform mobile apps by combining HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. The features provided by PhoneGap even enable web developers to build mobile apps for iOS and Android platform using a single codebase. The developers can make the apps deliver native app-like user experience by accessing native device APIs for camera and GPS. They can further build, compile, and run the mobile apps efficiently using PhoneGap CLI – a command line terminal developed based on Apache Cordova. Also, they can leverage PhoneGap Build services to compile the apps without focusing on native API maintenance.

5. Appcelerator Titanium

The extensible development environment helps developers to build cross-platform mobile apps using a JavaScript-based SDK that supports over 5000 mobile devices and operating systems. Titanium simplifies cross-platform mobile app development by providing an integrated development environment (IDE) developed on top of Eclipse. Also, it accelerates hybrid app development by providing robust code modules and facilitating code reusability. The developers can further take advantage of the App Designer to design and develop apps for iOS and Android platforms visually. The App Designer further enables users to monitor UI changes across mobile devices and platforms.6. Sencha Touch

6. Codename One

The mobile app developers have the option to choose from four distinct editions of Codename One – free, basic, professional, and enterprise. Codename One enables developers to write cross-platform mobile apps in Java. The developers can use the framework to generate native OS binaries that can be uploaded to multiple mobile platforms including IOS and Android. The developers can further simplify hybrid app development using robust Java IDEs like Eclipse, NetBeans, and IntelliJ/IDEA. The developers even have the option to make the hybrid app deliver native app-like user experience using native components. They can further access native OS fully using code written in native languages like Objective-C, Swift and C#.

7. Convertigo

Convertigo comes with features to reduce cross-platform mobile app development time and cost. It accelerated hybrid mobile app development by supporting low code mobile app development and implementing DevOps. It even allows developers to deploy the mobile apps on bon on-premise servers and cloud platforms. The developers have the option to choose from several editions of Convertigo – community, mobile builder, and mbaas. The mobile builder edition of the framework helps developers to build production-ready mobile apps with offline data capabilities.

8. Jasonette

Jasonette allows developers to build iOS and Android apps using a JSON. The users even have the option to load the JSON in a number of ways – over HTTP and using a local file. Jasonette further simplifies cross-platform mobile app development by converting JSON into native components for iOS and Android platforms. The programmers even have the option to write hybrid apps quickly using a JSON-based markup language. The markup enables programmer to create complex app layouts, describe style components, and define actions using JSON. However, Jasonette still makes the hybrid apps deliver native app-like user experience by manipulating native APIs for Android and iOS using JSON.

9. NativeScript

The open source framework allows developers to write iOS and Android apps in JavaScript or TypeScript. The programmers can further accelerate hybrid app development using widely used JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS and Vue.js. The JavaScript frameworks help developers to build mobile apps by sharing the existing web-based code. NativeScript further simplifies UI development by allowing programmers to use HTML-like syntax. The developers even have the option to write app logic with JavaScript and Angular. The developers can accelerate iOS and Android app development by availing a large collection of NativeScript plugins, app templates, and app code.

10. RhoMobile Suites

RhoMobile enables developers to build cross-platform mobile apps in the cloud. The developers even have the option to simplify hybrid mobile app development by choosing from a suite of tools – RhoElements, RhoStudio, RhoConnect and RhoGallery. RhoMobile is designed as a mobile app container that runs just like native mobile apps. It even allows developers to write iOS and Android apps by combining widely used web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. The programmers can build, test, and debug the mobile apps using an Eclipse plugin like RhoStudio. Likewise, they can use RhoConnect to connect the same mobile app with multiple data sources.

11. Flutter

Flutter enables developers to build iOS and Android apps using a single codebase. The developers can further avail the customizable widgets provided by Flutter to build native user interfaces without putting extra time and effort. The widgets even help developers to make the hybrid app deliver native app-like user experience by accessing platform-specific features like icons, fonts, scrolling and navigation. The hot reload feature provided by the hybrid app development tool makes it easier for developers to build UIs, add features, and fix bug.

12. Kony AppPlatform

Kony AppPlatform enables developers to write native, hybrid, and web apps in JavaScript. The developers can further build apps for both iOS and Android platforms using a single IDE. They can accelerate hybrid mobile app development by dragging reusable components from an existing library or Kony marketplace. The cross-platform mobile app development framework supports cloud-based preview and one-click deployment. It further allows developers to integrate data from multiple backend systems, embed analytics and engagement services, and avail built-in security features.

On the whole, the developers have the option to choose from a myriad of cross-platform mobile app development tools and frameworks. Some of these hybrid mobile app development tools are open source, whereas others are available in multiple editions. But each framework helps developers to reduce cross-platform mobile app development time and cost by reusing a single codebase. But the developers must remember that each of these cross-platform app development tools has its own pros and cons. Hence, they need to opt for a cross-platform app development tool that enables them to build hybrid apps that deliver native app-like performance and user experience.R

Sanjay Kumar

Mr. Sanjay is no new to the marketing world where his work speaks it all. As a certified inbound marketer, his contributions shine on web pages helping startups and established firm to acquire their motives and gains. Business wisdom put into practice is what is the personality is known about, making him the first pick of many.

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