8 Cross-Platform Tools for Mobile App Development
Cross-platform mobile app development helps to create mobile apps that can be deployed or published on multiple platforms using a single codebase.
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Mobile app development is an industry that’s constantly changing and evolving. While some of the biggest apps may seem like they’re stuck in time, there are new technologies emerging every day, which means developers have to stay on their toes.
The thing about mobile apps is that the user experience needs to be seamless across all platforms—desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and phones. With different operating systems and screen sizes to consider for each device type, it can be challenging for developers who don’t know how to code for multiple platforms at once. However, there are tools available to make cross-platform development easier than ever before!
In this article, we’ll cover some of these tools with the pros and cons on each one so you can decide what works best for your project:
Benefits of Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks
Increased Development Speed and Reduced Cost: The biggest benefit of developing a cross-platform app is that you can develop it on one platform and deploy it across multiple platforms. This means that you don't have to spend time learning and using different languages/frameworks for each platform.
Improved User Experience: You would be surprised at how much difference a small thing like a button's appearance or placement can make in the user experience. With cross-platform development tools, you can ensure that your app looks exactly the same across all supported platforms.
Improved App Quality: Since most multi-platform frameworks allow code reuse and are constantly updated by their developers, they tend to be more secure than native apps built with a single programming language/framework (e.g., Swift). For example, Flutter uses Google's Dart language, which has been designed with security in mind from the ground up; this means apps built with Flutter are less likely to have security issues than native apps built solely with Swift or Kotlin codebases
1. Appcelerator Titanium
It has been around for years and was initially used by hobbyists to create simple apps. It has now grown into a robust framework that powers enterprise applications at companies like NASA, Tesla, and Disney. Its open nature allows you to use other libraries like React Native in your Titanium project if you want to add some extra functionality.
Great for prototyping apps
CoronaSDK is a cross-platform mobile app development framework that lets you build native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows. It’s also used to develop games and other apps.
Corona SDK is a Lua-based framework, which means it’s easy to use. The language is simple for both beginners and advanced developers alike. Corona SDK comes with all the resources needed to create your own game or app without requiring any additional knowledge of the programming language (i.e., Objective C). This makes it ideal for those who want an easy way to get started without spending hours learning how to code.
Corona SDK is free, but most of its features require paid licenses such as Pro ($499/year) or Enterprise ($999/year). You can contact their sales team directly if you want more information on pricing plans before signing up via their website or checking out this article from TechCrunch about whether CoronaSDK has a future or not in 2022, depending on how things change regarding their licensing policies over time
3. Sencha Touch
A complete set of UI widgets that can be styled with CSS
An SVG library for drawing vector graphics
Support for gestures and animations
A data package that includes an ORM layer and various other helper classes
Kejar is an open-source framework for building mobile apps. The tool is built on top of Cordova and can be used to create cross-platform hybrid apps or native mobile applications. Kejar has plugins that allow you to integrate your app with common social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as third party services like Google Analytics.
Kejar is a great option if you want to build your app using HTML5 or TypeScript code. It will save you time by allowing you to share code across platforms and reducing the effort spent on debugging issues in multiple environments.
5App is a cross-platform mobile app development tool that lets you develop apps for iOS, Android, and Windows 10. It's free to use and easy to learn.
The 5App interface is simple and intuitive to use, so even beginners can get up and running quickly.
Pros: 5App is a good choice for beginners who want to build their first mobile app without spending much money or requiring any specialized skills in coding or design (although the platform does offer some advanced features).
The cross-platform nature of the tool means that it’s easy to write one code base and deploy it across multiple platforms. This saves time in development since you don’t have to create separate versions of your app for different platforms.
If you want to use native capabilities (e.g., device sensors) or build hybrid apps that combine native and web components in different ways, then this might not be the right choice for you.
Xamarin is a cross-platform mobile app development framework based on the .NET platform and C# language. It allows the creation of apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone with a single codebase. Xamarin was acquired by Microsoft in 2016 and has become one of their most popular products (alongside Visual Studio).
Although it's primarily intended to be used as a development toolkit, many companies use it as an enterprise solution for developing & deploying enterprise apps on multiple platforms quickly. Companies like KLM Airlines use Xamarin to create airline check-in apps for both Android & iOS devices that can be deployed on airliners worldwide.
Many large companies use Xamarin to build their apps or have used it in the past:
Azuki Systems - Mobile game developer that has used Xamarin since 2017
Microsoft - The company uses Xamarin to develop its mobile applications like Office 365 and Outlook Mobile
Unity is a cross-platform game engine that allows you to develop games for different platforms. It has been around since 2005, so it's been in the market long enough to prove its value to developers and businesses alike.
Unity is best known as an open-source game engine that lets you create 3D, 2D, and augmented reality (AR) games across multiple platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, OS X, and Linux.
It offers a wide range of features, including workflow tools like Cinemachine (for camera tracking), Timeline (for animation editing), World Machine (to create custom terrain), and PhysX (for physics simulation), among others which can help boost productivity in your business by reducing time spent on creating these complex game elements from scratch.
How to Choose the Best Framework
When choosing a framework, there are many factors to take into consideration. It’s important to choose the right one for your team and project. For example, if you have a small team and a limited budget, you may want to consider React Native since it has fewer dependencies than other frameworks and doesn’t require building from scratch. However, if your company has more resources at its disposal or wants to target both iOS and Android devices with one codebase, consider Xamarin or NativeScript instead.
In general, we recommend keeping things simple whenever possible because complex architectures can be difficult for newcomers on your development team to manage over time (especially when working remotely).
Although the name of a framework or platform is important, it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor for you. There are many other factors to consider when choosing a mobile app development tool. You will need to decide whether your team has enough experience in using a particular framework or not and whether it will be beneficial for them in the long term. Also, make sure that the framework supports all platforms that you want to target with your app or game!
Published at DZone with permission of Hiren Dhaduk. See the original article here.
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