11 Best Cross-Platform Frameworks for Mobile App Development
Cross-platform app development has become a popular choice of many businesses to build mobile apps. Over the years, many cross-platform frameworks and tools have been released into the market.
The reason businesses, as well as startups, choose cross-platform technology is that it allows them to build mobile apps for multiple platforms using single code. Hence, they are able to reach a broader audience in a short amount of time.
Moreover, businesses are launching best-in-class mobile applications that offer an exceptional user experience for Android & iOS at a cost-effective price.
Hence, various developers worldwide have become reliant on cross-platform frameworks.
Now, developers starting their journey with cross platform development find it challenging to decide on a suitable framework.
If you are a developer who wants to utilize a suitable cross-platform framework for your mobile app development project, you have reached the right place.
Also, if you are an entrepreneur and want to develop a mobile app for multiple platforms using the best cross-platform framework but can’t decide on one, be with us till the end.
Here we have listed some of the most popular cross-platform frameworks 2022 with their features.
Before we touch upon that, let us look at the popularity of cross platform frameworks.
Market Share of Cross-Platform Frameworks
According to Statista, here is the list of most widely used cross-platform mobile frameworks by developers from 2019 to 2021.
The statistics clearly indicate that Flutter and React Native are the two most widely used cross-platform app development frameworks. Moreover, they will remain the best cross-platform frameworks in 2022.
Best Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Frameworks
Here we have singled out the most popular cross-platform frameworks that help you reach a broader audience and take your business ahead.
Let us briefly go through them.
Flutter is a free and open-source UI software development kit by Google. The latest version of Flutter is 2.10. It is regarded as one of the best cross platform app development frameworks available in the market.
It is powered by Dart, a programming language that allows developers to build apps for any platform. Hence, developers can build apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, Google Fuchsia, and web platforms from a single code base.
Flutter delivers the full native experience on Android and iOS apps with its widgets. Hence, many companies have chosen Flutter for building great mobile apps.
Key Features of Flutter
- Hot Reload is a great feature that helps in experiments, building UI, fixing bugs, and adding new features.
- It consists of a built-in graphic engine. Hence, developers don’t have to create separate UI for Android and iOS.
- Brief documentation allows developers to build apps for Android and iOS platforms smoothly.
- Flutter is best for MVP app development due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
- Using Dart, developers can write highly structured programming codes. Hence, they can easily maintain a hierarchical structure when building complex apps.
- Flutter offers built-in components like Cupertino widgets, motion APIs, material design, etc. Developers can leverage these components in building apps that deliver an incredible user experience.
Popular Applications Built with Flutter
- Insight Timer
- Google Ads
The list does not end here. There are various well-known mobile apps built using Flutter.
2. React Native
React Native is a free and open-source mobile app framework created by Facebook. The latest stable release of React Native is 0.66.4.
Developers can create mobile applications for multiple platforms like Android, iOS, Web, and Windows, with a single code base in React Native.
It was one of the main reasons many tech giants have chosen React Native for developing mobile apps. Another reason is that they choose React Native because it can be integrated with existing projects as well.
Thus, developers can also create real native apps using React Native without compromising performance.
If you want to know these reasons in detail, refer to this blog on why use React Native for mobile app development.
Key Features of React Native
- It allows developers to share 80% of a codebase on different platforms based on the app’s complexity.
- Fast refresh enables developers to check all the changes instantly.
- Developers can utilize some excellent native functionalities such as an accelerometer and camera.
- React Native framework has a large number of built-in community-driven components and APIs. If the component is not available, developers can search the npm registry or take the help of thousands of React Native developers in the community.
- It emphasizes more on UI for rendering a high-quality user interface.
If you want to build a budget-friendly app, choose React Native framework for your mobile application project.
Popular Applications Built with React Native Framework
Apart from these, there are various other applications built using React Native.
Ionic is a free, open-source cross-platform app development framework. It is suitable for developing mobile apps and progressive web apps with ease. It is licensed under MIT. The latest stable version of Ionic is 6.0.12.
The framework is developed using web technologies like Angular.JS, React.JS, Vue.JS, and HTML5.
Ionic possesses a tremendous community, offers detailed documentation, and demos for developers. Hence, you can launch your app much faster with the Ionic framework.
Key Features of Ionic
- The Ionic is built particularly for mobile OS and uses the SaaS UI framework.
- It offers various UI components, typography, paradigms, and themes for building top-notch applications.
- Ionic provides a wide range of Native plugins for native features like Bluetooth, HealthKit, FingerPint, Auth, etc. Developers can also use Cordova/Phonegap plugins and TypeScript extensions to get more native plugins.
- Developers can create a prototype of an application quickly using Ionic.
- With its live reload feature, all the things get instantly loaded in the server and then presented in a browser or emulator.
- Ionic possesses a CLI, which is very useful for developers. The command is used for starting, building, running, and emulating Ionic apps.
Moreover, Ionic is a complete mobile toolkit for app developers to create mobile apps.
Apart from these top three frameworks, PhoneGap was one of the preferred choices of developers and businesses to create cross platform apps. However, it got shut down due to some reasons. To know in detail, check out this blog on PhoneGap Alternatives.
Popular Applications Built with Ionic
Xamarin is also a free, open-source cross-platform development framework. The most recent stable release of Xamarin is 4.8.0.
Developers can build native Android, iOS, tvOS, WatchOS, macOS, and Windows apps using .NET and C#.
Xamarin is made up of world-class tools, libraries, and programming languages.
Xamarin allows developers to share 90% of code across different platforms to speed up the development. But it further depends on functionality, features, developer’s experience, complexity, etc. To know more, check out this guide on the app development timeline.
Xamarin.Forms, a mobile UI framework, helps developers to deliver a consistent look across all platforms. Also, developers can get platform-specific looks in no time.
Developers can utilize Microsoft Azure along with Xamarin tools for hosting mobile app backend, database, or using intelligent services.
Key Features of Xamarin
- Developers can instantly integrate Objective-C, Java, and C++ libraries. By this, developers can utilize third-party codebases encrypted in Java, Objective-C, and C++ again & again.
- Xamarin provides solid compile-time checking. Due to this, developers have fewer run-time errors and build more fully functional apps.
- Mobile apps built on the Xamarin framework are written using the C#, an upgraded version of C++, and Java.
- Developers can utilize .NET BCL, a massive collection of classes. These offer various features like robust XML, Database, Serialization, String, etc.
- The framework provides the feature of compile-time checking. Using this feature, developers can easily detect errors and resolve them to build fully-functional apps.
Popular Applications Built with Xamarin
- Microsoft Azure
- UPS Mobile
- Alaska Airlines
Node.js possesses an event-driven and non-blocking I/O model that developers can utilize for developing lightweight and robust data-intensive real-time apps.
Besides this, you can take advantage of this framework to build server-side and networking apps efficiently.
In short, Node.js development is suitable to create real-time, data-intensive, and exciting web and mobile apps.
Key Features of Node.js
- It possesses npm, a Node.js package manager that offers numerous tools and libraries for building apps.
- Node.js allows developers to decrease the response time for slow requests and run all the database queries instantly.
- When compared to traditional servers like Apache HTTP server, Node.js uses a single-threaded model that can handle a considerably larger number of requests. Moreover, the model helps to develop smooth and high-functioning apps.
- Node.js resolves the problem of scalability. Here is how. Firstly, Node.js easily handles concurrent requests. Secondly, it has a cluster module to handle the load on running CPU cores. Thirdly, Node.js utilizes the child processes to split the software horizontally. Hence, businesses can provide personalization to users as per the need.
- Node.JS apps reduce response time for slow queries, and each developer may handle all of the information requests at once.
Popular Applications Built with Node.js
6. Corona SDK
Corona is a powerful tool to create 2D games & apps for Android, iOS, Kindle, Apple TV, Android TV, macOS, and Windows.
It is a free and single codebase SDK developed by Corona Labs in mid-2009.
“Corona SDK is now Solar2D”
This mobile app framework uses Lua, a very lightweight and fast programming language.
Developers often use Lua in game development. Popular games like Angry Bird, Warcraft, Civilization, and many more are using this leading scripting language.
“Corona is optimized for performance and stability.”
They have their slack channel and email for providing priority support.
Key Features of Corona SDK
- It provides numerous APIs which developers can utilize for integrating audio & music, texture management, etc.
- Corona SDK responds to any updates immediately. Hence, developers can view code changes live along with the performance.
- Corona Simulator reacts instantaneously to your code changes, giving developers a real-time glimpse of how the app will look and perform on real devices.
- Corona is tuned for performance at every essential level, from the lightning-fast OpenGL graphics to the lightweight scripting capability of Lua.
- The framework possesses a marketplace full of project templates, music/sound effects, and graphics suitable for building game or hybrid apps.
- Corona provides 200+ plugins to extend the features of your hybrid app. You can call a native library or API in Corona if the plugin suitable to your needs is not available in the Corona library
Popular Applications Built with Corona SDK
- Zip Zap
- I Love Hue
- Designer City
- The Lost City
- Gunman Taco Truck
NativeScript is one of the most well-known cross-platform app development frameworks useful for developing native-like mobile applications for Android and iOS platforms. The latest stable release of NativeScript is 8.1.5.
As it is an open-source framework, developers can adjust the user interface for multiple screens & devices and also utilize dependencies such as Cocoapods, Maven, npm.js, etc.
Key Features of NativeScript
- NativeScript offers extensive plugins, templates, and app samples on its marketplace.
- NativeScript allows developers to access native Android and iOS APIs; thus, they don’t need extra knowledge of native development languages.
- It enables developers to render attractive, accessible, and platform-native UI without depending on WebViews. Developers need to write once and then leave things to NativeScript. Moreover, they can customize the UI based on devices and screens.
- Developers will have access to the bundle workflow, which allows for more efficient source code bundling for app development.
Popular Applications Built with NativeScript
- KTP Checker
- Daily Nanny
8. Sencha Ext Js
The latest version of Sencha Ext JS is 7.4.0.
Key Features of Sencha Ext JS
- It offers a vast number of state-of-the-art tools which you can utilize for building customized themes, applications, and more.
- Sencha ExtJs offers 140+ UI components, such as lists, grids, menus, etc., to quickly design & develop applications.
- One of the effective features of this cross-platform framework is that developers can integrate it with Cordova with native API.
- The framework enables you to enhance the design process using built-in tools like Sencha Architect, Stencils, and Themer.
- With the help of Sencha Test, developers can create robust unit & end-to-end tests to create best-in-class apps.
- The ARIA package in Sencha Ext JS provides tools for achieving section 508 compliance, allowing developers to provide accessibility support for their applications.
9. Appcelerator Titanium
Titanium SDK is an open-source, cross platform app development framework created by Appcelerator.
It is not entirely free. It has three pricing plans: Indie for a single developer, Pro for growing the mobile business, and Enterprise for customizable setup & enterprise-scale companies.
It allows developers to create native apps on different platforms like Android, iOS, Windows from a single codebase like other cross platform app development frameworks. Moreover, the framework allows developers to share 90% of their code on Android and iOS platforms.
It provides all the facilities from building to maintaining the application. Developers can check app analytics like usage, crashes, etc. in this tool.
Many big brands have chosen this technology to build rich and engaging mobile applications.
Key Features of Appcelerator Titanium
- The cross-platform application development framework allows faster app development. Hence, developers can create a prototype quickly to analyze user interaction with UI.
- Developers can integrate Angular or Vue.js with this cross platform framework to create mobile apps.
- It consists of various pre-built connectors for MS AZURE, MS SQL, Salesforce, Box, etc.
- It allows developers to add continuous delivery systems like SCM solutions, etc.
- The framework provides a schema-less data store ArrowDB using which developers can deploy data models without investing time in setup.
Qt is a free and open-source toolkit pronounced as “cute.” The latest version of this cross platform framework is 6.2.2.
It allows developers to create graphics UI and cross-platform applications that are compatible with all platforms like Android, iOS, and operating systems like Linux, macOS, Windows.
With the QT framework, you can launch an application on different platforms with little or no change in the codebase.
Qt provides tools for the entire cycle of app development, design tools to create prototypes and designs, development tools to develop and test apps and deploy tools to launch the app on different platforms.
Many big brands like Mercedes-Benz, LG, PEUGEOT, etc., are using Qt for their software.
It is available under both open-source and commercial licenses.
Key Features of Qt
- The framework offers many designing tools like Qt Design Studio, Qt Shader tools, etc. These tools help you to design an attractive UI and deliver better UX.
- Qt provides multiple development tools, such as Qt creator, Qt Linguist, CMake, etc., suitable for building apps that run smoothly across multiple platforms.
- It offers various APIs and libraries that help to speed up the development.
- This cross platform app framework’s IDE known as Qt Creator works smoothly on various platforms.
- Qt framework offers excellent documentation. Hence, developers can get answers to their questions easily.
Unity Technologies created this excellent cross-platform game engine.
Developers can use Unity 3D to create 2D & 3D games, VR & AR games, and other experiences. It supports more than 25 platforms like Android, iOS, Xbox, PlayStation, Linux, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, etc.
This engine has been adopted by significant industries like film, automotive, engineering, architecture, construction, and video gaming.
Unity has complete resources for learning to advance skills, assets to make development faster, documentation to create and use scripts, and support to access the right resources at the right time.
Key Features of Unity 3D
- It offers visual scripting. Using this feature, you can create different prototypes and choose the best one.
- The framework provides stunning graphics along with OpenGL API that runs well on different platforms.
- It provides a great visual experience. Hence, One of the best visual platforms available in the market.
- It has an excellent community of developers. Moreover, there are a lot of tutorials available online. Hence, you can easily get started with Unity 3D.
Popular Applications Built with Unity 3D
- Shapes 3D
- 3D Bear
- Forgotten Anne
We have gone through the top cross-platform app development frameworks.
The ultimate purpose of using a cross-platform framework is to build mobile apps that offer the best experience to users on multiple platforms. Hence, selecting the right cross platform framework for your next project is very important.
If you are still confused about which framework to choose for your project, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert.
We are a top-notch cross-platform app development company and delivered many cross platform apps to various clients. We first understand your project requirements and suggest the best cross-platform framework for your mobile application development project.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about cross-platform frameworks:
Q 1. How to choose a cross-platform framework?
The selection of a cross-platform framework depends on the programming language and the platforms you wish you target.
Q 2. Which programming language is best for cross-platform app development?
There is not one specific language that works for cross-platform app development. The choice of a language relies on the type of app, development team, and particular needs of the project.
Q 3. What are some examples of cross-platform apps?
Instagram, Uber, Facebook, Coinbase, BMW, and Hamilton are some examples of cross-platform apps.
Q 4. How much does it cost to make cross-platform apps?
The cost to make a cross-platform app depends on the framework, developer location and experience, app complexity, and more. In general, developing a cross-platform application is somewhat less costly as compared to a native app.
Q 5. How long does it take to make a cross-platform app?
There is not a fixed time to make a cross-platform app. It depends on the app complexity, developer experience, and more.
Generally, the cross-platform app takes less time to develop because it shares code between multiple platforms.