Top 11 Cross-Platform App Frameworks for 2020

Top 11 Cross-Platform frameworks for Mobile App Development

Mobile applications have changed businesses to a great extent. Many SMEs have created mobile apps for their business, and many more are creating it.

The most significant barrier for businesses to create a mobile application is the budget. Cross-platform frameworks have made mobile app development cost-effective.

Today, startups and SMEs choose cross-platform app development over native because of lesser development time and cost.

Using Cross-Platform Frameworks, you can launch native-like applications on different platforms like Android, iOS, Windows with a single codebase. Hence, you can expand your reach to the targeted audience on all platforms at a much-reduced cost.

Now let’s take a look at the statistics of mobile app downloads by statista.

Mobile app downloads wordwide

In 2019, 118 billion mobile apps have downloaded globally, and it is going to increase in the upcoming years.

In such kind of scenario, none of the business would like to miss their presence on App stores.

So let’s talk about the cross-platform app frameworks or tools now in a question-answer format.

What is a Cross-Platform Framework?

Cross-Platform is a kind of computer software that is useful for developing software products or services that can operate on different platforms with one code-base.

What are the best frameworks for developing cross platform mobile apps?

There are many Cross-platform frameworks available. Here is the list:

  • Ionic
  • React Native
  • Flutter
  • Xamarin
  • Adobe PhoneGap / Apache Cordova
  • Corona SDK
  • jQuery Mobile
  • Appcelerator Titanium
  • Qt
  • Sencha
  • Unity3D

Which framework can be used for develop Cross-Platform apps?

You can use almost all the above frameworks to create a cross-platform apps.

Which are the best cross-platform frameworks for developing mobile applications?

It is tough to compare all the frameworks and choose the best without knowing mobile application requirements because each framework has its pros and cons. In most of the mobile app projects, React Native, Ionic, and Native SDKs are in use.

Which programming languages cross-platform app frameworks use?

cross-platform app frameworks use the following languages:

  • Java
  • C++
  • JavaScript and HTML5
  • Ruby
  • C#
  • Lua

Best Cross-Platform Frameworks for Mobile App Development

Ionic - Best Cross-Platform App Development Framework

Ionic is a free, open-source framework for developing mobile apps and progressive web apps with ease. It is licensed under MIT.

You can build Ionic mobile apps with any web technology that you know like Angular.JS, React.JS, Vue.JS, or HTML5.

You can launch apps on different platforms with one codebase in Ionic. Now, it has 100+ mobile-optimized React UI components.

Ionic provides a wide range of Native plugins for native features like Bluetooth, HealthKit, FingerPint, Auth, etc. You can also use Cordova/Phonegap plugins and TypeScript extensions to get more native plugins.

Ionic has a tremendous community, documentation, and demos which help you to launch your application much faster Ionic is a complete mobile toolkit for web developers to create mobile apps.

React Native - Most Popular Mobile App Development Tool

React Native is a free and open-source mobile app framework created by Facebook.

You can create mobile applications for multiple platforms like Android, iOS, Web, and Windows, with a single code base in React Native.

React Native is an excellent combination of React and native development. React is an astonishing JavaScript library used to build user interfaces.

You can create real native apps, without compromising with the performance using React Native.

The surplus benefit of React Native is that you can use it in your existing projects as well.

Unlike native apps, it lets you see your changes very fast because of the JavaScript framework.

React Native framework has a large number of built-in components. In case a component for your requirements does not exist, then you can search the npm registry or take the help of thousands of react-native developers’ community.

It is a Facebook supported, community-driven, best cross-platform app framework.

Flutter - Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Framework

Flutter is yet another free and open-source UI software development kit by Google.

Flutter lets you develop apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, Google Fuchsia, and web platforms from a single code base.

It uses Dart’s native compilers to compile Flutter code in the Native ARM machine code.

Hot Reload is a great feature that helps in experiments, building UI, fixing bugs, and adding new features. It gives a faster development time with hot reloading.

You can use Flutter’s built-in components like Cupertino widgets, motion APIs, material design, etc. to deliver an astounding user experience on your mobile app.

Flutter delivers the full native experience on Android and iOS apps with its widgets.

Google and its community members do further Flutter development.

Google Ads, Hamilton Musical, and Alibaba eCommerce are some of the famous names that have used Flutter as their preferred framework.

Xamarin - Open source App Development Framework

Xamarin is also a free, open-source Cross-platform app framework.

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.

.NET is a reliable framework that has been used by worldwide enterprise businesses.

Xamarin allows you to share 75% code across different platforms to make your development faster.

Xamarin.Forms, which is a mobile UI framework, helps you to deliver a consistent look across all platforms and platform-specific look in no time.

You can also use Microsoft Azure along with Xamarin tools for hosting mobile app backend, database, or using intelligent services.

PhoneGap - Mobile App Development Framework

PhoneGap is an open-source, cross-platform framework, created by Adobe Cordova’s team.

To create an app in PhoneGap, you should have web development skills like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

An app created in PhoneGap supports all mobile app platforms like Android, iPhone, and Windows. You can create all the apps from a single codebase.

PhoneGap has a large and robust developer community and a complete PhoneGap toolset, which extends the capability of your app and makes your mobile app development faster.

Debugging is very easy with popular web inspectors tools in each browser.

There is no need to maintain native SDKs, and this makes compilation easier.

If you do not have expertise in commands, then you can use the PhoneGap Desktop App, which will make your work easier.

It is the best cross-platform mobile app tool for web developers to create hybrid applications.

Corona - 2D/3D App Development Tool

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.

This mobile app framework is using Lua, which is a very lightweight and fast programming language. Programmers often use Lua in game development. Popular games like Angry Bird, Warcraft, Civilization, and many more are using this leading scripting language.

Corona also has a library for plugins to extend the features of your hybrid app. You can also call a native library or API in Corona if the plugin suitable to your needs is not available in the Corona library.

Corona is optimized for performance and stability.

Corona has a fantastic community of more than 50,000 developers and a marketplace full of project templates, music/sound effects, and graphics for your game or hybrid mobile app projects.
They have their slack channel and email for providing priority support.

jQuery Mobile - Web Framework for Mobile App Development

jQuery Mobile is a web framework (JavaScript library) created by the jQuery project team.

It uses a single codebase to launch applications on different platforms like Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows, etc. You can also create responsive websites in jQuery Mobile.

jQuery Mobile’s Theme Roller is a unique feature that other frameworks do not have. It allows you to create and download highly customized themes by drag and drop colors.

It also leverages the power of CSS3 in their library.

You can download their library from GitHub.

Appcelerator Titanium - A Tool for Premium Mobile App Development

Titanium SDK is an open-source, cross-platform 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 you to create native apps on different platforms like Android, iOS, Windows from a single codebase like other cross-platform frameworks.

It provides all the facilities from building to maintaining the application. You can check app analytics like usage, crashes, etc. in this tool.

This tool also provides Hyperloop to connect any native API and API builder to build APIs with cloud service.

Many big brands have chosen this technology to build rich and engaging mobile applications.

They have comprehensive assets to learn app development with Appcelerator.

9. Qt

QT - Hybrid Mobile App Development Framework

Qt is a free and open-source toolkit pronounced as “cute.”

It allows you to create graphics UI and cross-platform applications which are compatible with all platforms like Android, iOS, and operating systems like Linux, macOS, Windows.

Applications developed using Qt are native applications with native features and speed.

You can launch an application on different platforms with little or no change in the codebase.

Qt provides tools for the entire cycle of application development, design tools to create prototype and design, development tools to develop and test app 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.

10. Sencha

Sencha - Web App Development Tool

Sencha is a Java and JavaScript framework used to build web applications faster with its high-performance UI components.

It has a complete set of great tools like Ext JS, ExtReact, ExtAngular, GXT, Sencha Test, and Sencha Themer.

You can integrate their professionally tested and commercially supported UI templates with Angular and React apps.

Sencha Themer allows you to create visually appealing themes without writing a single line of code.

On their website, they are mentioning that “60% of Fortune 100 Companies Rely on Sencha”.

They have detailed documentation to start with Sencha.

Unity 3D - Enterprise level App Development Tool

Unity Technologies created this incredible cross-platform game engine.

You 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.

Final Thoughts

So far, we have gone through the top 11 cross-platform frameworks for mobile app development. Selecting the right mobile app framework for your next project is very important.

If you are still confused about which framework to choose for your project, then reach out to us, we are a top-notch cross-platform app development company. We will not only help you choose the best cross-platform framework, but also deliver the best cross-platform app as per your business needs.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

An entrepreneur, an IT professional. Tech geek. Founder & CEO at Guru Technolabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. Loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in IT field.