What Is Cross-Platform Development


In the world of app development, cross-platform refers to software that runs on multiple platforms. For example, a mobile app that runs on both iOS and Android is cross-platform. Read on to learn more about cross-platform app development and its uses and advantages.

Why Cross-Platform Development

Users today connect to the internet using a variety of computers and devices that run different operating systems and web browsers. As you may imagine, this can lead to compatibility issues.

A mobile app developed for Apple devices cannot run directly on Android devices and vice-versa if it’s not developed from the beginning to be cross-platform or else ported afterward to the other platform. This is because each operating system uses a different code language.

Web apps and websites are similar in that they usually need to be optimized for different browsers—both desktop and mobile—to provide a smooth, error-free user experience.

Cross-platform development is especially important today when many companies opt for a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, in which employees can access business apps on their personal devices using secure authentication. Different employees may use very different devices.

Cross-Platform Development Explained

Cross-platform development works by writing the app code in a universal programming language like JavaScript that can be exported to other platforms. To simplify this process, developers can use cross-platform app development frameworks like Angular, Flutter, Xamarin, or Ionic.

To achieve the best performance, developers often do native app cross-platform development, which enables them to create apps that use native application programming interfaces (APIs). In simple terms, APIs are like waiters that run between devices and applications like they would between a customer and the kitchen in a restaurant.

For simple apps and small projects, developers may choose to do instead hybrid app development, in which an app is rendered via the device’s web browser engine. But this usually results in lower performance than native app development.

Reasons to Choose Cross-Platform Development

Cross-platform development has benefits for developers, their customers, as well as the end-users. Let’s look at some of the key advantages of this approach to app development.

What About the Limitations?

It’s worth noting that cross-platform app development also has a few limitations. In some cases, developers may have to drop certain features not available on all platforms and simplify the app to make it compatible across platforms. Also, some cross-platform apps may require more resources and have slower performance than if they would have been built natively.

The Bottom Line

Although it’s not the solution to all app development projects, cross-platform development has become an important strategy today that offers businesses, users, and developers some important advantages.

It can reduce costs, streamline the development process, and promote uniformity. Because in most cases it ultimately benefits users, cross-platform app development will likely continue to be important for many developers and businesses.

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