The Best Cross-Platform Mobile Development Tools in 2024

In a rapidly evolving tech landscape, making the right choices in mobile app development services can set the stage for long-term success. As cross-platform tools gain momentum, they’re no longer just a second option but a strategic cornerstone for efficient project delivery and robust performance. This article offers a comprehensive list of cross-platform mobile development tools of 2024, aiming to equip you with the insights needed for sound decision-making.

We will cover the following:

What Is Cross-Platform Mobile Development?

Cross-platform mobile development lets you build apps that work on multiple mobile operating systems like iOS and Android from a single codebase. This approach speeds up development, cuts costs, and simplifies maintenance, setting it apart from native and hybrid methods.

The Landscape: Native, Hybrid, and Cross-platform

To appreciate the benefits of cross-platform development, it’s important to compare it with other development approaches — namely, native and hybrid.

Native development
Hybrid development
Cross-platform development
Native development

Native apps are written separately for each mobile platform. iOS apps use Swift or Objective-C, while Android apps rely on Kotlin or Java. Although native apps perform well and can use platform-specific features, they require more time and money to develop.

Hybrid development

Hybrid apps are web apps wrapped in a native shell, built using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. While faster to develop, they usually don’t perform as well as native apps.

Cross-platform development

Cross-platform tools let you write the app’s core logic once, then compile it into native code for multiple platforms. This balanced approach offers a good trade-off between performance, speed, and cost.

Why Choose Cross-Platform Development Tools?

The decision to use cross-platform development tools is often rooted in several key benefits that align with the priorities of both startups and established companies. Here are some compelling reasons to consider this approach.

Code Reusability

One of the most significant advantages of using cross-platform tools is the ability to reuse code across different platforms. Rather than developing separate codebases for iOS and Android, a single set of code can be modified minimally or even used as-is on both platforms. This reduces the development time and makes maintaining the app easier.

Platform-Independent App Design

Cross-platform tools often come with a rich set of UI components that automatically adapt to the platform they’re running on. This ensures a consistent look and feel across iOS and Android, allowing developers to focus more on the app’s functionality rather than tweaking UI elements for each platform.

Cost-Effectiveness

Building separate native apps for iOS and Android can be costly in terms of both time and resources. Cross-platform development alleviates this by enabling a faster time-to-market and reducing the need for separate teams specializing in each platform. With a unified codebase, developers can apply changes universally, further driving down maintenance costs.

Top-7 Cross-Platform Mobile Development Tools in 2024

As mobile app development evolves, the tools available to developers have also seen significant improvements. Among these, some stand out as the best cross-platform mobile development tools, offering a blend of efficiency, reusability, and versatility. Let’s dive into our curated list for 2024, starting with a platform that has gained widespread recognition.

Flutter, an open-source framework developed by Google, allows for the creation of natively compiled applications across multiple platforms using a single codebase. What sets Flutter apart is its use of Dart programming language, which is designed to optimize both the development and performance of apps. The framework boasts an extensive library of pre-designed widgets and UI elements, which makes it easier to build visually appealing apps.
Flutter also supports asynchronous programming.

Pros:
  • Flutter’s direct compilation to native code ensures excellent performance comparable to native apps
  • A broad range of customizable widgets and UI elements makes it easy to create a unique user experience
  • The single codebase approach streamlines development and reduces time to market
  • Being a Google product, Flutter enjoys a large, active community and extensive documentation
Cons:
  • Dart is not as popular as JavaScript, and some developers may find it challenging to pick up
  • Although growing, Flutter’s ecosystem is not as extensive as native or some other cross-platform solutions
  • Apps built with Flutter can be larger and consume more memory compared to native apps
“Flutter is a game-changer. Its direct-to-native compilation gives you performance that rivals native apps, and Dart's asynchronous programming keeps everything smooth. The single codebase makes life easier for everyone — us developers and our clients. Plus, having Google's backing means it's always updated, and there's a huge community for support. For me, it's the best of all worlds in cross-platform development.”
Hlib
says Hlib,

Software Engineer bei Redwerk

React Native, created by Facebook, is a framework that allows you to build mobile apps using JavaScript and React. It stands out as one of the best cross-platform tools for mobile development, especially for those who are already well-versed in JavaScript. React Native provides a rich set of native modules and components, making it easier to access native device functionality without leaving the familiar JavaScript environment.

Pros:
  • Leveraging JavaScript makes it easy for web developers to transition to mobile app development
  • Being around for a while, React Native has a large community, extensive libraries, and third-party plugins
  • Like Flutter, React Native also allows for high levels of code reusability, accelerating development timelines
  • Developed and maintained by Facebook, React Native benefits from regular updates and a strong community
Cons:
  • While generally good, performance can suffer when dealing with complex animations or high computational tasks
  • Some native functionalities may require custom modules, adding complexity and potential performance bottlenecks
  • The community contributes various modules and packages, but quality can vary, requiring careful selection
“As someone proficient in JavaScript, choosing React Native for mobile app development was a no-brainer for me. And I've never regretted that decision. The framework's versatility and rich set of native modules streamline the development process. Plus, the extensive community support means there's always a solution at hand for any challenge. It's about more than just reusing code; it's about leveraging a whole ecosystem to deliver better apps faster. And hey, if it's good enough for Facebook, it's good enough for me.”
Roman
says Roman,

Developer bei Redwerk

Xamarin is a Microsoft-owned framework that allows developers to write apps in C# and run them on both Android and iOS platforms. Utilizing the .NET framework, Xamarin provides the ability to create performant apps with near-native speed. The framework offers a single codebase, making it easier to maintain and update applications across multiple platforms.

Pros:
  • Xamarin utilizes C#, a statically typed language, ensuring type safety and performance optimizations
  • Strong support from Microsoft provides a well-documented and regularly updated ecosystem
  • Code sharing is made easier with the Xamarin.Forms library, allowing for faster time-to-market
  • Integration with Visual Studio provides a robust development environment with various debugging and profiling tools
Cons:
  • While it allows for code sharing, complex UI may still require platform-specific code
  • Licensing costs may be prohibitive for small teams or individual developers
  • The framework’s file sizes can be large, leading to increased download times and memory usage

Kotlin Multiplatform is an experimental feature in Kotlin that allows you to run your code on different platforms including JVM, Android, iOS, JavaScript, and native. Developed by JetBrains, this tool aims to eliminate the “write once, run everywhere” dilemma by allowing you to share common code across different platforms, while also letting you write platform-specific code where necessary.

Pros:
  • Uses Kotlin, which is already popular among Android developers, making it easier for teams to adapt
  • Allows you to share common logic across platforms, reducing both development time and potential for errors
  • Enables the use of native libraries and APIs, ensuring optimal performance
  • JetBrains’ strong backing and regular updates provide a robust ecosystem
Cons:
  • Still in an experimental phase, which may deter some enterprises from adopting it
  • Limited community support and third-party libraries as compared to more established solutions
  • The need to write some platform-specific code can offset the advantages of a single codebase

Ionic is an open-source SDK for hybrid mobile app development. Built on top of AngularJS and Apache Cordova, it enables developers to use web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build multi-platform apps. Ionic’s main appeal lies in its ease of use and the speed at which apps can be developed and deployed.

Pros:
  • Web technology stack makes it accessible for developers familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • A rich set of UI components accelerates the development of visually appealing apps
  • Built on popular frameworks like Angular and React, allowing for an easier learning curve
  • Strong community support and extensive documentation simplify the development process
Cons:
  • Performance can lag behind native apps, especially in graphics-heavy applications
  • Reliance on plugins for native functionalities may add complexity
  • Limited in terms of accessing native device features compared to fully native solutions

Unity is predominantly a game development engine, but its capabilities extend to creating cross-platform mobile applications as well. With its rich graphical interface and drag-and-drop functionality, Unity offers a user-friendly experience. The engine is written in C#, making it accessible for developers familiar with statically-typed languages.

Pros:
  • Highly versatile, capable of creating both 2D and 3D applications, beyond just games
  • Supports an extensive range of platforms, from mobile and desktop to AR/VR devices
  • Strong community and a plethora of online resources make it easier to troubleshoot issues
  • Integration with various ad and analytics services provides comprehensive app monetization and tracking solutions
Cons:
  • Might be an overkill for simple, text-based applications or apps with limited UI complexity
  • Could be expensive, with licensing fees that may not be affordable for smaller projects
  • Some mobile-specific features might require additional plugins or custom scripting
“Unity isn't just for game development; it's a tool that's as dynamic as the projects you can create with it. What hooked me initially was its robust support for 3D graphics and AR/VR, but I've come to appreciate its broader applications. The C# programming and strong community support make diving into any project, not just gaming, a streamlined experience. Plus, the integration options for ad services and analytics are a big win for client projects.”
Olha
says Olha,

Software Engineer bei Redwerk

NativeScript is an open-source framework that enables developers to use web technologies like Angular, Vue.js, or plain JavaScript to build native mobile apps. With NativeScript, you can create a single codebase that runs on both iOS and Android platforms, leveraging native components for optimal performance.

Pros:
  • Compatible with popular front-end frameworks like Angular and Vue.js, making it easier for developers to get started.
  • NativeScript directly utilizes native APIs and components, offering performance that is very close to native apps.
  • The framework has a rich set of plugins, allowing you to extend your app’s functionalities easily.
  • Being around for several years, NativeScript has developed a robust community that actively contributes to its ecosystem.
Cons:
  • For those not already familiar with Angular or Vue.js, there might be a steeper learning curve compared to other solutions.
  • Debugging can be complex, as you’re essentially handling both Android and iOS platforms.
  • Applications may result in larger package sizes compared to native solutions.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cross-Platform Tool

Choosing the right cross-platform development tool can be a pivotal decision. The tool you select will directly influence the efficiency, performance, and ultimately, the success of your mobile app. Below are some vital criteria to consider.

Mobile App SDKs

An SDK, or Software Development Kit, is a collection of software tools and libraries that developers use to create applications for specific platforms. When assessing cross-platform tools, scrutinize the SDKs they offer. A robust SDK will provide a range of features out-of-the-box, including user interface elements, data handling, and connectivity options, thus accelerating your development cycle.

Popular Mobile App Frameworks

The framework you choose can either be an accelerator or a bottleneck. Popular frameworks often have the advantage of extensive community support, frequent updates, and a plethora of third-party libraries. For instance, React Native is renowned for its large ecosystem and flexibility, making it a suitable option for both iOS Application Development and Android Application Development. Choose a framework that aligns with your project requirements and skill set.

Mobile App Development Environment

The development environment encompasses the software, hardware, and network conditions in which your app will be developed and run. It’s essential to choose a cross-platform tool that integrates seamlessly with your existing infrastructure. Whether you’re using cloud-based solutions or local servers, the right tool should be compatible with your development environment to ensure a streamlined process.

Beyond these fundamental aspects, there are additional important criteria that can help you make a well-informed decision. Here’s what to keep an eye on:

Tool
Programming Language
App Performance
Community Support
Platform Support
Learning Curve
Notable Apps
Tool

Flutter

Programming Language

Dart

App Performance

Excellent

Community Support

High

Platform Support

Android, iOS, Web

Learning Curve

Moderate

Notable Apps

Google Ads, Alibaba

Tool

React Native

Programming Language

JavaScript

App Performance

Excellent

Community Support

Very High

Platform Support

Android, iOS, Web

Learning Curve

Easy

Notable Apps

Facebook, Instagram

Tool

Xamarin

Programming Language

C#

App Performance

Good

Community Support

High

Platform Support

Android, iOS, UWP

Learning Curve

Moderate

Notable Apps

UPS, Alaska Airlines

Tool

Kotlin Multiplatform

Programming Language

Kotlin

App Performance

Good

Community Support

Growing

Platform Support

iOS, Android, JVM, Native

Learning Curve

Moderate

Notable Apps

JetBrains Space, Cash App

Tool

Ionic

Programming Language

JavaScript

App Performance

Moderate

Community Support

High

Platform Support

Android, iOS, Web

Learning Curve

Easy

Notable Apps

Sworkit, Untappd, JustWatch, MarketWatch

Tool

Unity

Programming Language

JavaScript, C#

App Performance

Good

Community Support

High

Platform Support

Multiplatform

Learning Curve

Moderate

Notable Apps

Pokémon GO, Monument Valley

Tool

NativeScript

Programming Language

JavaScript, Angular, Vue

App Performance

Very Good

Community Support

Moderate

Platform Support

Android, iOS

Learning Curve

Moderate to Hard

Notable Apps

Strudel, Dwitch

Conclusion: The Future Is Cross-Platform

The growing popularity and technological advancements of cross-platform tools signal a clear shift in the mobile app development landscape. With tech giants like Facebook investing heavily in cross-platform frameworks, it’s evident that this approach isn’t just a trend — it’s the future.

At REDWERK, we’ve been in the game for over 18 years, providing top-notch mobile app development services, from native to cross-platform and web app solutions. While we excel in native technologies, our experience indicates that the future lies in cross-platform development.

If you’re considering partnering with a development company, make sure to choose one that understands the future of the mobile landscape. You can find a list of top mobile app development companies in our blog to guide you in making an informed choice.

Whether you’re considering iOS Application Development or Android Application Development, our vast experience and expertise can help guide your project to success. Let us bring your mobile app idea to life in the most efficient, cutting-edge way possible.

Why work with Ukraine in 2023?

Find out why businesses hire IT experts from Ukraine and what results they achieve together.
Bitte geben Sie Ihre Geschäfts-E-Mail-Adresse ein