In 2010, who would have thought that it would be possible to build apps for iOS and Android without using different languages (Java for Android and Swift/ObjC for iOS). As technology has sped up and we’ve reached 2017, dozens of frameworks have been created to help programmers develop hybrid mobile applications. As the framework model has risen in popularity, hundreds of different frameworks have been developed, and not all are the same quality.
Which ones are trustworthy and which ones aren’t? We don’t think that is the first question you should be asking yourself. First off, do you need to be using a framework to build cross-platform apps? What are the pros and cons of using a framework versus just coding for each mobile OS? Let’s get into it. +
Less Development time
Instead of writing the code for one action three different times per project, and then repeating the same code for different projects, the code used in these frameworks are reusable. Use the code once, then it can be used for different projects where the same action is needed.
Most of the tools come in with handy plugins that make deployment much easier than doing it natively for each app. This also ensures the each OS is running on the same updates, making sure they are always synced together.
Won’t Support Every Feature
You’re playing under someone else’s rules when using a framework. If there is a new feature released by Apple for Xcode, you won’t be able to access it for your program until the framework you are using updates to include that feature. This someone limits any developer trying to use the latest technology for their app.
Not as Supported
Since cross-platform frameworks are relatively new, the support for them is limited when comparing to a traditional community around Objective C or Java. This means you may need to figure some issues out yourself, as there may not be as much documentation online about it.
So now that you know the pros and cons of using a cross-platform framework, you need to decide if you want to try out using one. We’d suggest learning a framework just to broaden your development skillset, as the framework models may start to push native development out in the coming decade.
Three Top Cross-Platform Frameworks
Xamarin is a cross-platform software that’s owned by Microsoft and was founded in May 2011. Xamarin’s ability to function smoothly and naturally is due to its C# shared codebase that allows developers to access native APIs for each platform while sharing code across platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. By doing this, Xamarin allows for a very fluid user experience. Its launch speed is also pretty impressive — no wonder it’s considered the top hybrid mobile application development framework.
PhoneGap (HTML, CSS, JS)
React Native (JS)
You have many options to choose from when working with cross platform frameworks. No matter which one you choose, just start with one and get your hands dirty. We look forward to hearing from framework you end up choosing!