What is a cross-platform app?
A cross-platform app is an application that can run on different platforms. Tools and frameworks for cross-platform development help developers to create such applications with little effort.
A cross platform app is an application that has been programmed once and can then run on different platforms. The market has numerous tools and frameworks to offer that make it much easier for developers to work on cross-platform apps.
Without these tools, the apps would have to be developed as a pure web application , as a hybrid app with integrated webview or as an independent, native app for each platform . With frameworks and tools such as React-Native, Xamarin and Co., on the other hand, developers can write a central application and then have it automatically optimized for different operating systems.
In other words: the code only needs to be written or generated once and can then run on different platforms. Cross-platform development is particularly popular for mobile operating systems, e.g. B. to make apps available for both Android and iOS in one go.
Advantages of cross-platform apps
Cross-platform apps reach a larger audience: An application that can run on different platforms offers more users a benefit. This gives developers the option of addressing a larger target group. Instead of z. For example, to only reach users who use macOS, users with Windows PCs can also be addressed at the same time.
At the same time, the development of a cross-platform app does not result in any significant additional effort, since one and the same code is simply provided for different platforms. In direct comparison with the programming of independent applications per platform, a cross-platform app saves time and costs in development.
In addition, it is usually easier to find qualified developers. Frameworks for cross-platform development often rely on widely used programming languages that many developers are familiar with. The development of platform-independent apps with Xamarin happens e.g. B. in C #, although native apps for Android are programmed in Kotlin , Java or C ++ and for iOS in Objective-C or Swift .
Disadvantages of cross-platform apps
A disadvantage of cross-platform apps can be that only a limited range of functions can be implemented without significant additional effort. Different platforms now and then offer functions that do not exist on other platforms or are fundamentally different. An example: Access to the hardware of a smartphone requires that the device can provide the required resources or sensors.
In part, there are also fixed specifications about how an application must be structured. For example, iOS strictly specifies where the navigation elements of an app are to be located, while Android leaves this decision to the designer. If you want to develop a cross-platform app for both platforms, you have less creative freedom when designing the user interface.