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  • Top 10 Cross-platform Frameworks for App Development

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    Software development requires a lot of skills and time if you want to get a high-quality product. But today’s IT market is full of interesting tools that simplify the development process and make it much easier. Frameworks are the tools that come to the rescue if you plan to create your mobile or web app. And today we will speak about top cross-platform frameworks that allow you to create apps for both iOS and Android platforms as well as for the web. Let’s start!

     

    Standard open-source frameworks

    First, we think it would be better to pay attention to standard open source frameworks that are used predominantly for cross-platform development. 

    PhoneGap 

    Framework for a simple development of apps using web technologies. It uses HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. Version 2.0 offers Windows phone support, as well as the support of libraries and CLI features. Cordova Web View tool is used for inserting of codes into large apps. 

    Advantages of using it:

    Approach to the principle of code writing is the significant advantage of PhoneGap. Usually, integrated apps are created for a specific platform using knowledge of a required programming language (like Java, for example) and corresponding SDK. PhoneGap makes it possible to create hybrid apps using knowledge of web languages only - HTML, CSS, JavaScript. 

    This framework saves the developer from learning languages for mobile platforms since he needs the development of web app independent on device’s operating system. PhoneGap implements packaging of the created web app for its installation on a few platforms at once.  

    PhoneGap can interact with localStorage, Web SQL or Indexed DB storages. Hybrid app created using PhoneGap is compiled for different OS by one click. It can be very useful for novice programmers that want to create simple cross-platform apps. 

     

    Dojo Mobile

    Dojo Mobile framework provides the user with a range of GUI components optimized for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These components are based on similar native components available in mobile OS, and they function like users of mobile devices are expecting. Components can be modified using different themes, so iOS users will see the style different from Android style. 

    The framework allows to create apps on HTML5 + JavaScript and it helps implement a quick development of mobile apps for Android and iOS. MVC, forms and attractive app themes are available. 

    Advantages of using it:

    • Lightweight loading of GUI components due to Dojo Mobile syntax analyzer;
    • Animations and transitions on CSS3 basis, and it allows an app to look similar to native apps;
    • Themes and styles;
    • Compatibility with devices and web browsers that don’t support CSS3;
    • Declarative syntax;

     

    Appcelerator Titanium SDK

    It is a framework for a quick cross-platform app development, testing, assembling and distribution for all available platforms including mobile ones. There are standard technologies like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript in Appcelerator Titanium SDK. It means you can develop an app for desktop, and then compile and get binary implemented file. Also, as in the case with web apps, all functionality can be developed in habitual dynamic Python, Ruby, and PHP languages. 

    So it allows you to create a full-fledged app that you can compile for Windows, Linux or Android smartphone. 

    Advantages of using it:

    Easy app development using only a few code strings;
    Using of web technologies to interact easily with web service;
    Time-saving;
    Large community that includes more than 200 000 web developer;

     

    Corona SDK

    Abundant tool kit for games and app development for a very short time. So you can develop your software very fast. Convenient API simplifies adding of complicated features, the technological process allows to see all changes. Development language is Lua. It leads to the record speed of development. 

    The most popular framework, game developers use it very often, but it suits any app type. Corona SDK for Android makes it possible for millions of developers use its API, native interface support, integrated engine and ad platform. 

    Advantages of using it:

    • Corona framework is a one programming platform that allows to create powerful games, business apps, and utilities;
    • Development is implemented in Lua that is powerful and easy-to-learn script language;
    • Corona plugins give developers access to additional opportunities and services;
    • Corona is a cross-platform;
    • Testing and debugging is implemented on your PC prior to running on real devices;
    • More than 1000 APIs allow developers to turn ideas into cool software.

     

    Xamarin

    Xamarin framework for cross-platform mobile apps development (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) using C# language. The idea is very simple. You write code in your favorite language, using all habitual language features like lambda expressions, generic, async etc. At the same time, you have a full access to all capabilities of SDK platforms and native mechanism of UI development. As a result, you get an app that almost isn’t different from native apps and has the same performance. It is possible to test the app in the cloud.  

    Apps written using Xamarin have full access to API interfaces of basic platform and capability to create native user interfaces, as well as compile code to machine code. 

    Advantages of using it:

    • Saving resources;
    • Code reusability; 
    • Simplicity in adding versions for new platforms;
    • C# code is available to the whole team and it even can be used on any other platform, both mobile and desktop;

     

    MoSync SDK 

    The framework has a support of HTML5, JavaScript, C++ and 9 different platforms. It can mate PhoneGap framework. MoSync Reload emulator is provided for debugging. 

    Advantages of using it:

    • Many supported platforms;
    • Detailed documentation;
    • Active community of developers;
    • Low entry threshold; 
    • Active development of new versions.

     

    SproutCore

    SproutCore is an infrastructure for mobile web apps development on the basis of MVC architecture. SproutCore is not a server, it is completely client infrastructure. All its components - model, view, and controller - are located on client’s side. It optimizes performance and has high extensibility.

    Advantages of using it:

    • Two-way data binding;
    • Open source license;
    • Templates can be compiled on server;
    • Public API;

     

    Advanced open-source frameworks

    And, in the end, we want to add a few frameworks that contain more interesting additional features that will augment your app and make it really cool. 

     

    jQuery Mobile

    JQuery is designed for working with touchscreens. It helps programmers create websites with responsive design and app that may function both on the desktop and on tablets and smartphones. So it used mostly for mobile web apps development or mobile website versions. 

    Advantages of using it:

    • It is cross-browser and cross-platform;
    • Large range of different widgets and functions like Swipe, Taphold etc.;
    • Easy adaptability
    • It uses AJAX technology. Pages are loading faster, no lags;
    • Ready adaptive set of different UI tools;
    • A lot of animations available.  

     

    Theappbuilder

    It is based on HTML5. Frameworks offer simple drag-and-drop interface without code writing, so everybody can develop an app very quickly. Social media integration and direct dispatch of apps to Google Play can help the developer get benefits. This framework can be a desktop service for the creation of different apps for iOS and Android platforms, but it also has some online tools. 

    Advantages of using it:

    • Create free apps that have additional paid features;
    • Create apps even if you are not a programmer;
    • Large tools kit to create an original design for any app. 

     

    Sencha Touch 

    Sencha Touch framework for mobile apps development is created on the basis of ExtJs library. The main goal of ST is to copy standard interface and behavior of mobile platform interface elements and provide programmers with a flexible API. Thus, Sencha Touch app is a client-server development where Chrome or any other webView is the client, and the server is a service that is capable of responding in JSON, XML formats, and some others. 

    It is an ideal platform for the development and management of safe business apps that are working on different devices. Development is held in JavaScript and HTML5. Integrated MVC system, 50 different integrated components, development management system. There is a free feature of app publication in Google Play. 

    Advantages of using it:

    • Flexibility of creation of personal interface creating personal components;
    • A lot of documentation for quick start;
    • Detailed reviews;
    • It is free;
    • GUI development Sencha Architect (paid software - $400 but with the trial version for 30 days).
    • Low entry threshold; 

     

    Why cross-platform?

    More often, cross-platform apps are created using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as well as mobile websites. Such apps are developed for all platforms at once and they are adapted to the majority of devices since a browser engine is used for their functioning.

     

    So that is why some developers prefer cross-platform frameworks to create new software products. Native development has its own advantages that can be more applicable in each specific case, so we cannot state that cross-platform is the best development method compared to native or hybrid. Everything depends on your needs.

     

    If you want to find out how much does it cost to create an app, you should keep in mind that the final price will depend on your specific requirements. 

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