What Is Cross Platform Desktop App Development?

web development

Have you noticed that when EA sports release a new game, it becomes available for almost all platforms? PS4, Nintendo, Windows.

That’s basically cross-platform desktop app development.

You will obviously want a large base audience when you develop new software. Because of the more the audience, the more chance there is to generate revenue. 

A more extensive consumer base increases the excitement for your product and the possibility for sales and revenue. In that case, publishing your software on several platforms should be a priority.

But how should you go about doing so?

Will you hire a developer for each and every platform?

Or will you hire a software company to do so and spend thousands of dollars?

No. You don’t need to do any of these. You can make software for all the platforms with the same code. 

And that’s possible with the help of cross-platform desktop app development.

There are actually two options here. The first one is founded on the development of native applications. 

The procedure, in its simplest form, is based on using a language specific to the platform and set of tools. 

For instance, Java and Android Studio for Android, Swift, and an XCode IDE for iOS. 

There are advantages and disadvantages of using the native technique. 

Advantages of Native Language

The primary benefit is the shortest possible execution time for performance-optimized code in a native language and access to the system’s native features. 

Disadvantages of Native Language

The disadvantage is the effort, time, and resources needed to achieve it. 

For example, when you wish to develop an app that runs on three different platforms, you’ll have to recruit three other teams of programmers. The release date for your app will be significantly affected due to the dispersal of these teams. 

This application also requires periodic maintenance, which requires the application to continue to be funded by the relevant personnel.

You can solve all these problems by using a cross-platform development framework. 

But Cross-platform frameworks make it possible to write software once and deploy it across various platforms. 

Cross-platform methods may not provide seamless access to native components, but they allow for more rapid, affordable, and effective program development.

What are the exact benefits of cross-platform desktop app development?

Cross-platform solutions use various methods like cross-compilation, virtual machines, and web-based solutions to provide desktop applications that run on multiple platforms. 

They’ve eliminated the complex and specialized programming of the past and replaced it with lighter and more efficient development cycles that operate similarly on all platforms using the same codebase.

Cross-platform desktop software development has many benefits, including lower costs and quicker development time thanks to code reuse. 

A minimum of one-third of app developers in the market use an open-platform framework. 

app ux design

What are the best ways to choose the cross-platform application most suitable for your needs? 

Time, cost, reputation and community support, degree of difficulty of the program and its performance to native apps, and faster timeline to launch are some of the factors that determine. 

Ultimate list of the best cross-platforms frameworks

We are giving you the ultimate list of the best cross-platforms frameworks.

Xamarin

Xamarin can provide high standards of aesthetic appeal across platforms.

Net layer for creating cross-platform applications. 

Since changes are implemented concurrently on iOS and Android, maintenance and upgrades are simpler. 

Its distinct advantage is that it makes use of Forms Technology to let developers make use of this NET Cross-platform UI toolkit to communicate UI style and designs across all platforms.

Another coveted feature is that up to 95% of Xamarin’s code is reusable.

React Native

High-performance app-building tools, pre-built components, modular design, and strong community support. 

One of the most widely used cross-platform app development tools nowadays is React Native. Its expenditures can be reduced by half, while 90% of its code may be reused. 

You may see the changes right away on another screen, thanks to the “Live Reload” function. 

The tool’s user interface is responsive, doesn’t need HTML or CSS, and facilitates third-party libraries’ smooth integration. It is straightforward to install and operate, making it perfect for novices.

Qt

This framework for cross-platforms created by C++, is utilized for native embedded, desktop and mobile applications that rely on GUI elements and modules that are written using QML.

The frontend side is QML (QtQuick 2), while the backend is C++. Before the build, its meta-object compiler starts. Due to language bindings, Qt may be used with many other programming languages, including Python, JavaScript, and others. 

It contains an internal IDE, Qt Creator, with a GUI layout function. Due to its twenty-year existence, this framework is the most developed and comprehensive.

JavaFX

This framework initially came with JDK versions 8–10 and served as Java’s primary GUI environment, taking the place of Swing. 

But as of JDK 11, it was only accessible through an external tool that was a component of OpenJDK and the OpenJFX project.

JavaFX enables the creation of applications for several operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, and web browsers. 

Embedded systems were once supported as well. However, with JDK 8u33 for ARM, this support was removed. 

The popular Maven package management, which can be coupled with JavaFX, as well as other libraries that are readily accessible, may be used to create JavaFX applications. 

Naturally, JavaFX has a collection of pre-made libraries, saving the developer from having to create all of the solutions from scratch.

Windows looks are created by JavaFX using FXML (an XML-based language) files. 

Each tag in the program represents a distinct object to which we may assign suitable characteristics, position, and nest other components. 

A single container is the foundation component into which we place other things. The Java code for such a component would simply need to be loaded. 

Keep in mind that the type utilized should match the kind stated in the file. Select components may also be styled using a CSS file.

The utility Scene Builder makes dealing with FXML files simpler. It is an editor that makes it simple for you to design the look of your application. 

Drag and drop a component onto the workspace to add it, then edit its attributes in the side panel. 

Positioning components are made more straightforward if we use AnchorPane as the basis component since they adhere to an invisible grid that divides our application into equal halves.

Unfortunately, JavaFX has several shortcomings. 

As the majority of you undoubtedly already know, Java applications operate in a virtual machine, which results in increased RAM utilization and substantial CPU demand. 

Consequently, JavaFX-made applications might operate noticeably slowly on particular less powerful hardware. Additionally, JavaFX and JavaSwing are becoming less and less popular as technologies like Qt, JSF, Flutter, or Electron take their place. 

Additionally, bespoke drawings and animations are more challenging to create than QML.

Flutter 

The most pleasing aspects of Flutter are its consistent user interface and business logic across all platforms, which gives users a native app-like experience. 

It has a large selection of ready-to-use widgets and doesn’t need platform-specific components for the user interface. 

It also includes the “hot reload” ability to quickly apply changes. These widgets, which you may choose based on the platform and area, aid in creating more engaging and user-friendly applications. 

Developers may theoretically see the impacts of any changes made thanks to its Dart programming capabilities without affecting the application’s actual present state. 

Several customization options inside the design may give your whole app a distinctive brand appearance.

Native Script

Although Angular and Vue.js are not necessary for NativeScript to function, cross-platform app development benefits from their adoption. 

This runtime framework can display various applications, including gaming, streaming, geolocation, and chat apps. It also integrates Angular Native, TypeScript, and JavaScript. 

In XML and CSS, the user interface is written. Access to APIs native to your platform, plug-ins, examples and templates, a single reused codebase can be utilized on multiple platforms to accelerate development.

Another convenience it provides is directly feeding iOS and Android APIs into JavaScript Virtual Machines, with the translation being handled by the bridge module to provide native experiences on each device.

Appcelerator

Due to its ability to reuse up to 90% of code across platforms, Appcelerator is one of the most popular options for cross-platform development. 

Since Appcelerator’s source code is always accessible, seasoned JavaScript developers like it. Due to its cost-effective Titanium structure, business owners like it. 

Its Hyperloop feature enables the use of third-party libraries without requiring significant modifications. Creating animations without lags and its user interface provides quick drag and drops functionality in addition to practical code modules to shorten the time. 

It takes to create an app from scratch using a single JavaScript SDK.

Ionic

Although it needs a Cordova wrapper, Ionic is excellent for creating visually attractive hybrid applications using HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and Angular. 

It is packed with beautiful, clean, declarative design elements for the user interface and user experience. 

With the help of web component APIs, capacitor for contacting Native SDKs from web code, tools for Live Reload, deployments, and integrations, as well as rapid construction for production-ready mobile applications and PWAs, Ionic enables customization. 

JIT compilation is used to execute code for Android and WKWebView, which supports JIT on iOS. The native component of the application is run by Cordova.

Software development

Sencha

With its modern UI and model-view-controller architecture (also known as MVVM), Sencha Ext JS is a beautiful tool for creating desktop applications that run on several platforms. 

Some of its standout features include a versatile layout manager that can handle numerous screens and browsers, get data from any backend, a robust data package, and a customizable user interface design. 

It includes more than 140 pre-built UI elements. 

The framework is well-documented, packed with features, offers a wide variety of widgets, and has open-source code. 

Extensive grids, pivot grids, forms, charts, trees, grate grids/views, combo, tag fields, etc., may all be used to manage themes. HTML is not required, nor are third-party integrations. 

The code file is kept under 100 lines, thanks to a practical code structure.

Electron

Electron.js has numerous frameworks, libraries, hardware-level APIs, the chrome engine, and Node.js support. 

Because it enables developers to experiment with ideas and templates, the Electron Fiddle feature is excellent for experimentation. 

They can concentrate on their primary duties, which are at the heart of the Electron. 

It allows you to use any code editor and the Chrome Developer Tools and works across Windows, Linux, and macOS without the need to create several codebases. 

Other essential tools include auto compile tools, packaging the files for distribution in your app using npm, and Electron binaries for command-line usage.

Node.js 

Node.js is a commonly used application that operates on a single-threaded paradigm with event looping capabilities, enabling programmers to utilize HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in conjunction with client-side and server-side programming. 

It is beneficial for developing applications with real-time actions and updates since its libraries excel at quick execution. 

The foundation is built upon JavaScript V8, which is the JavaScript Chrome V8 engine.

Users may easily access Node.js modules from the DOM and Web Workers thanks to its Node Package Manager, which provides developers with the most excellent productivity tools. 

It is built for smooth interfaces and leverages the Chromium engine UI.

Web development coding

Which Cross-Platform Framework will be the best for you?

Electron is the ideal option if you want your application to be available concurrently on web browsers and personal desktops. 

You may build your application using just HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, making it simple to reuse the code you’ve written for your website in the future. 

It also works the other way around; if you already have the website’s source code, you have to make a few small changes to it to convert it to a desktop application.

You should consider utilizing Flutter if you want to develop an app that works on both desktops and mobile devices. 

Despite its youth, PC support makes it reasonably simple to publish mobile applications. You may also benefit from the vast community of Flutter while developing applications.

Leveraging JavaFX as an alternative to Flutter makes it a little bit simpler to construct desktop applications using tools like Scene Builder.

Additionally, compared to Flutter, which has limited third-party options, JavaFX allows you to freely employ many available third-party solutions. 

But it’s important to remember that JavaFX programming isn’t very efficient. Moreover, it could be challenging to create a dynamic, complex UI. 

Despite its popularity, we do not advise utilizing it for future projects since this technology is mostly obsolete.

Choose Qt if you want your application to be as practical as possible, available for desktops, and capable of being readily expanded to include support for additional platforms like mobile. 

Your team will be able to swiftly design a beautiful user interface (UI) using the Qt Quick module, and when paired with C++ logic, it will guarantee that the product produced runs very quickly. 

To fully use the computing capabilities of the consumer, Qt also enables you to integrate native code into the application’s code. 

It is also important to note that implementations of this kind of injection are often available online as open-source projects. 

You could also discover that you don’t need this kind of injection since Qt has many pre-built modules that make it simple to utilize solutions like Bluetooth, GPS, cameras, etc.

So share your thoughts on cross platform desktop app development in the comments section!

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