These days, many app developers are looking into building their mobile apps to cater to multiple platforms. It is essential to create an app that will be able to operate on multiple platforms like Android, iOS, Windows and so on. Creating cross platform apps can be a very challenging process, especially for mobile devices, but it can bring many advantages.
Despite the challenges, picking the right software development platform, especially one which has a low code ideology such as RAD Studio Delphi, is not an insurmountable hill to climb. The right IDE software mitigates a lot of the difficulty and helps you create apps with the minimum of required effort from you and with the maximum efficiency. Using a highly capable tool such as RAD Studio and the Firemonkey FMX framework for cross platform apps means you can focus on one code base for your app even if it’s going to run on multiple mobile targets such as iOS and Android.
This guide will give you some pointers in creating a cross-platform app that will be able to run on multiple platforms. You will also learn how to make your app highly efficient, which is an essential part of mobile app development. Working smarter, not harder is the whole philosophy behind RAD Studio Delphi.
Let’s start by discussing what building cross platform apps actually entail.
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What do we mean by development of cross platform apps?
Cross-platform development is a process that will allow you to create an app that will be able to run on multiple platforms. The most common examples of cross-platform apps are mobile apps, which are basically software applications designed to run on mobile devices.
This is a direct opposition to proprietary app development which is developed specifically to only run on a single platform. These kinds of apps often use a technology which is supplied by the hardware manufacturer and can lock the developer into that mobile hardware vendor’s ‘ecosystem’ where they provide the development tools, the hardware on which you must develop and even the app store through which you must distribute your app. These vertical development solutions can seem attractive since the vendor often streamlines the process to market – as long as that market is the one they exclusively control. Going down that route can often mean inadvertently creating cross platform apps which cannot actually work on another hardware platform without substantial rewrites, sometimes total re-engineering of the solution.
Meanwhile, the idea behind genuine cross-platform development is to save developers a lot of time and effort while providing them with the most options for expansion across different hardware vendors. It will also allow developers to market their apps in a more efficient way, as they can reach out to a wider pool of potential users. Ideally, you can minimize the effort it takes to manage code while simultaneously cutting back on costs, since you’d only need one development team. Picking a tool which maximizes the idea of a single code base for the app, with minimal changes required to target another platform, is the smart choice.
What is the secret to efficiently targeting multiple device types with mobile cross platform apps?
What’s the secret? Choosing the right cross platform development frameworks. These are the building blocks that will help you develop your app in a very efficient way.
However, even the most solid app builder software doesn’t make cross-app development an easy task. If you are new to the field, you will have to spend time learning the intricacies of the app building process. We will go through some of the most important bits, so you will be able to grasp all the necessary aspects of cross-platform development.
How do you develop a mobile app for multiple platforms?
Cross platform apps are a dream to many app developers. However, the fact remains that they can be very challenging to build. To get you started, we will give you a brief overview of how to develop a cross-platform app for multiple platforms.
Good planning is important for a mobile cross platform app
The obvious first step to building a cross-platform app is to come up with a strategy. You will need to list out the type of app you want to develop, which platforms or app stores you will be targeting, the type of app features and products you want your users to have, the budget you have, the marketing strategy you need, and much more.
Map out what the market for your app looks like. Who are your competitors? What features will you offer to ensure your app is a market leader? You will also need to think about the various components of your app, like graphics, animation and sound.
Once you have decided on your overall strategy, you can start creating an initial blueprint. This will include a series of maps and flowcharts which will show you the different components of your app. This is also a good way to finalize which platforms you want your app to cater to. Some tools excel only as an Android app builder software, while others may be more versatile. By strategizing, you can be sure that you will have a fully functional product by the time your app launches.
Does developing cross platform apps require a good understanding of UI and UX Design?
The next step is to design your app’s user interface. An effortless user experience is the key to making your app a market leader. This is where you will need to think about how you want your app to look. If you want your app to look classy, then use attractive fonts and layouts.
This will also involve choosing the right font, color schemes, and design elements. You will need to think about how easy it is for users to navigate through your app. This can be seen more clearly by creating wireframes of your app.
An app wireframe, also called a mockup, is just a simple drawing of the different screens of your app. You can make these wireframes with the help of tools such as RAD Studio by Embarcadero, and then make any necessary changes before you move on to the next step. Using mockups, you can balance out the complexity and create a seamless user journey.
What sort of code do I need to write for cross platform apps?
Now that you’ve got your wireframe designs, mockups, and other necessary prototypes, you can start coding your app. However, you will need to choose the right coding tools for your multiple platform app development.
For example, you need to choose a cross-platform tool that allows for easy code completion and debugging. Building for multiple platforms means that you will need to optimize your code for multiple operating systems. This means that finding a way to code smarter and faster is more important than ever.
Make sure the IDE you’re using has ample support for the programming language you’re using. RAD Studio, for example, supports Delphi and C++; two of the most powerful cross-platform development tools available. Their Code Insight feature will also help you figure out the code efficiency of your app. This will make your coding process more accurate in general.
Do cross platform apps require special testing for mobile devices?
Next up in cross-platform development stages is to perform mobile app testing. This will help you check if your app is performing as expected on various devices. This testing can be automated or in the form of manual testing. Either way, testing is crucial so that you and your development team can fix any issues before you release your app.
The entire testing process can consist of many different aspects, but here are some of the most important ones:
- Functionality testing. Functional testing is performed to make sure that your app functions as expected. This can involve purposely trying to “break” your app. In other words, trying all sorts of things possible in your app to discover any underlying bugs.
- Security testing. Security testing is performed to make sure that your app is secure. This means that it will not be hacked and no data will be stolen. The scope of testing is to prevent your app from being vulnerable to malicious attacks or other security issues.
- Configuration testing. What you do in configuration testing is to make sure that your app will work on a wide range of device configurations and operating systems. This is especially important for cross-platform apps, since the end user can be on a variety of devices.
- User Interface and User Experience testing. User Interface and User Experience testing is performed to make sure that your app will be easy to use. This is important, since a poorly designed layout can make your app look bad. You’ll have to check if the flows of your app are smooth and that it is easy to navigate through.
- Performance and platform testing. Performance testing will check how fast your app runs on various devices and operating systems. The goal here is to make sure that the app does not slow down or crash on any particular device or operating system. It also tests how responsive the app is to requests from concurrent users.
The end of the beginning app development is to debug, deploy, and support
After you’ve performed your testing, you can start debugging your app. This is when you will need to fix any bugs and make sure the app functions as expected.
However, if you have an automated testing tool like RAD Studio, it will help save time in this step. Their integrated debugging tools will help you get to the bottom of any issues in your app.
You can also manually add breakpoints so that RAD Studio automatically pauses during execution should they find certain errors. You can then promptly trace backward to find the root cause of concern. Better yet, this process is easier than ever due to RAD Studio’s live cross-platform debugging feature. This lets you debug and deploy your app to any mobile platform as if you were doing so locally.
Of course, you’ll eventually need to deploy your app to your users. This can be the Google Play Store for Android users and the Apple App store for iOS users. You’ll also likely need to adopt some App Store Optimization (ASO) techniques to increase your app’s visibility.
How to choose the right tools for cross platform apps
As we’ve seen above, nailing multiple platform app development is no small feat. However, if you know the right tools, it will be a breeze.
The best low code app builder should be able to make sure that your code is optimized for cross-platform app development with zero fuss. It will also let you auto-complete all the relevant code in your app so that you can get to work on the fun stuff right away. Ideally, you’d be able to be alerted to any coding errors, and even have some of them solved automatically.
Ease of collaboration should be at its forefront, as well. This means that even if you worked remotely, you and your team should be able to track changes and communicate with each other easily. The entire mobile application development process should be seamless.
What is the best cross platform development tool?
It’s clear that to develop mobile app for multiple platforms, you need to know the ins and outs of cross-platform development. The right tools can optimize your app development so that you can release it to a wider audience at the blink of an eye.
The good news is that you can use RAD Studio for cross-platform app development. It is the best low code platform that is both cross-platform and cross-device compatible. With it, you can develop mobile apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux—all in one codebase! Start your multi-platform mobile app development today with RAD Studio.
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