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Everything You Need to Know About Cross-Platform Development

everything you need to know about cross platform development

Recently I have discussed various topics on cross-platform development. We have explored and discovered different cases of cross-platform mobile and desktop development and learned about the best options when it comes to native and cross-platform development.

Here a great selection of useful articles about cross-platform development we’ve published in the last few months. We also go on to cover some other great reasons to choose RAD Studio and the powerful, easy to use FireMonkey framework to create apps which work cross-platform on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, all from a single code base.

Have you seen these great articles about cross-platform applications?

10 Signs You Should Invest Cross-Platform Apps elaborates on the advantages of building a cross-platform application.

How To Save Money on Cross-Platform Development Framework discusses the process of creating a productive environment, saving money on software development tools, and reducing engineering hours using a cross-platform framework.

How To Use Cross-Platform Programming Languages: Expectations vs Reality shows you the ups and downs of cross-platform development.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Cross-Platform App Development briefly discusses how to start cross-platform development in 2022 with the right robust framework available on the market. 

Moreover, we have a dedicated article about cross-platform development where we discuss “how to explain a cross-platform app builder to your boss“.

But our article today will give you slightly different perspectives and ideas on cross-platform development. So, there won’t be any general ideas and things about cross-platform development that you can find in the above articles.

What are the principles for designing a successful cross-platform application?

The cross-platform application is a simple-sounding yet transformative concept that can radically improve the development process and help you save time and money for your customer’s business and your own too. 

How do we build a cross-platform app that invites high productivity and creates significant value for all its users? And how do we design a technological infrastructure capable of scaling rapidly and minimizing engineering hours?

These are daunting challenges of software development. Each platform has its pros and cons, and developing a fully functional, native, and cross-platform app using a single code base is the key to reducing your time to market and managing maintenance and change in the future.

Everything You Need to Know About Cross-Platform Development. A picture of a building with an unusual curving and jarring architecture.

Designers and application developers of any complex system often find it challenging to identify a logical starting point. Those charged with creating a new platform business naturally tend to study similar implementations and imitate them. But the vision could be different, and a poorly designed platform might produce little value for a company. So, where do you need to start designing your next-gen cross-platform business application? – It all starts with research on cross-platform frameworks and libraries.

How should a cross-platform app behave?

Mostly cross-platform frameworks try to come up with various techniques to handle states in the application, exchange of information and ability to talk with the hardware on multiple devices with different operating systems. It sometimes gets overwhelming, but it feels much more organized if you follow specific patterns and guidelines when creating a new feature or functionality. For instance, managing five different projects in various directories, managing their dependencies, and creating deployable application files takes so much time. At the same time, cross-platform frameworks make this process very easy. 

For instance, take a look at the FireMonkey framework. This visual application development framework is designed for teams building multi-device, true native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux and getting them to app stores and enterprises as fast and efficiently as possible. While creating an application using the FireMonkey visual app development framework, you do not have to maintain separate development projects to deliver your app natively for multiple devices on multiple platforms. Unlike competing technologies, FireMonkey makes it easy to build script-free, no compromise, true native apps that expose the full range of device capabilities and performance in the underlying devices. 

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You start your application by creating it for desktop or mobile devices in the first place. It’s as simple as selecting “create new multi-device application”

Everything You Need to Know About Cross-Platform Development. Start by selecting file, new, multi-device application

What is the biggest mistake when designing a cross-platform app?

When it is time to create the user interface of your app try to avoid falling into the trap of applying desktop GUI development principles to mobile app. Conversely, be wary of using mobile development patterns on your desktop GUI application. With FireMonkey you can reuse the “behind the controls” code for both desktop and mobile – but you have the significant advantage that you can use RAD Studio’s built-in powerful form designer to create different ‘views’ for different devices. That way you can lay out the controls on the screen in a way that’s appropriate for a desktop app and use a completely different, but compatible, view for mobile devices:

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You can use RAD Studio’s multi-device preview and view drop-down to both design and visualize the user interface for desktop and mobile cross-platform apps.

Everything You Need to Know About Cross-Platform Development - the multi-device preview
The multi-device preview in RAD Studio is a huge time-saver and helps ensure your cross-platform apps look correct on every device

You can try out platform default styles and layouts to get things just the way you want. FireMonkey has a large number of ways of increasing the efficiency of your design process and ensuring it looks its best no matter what variation of device and operating system. For instance, if you choose FireMonkey, you can select experiment with the ControlType property at design time, to modify whether or not the control exhibits a native ‘look and feel’.

Everything You Need to Know About Cross-Platform Development - a graphic showing the interconnections of an FMX TEdit control
Cross-Platform Development with FireMonkey

Are you looking for maximum exposure to your target audience?

If you know your customers use a combination of Android and iOS devices, covering all types of mobile devices will help you reach a larger audience. Of course, there are numerous nuances to consider when developing an app, particularly the norms of interface display and compliance with platform requirements. However, the power of FireMonkey means meeting these requirements is made a lot easier. The FireMonkey platform does a lot of the hard work for you with regard to ensuring a consistent look and feel on different platforms while offering up a standardized set of properties, methods, events and functions for your code. By making the “one code base” ideal possible RAD Studio and FireMonkey save you time and money. Being able to confidently target iOS and Android is a profitable investment for businesses because it allows them to acquire more customers.

What about cross-platform data?

When you are building connected applications, there should be a way that you configure one time, and it works on all platforms without a problem. But, this sort of solution requires a lot more abstraction. FireMonkey has dozens of cross-platform components that work like this. For instance, the REST Client components are best in class. Moreover, the Fire Data Access Components (FireDAC), allowing you to target all the major consumer and enterprise-level database platforms are something you cannot find in many cross-platform frameworks in the market. You can easily integrate any RESTful API or connect to any database servers using these components. Configuration requires only a few clicks in the configuration wizard. 

Everything You Need to Know About Cross-Platform Development - a screenshot of the REST debugger component
REST Debugger

This kind of excellent development flexibility for developers on both the client and server sides can give you the competitive edge. Easy to connect to services – easy to get started – all add up to the fastest possible development times.

What role does security and control play in a successful cross-platform app?

Many app development vendors enable cross-platform development by utilizing scripting languages and runtimes, which are well-known hacker targets and pose inherent security risks on mobile devices. You get true native app development with FireMonkey, so your code runs directly on the device, reducing the risk of third-party attacks.

Here is a whitepaper you must explore the topic of why applications built with Delphi and FireMonkey provide high security. 

Finding the Best Cross-Platform Framework

You will get the highest security and performance if you select RAD Studio with Delphi and FireMonkey. RAD Studio with Delphi compiles native code, professional-level source code control solutions, build events for pre and post-build events such as code signing as well as integrations to package and deploy apps to the various app stores.

Everything You Need to Know About Cross-Platform Development.  A composite image showing the Microsoft Store along with RAD Studio's provisioning dialog and a range of choice to deploy a cross-platform app.
RAD Studio can help you deploy your apps to the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and the Microsoft Store as well as ad-hoc and custom deployment

Where to go next with cross-platform development?

Native and cross-platform development starts with the choice of the framework. Choose to use RAD Studio with the FireMonkey framework. Start now by downloading the latest version of RAD Studio with Delphi!


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About author

Software Developer | CS(CyberSec) Undergrad at APU Malaysia | Delphi/C++ Builder Enthusiast | Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador | Microsoft Azure Certified

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