Building cross-platform software is a challenging process. You need to consider many critical aspects for the successful development of the product. Choosing the best cross platform programming languages for development is at the top of that list. This article aims to aid your language selection by discussing cross platform programming languages, their evolution, features, and pros, and cons.
A cross platform programming language is a programming language that enables developers to develop apps for various platforms using a single codebase. These apps can run seamlessly on multiple platforms without significant changes. Java, React Native, Flutter, Ionic, Sencha, and Xamarin are some popular cross platform programming languages and frameworks.
Table of Contents
How did the evolution of cross-platform programming languages happen?
Cross-platform programming languages are not something novel. Cross-platform development has been around for more than two decades now. However, each language has evolved distinctly, adapting to various architectures and offering more features.
First, C was considered a truly cross platform programming language in the early 70s. It was well-suited for system programming. Furthermore, C was capable of reusing the same source code across entirely different architectures for developing kernels and device drivers. However, it required some minor modifications to the code.
After C, some other cross platform programming languages such as C++ and Delphi emerged to enlarge the field of cross-platform development further.
C++ as a cross platform programming language
C++ is also one of the initial cross-platform languages, even though it couldn’t shift into the world of the web and mobile. C++ is best suited for developing software like operating systems, database engines, game engines, compilers, and servers. At the same time, C++ is a great choice as a cross-platform language. You need to have sound knowledge and familiarity with the ecosystem to develop apps faster using it. Read this article to learn about the best IDE for the C++ newbie.
The C++ builder by Embarcadero is packed with a set of robust libraries to boost productivity and deliver amazing user experience.
Delphi is one of the most versatile cross platform programming languages
Delphi is a strongly typed, event-driven, cross platform programming language with an extensive supportive tools and frameworks ecosystem. It also features a wide range of web and database libraries for the rapid development of apps that work on various platforms such as web, mobile, and internet-enabled devices.
Delphi enables you to build a native app. A native app is an application designed to work on a specific device and its OS, utilizing that device’s device-specific software and hardware. These native apps can tap into specific resources, enabling them to easily access several services on a device like an accelerometer, microphone, and push notifications.
Why do we need cross platform programming languages?
Developing cross-platform software requires coding in a way that removes all the dependencies from a particular platform. To accomplish that, you have to use a programming language that supports you. That is where cross-platform programming languages come into play.
The majority of popular programming languages support developing cross-platform software. However, some programming languages work better by supporting many platforms or offering solid abstraction layers to manage the differences between platforms transparently.
What are the pros of cross platform programming languages?
- Code reusability – Code reusability can be considered the major strength of cross platform programming languages. Developers have to code once, and that codebase can be deployed and run across multiple platforms. For instance, consider the two well-known mobile platforms, Android and iOS. A cross platform programming language like React Native or Flutter enables you to build apps that run on Android and iOS using a single codebase. Code reusability prevents repetition, saving valuable time and cutting down a great amount of operational cost. Besides, maintaining a shared codebase enables you to add a new platform in the future easily.
- Reduced costs and resources – Cross platform programming languages allow you to use a single codebase for multiple platforms. Furthermore, it provides the flexibility of utilizing a smaller team with a specific skill set rather than hiring multiple professionals for different platforms. All these things help maintain a good balance between the quality and cost of the software. If you want to know more about saving money, read this article.
- Uniform design – Cross-platform languages allow sharing a unified UI/UX for various platforms while still meeting the platform-specific standards. They offer users a consistent experience across different platforms, helping them easily interact with the software on any platform.
- Broad market reach – Apps developed using cross-platform languages can be deployed on multiple platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and the Web. It paves the way to reaching a wider audience, which boosts the company’s revenue.
- Reduced time-to-market – The need to write and test only one codebase contributes to faster time-to-market. Thus, cross platform programming languages are best suited for developing apps under tight deadlines.
- Convenient deployment and maintenance – The flexibility of writing and maintaining a single codebase leads to fast and easy deployments, maintenance, updates, and bug fixes.
What are the cons of cross platform programming languages?
- Performance issues – The code of cross-platform apps is more complex than native apps, leading to problems when integrating with a specific OS. It happens due to possible communication issues between the native and non-native components of the particular device. It can diminish the capability of the app to deliver its maximum performance, especially when handling graphics.
- Slow code performance and fewer development tools – The cross-compliance of code in the development phase can create potential overhead in the compiled code. As a result, the code can perform extremely slowly, especially when the selected development tool cannot optimally adjust the generated code.
Why should you use RAD Studio?
Embarcadero offers a bunch of award-winning tools trusted by many top companies worldwide. These tools help developers build more secure, scalable, and high-quality software faster than other tools in the market.
Furthermore, Embarcadero constantly improves its products by utilizing the latest technologies to ensure the highest customer satisfaction. They release new versions frequently and provide 24/7 tech support to resolve any issues faced by customers.
Embarcadero offers many premium tools and some free tools for cross-platform development, covering a wide range of use cases. Above all, they provide a free trial for their paid products, allowing users to test them before buying. So, why not give Embarcadero a try for your next cross-platform app?