How to Build a Cross-Platform App From Scratch?

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How to Build a Cross-Platform App From Scratch?

Over the years, the number of mobile users have gone up. And that has led to increased development of mobile applications which has spurred a lot of competition in the marketplace. To make sure that your app is visible to your target audience, you have to follow a certain approach for mobile app development.

We have listed 10 basic steps that determine the process of mobile application development:

  1. Define the purpose behind the mobile app development
  2. Determine the functionality and features of your mobile app
  3. Study your competitors
  4. Build the wireframes and use cases for the mobile app
  5. Test your wireframes rigorously
  6. Revise and repeat the process of testing
  7. Determine the course of development
  8. Start building the mobile application
  9. Test the mobile app
  10. Launch the application in the market

Benefits of a perfectly built mobile application

Well built mobile applications can help your business scale new heights in so many ways. Let’s take a look at the benefits it has to offer to your business:

  • Enhances revenue through improved sales or introduction of a new stream of revenue.
  • Building up the engagement and community by offering a resource for your target audience.
  • Improved employee communication.
  • Increase brand awareness and well planned mobile marketing strategies.

Initially the apps made for the mobile devices were specific to the platforms that mobile phones had to offer. Thus, all the applications were platform-specific and were called native apps.

But gradually, developers started building applications that worked on the majority of platforms. Such apps are called cross platform mobile applications.

In this blog we will take a look on how you can develop a cross platform app step by step:

Step-1: Choose the right tool for cross-platform mobile app development:

Choosing the right tool to develop a cross platform mobile app is very essential for your app to succeed. Take time and study the tool that can help you build the cross platform mobile application.

Below are listed some of the best cross platform mobile app development tools:

  • Xamarin
  • RhoMobile
  • NativeScript
  • Kony mobile platform
  • Monocross
  • Sencha touch
  • Appcelerator

Step-2: Developing the UI/UX Design:

Since you are developing a cross platform mobile app which would be deployed on diverse platforms, you would have to follow certain UI guidelines that are different from android app development services. This is important when user experience is concerned.

Before the developer starts building the app they should be aware of all the requirements and guidelines for the development of cross platform mobile apps.

The developer should study apps on both the platforms so that they can get an understanding of how apps function. With this understanding they can then find out the right tool to develop the UI/UX design.

Step-3: Determine the reliable cross-platform app modules:

Using modules can offer a lot of help with cross platform mobile app development. It also eliminates the time spent on the development using various engines.

Also, it gives you a lot of exposure to native SDKs. As you use modules, you get access to a lot of quality information in the process.

Step-4: Using Dedicated API for development of cross-platform mobile application:

It is natural for the developers to use one API for the development of platform-specific mobile applications. These platforms include iOS and Google Android. Sometimes, the web is also considered as one of the platforms.

This approach may work on small or medium scale projects but it can come with a lot of demerits. It becomes essential for the developers to customise the API services for the platform specific requirements.

To accomplish this, the developers must segregate the API from currently existing API services. The developer can choose to change the backend API independently to the dedicated API service for every platform.

Moreover dedicated API services enable the developers to collapse the interdependencies amongst the teams and products.

Step-5: Working with various platforms:

Divergence is not the only problem for cross platform applications. The devices that use the same versions of the platform may exhibit different capabilities. The most obvious factor that comes to mind here is the screen size. As far as other attributes are concerned, their capabilities and behaviour may or may not vary.

Let us take a look at platform-specific attributes:

  • Screen size
  • Navigation
  • Keyboard
  • Touch and gestures
  • Push notifications

Let us take a look at some of the device specific features:

  • Camera
  • Maps
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass
  • Apps like Twitter and Facebook
  • Near Field Communications(NFC)

Step-6: Testing and Approval for the app:

This is the final step so that you can successfully launch your cross platform mobile app.

The freshly developed mobile apps need to go through rigorous testing before the app store can approve it. It is important for apps to pass all the tests so that the app reaches the market successfully.

As far as the testing is concerned, it can take up many forms and are tested on various hardwares and devices.

An example of a best practice for testing an app is using the simulator to test multiple versions of the operating system with changing device configurations.

Waiting for the Approval from the App Store:

It can get very stressful when you wait for your app to be approved by the app store. In addition to this, the business pressure can also take a toll since they are very focused regarding the launch date with little margin for errors.

The entire process can take up to two weeks and it is not transparent. You get limited feedback on the application’s progress until it faces acceptance or rejection. If you encounter rejection, it can mean that you missed an opportunity of marketing if it happens for more than once.

Moreover, because of the rejection, a lot of time passes between the final launch date and the date when your app gets an approval. While Apple operates the app store, Microsoft runs a Marketplace. Both the platforms are known to lock down the devices and put the apps through a rigorous testing process.

They heavily rely on rigorous testing to maintain the quality of applications. Android is an open platform, hence there are a number of options for Google Play and does not have a specific review process.

When it comes to Amazon and Samsung, both of them provide hardware specific efforts where the apps have limited distribution and implementation for an approval.

Conclusion

There are various tools and technologies available for cross-platform mobile app development. To be able to define which tools would be helpful for your app development, you have to be specific with the goal behind the app development. Therefore taking up a step by step approach to cross-platform mobile development is the only way to develop the app successfully.