The Biggest Problem With Cross-Platform Desktop App Development, And How You Can Fix It

The Biggest Problem With Cross-Platform Desktop App Development, And How You Can Fix It

According to researchers, more than 42% of developers either use cross-platform desktop app development or a framework to develop the app. Platform-dependent applications have some benefits, such as best performance, and better access to hardware and OS APIs.

The most widely used desktop operating systems are Windows, macOS, and Linux. If you use native development, you need to develop three applications for that. But with cross-platform desktop app development tools, like Delphi, it’s just a single application and code base. So it’s the software architect’s job to compare trade-offs and decide whether to go with cross-platform or native development.

What are the benefits of single code base cross-platform development?

Consistent UI & UX

Development Time

Single Code Base

Reusability

Market Reach

What are the problems with cross-platform development?

Are you ready to start with better cross-platform desktop app development?

What are the benefits of single code base cross-platform development?

Consistent UI & UX

When we talk about the benefits of cross-platform development, using the same code base for multiple devices will give you a similar application for many devices. Users might have several devices running Windows, macOS, or Linux and can enjoy the same UI and UX on those devices.

Development Time

Another key benefit is that it takes a shorter time to get the product to the market. You might have competitors trying to catch the market. If you can distribute to all platforms at once before the competitor is a huge benefit. Cross-platform development can help you archive this.

Single Code Base

A single code base is the other benefit to the developer. It can save time and cost to develop and bug fix.  Imagine doing one bug fix on several code bases.  Customer requirements change over time. Even during the development life cycle, requirements can change. So maintaining several code bases will need several teams. A single code base is easy to upgrade. Software needs to be updated to make sure it’s secure. Also, software needs to be upgraded with new features to keep existing users.

When you develop native applications, you might know that some versions of the application may work for some versions of the application. This might be because these applications call lower-level APIs of the OS and the OS might change those APIs. With cross-platform development, you can easily upgrade the application to work with the latest version of the OS.

Reusability

Reusability is one of the key benefits of cross-platform development. When you are done with one platform, it can be used directly on another platform. Cross-platform development allows developers to use most of the code on different platforms. Delphi is one of the great cross-platform solutions. In Delphi, with a single codebase, you can develop applications for:

  • Windows 32-bit
  • Windows 64-bit
  • MacOS 32-bit
  • MacOS 64-bit
  • Android 32-bit
  • Android 64-bit
  • iOS 32-bit
  • iOS 64-bit
  • Linux 64-bit
  • HTML5

You can learn more about creating a cross-platform app here.

Market Reach

Market reach is important when you market a new product. With a single code base, you can reach all your customers on different platforms simultaneously. Think about if you want to develop an application for Windows and macOS. Keeping a Macbook during the entire development life cycle might be expensive. But if you are going to do cross-platform development, you can develop on a cheap Windows PC and rent a Macbook just to test the application on macOS.

What are the problems with cross-platform development?

One of the fears behind cross-platform development is that instead of cost-cutting by assigning one team,  a company may end up with many teams for cross-platform applications and one team per platform. This might be true for some cross-platform frameworks. But frameworks like Delphi will work on many platforms seamlessly.

Another roadblock is performance. In some cross-platform frameworks, performance might be behind native development. But there are cross-platform frameworks that compile to native and provide a competitive performance compared to native development. For example, Delphi will output a native executable in Windows and macOS.

Another concern is UI. If we used one UI for both platforms, some users in a platform might not be familiar with that. But when compile to the native, like in Delphi, it can utilize the existing components of the platform, and the users will feel like it’s a native application.

Some cross-platform frameworks come into the market and set expectations that cannot be met. These new frameworks are better for a limited set of use cases, but for complex problems – and when the framework adds more features – the framework might fail. That’s why developers should pick a stable and reliable framework for cross-platform developments. The cross-platform framework needs to address problems raised when developing complex applications and have support from third-party components. Delphi has had the FireMonkey framework since 2011 with their Rad Studio XE2. It’s backed by many third-party components. You can do almost anything you can do with the Delphi Windows development.

Are you ready to start with better cross-platform desktop app development?

With the above explanation, you can see that there is a future for cross-platform development and new frameworks come regularly with many promises. It’s the developers’ job to choose the best framework to develop the application. Delphi Firemonkey framework is worth considering since it’s been there for a while and developers like it.

Start your free trial or request a demo of FireMonkey on Rad Studio today!

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