A Step-By-Step Guide To Cross-Platform App Development

In a world where people are constantly glued to their gadgets, it’s no surprise that businesses are starting to invest more in mobile app development. But with so many different types of devices out there, how can you make sure your app will work on all of them? The answer is cross-platform app development!

What is cross-platform app development? 

Cross-platform app development is creating software that can be used on multiple platforms. This can be done either by creating separate software versions for each platform or by using a cross-platform development tool that allows the software to be written once and then compiled for each platform.  

There are many benefits to developing cross-platform apps, including reaching a wider audience and saving time and resources by only having to create and maintain one codebase. However, some challenges need to be considered, such as ensuring that the software works correctly on all platforms and dealing with any differences in how each platform handles certain features.

If you’re thinking about developing a cross-platform app, then check out our step-by-step guide below. We’ll take you through everything you need to know, from choosing the right development tool to testing your app on all devices.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Cross-Platform App Development  - a schematic of cross-platform associations
RAD Studio – Native and Cross-Platform Development Ecosystem

Why develop a cross-platform app?

Cross-platform app development has become increasingly popular as more and more businesses look to reach their customers across various devices and platforms. There are several reasons why you might choose to develop a cross-platform app:

Reach a wider audience: Developing your app for multiple platforms means that you can reach a more significant number of potential customers.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Cross-Platform App Development: the project manager for a Firemonkey FMX cross-planform app
Create Cross-Platform Native Applications with Delphi FireMonkey – Also deploy to Linux system using FMXLinux

Cost-effective: Developing a cross-platform app can be more cost-effective than developing separate apps for each platform, as you only need to create one codebase.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Cross-Platform App Development - Windows, macOS and iOS potentials
Build Cross-Platform Native Apps with Delphi FireMonkey

Time-saving: Developing a cross-platform app can save you time, as you only need to create one set of code, which can then be used across all platforms.

Use Delphi’s award-winning VCL framework for Windows and the FireMonkey (FMX) visual framework for cross-platform responsive UIs and utilize FireMonkey design-time guidelines for Prototype faster with visual lines and enhanced margin and padding support.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Cross-Platform App Development - a composite image of RAD Studio with a cross-platform apps

Moreover, with FireUI’s revolutionary technology you can see what your application’s UI looks like on any device without installing it.

Increased flexibility: Cross-platform apps offer increased flexibility, as they can be easily adapted to work on new platforms or devices as they are released.

Delphi with FireMonkey framework is the best combination of a programming language and a framework for building cross-platform apps within no time. FireMonkey’s underlying visual control architecture enables multiple presentation implementations per control called ControlTypes in particular, native OS control presentations can be utilised. Furthermore, the underlying architecture is MVC based and provides backwards compatibility to choose at design time between Styled and Platform (OS) specific control types with their native features.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cross-Platform App Development

By this, you can have smooth scrolling and performance and maintains complete cross-platform fidelity across Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux.

If you’re considering developing a cross-platform app, then this guide will give you all the information you need to get started. 

What are the different types of cross-platform apps?

There are two main types of cross-platform apps: native and web-based. Native apps are developed specifically for each platform and are written in the language that is native to that platform. They have access to all of the device’s features, can be installed directly onto the device, and generally perform better than web-based apps. On the other hand, Web-based apps are written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and are not specific to any platform. Moreover, it uses layers of abstraction to access the hardware and system-specific features with limited power. But Web-based apps are typically less expensive to develop than native apps and can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

With Delphi FireMonkey or C++ Builder FireMonkey combination you can create a cross-platform native applications with amazingly high productivity. No matter how dazzling the visuals are, if the user experience is sluggish or unresponsive, it all falls down. FireMonkey applications leverage the full power of today’s hardware with native CPU performance and GPU powered visuals on PCs, tablets and mobile devices.

For instance, see this brief tutorial which shows how to create an Android and iOS application in under two minutes that can take and share pictures:

How to develop a cross-platform app

Cross-platform app development is becoming increasingly popular as more and more businesses look to target multiple mobile operating systems. But what exactly is involved in developing a cross-platform app?

Mostly the process depends on the chosen programming language and the framework. For instance, several cross-platform frameworks do not provide you with the highest productivity and accessing the device features is limited. This makes you over-engineer things and requires high knowledge and skills. But Delphi programming language with FireMonkey provides you the best and fastest time to market and develop the ecosystem. With hundreds of built-in visual and non-visual components, you can make any type of internet-connected or business-oriented application in no time.

Choosing the right tools is crucial for any app development project, but it’s vital when developing a cross-platform app. Several different frameworks and platforms are available, so it’s essential to do your research and choose the one that best meets your needs. Once you have selected your tools, you can start building your app.

When building a cross-platform application, it’s essential to remember that you’ll need to design for multiple screen sizes and resolutions. This means creating different layouts or versions of your UI for each platform. It’s also important to consider how users will interact with your app on each platform. For example, Android users are more likely to use buttons on the screen, whereas iOS users are more accustomed to using touchscreen gestures. 

For instance, working with gestures, animations, tab transitions and applying various styles in Delphi FireMonkey applications is so easy that you can make functional applications by just triggering actions and writing 1-3 lines of code. Here check out the brief tutorial on Delphi with FireMonkey

How to test and debug a cross platform app

After you have built your app, it is essential to test and debug it to make sure everything is working. This process can be different for each platform, but there are some general tips and tricks you can use to make sure your app is running smoothly. Be sure to check out this webinar to learn about debugging in the RAD Studio environment:

Once you have tested your app on a few devices, it is good to test it on as many different devices and configurations as possible. This includes different operating system versions, screen sizes, and hardware specifications. You can be sure that your app will work well for all users.

How to release and deploy your app

After you have built your app, it’s time to release it to the world! Here’s a quick guide on how to do that.

  1. Choose the platform you want to create to release your app on–many options, such as iOS, Android, Windows, Linux or macOS.
  2. Follow the platform’s guidelines for submitting your app. Each one has different requirements, so make sure you read up on them before starting the process.
  3. Once your app is approved, it will be available for download on its app store.
  4. Promote your app! Make sure people know it exists by telling them about it online, in person, or through advertising.

That is it! You can sit back and watch as people use and enjoy your excellent cross-platform application.

When it comes to building and releasing applications with Delphi FireMonkey is so easy that you can not get experience like this. For instance, configuring the SDK and other things is linear and takes several minutes to set up the environment. With smart IDE, it helps you to make things easier by giving you the environment to make any changes to the build process.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Cross-Platform App Development - a screenshot of the project options version info dialog

Maintenance and how to produce updates for your apps

As you know, cross-platform means your app should work properly on multiple operating systems. It is essential to remember that cross-platform app development requires more maintenance and updates than developing for a single application. 

You must make sure your app works on different operating systems and keep up with changes and updates.

Here are some tips for maintaining and updating your cross-platform app:

  • Test your app regularly on all the different platforms to ensure it is still working correctly.
  • Keep up with the latest changes and updates to all mobile operating systems.
  • If you make any changes or updates to your app, test it on all the platforms again to ensure it works correctly.
  • Make sure to promote your app regularly so people know it exists and keep using it.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your cross-platform app stays up-to-date and works correctly on the different mobile operating systems.

What is the next step for creating a cross platform app?

Cross-platform app development is a great way to develop apps for multiple platforms without starting from scratch. This guide gives you an overview of the steps involved in cross-platform app development to get started on your project. We hope that this guide has been helpful and that you are now ready to begin developing your cross-platform application.

Download a trial version of the latest version of RAD Studio and see how easy it is to create your own apps