Cross-Platform App Development Frameworks



According to bankmycell, in 2024 there are 8.93 million smartphone apps worldwide, with 3.553 million apps in the Google Play Store and 1.642 million in the Apple App Store. An average smartphone user has over 40 apps installed on his device. These are extreme numbers. And to be honest, I am surprised they are this big (even though I have worked in this field for so long). No wonder more and more businesses create mobile apps and want to reach both platforms – iOS and Android at once, so they explore cross-platform app development frameworks. Today we will cover the most popular ones, to give you an overview of each and help you make a good decision.

React Native as Our Benchmark

At Pagepro, we specialize in using React Native to build efficient and scalable cross-platform mobile applications. React Native synergy with React JS, efficient OTA updates, the utility of Expo, and rich community support, combined with our long-standing use and expertise in React Native, make it the most efficient and strategic choice for cross platform mobile app development.

And so, throughout this article, we compare other popular frameworks to React Native. Our expertise allows us to provide unique insights into how it measures up against other frameworks, helping you choose the right technology for your mobile development needs. Just to let you know – we’re recognized by Clutch for cross development and React Native, so you don’t have to just believe our words for it.

What is Cross-Platform App Development?

Cross-platform app development is a process of building applications that can run on multiple platforms, such as mobile devices, desktops, and the web, using a single codebase. Instead of developing separate native apps for each platform (e.g., iOS, Android, Windows), cross-platform frameworks allow developers to write code once and deploy it across various platforms with minimal modifications. The key aspects of cross platform app development are:

  • Single Codebase: Developers can write code in a common programming language (e.g., JavaScript, Dart, C#) and share a significant portion of the codebase across different platforms, reducing development time and effort.
  • Native-like Experience: Cross-platform frameworks aim to provide a native-like user experience by using platform-specific UI components and accessing native device features such as cameras, GPS, and sensors.
  • Cost-Effective: By eliminating the need for separate development teams and codebases for each platform, cross-platform app development process can be much shorter, which means significantly reduced development costs and time-to-market.
  • Consistent User Experience: With a shared codebase, these mobile applications can maintain a consistent look, feel, and behaviour across different platforms, ensuring a seamless user experience.
  • Wider Reach: Cross-platform applications can target multiple platforms simultaneously, allowing businesses to reach a broader audience without the need for platform-specific development efforts.
Benefits of building cross platform apps

Popular cross-platform app development frameworks include React Native (JavaScript), Flutter (Dart), Xamarin (C#), Ionic (HTML/CSS/JavaScript), and NativeScript (JavaScript/TypeScript). These frameworks provide tools, libraries, and APIs that enable developers to build apps while using their existing skills and knowledge. Cross-platform mobile app development has gained significant traction in recent years due to its cost-effectiveness, faster development cycles, and the ability to reach a wider user base with a consistent experience across platforms.

What is the most used cross-platform framework?

React Native and Flutter are the most popular cross-platform frameworks, according to StackOverflow Survey. 

However, to the list of popular ones, we can add: 

  • Ionic
  • Xamarin
FeatureReact NativeFlutterXamarinIonicNativeScript.NET MAUI
Released ByFacebook (Meta)GoogleMicrosoftIonic TeamProgress SoftwareMicrosoft
Programming LanguageJavaScript, TypeScriptDartC#TypeScriptTypeScript, JavaScriptC#, XAML
Native UI Components
Native Performance
Access to Native APIs
Reusable Code
Supported PlatformsAndroid, iOS, Web, Windows, macOSAndroid, iOS, Web, Windows, macOS, LinuxAndroid, iOS, WindowsAndroid, iOS, WebAndroid, iOS, WindowsAndroid, iOS, Windows, macOS
Open Source
Mature Ecosystem
ToolingReact, Expo, Android Studio, Xcode, Visual Studio CodeFlutter SDK, Android Studio, Xcode, Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio, Xamarin StudioCordova/Capacitor, Angular/React/Vue, Visual Studio CodeCLI, Webpack, Android Studio, Xcode, Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio, .NET SDK
LicensingMIT LicenseBSD LicenseMIT LicenseMIT LicenseApache LicenseMIT License
Learning CurveModerateSteepSteepModerateModerateModerate
Web Support
Desktop Support

React Native

React Native, developed and maintained by Facebook (Meta), has arisen as one of the most popular cross-platform frameworks. It uses the widely-used JavaScript programming language and the React js library, allowing developers to build native-like mobile apps for iOS and Android using a single codebase.

React Native boasts a large and active community, with a vast ecosystem of third-party libraries and tools. Its moderate learning curve and the ability to reuse existing JavaScript knowledge make it an attractive choice for many developers. 

We love React Native – we found it the best cross-platform framework available. We value it for the robust ecosystem, libraries and extremely active community, that we can rely on. 

Flutter – Google’s choice for mobile app development

Developed by Google, Flutter is a relatively newer cross-platform mobile app development framework that has gained significant traction in recent years. It uses the Dart programming language and provides a rich set of customizable widgets, enabling developers to create visually stunning and high-performance apps for iOS, Android, and the web. While Flutter has a steeper learning curve due to the Dart language, it offers excellent performance and a consistent user interface across platforms. Flutter’s community is rapidly growing, and its ecosystem is continuously expanding.

React Native vs Flutter

React Native, developed by Meta, and Flutter, developed by Google, are both popular choices for cross-platform app development, but they differ significantly in their approach and the technologies they employ. Read more in our article React Native vs Flutter.

Flutter, while getting very popular, still has a far much smaller community and, as a result, a smaller dev pool available. That’s why, one of our clients chose us and React Native for his mobile app MVP development instead of Flutter (which was his first choice). He admitted, that a limited number of Flutter agencies got him thinking that he may have problems in fulfilling the role of further app development in the future and decided to choose React Native. Check out the case study below.


Boosting User Experience of the e-commerce platform with React Native and Expo

Payhip Case Study

Ionic – a framework agnostic cross-platform development solution

Ionic is a popular open-source UI toolkit for building high-performance, high-quality mobile and desktop apps using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It is built on top of Apache Cordova (or Capacitor), which provides access to native device features and APIs. Ionic offers a moderate learning curve for web developers and supports integration with popular JavaScript frameworks like Angular, React, and Vue. However, its performance and native feel may not be as seamless as other frameworks.

React Native vs Ionic vs Cordova

Ionic, used in conjunction with Cordova, enables developers to build applications using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, targeted at multiple platforms from a single codebase. React Native offers a similar cross-platform capability but with a focus on providing a more native-like experience.

Read more about React Native vs Ionic vs Cordova


NativeScript is an open-source framework that allows developers to build truly native mobile apps using JavaScript, TypeScript, Angular, Vue, or Svelte. It provides direct access to native APIs and delivers excellent performance, making it a viable option for developers seeking a native-like experience. While NativeScript has a moderate learning curve, its community is smaller compared to other frameworks, and its ecosystem is still evolving.

React Native vs NativeScript

Both NativeScript and React Native allow for building mobile apps using JavaScript, but they cater to slightly different developer experiences and use cases.

NativeScript provides direct access to native APIs, which can be beneficial for applications requiring intricate device interactions. React Native, while also capable of deep native integrations, focuses on performance and developer efficiency by allowing asynchronous data flow between the JavaScript and native layers.

Read more about React Native vs NativeScript

Xamarin – Microsoft’s app framework

Xamarin, owned by Microsoft, is a cross-platform framework that allows developers to build mobile native apps for iOS, Android, and Windows using C# and .NET. It provides a high level of code reusability and integrates seamlessly with Visual Studio, and was an attractive choice for developers familiar with the Microsoft ecosystem. However, Xamarin is no longer being actively developed by Microsoft. And developers should consider migrating from Xamarin to .NET MAUI, which is the evolution of Xamarin.Forms and is being actively developed by Microsoft.

React Native vs Xamarin

Xamarin uses C# along with .NET to create apps that can run across multiple platforms, making it a strong candidate for those deeply embedded within the Microsoft ecosystem. React Native, however, uses JavaScript, making it more accessible for web developers looking to transition to mobile development.

While Xamarin appeals to those familiar with Microsoft technologies, React Native’s use of JavaScript allows for quicker transitions from web to mobile development, broadening its appeal to a wider developer community.

Read more about React Native vs Xamarin

.NET MAUI – New Microsoft’s software development framework

.NET MAUI (Multi-platform App UI) is a cross-platform development framework developed by Microsoft for native app development and desktop applications using C# and XAML. It is the evolution of Xamarin.Forms and aims to provide a modern, flexible, and performant way to create apps that run on multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS.

A very interesting fact is that Microsoft, besides having their own cross-platform development frameworks in place, uses React Native in some of its projects (during brownfield development – and extending an existing codebase with new features).

Why did Microsoft choose React Native?

“First of all, JavaScript hire-ability. You have the biggest pool to fish from. (…) Other languages such as C++ or C# are much more hardcore languages, more complicated. (…) Another one is that we have web versions of all our apps … most of them are using React as one of the key components, so having React Native as an option allows for focused investment in the React space.”

Lorenzo Sciandra, Microsoft


Uff, we went through the most popular cross-platform mobile development frameworks. Almost every has big players besides them, but we need to remember, that the frameworks may cross over with each other in big projects, like in Microsoft products, i.e. Skype.

Each framework—be it React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, Ionic, NativeScript, or .NET MAUI—brings its own strengths and particularities to the table. As we’ve explored, while React Native stands out for its robust community support and extensive ecosystem, frameworks like Flutter are catching up rapidly with unique features and a vibrant, growing community.

Choosing the right framework depends largely on your project requirements, the existing skills of your development team, and your long-term maintenance expectations. For instance, if your team is proficient in JavaScript, React Native might be the most strategic choice. Conversely, if you are starting from scratch and expect high visual performance, Flutter could be the way to go.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to build an application that not only performs well but also offers a seamless user experience across all platforms without breaking the bank. Therefore, consider these frameworks not just as tools, but as strategic investments into the future of your mobile presence.

Should you require further guidance or wish to see more case studies like the Payhip example discussed, do not hesitate to reach out or explore more of our resources.

For us, the choice is simple – React Native. If you want to discuss it – leave us a comment or contact us!

Ready to build your cross-platform mobile app?


Norbert Kamienski

Norbert is an Engineering Manager and React Native Expert at Pagepro, where his expertise and leadership have been pivotal for over eight years. Renowned for his professionalism and meticulous attention to detail, Norbert has a well-earned reputation for optimizing app performance to its peak. His technical insight and deep understanding of React Native have made him a trusted figure both within the team and among clients.

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