Cross-platform development is the practice of developing software services or products for multiple software environments or platforms. Developers use different methods to accommodate various environments or OS for one product or application.
In some cases, cross-platform development makes programs less efficient requiring them to be simplified in order to accommodate less sophisticated software environment. At the same time, all potential limitations of cross-platform development are worth dealing with as it allows offering a product or app to a wider set of users.
The fundamental approaches of cross-platform development include the use of sub-tree files to fit or apply the product to different OS, or compiling several versions of the same program for different OS. In order to accommodate several software environments, the program should be made abstract at certain levels. Developers can also use APIs (app programming interfaces) to adjust pieces of software to a specific platform. Software like this can be called “platform agnostic” as it does not support or value one platform over another.
The concept of cross-platform development is that a software product or app should work perfectly in several digital environments. The proliferation of open-source technologies and the development of different kinds of platforms and mobile devices lead to the emergence of various kinds of cross-platform development.
Currently, it is easier for developers to create cross-platform apps. Some approaches to cross-platform development include:
- Universal apps for Windows. This approach enables the same app to run on XBox, smartwatch, smartphone, tablet, or Windows PC. One codebase for all Windows devices is used.
- Mobile app development. It offers users the ability to quickly create and manage powerful apps to meet specific needs. Code-free programming tools are used.