App Development

Cross-platform Desktop app development

Frameworks & Tools to Develop Cross-Platform Desktop Apps – Best of  January 27, 2017 – 04:40 pm

HaxeIn this post, we’re showcasing the 9 best frameworks and toolkits for coding cross-platform desktop software.

As an open-source, high-level, and multi-platform programming toolkit, Haxe‘s single code-base creates applications or games for numerous target platforms. As a compiler, it compiles the source code for various desktop platforms, and the compilation is done source to source, i.e. its compiler produces equivalent source code in different language(s) for different platform(s).

It’s a full pack of a language, a compiler, a set of libraries, useful tools, and Haxe-based frameworks or tools.


  • It’s much faster than other similar compilers like Flash or Flex
  • Its bytecode is much faster than the equivalent produced by others
  • It’s a simple language allows the programmer to go as far as they like
  • Its platform can communicate smoothly with other platforms using ORM

Cons: Programs with native AS3 libraries are not yet fully supported by Haxe. Beside this, debugging difficulties increase after language translation of the source code, hence building something with Haxe requires high coding standards.

ElectronInitially built for the Atom code editor, Electron is an open-source framework developed by GitHub. By using the latest Node.js, it allows developers to write cross-platform desktop user interfaces with popular web technologies: HTML, CSS and JavaScript. It’s used by companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Stack and Docker.

  • It relies entirely on web standards that almost every web developer already knows, allowing them to write desktop software
  • It allows developers to focus on the core functionality of the applications by already taking care of the hard parts in software development
  • For desktop apps, it provides various core functionalities like auto-update, crash reporter, installer creator and system-specific features

Cons: No built-in MVC is provided by Electron, and platforms for Chrome are not fully supported as yet. Beside these, it’s also not as feature-rich or mature as NW.js.

NW or Node Webkit allows developing cross-platform software using modern web technologies like HTML, CSS3 and JavaScript, including WebGL. It provides support for all Node.js APIs and most of third party modules, and lets you create apps for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. This framework is a complete package for web developers interested in creating desktop applications using web technologies.


  • It has an impressive list of demo applications and video games
  • It provides great community support with easily searchable answers
  • Some of its functions are more feature-rich and mature than those of Electron

Cons: Some hard work features that are available in Electron, such as auto-updater and crash-reporting, don’t comes built-in with NW.js. That said, building with NW.js requires more efforts and extra modules – unlike other solutions.

8th lets developers write code and produce applications for various target operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android as well as iOS. Its primary focus is providing cross-platform compatibility as well as security in the final software products or distributions.

  • It comes with support for various essential libraries, which minimizes the dependency on external libraries
  • It lets you add features or fix bugs in just one place, and the changes are automatically updated on all the supported platforms
  • It provides enhanced protection by packing the applications in an encrypted container, making it tamper-resistant as well as difficult to crack

Cons: Business applications are the primary focus of this framework, and so far less support is provided to games. Besides, it is very costly, as it requires you to opt for its paid subscriptions for its full functionality.

B4J is more of an IDE than a cross-platform framework for developing applications that run on Windows, Mac OS & Linux systems and ARM boards (like Pi) as well. This solution lets you write code in B4X language, a modern version of Visual Basic. Your application is built for all the supported platforms and per people’s remarks, they work pretty well on the popular desktop platforms.

  • It builds apps with more performance and less overhead in mind
  • Its IDE is more like Visual Studio, allowing VB developers feel as at home
  • It also allows building web apps wherein business logic resides at server-side

Cons: This framework doesn’t provide full support for an obfuscator. Though very popular in the past, Visual Basic is not as popular as Java & other languages nowadays, and finding Visual Basic developers might be a tough task.

8th B4J Kivy Xojo


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