Cross Platform

What Does Cross Platform Mean?

A cross-platform computer product or system is a product or system that can work across multiple types of platforms or operating environments. Different kinds of cross-platform systems include both hardware and software systems, as well as systems that involve separate builds for each platform, as well as other broader systems that are designed to work the same way across multiple platforms.


Cross platform is also known as multiplatform or platform independent.

Techopedia Explains Cross Platform

In general, the term cross-platform is used in a multitude of different ways across many parts of the IT industry. Resources from development communities and open-source projects point out that the definition of the term can relate to running a program or system over different operating systems, over different programming environments, or even over different types of physical hardware devices.

Each device and operating system has its own programming interface for dealing with applications. Manipulating these in various ways can help IT systems run effectively in many different environments. One common type of cross-platform system is a virtual product or system that will run in a cloud computing or wireless network environment. Here, developers will look for synergy between front-end and back-end systems that may be connected remotely through a global IP connection.

Building a website or a software application, developers or users may talk about cross-platform systems that can be made to function on an end-user’s device regardless of the manufacturer, or on any number of vendor-supplied or open-source end-user environments.

In many cases, cross-platform operations include not only working with application programming interfaces, but also with any licensing requirements that exist. Open-source software and operating systems have decreased the use of the traditional software licensing agreement, but many of the top operating systems and other environments are still provided under traditional licenses.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.