Smartphones have made our increasingly complex world feel smaller with connectivity right at our fingertips. Businesses often find that developing a mobile application can play a vital role in their success. However, the decision to create a cross platform mobile app or a native platform app is a tough one. Most often, cross platform mobile app development wins due to the multitude of devices that have to be addressed.
Before making a decision, it is wise to consider the pros and cons of cross platform app development and native app development. Let’s do it!
What is cross platform mobile app development?
To really understand cross platform mobile app development, let’s start by understanding native app development. It is nothing but creating an app for a particular platform from scratch in its respective language. For example, Java is used for Android and Swift is used for iOS. The development environment of a native app is restricted to a unique set of tools designed for coding, interface configuration, troubleshooting, and application testing.
Cross platform mobile app development, on the other hand, is where applications are developed to run on various devices through a single source codebase with minimal changes on respective platforms. It is a device-agnostic model of app development which works on various platforms like Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry, etc.
Some developers prefer native apps due to their performance and extensive resource availability. Others believe that developing a cross platform app makes more sense as it is device-agnostic, runs on multiple platforms, and has a higher potential to tap the greater market. However, the final decision is often based on context and business needs. Moreover, cross platform apps have a higher potential to tap the greater market.
Methods of cross platform app development
Typically, programmers follow certain methods of cross platform app development. They are:
- Hybrid mobile app development:
- Rapid mobile app development:
This methodology is about using tools available in the market for quicker turnaround. The shorter timeframe can help to meet specific and immediate business needs.
Pros and cons of cross platform apps
- Cost benefit: Developers only need to invest their efforts once. They can avoid the repetitive ordeal of implementing apps across every platform.
- Maintenance: Maintaining the app on a regular basis is easier than it is for native apps.
- Easier updates: Syncing app updates to one application rather than native apps on multiple platforms saves time and resources.
- Quicker development cycle: Development can be faster which is beneficial considering that mobile apps have shorter lifespans than ever before.
Although there are various advantages to cross platform app development, there are still some disadvantages including:
- Minimal access to native development APIs: Each platform has its own style and attributes. A cross platform app may not be able to tap into the unique functionalities of a particular platform.
- Scope for bugs on a single code base for platforms: There are likely to be more bugs when catering to different platforms. Apart from that, there are certain performance issues that are caused by animations and continuous clicking or scrolling.
- Compromise to UX (user experience): Businesses need to take extra care to address user needs when building an app. The interface and user experience differ between Android and iOS apps.
Native apps versus cross platform app development
Native apps have their pros and cons, too. They are exclusive to a particular platform and they are easy to update. On the downside, it is expensive to develop apps for various platforms because it lengthens the development cycle. Finally, a native app built on one platform will have limited market share.
There are different ways to build apps. Context, target market reach, cost, and time are factors to consider before deciding which way to develop your app.
You may want to consider native app development if you meet the following criteria:
- You want better app performance and responsiveness
- The application requires maximum potential of the hardware
- The application requires better availability of various phone features and resources
- You have required time and financial resources for building an app with extensive capabilities
On the other hand, you may choose a cross platform mobile app if you meet these criteria:
- You don’t mind compromising on a relatively lower level of responsiveness
- You prefer to go with simple animations and anticipate a medium level of app usage without complex activities
- The app requires continuous access to the internet
- The app is created for a pilot run or just to convert your website to a simple mobile application
- The business users want to have a running application with minimal knowledge
- You have a quick turnaround
It’s always a good idea to consult with an expert mobile app development company before developing an app. Softway, for example, is more than just a mobile development company. We’re an agency you can partner with to create an app that aligns with your business goals. Contact us for a consultation!
Great days ahead!