More and more users choose mobile applications over websites and desktop software, because they can be launched on any mobile device and from anywhere. Mobile apps impact online business significantly, making it widely available. If you offer your customers a mobile app to use, it gives them more flexibility of consuming your services. However, many questions may arise during the project planning process if you want your app to pursue the goals of your company and your business strategy. One of the issues that you can face is the choice of native vs cross-platform app development. The dilemma emerges when you decide on the target audience and the platform you want to cover. Today, we will look at the differences between these two options, look at the positive and negative aspects, and help you to make the right choice.
Native and Cross-Platform Applications: What Are They?
Nowadays, there is a wide variety of options of how to build an app and which programming language to use, because mobile applications are used in various industries, including e-commerce, healthcare, project management, and so on. Before deciding on which type of development should be chosen, it is important to understand the differences to be able to pick the option that is suitable for the industry you are in and your needs.
Thus, native app development is the process of building an app that is working on a particular operating system, such as Android or iOS, leveraging platform-specific programming languages. By choosing native application, you can deliver the utmost user experience and get the most out of the platform you opted for. Developers are able to add more features and capabilities, which are specific for a particular operating system only.
As for the cross-platform application development, it offers developers to build one app with a single code, which users will be able to open on multiple platforms. You can greatly reduce the cost of development by using just HTML and CSS. Some developers work with such frameworks as React Native and Flutter to use fully-customizable widgets and create cross-platform apps that work flawlessly on multiple operating systems.
Both technologies are widely used by in-house developers and outsourcing development companies that offer cross-platform mobile app development services. According to Google Trends, there is a demand for both types of mobile app development.
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Native vs. Cross-Platform App: What to Choose?
To be able to make the right choice, you need to explore all the pros and cons of picking each option. Native vs cross-platform mobile app development is what occupies the minds of developers and project managers when it is time to select the development approach. Therefore, let’s first highlight the positive and negative aspects of the development of a native app.
Advantages of Native Development
- Offline Functionality & High Speed
Native apps don’t require complex code that has to work on multiple platforms, which is why such apps are able to display elements faster. It also usually turns out to be a cost-effective process. Because of the high development speed and possibility of cost reduction, native app development is preferred by startups. It is also a convenient option for users, because an app can work offline. They are able to get access to the services they need without using Internet connection.
- More Intuitive & Interactive with Less Bugs & Issues
The development of a native app sticks to the guidelines and allows you to utilize actions and gestures that are already familiar to the users of a particular platform. Managing a single codebase is less challenging than operating several platforms to ensure their stability and performance, which is why you can get minimal occurrence of bugs during the development process.
Disadvantages of Native Development
If talking about the possible drawbacks of developing native app, you can encounter the following bottlenecks:
- High-Level Development Skills & High Maintenance Costs
- No Reusable Codebase
Unlike cross-platform applications, the native ones require different and separate coding for each platform you want to cover. Thus, if you decide to develop an app for iOS and then think about developing one for Android, you will need to start all over again and build from scratch.
Advantages of Cross-Platform Development
If talking about the advantages of the cross-platform app development, you need to consider the following:
- Reusable Codebase & Good Product Maintenance
Choosing a cross-platform development option gives your developers an opportunity to use a common codebase and transfer code to other platforms without writing unique code for each OS. Thus, the testing stage becomes a lot easier for your team. The deployment of upgrades and fixes will lead to flawless outputs, because everybody will know what to expect.
- Cost Reduction
Cross-platform app development ensures reduction of the upfront expenses and helps you to cover a wider market and increase popularity of your brand.
Disadvantages of Cross-Platform Development
However, this type of development can also be a reason for some issues. That is why you need to know about the following negative aspects as well:
- Complication of Development Lifecycle
Cross-platform development is also not so easy, because a developer has to pay extra attention even to minor differences amongst platforms and features that hardware has. Especially, when you decide to implement complex interfaces.
- Challenging Integration
Unfortunately, the integration of the cross-platform applications to local settings can be difficult for some developers, therefore, you need to be ready for that.
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What to Consider When Selecting Right Approach
To be sure that your decision is right, it is recommended to bear in mind several factors. First of all, you need to decide on the type of app you want to develop. It means that your team should be prepared for a large amount of programming as well as the participants of a project have to determine different features and aspects of mobile app development, including UX design, UI flexibility, memory and CPU efficiency, animation, cross-platform responsiveness if needed, and so on. It is also vital to decide how to implement augmented reality (AR), allow access to camera or GPS location, and add other special features that you want.
Besides that, you need to think about your end-users. Depending on the audience you want to cover, your team will have to implement different features, and thus, it will influence your choice of development approach. For example, if you want to make your app user-friendly for those with disabilities, you will require additional resources during the development process.
Another factor that can help you to find out whether you want to opt for the cross-platform mobile app development or native app development is the purpose of your app. Considering this, you will be able to define if you need any special features, such as integration with any social media, creation of native login system, and so on.
Moreover, it is important to take into account the experience and level of expertise of your developers. It may be a determinant that will overshadow all the others. As we said earlier, not every developer has the experience you require, so you need to be ready for this. Usually, when the in-house team doesn’t have the needed specialist, the company seeks for help from the outsourcing companies that offer high-quality mobile app development services. You can do the same if your team lacks the relevant level of expertise and you want to contrive and waste less resources.
Many developers are sure that cross-platform app development is a better choice, while Google search inputs are full of requests about native applications as well. Cross platform is suitable for those who want to save time and money, while native is faster and less buggy to develop. Therefore, it is all up to a company to decide which option will be better for the improvement of business.
If you want to get help from the experts to build one of the apps or are not sure which one to choose for your business, contact us and we will pick up the best option for you.