If you are going to launch a mobile app the most important thing you have to concern is choosing either native or cross- platform development. And to avoid being confused about what you need, you should define the development time, the app functionality, cost and technical requirements, once you familiarize yourself with the kind of app and its features, you are more confident to make the decision.
- First step, you have to make clear the difference between native and cross- platform apps.
A native application is a software program created with a specific technology dedicated to a particular platform or device. A native app is installed directly on a mobile device, and data associated with the native app is stored on the device or remotely, in cloud-based storage. This provides you with high performance and more flexibility than alternative application types.
Cross-platform development is the process of creating an app that works on both Android and iOS. This allows you to optimize the processes of building a mobile application. Instead of using native frameworks, languages, and tools, you should adopt React Native, Ionic, Xamarin, or Flutter. This approach provides the ability to compile source code for execution on multiple mobile platforms.
- After understanding their definitions, let’s take a look on their pros and cons when comparing with each other:
Advantages of native applications include: wide functionality, efficient software performance, better match with the user experience of the OS, better quality insurance and store support, flexibility in source management and available toolset, target specific audience after being launched. However, some of its limitations are: costly, time consuming, and requiring a larger team to develop.
Cross-platform apps also bring many advantages like: they are affordable, economical, they help you save time, and reduce development cost by using a single codebase, simplifying code support. They are corresponding with general mobile app testing and useful to reach a wider target audience in both iOS and Android. Nevertheless, there are some disadvantages of cross-platform apps that we must notice are: functional testing with mobile might be a little more complicated, having lower speed than native apps, less access to native features of devices, lack of flexibility, poor UX, taking more time in submitting the apps, and sometimes they demand additional code pieces.
- And now, we turn to consider some aspects that play important roles in our decision about how to approach building a mobile app:
Cost: if you have a limited budget, it may seem like cross - platform app development will be the most affordable option. Generally it can help you save around 30 -40%.
Features: Make a discussion with your development team about what features limitations each option has, so you can make the decision based on the app requirements.
Migration: considering if you want to migrate your app, talk with your developers if migration will be possible and what it will take to accomplish.
Responsiveness: a responsive app has had its layout turned for the available screen size. It is necessary when the same app can run on a variety of devices. Consult with your team to choose a suitable development app for that requirement.
Development time: If you want to get an MVP app as soon as possible, instead of working on two versions of the app, you should consider cross - platform development.
Speed and application complexity: make sure your loading time is about 2 -4 seconds. Because no user wants to use an app that takes too long to run. If your app will only display data from the network, cross - platform development will be a priority in your options. However, if the app involves heavy processing you should look at native development.
UI/UX: user experience is very important to the success of any application, so it is a vital element that you have to consider. Native apps have an intuitive interface ingrained in a particular platform, users have no issues when familiarizing themselves with the new app. In contrast cross- platform will limit the UI/UX element of the app.
Platform dependence: cross - platform apps should be supported by all platforms, but developers need to modify the code in any case. The native approach ensures effective work on a specific platform while involving the creation of various app versions.
Restrictions: when building native apps, it’s easier to interact with specific OS. However, if you are dealing with cross- platform app development you have to consider all features.