Whenever we think of mobile app development, the first thing that comes to our mind is to determine a platform on which the mobile app will appear first like iOS, Android or Windows.
However, due to time and budget constraint, sometimes people choose to stick with one platform. As a result, it minimizes the exposure in the app market.
Do you have an app to develop? Which platform would you choose to develop your app first? Or, you just want to stick with one mobile platform?
Oh well, you don’t have to ponder on these questions anymore. Now, an app can be developed on multiple platforms at once by using cross-platform application development.
In recent years, the cross-platform application development has become a viable option due to its time and cost-effectiveness.
What is cross-platform application development?
Before dive into the meaning of cross-platform application development, first you need to be aware of all the platform options available during an app development process.
To build a mobile app on multiple platforms, you will come across two choices:
- Native mobile application development
- Hybrid or Cross-platform mobile application development.
(1) Native mobile application development: Native apps are device specific. In order to build native apps, every platform (iOS, Android and Windows) will have their dedicated app developed on their own code libraries/SDK.
(2) Cross-platform mobile application development: This uses one single code for multiple platforms. To be precise, the apps in cross-platform mobile application development is being written on a single codebase which will afterwards be used on multiple platforms.
Why should you opt for Cross-Platform Mobile Apps?
In order of popularity, iOS and Android users are more in number compared to other mobile platforms. Choosing multiple platforms to build an app gives you the merit of reaching more number of users.
However, unlike native apps, cross-platform helps you in saving much money as well as time, as it doesn’t require you to code manually on each mobile operating environment. Both the native and cross-platform mobile application development have their own pros and cons, one is good at performance than the other one is cost and time effective.
The competition between platforms and users tend to switch their platform in no time. Even if, there is no switch each platform user base is growing significantly which can’t be ignored.
Pros of Cross Platform Development:
- It’s time-effective: The cross-platform development reduces time drastically from two or three native apps to a single cross-platform app. It reduces the time in order to develop the app, get it tested and publish in the app market.
- Single code with common language: A single code for multiple platforms is exactly what a cross-platform denotes in mobile application development. Most of the cross-platform tool prefer Java, HTML5, CSS, and a couple of them have their own framework developed in C, Python, etc.
- One team can handle the entire project: Traditionally, you need to have different teams for each native app to be developed. Whereas, while using the cross-platform, the app on multiple platforms can be developed by just one team. Hence, it reduces expense and saves time. This also turns into lower maintenance cost.
So, will you be willing to go for cross-platform for your app development? Wait for it!
Before you actually will step into the cross-platform app development, you must be aware that this solution is not suitable for all kind of apps. You must ask yourself “Do I really need a cross-platform app development?”
What kind of apps is not suitable for cross-platform development?
Some apps are resource hungry, for example, any app with high-end graphics usage, a lot of memory usage, Hi Def Games, or any app with highly detailed user interfaces. As each platform has a different way of managing resources it is extremely important that high-end apps are optimised for native OS functions to keep user experience smooth. Such apps shouldn’t be developed on cross-platform.
Cons of cross-platform app development:
- Updates: This is one of the crucial drawbacks when talking about cross-platform development tools. The library, patch and other OS updates are immediately available in native SDK. Whereas, cross development platform requires a lot of time to receive such updates, which makes upgrade process junky.
- Performance: Speed of app can be compromised while developing apps via cross-platform tools as access to the device and the operating system depends upon its framework on plugin and some language interpretation happens as the code executes.
If HTML5 has been used as the cross development language, speed is further compromised because most of the interaction happen via embedded web browser control.
- User Interface: User interface development will still be unique for each platform. Cross-development tools just translate the backend code, but for user experience, it is mandatory that UI adapts native navigation theories.
With all odds and evens, cross-platform mobile application development is trending because of its time and cost effectiveness. The cross development platforms itself are evolving too much to meet the expectation of app developers. Ultimately, it’s about technology, whatever we have today is going to be outdated tomorrow.
Here are some top cross development platform for mobile apps:
PhoneGap, Appcelerator Titanium, Cocos2d, Corona, Tamarin and Sencha. Stay tuned we’ll soon write the review of each platform.
You can visit our blog on Native apps to get more insights of its advantages that may help you in choosing the right platform for your app.
If you are still unable to decide how to get your app developed or which platform to choose, whether to go for cross-platform or not, contact us and we are happy to assist you.