Last updated on October 12th, 2023 at 06:36 am
Perhaps, it is somewhat difficult to decide which mobile development method to choose. Here’s how to figure out whether you should build your new software natively or cross-platform.
The world of mobile app development is vast and changing at a breakneck speed. Mobile apps have had a hugely positive impact on businesses all over the world, allowing them to grow enormously. This is why, since 2018, the worldwide mobile app market has grown at a CAGR of 18.4 percent.
With the boom of mobile app development, numerous types of mobile app development platforms have sprung up all over the world. The following are some of the most popular app development frameworks:
- Development of native apps
- App development for many platforms
- App development for the web
Native and cross-platform app development, among the aforementioned sorts, have piqued the interest of business owners all over the world. In fact, according to a recent Statista survey, 67 percent of app developers choose Native apps, while the rest favour cross-platform apps.
Now you’re probably wondering which platform is better: native or cross-platform. As a result, we’ll go over many areas of Native and Cross-Platform app development in this article. Furthermore, we’ll examine the scenarios in which a CTO can employ one of the two app development frameworks.
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
When Flutter App Development, Google’s commercial kit, was first released in 2017, one of our clients wanted to use it to construct an MVP (minimum viable product). An MVP is a software proof-of-concept in which developers produce an early version of the app that showcases the product’s essential features. The goal was not to expedite the project or save money, but rather to impress competitors.
Flutter required the Android App Development market to catch up as a completely new development platform. We did our best to persuade the customer that the development language was still in its infancy, that the project would be impossible to scale, and that there were far too few people educated in Flutter. Despite our advice, the client stayed firm and opted to take a chance. While we did create an MVP, our earlier warning about scaling issues came true soon, resulting in a tough project that diverted time and money away from other company priorities.
So, it is always good to do not rely on technology just for the sake of it. Choose a development strategy based on your unique requirements and implement solutions that provide tangible benefits to your team. Native and cross-platform technologies are just that: tools we utilise to accomplish certain business goals.
What is Native App Development?
Native apps, as the term indicates, are designed specifically for a single platform, such as iOS, Android, or Windows. Native apps have direct access to the device’s hardware, including the microphone, camera, GPS, and other features. As a result, they obtain all of the device’s benefits and provide a high-performance and better user experience. This is why the vast majority of CTOs prefer to create Native applications for their products. IT business owners don’t have to worry about their native apps’ interoperability with devices or browser behaviour.
Building apps in a platform’s native language and using APIs/frameworks specifically built for accessing device features or capabilities is known as native app development. For Android, the JDK will be Java or Kotlin, and for iOS, the iOS SDK will be Obj-C or Swift.
For unique, high-performance apps that provide the best user experience, developers often pick native app development. When developing a native app, developers have access to all capabilities across various devices, allowing them to apply more complicated functionalities, resulting in solutions that are more stable, secure, high-performing, and adaptable to the environment and peculiarities of use.
Advantages of Native Development
- Smooth operation
Because native apps are designed with native technology, they use the entire capabilities of the device and provide consistent work, fast operating speeds, and smooth performance.
- Operation without hiccups and compatibility
Native apps are simple to integrate with the hardware of the device, ensuring smooth functioning. The camera, touch screen functions, calendar, GPS, and other devices are all automatically used by the app.
- Security and dependability
Hybrid apps provide greater security risks. The more layers, languages, and technologies your app has, the more vulnerability it is likely to have.
- Excellent user experience
Many of the best and most popular apps on the app store have become successful as a result of strong UX (user experience) design, which may be pushed even further with native app development.
Complex layouts are supported, full customization of interface elements is possible, complex animation is possible, and there are additional choices for improving the interface and interactions with native apps.
- SDK for programmers
Native development provides operational features that make app development faster and less expensive – SDKs, or “software development kits,” are likely the most essential aspect of this process. These are a collection of tools and technologies that help developers create apps for a specific platform.
SDKs can also be expedited by including constantly updated code and libraries that are (generally) ready to use, replete with technical guides and documentation.
Not only will you find a committed community of developers with whom to cooperate and share ideas, but case situations and app projects will also be well-documented, making your research chores easier.
Because native apps do not require numerous layers of processing, they consume less battery power. Users can use smart gadgets for longer periods of time without overtaxing their processors because they’re easier to optimise.
- Updates are simple
Every good app requires a simple, straightforward method for updating it over time. Native apps are particularly good at this because they’re much easier to update over time and can take advantage of capabilities like AI, IoT connection, and more.
Disadvantages of Native Development
Despite its many advantages, native development has some disadvantages as well. The following are the most important:
- Initial investment costs higher
Because native apps are committed to a single platform, you’ll have to choose between paying for multi-platform development in one lump payment or spreading out releases to spread out your development costs. Choose prudently because the total cost is usually 30-40% higher than cross-platform development.
- Time to market
Because native app development takes time, you’ll need more time to develop and test the app before releasing it. Because of the project’s complexity, it will take multiple teams to develop one app and ensure that it runs well by the time it is released.
- Separate Codebase
Because the development of Android and iOS apps is distinct, each will have its own codebase. Because the platforms are distinct, developers must be prepared to integrate each new app feature twice. Not only that, but the tools and even the developers needed to execute these jobs would differ depending on the operating system.
Examples of Native Apps
It’s no surprise that the majority of Mobile App Development on the market is native apps, which are designed to run as efficiently as possible on their respective platforms.
Here are five examples of native apps you may already be familiar with, ranging from games to chat apps, navigation programmes, and streaming platforms:
- LinkedIn (LinkedIn’s mobile app previously used HTML5, but it now uses native native.) LinkedIn’s app performance has improved dramatically since switching to native platform development in terms of rendering and speed.)
- Pokémon Go
What is Cross-Platform Development?
Cross-platform apps share a same codebase, whereas native apps have different codebases. They can also run on numerous platforms and devices at the same time.
Because developers may repurpose around 70 to 95 percent of the code for other platforms, cross-platform development often provides for speedier (and cheaper) app development. In other words, you’ll just need one codebase to create for Android and iOS, rather than two.
Although some sections of the code must be written in native code, the rest of the work may be done with tools like React Native, Flutter, Ionic, and Xamarin.
According to statistics, Flutter is the most popular cross-platform mobile framework among global developers. Flutter is used by 42% of software developers, whereas React Native is used by 38%, making it the second most popular mobile framework for cross-platform development.
Advantages of Cross-Platform App Development
- Reusable code
As it is previously stated, developers can reuse and repurpose 80 percent of current code to adapt to other devices on average. When compared to native app development, this simplifies and speeds up the process.
- Cost-effective and time-saving
Adapting existing code for several platforms can make development extremely cost-effective and time-saving for developers.
- Reduced team Size
There’s no need to recruit a separate development team for multiple platforms because the process is considerably more streamlined across platforms and devices.
- Reach to a huge audience
Because of their adaptability and extensive availability, cross-platform apps enable brands to reach new markets and audiences.
Disadvantages of Cross-Platform App Development
Of course, time and cost efficiency have its drawbacks. The following are the major disadvantages of the cross-platform approach:
- Delays in Performance
Users may notice performance delays as a result of the code not being highly detailed according to device or platform.
- Limited UX
Native apps provide a better user experience than cross-platform apps. On cross-platform apps, some native aspects may be unavailable. As a result, it’s critical to lay out a cross-platform UI (user interface) early in the development process, because modifying it afterwards can be challenging.
- Having to rely on third-party libraries
Because SDKs and other libraries are often underused, developers may struggle to find new ways to incorporate new features into their apps.
- More quality assurance testing is required
Because cross-platform apps must work with a broader range of programming languages and hardware platforms, they must be thoroughly tested for flaws, exploits, and other quality assurance issues.
Examples of Cross-Platform Apps
The availability of many platforms necessitates the development of programmes that can run on multiple platforms. Many businesses benefit from cross-platform development, especially when focusing on a single platform is not an option.
Here are a few high-performing cross-platform apps that have also become important in everyday life:
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
- Adobe Reader
When you should go for React Native App Development?
It’s an undeniable reality that native apps in general offer a slew of benefits. However, CTOs must be aware of the scenarios in which Native apps are appropriate. We’ve compiled a list of scenarios in which you can develop a Native app as a business owner:
- If you’re a business owner who wants to create a complex app, native apps are a terrific option. They are ideal for designing complex high-end applications since they can take advantage of all of the device’s features.
- When opposed to cross-platform apps, developing a native app is more expensive. So, if your app development process has no price limits, you can proceed with Native app development.
- Native apps take longer to develop, as well as cost more money. Stick with Native app development if you’re not in a hurry to launch your app as a business owner.
- Native apps are a long-term investment. They are expected to grow in popularity since they provide a better user experience. Native apps can yield rich rewards if you have a specific audience in mind and are ready to wait.
- If you have a team of professional Native app developers as a CTO, Native app development is the way to go.
Depending on the platform, different sets of tools are available for Native app development. They are as follows:
- For Android, there’s Android IDE, Android Studio, and IntelliJ IDEA;
- For iOS, there’s Atom, XCode, and AppCode.
When you should go for Cross-Platform App Development?
Cross-platform apps, like native apps, offer their own set of advantages. The following are some of the most compelling reasons for CTOs to choose cross-platform app development:
- Cross-platform programmes are convenient to use. Cross-platform apps are a preferable alternative for a bootstrapped company aiming for maximum outcomes with minimal expenditure.
- The expense of maintaining cross-platform software is lower. As a result, it has no negative influence on the overall revenue of the company.
- If you’re an IT entrepreneur with limited time to devote to app promotion, cross-platform app development is a better option.
- Cross-platform programmes are easier to develop and maintain. As a result, cross-platform apps are a ‘win-win’ situation for you as a CTO.
Native vs Cross-platform App Development
The conflict between native and cross-platform app development has been the mother of all app development battles. However, there are a few crucial considerations that a CTO should make while choosing an app development platform. As a result, it’s critical to comprehend the fundamental differences between native and cross-platform software development.
- Development Time
Native apps take a long time to develop because the code is written from scratch for each platform. Cross-platform apps, on the other hand, work on the idea of “write once, run anywhere.” As a result, the developers don’t have to start from scratch and can execute single scripts across numerous platforms.
- Performance and Speed
The app’s performance and speed are critical factors in determining the app’s future. The IT business owner doesn’t have to worry about the app’s performance or speed with Native apps. This is due to the fact that these apps are responsive, quick, and less prone to crash. However, the situation is different for cross-platform software. Performance difficulties abound in these apps, which are significantly slower than native apps.
Native applications have performance SDKs that make it easy to connect to the API device. Native apps, unlike cross-platform apps, also support offline functionality. There is no guarantee that cross-platform apps will have access to the device API.
- Customer reach
Native applications have a smaller customer base because they are designed for a specific platform. Furthermore, cross-platform apps make it easier to reach a broader audience because they allow you to promote single app across multiple platforms.
- Language compatibility
Both native and cross-platform software development have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. As a result, before settling on an app development framework, it’s all about the exact business necessity. Before settling on an app development framework, IT business owners should figure out exactly what they want. And the decision should be made with both current and future considerations in mind.
Naveen Khanna is the CEO of eBizneeds, a company renowned for its bespoke web and mobile app development. By delivering high-end modern solutions all over the globe, Naveen takes pleasure in sharing his rich experiences and views on emerging technological trends. He has worked in many domains, from education, entertainment, banking, manufacturing, healthcare, and real estate, sharing rich experience in delivering innovative solutions.