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What is Cross-Platform Application Development and Native Application Development?

by Gary Ferguson Technical Writer | Blogger

These days everything has gone mobile. In everyone's life smartphones play an important role when it comes to getting things done on the go. The days when mobile phones were considered to be communication are gone. At present there, nearly 3.5 billion active smartphones predicted to be in by the end of 2020 and are expected to touch or even go beyond 4 billion devices by 2021. From a business perspective, there's a huge potential of reaching and penetrating deep into the market. Mobile apps are fueling the future of digital media in today's era. Be it on android or Ios there's a flood of app on app stores making a good platform for innovation and change the way the businesses interact with their users.

Earlier developers had to choose from either of the platforms to go ahead and develop apps. Requiring to use different programming language and toolset. But with today's smartphone reach and diversity, It has made it an important aspect for an app to be present across different platforms to maximize the reach and increase the potential.

What is native and cross-platform application development then?

1.Native application development: As the name suggests "native" is intended to be used on only one platform. Either on iOS or Android or even only a desktop computer. iOS uses swift or objective-C as their programming language, and android uses Java or Kotlin as their programming language. Developing two separate apps for different platforms has it's own pro's and con's.

Pro:

UI/UX experience: Since the app is being developed for one specific platform the developer is familiar with the approach and implementation that has to be done towards designing the app. Result? Immersive and rich UI/UX experience for the user.

Stability and reliability: What may work for one particular platform may not work for others. So in case of a bug, it becomes difficult to fix if a single code is being used for multiple platforms, But in case of native apps, the debugging takes less amount of time.

Library restrictions: With native application development you need not worry about the restriction of accessing the 3rd party libraries. In the case of cross-platform development, accessible libraries are different for different thereby puts on the restriction of development aspect.

Updates and app release: With native apps, it's easy for adding new features or introducing new updates to the core of the app. For each, there are different guidelines for releasing apps on their respective app store. With a cross-platform, a common ground has to be found to facilitate the release.

This way of developing the same app for two different platforms separately is little expensive and time-consuming but ensure excellent user experience and rich UI and other elements

Cross-platform application development: As the name suggests the application is developed to be run on multiple platforms using only a single code. The main idea with this type of development is to streamline the mobile app development process. How is it done? There are frameworks like ionic that allows you to develop an app using a single code. This code then gets compiled into the native code. ie .apk file or .ipa file. In short, the code gets translated for the respective platform.

The major advantage here is it's budget-friendly and requires less development time to get the app running. Though the UI/UX is slightly compromised as the elements and the required functionality is developed and implemented in a way that it works on both platforms. An effective way to reach maximum audiences using only a single code base for the app.

How do you know whether an app is cross-platform or native?

Many applications may look similar on a different platform and feel like it's a cross-platform developed application but that's where similarities end. The application logic or the concepts are same but how they function is platform-independent

Cross-platform application development generally uses web-based technologies such as javascript or html . and requires an internet connection to function and load further data from the server. Whereas native applications load the important data and can have few features work without the internet.

How to decide which development method will be suitable.?

Many mobile application development companies offer both types of development but to decide which development method will suit, consider the following factors :

Budget: If you need to develop your application in a cost-effective manner then going with cross-platform application development is an effective method. If budget isn't a restriction then is Native is best choice, With native platform application development you can play around with applications functionalities and there's no restrictions as well (thereby makes it expensive but worth it)

Reach: Based on geolocation where your app will serve and their target audience needs to know. For, ex: the USA has a maximum number of iOS users and India has maximum users for Android. If you need to reach out to a specific audience native is suited. Need to reach a much wider audience then cross-platform is the go-to choice.

Priority to UI/UX: The major advantage the native apps provide is the impressive UI/UX experience. Cross-platform misses out on this. If the priority is to get an application developed and running then cross-platform can be a good choice, But if providing the excellent UI/UX experience from the start is the priority then, in that case, Native app development is the choice to go with.

The author of the this article is an expericened developer at mobile application development company based out of San Diego, CA. Where he has worked and implimented various mobile and web applications projects.


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About Gary Ferguson Advanced   Technical Writer | Blogger

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Joined APSense since, February 6th, 2019, From New York, USA, United States.

Created on Feb 6th 2020 05:01. Viewed 217 times.

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