Whether it is worth choosing cross-platform development for your product or preferring native development is not an easy question, since each business has its own goals and expectations from the product that is planned to be developed. But today we will definitely figure out which development is right for you.
What are cross-platform apps?
Cross-platform applications are applications that are developed and then run immediately on both Android and iOS. The essence of the development is that the source code of the application is translated into native, that is, understandable for a specific mobile device. As a result, the program can interact with the operating system installed on it.
Recall: native applications, as opposed to cross-platform, are written initially for a specific OS.
Pros of cross-platform development
- expanding the user base due to the appearance of the application simultaneously in several stores;
- single source code saves you the hassle of hiring multiple developers for each platform;
- 75% of the codebase of a cross-platform application can be reused, adapting it for new projects.
Cons of cross-platform development
1. High dependence on a mobile device
Cross-platform apps usually don’t work offline. Therefore, their capabilities are highly dependent on the presence of a stable Internet connection. The operating system version and model of the device are also important. A cross-platform application is almost guaranteed to degrade the performance of a device older than one to two years. While the native application will work stably even on an ancient gadget with outdated firmware. So if you don’t want your customers to read angry reviews about how your application finally “finished off” someone’s smartphone, choose native development.
2. Unfriendly user interface
Users get so used to the look and functionality of their gadgets that they expect maximum responsiveness from the applications installed on them. They want to be sure that each button will be in its rightful place, that the page scrolls at the speed that is optimal for them, and that any action they take will be followed by an immediate reaction. Cross-platform applications usually have difficulty adapting to the device, and they cannot boast of high-speed performance.
The problem is that there are no guidelines for cross-platform development – development standards from the creators of the OS. Therefore, cross-platform development of mobile applications for android will not be convenient for the iOS user, and vice versa. You can, of course, create separate designs for each platform, but in terms of labor costs, this will be equal to creating two different applications, albeit in the same language.
3. Struggle for primacy among development tools
In the market for cross-platform development solutions, competition is getting tougher every day. So far, the most popular among developers are React Native and Xamarin, but they may well be outstripped, for example, by Vue Native. In this case, the ex-leaders of the race will lose their most important advantage – the operational support of the code. And this can happen with any cross-platform tool.
This is not a problem for native development. The introduction of new tools occurs gradually, and knowledge of several programming languages, which is mandatory for a narrow specialist, will allow him to quickly deal with all the innovations. In addition, there are huge professional communities around each operating system, as a result of which any difficulty that arises is solved by searching for a similar problem on the forums, where thousands of people are ready to suggest and help solve it.
Which app is right for your business?
Before answering this question, it is imperative to analyze your business. Customer segments, the value of time and money resources, the desired depth of application integration with user devices, plus well-defined long-term goals – the minimum on which your choice will depend. But we will make it easier if you answer the relevant questions right now.
1. What is your audience using?
If you know that your client base is close to 50-50 for iOS to Android users, choose native development. This will show that you respect the needs of all your customers equally, regardless of their income level.
The relationship between the choice of a mobile device and the level of solvency was once again confirmed by App Annie. A study of the number of downloads and sales of mobile applications in Google Play and the App Store in the first quarter of 2018 revealed that Android smartphone users downloaded 135% more applications than visitors to the iOS store. At the same time, the App Store brought its owners 85% more revenue than Google Play. A reason to think about the separate development of the ios mobile application.
The path to success is clear: play on two fields at once. More precisely, at two stores. Just calculate in which one the application should appear first. Unless of course the simultaneous release is part of your digital strategy.
2. How much time do you have for development?
The financial costs of the project depend on the answer to this question. The fact is that in terms of the time spent on development, a cross-platform application only seems to be a more profitable solution. In fact, adapting it to platforms can take almost as long as creating two native applications, since developers have to write additional pieces of code for problem areas.
With a native application, there will definitely not be such problems, which is very important for retaining an audience that is extremely intolerant to errors and bugs. According to statistics from Compuware, 79% of users are ready to restart the application if it did not work correctly during the first launch, but only 16% agree to give it another chance. The rest will most likely just uninstall the program.
3. What features of the device do you plan to use?
We have already talked about the fact that only native applications are able to reproduce heavy graphics quickly and without loss of quality. But the technical advantages of native development don’t stop there. Take the Facebook app as an example. With the release of separate versions for Android and iOS, scrolling has become smoother, image loading times have been reduced and all cache issues have been resolved.
What’s more, native apps get direct access to all services on the device, which allows you to get information about a user’s location or contact list. Cross-platform applications have to use special native plugins, which negatively affects the data transfer speed and overloads the device’s RAM.
4. What results are you striving for?
A digital strategy is a list of goals that your company can achieve using digital tools. The choice of the latter largely depends on the benefits that you want to get in the end.
Break down the process from idea to result point by point, taking into account all available resources. Discoveries can be the most unexpected.
For example, you may find that translating your responsive site with many features and interactivity into a cross-platform application, as you originally intended, is too expensive a task. Or finally make sure that a mobile site always loses to a mobile application – how cross-platform development loses to a native one. And among the reasons, find those that we described above.
Conclusion: a cross-platform application is beneficial only in one case – you create a demo version of the application, limited in time, money and narrow-profile specialists. In all other cases, a native application will give you many times more advantages, since this is a qualitatively different level of development.
In our blog, you can always read about the price for developing applications for ios and android and have time to leave an application for developing a mobile application in 2020.