The world has become mobile. Every day, the number of mobile users is growing, the global mobile application market is already developed and keeps growing. A competent businessman can not fail to notice this tendency and will do everything to join it. Mobile applications today are perfect for any organization, regardless of its size. Of course, as a business, it needs to deal with different types of clients that have dissimilar types of devices. Therefore, it needs to have a mobile applications that can work without problems on all platforms (like Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc.).
Entrepreneurs are trying to find opportunities to develop inexpensive apps that support gadgets on Android and iOS. Some developers may persuade to write a separate, native code for each operating system, and this is costy. From the user’s point of view speed and convenience of a mobile application are the most important aspects. And at the intersection of all these needs, there appears the cross-platform development of the mobile applications.
What is cross-platform development?
To put it simply, cross-platform application development means that the application is easily adjusted to different mobile operating systems. Only one code is written and implemented on different platforms at the same time.
But here we must say about one of the biggest advantages of a cross-platform. It consists in the fact that with this technology you can easily enter the market and test the idea. This means that if you have developed the application once for the two main platforms (iOS and Android), you will have a ready-to-use functional product that can already sell. This is actually a whole different topic; art of product creation won’t be covered enough even if it was a book here.
It's hard to find a better way to launch a new mobile based business to the market than to build your application on a cross-platform. First, you save time. Second, you test the viability of your idea and find your own advantages over competitors. And lastly, you give a strong boost to your business, because the future of mobile has already come.
Among obstacles, you could consider that the very principle of cross-platform is new, the technology for it is quite recent, and it is difficult to find experienced developers. Despite this, the technology is incredibly popular. For example, React Native exists only from the beginning of 2015. In just two and a half years this language has become one of the most popular coding languages for the mobile. The demand for it grows, it looks promising. But on the other hand, React Native is still young, it’s demand exceeds the offer.
it's common that the new technology, cross-platform, causes doubts to use in business. One of the biggest concerns out there is that the cross-platform application will never be as good as the native one. This is a very popular misconception. Reasons for it are: the components of the device are integrated with new technologies somewhat more complicated (e. g. camera, geolocation). Developers have strong communities for cross-platform languages and keep their hands on the pulse, constantly creating modules to eliminate all issues. In addition, the so-called Software Development Kit (SDK) has been actively developed for cross-technology integration in various services (payment systems, video modules, etc.). And yes, for native apps this culture has been established for quite longer.
In addition, if we talk about negative stereotypes - they say that cross-platform applications are only made for light tasks, because they are inflexible and inappropriate. This has long been wrong. If you look at showcases of technology, there are very worthy examples that withstand highloads.
But, perhaps, it's enough to look at the products that use React Native to see how this technology is relevant and how promising it is. I just call Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Airbnb, Tesla, and you decide.
Now when we have a brief understanding of the cross-platform development concept, we will analyze which pros and cons it has.
- With cross-platform development, the application is developed only once for all platforms. By this technique, the app is made faster. Yet, you need to consider a certain buffer for the personal integration tweaks into every operating system, in average it’s around +15% to the full development volumes, but again, made once
- If the error is found in the common code base, it will be fixed only once.
- Ideal for B2B/B2C applications and business process automation applications, where time to deployment and efficient utilization of resources are important.
- Since the user interface is developed in HTML, it is very difficult to achieve the performance of the native platform. Therefore, animation can be deployed a little longer.
- Different user experience. The interface of dissimilar operating systems is very different, so it's difficult to create a single cross-platform interface that is convenient and performs all functions for each platform users. But by adding + 15% of the designer's and developer's mobility, you can fit each of the applications to the platform standards. It should also be noted that cross design is a big and interesting challenge for UX designers.
- Mobile operating systems are developing at a very fast pace. Constantly updated. So developers of cross-platform applications also have to update their versions.
"We are confident that the future is in cross-patform. The main advantage is it’s effectiveness which provides an opportunity to reduce time and money more than twice. In addition, nativeness is not always necessary. Simple navigation, functionality, integration of payment and similar are much more important things to consider."
Sergey Denisenko, CEO Lenal
- It's more efficient to develop simple solutions on cross-platform technologies creating an application to enter the market and test an idea.
- To make a choice between native and cross-platform development, you need to consider what you want to achieve, how complex will your app be and how much into mobile processing will it go. The solution can be quite varied.
- If you have any questions, feel free to place them, it will help to add value to an article or create a new one. If you have your own thoughts on cross-platform development, do not be restrained - we love to discuss!