Choosing a platform to build your mobile application is not as easy as it was a few years ago.
One of the most vital decisions that the creator of the application needs to make is the platform on which the application will be developed: whether it will be a native or a cross-platform mobile application. There are around 8 million apps available on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play, targeting over 7 billion smart phones worldwide. If you’re keen on launching a mobile app one of the most important decisions to make is choosing between native or cross-platform mobile development.
How do you develop an awesome app? Which platform should you use for this purpose? These are just a couple of the questions an entrepreneur is mulling over before getting down to the development process.
Since getting the right choice is difficult for you, it’s better to seek professional advice from a mobile development agency.
Choosing one or the other has long term implications in terms of cost, time, and functionality. In this article, we’ll explore both options and weigh the pros and cons of each.
First, let’s talk about what is entailed in both platforms. Then we’ll shed some light on the major differences between them.
WHAT IS NATIVE APP DEVELOPMENT?
The term native app development refers to building a mobile app exclusively for a single platform. The app is built with programming languages and tools that are specific to a single platform. For example, you can develop a native Android app with Java or Kotlin and choose Swift and Objective-C for iOS apps.
To develop native apps both Android and iOS developers make use of a specific set of development tools called the Software Development Kit (SDK) and an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). They are specifically targeted at predetermined operating systems. Native apps are generally more secure, intuitive, perform better, and grant developers’ complete access to the target device’s features.
Pros of Native App Development
- Broad Functionality: You’ll have access to every API and tool provided by the platform that you’re working on. Technically there are no limits on how the programmers can develop the app.
- Better Store Support: A native app is easier to be published and usually ranked higher on the platform’s app store because it delivers better performance and speed.
- Increased Scalability: Apps built for the native environment also tend to be more scalable thanks to the flexibility in resources management and the array of tools available.
- High Performance and Great UX: The direct interaction between the code and the underlying resources results in high performance. Also, native apps generally have a better UX that is synonymous with the platform.
Cons of Native App Development:
- You Need to Write Code for Each Platform: Native apps work only on one specific platform. If you want to launch your app on another platform developers need to create the app with a different codebase. This is usually a time-consuming and expensive process.
- Two Times Higher Development Cost:Since you need to write different codebases for different platforms, you will need two separate teams of software engineers to create and maintain your product. This means you’ll incur more costs. Native applications are complicated and intricate products, and to develop them, you should find a professional team. Be prepared to have a higher budget Native app development.
- Two Times Higher Maintenance Cost: Why is the price for native apps higher? It’s because you build a native app for each platform separately. Native development comes with higher maintenance costs. Thus, if you decide to scale your business and launch your app on another platform, you need to build the app and maintain the two of them. This process is pricey and time-consuming.
Native App Development Tools & Technologies:
To create a native app developers use a few common languages. These languages include Java or Kotlin for Android, and for iOS, they may use Swift or Object-C.
- XCode: Allows transforming code easily and enables coders to build their own instruments. It easily complies code at a higher speed which makes mobile app development a bit faster. XCode also comes with an IDE source editor, detailed documentation, system data recording, and integrated build system.
- Android studio: This tool provides an implementation editor, drag and drop features for the layout, and helps make shortcuts in coding and design. Android Studio allows you to use the NDK which is a toolset for implementing your app’s parts in native code with the help of C and C++ mobile apps development languages. Hence, Android Studio comes with plenty of opportunities for developers and equips them with handy tools, impressive resources, and plenty of vital features.
- IntelliJ IDEA: IntelliJ IDEA is also an integrated development environment. It offers a range of features such as code completion and vast plugin ecosystem. Using this environment, you can easily edit, run, debug, and maintain your Native app. Cleaver and user-friendly coding assistance are likely to make this process enjoyable.
Examples of native apps:
- Google Maps
CROSS-PLATFORM APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT
It is pretty easy to understand the difference between native and cross-platform applications. Cross-platform applications are designed to work on different platforms concurrently. This is achieved by using programming tools like Xamarin, Flutter, and React Native.
Using these platforms make the application easily usable on both Android as well as iOS. However, this type of application is not as effective as the native application development platform because it is not specific to any one software application. This sacrifices the quality of the application at times and reduces performance.
Cross-Platform Mobile Development Tools
Since cross-platform apps can be run on different platforms, you need to find proper and effective development tools that will allow building the same great app for both Android and iOS. To create an awesome app, you need first-class cross-platform solutions. React Native and Flutter have proven to be best and most reliable cross-platform languages.
- React native: React Native is frequently used to create a cross-platform app that will be run both on Android and iOS using a single framework. Being a child of Facebook, this framework is based on a React library to build user interfaces. With React Native, developers can write readable and clear code faster which is easier to debug.
- Flutter: Is an effective and useful cross-platform app development framework. Flutter is powered by Dart, a language optimized for fast apps on any platform. The Dart language is type safe: it uses a combination of static type checking and runtime checks to ensure that a variable’s value always matches the variable’s static type, sometimes referred to as sound typing. This consequently facilitates easier maintenance and code debugging.
Pros of Cross-Platform App Development:
- Less Costly: Fewer resources are deployed in the development of cross-platform applications. Instead of hiring two teams you will only need one team to develop your app. This will not only save on development cost but time as well.
- The pace of developing is faster: Only one type of programming language and development cycle is needed to create such an app running on both platforms.
- Single codebase needed: The code will only have to be written once and your developers can utilize a a single cross-platform development tool.
Cons of Cross-Platform App Development:
- Reduced performance: As the application is not tailored to the needs of each platform it tends to lack in performance.
- Slower app: Making an application on a cross-platform leads to the abstraction of layers which renders the cross-platform application relatively slower.
- Limited functions: It is difficult to use various smartphone functions like the microphone, geolocation, and camera when using cross-platform applications.
Examples of cross-platform apps:
- Facebook Ads Manager
- The New York Times
- Adobe Flash player
- Skulls of the Shogun
Your choice of building your mobile app with a native versus cross-platform will depend on your business goals, budget, deadlines, and the number of features you are going to include. Many times, startups opt for a cross-platform app to reduce the costs for development. Also, as mentioned above, native apps cost more to maintain over the long run. In the end, if the budget allows, you will have a better app if it is built with a native programming language.
We hope this article has helped you explore all the pros and cons of native and cross-platform development. Your decision will have a huge impact on the performance of your application and its usability. Therefore, consider all these points before choosing you application platform.
About 5280 Software LLC:
5280 Software LLC, located in Denver, Colorado is a premier software development firm. We have worked with a variety of clients over the years. Our expert team of developers have helped small to medium sized businesses, startups, as well as enterprise level clients such as RingCentral. If you are looking to build a mobile app, we can deliver flawless apple ios mobile apps as well as android mobile apps. Our mobile app development agency designs apps for smartphones, ipad and android tablets, wearable such as smart watches, and even smart TVs.
The power of a well-designed app to gain new customers is key in today’s market. Our cutting-edge mobile app development solution is what your business or startup needs! Our developers are adroit with any mobile app development platform you need. We help execute your app development to perfection. If you need the best mobile app development companies, you have found them!
We offer a complete solution with the latest technologies to solve your obstacles and scale your customer base. From the start of any project (and at every stage, step, phase, and release) we focus on the client and always ask for feedback while we develop the project. Creating a quality solution for a business or startup is our end goal. Our strategy and processes are based on solid communication with our clients. 5280 Software LLC is one of the top mobile app development companies in the USA. We are far better than other mobile app development companies that charge more money for lower quality.
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