Mobile applications are more of a basic need than a personal commodity or something to spare time on.
With the digital expansion of businesses and industries to undisputed levels, the integration of mobile apps is now inevitable.
At the same time, what grows is the number of ways businesses are leveraging mobile apps to expand their businesses and customer reach in order to bring more revenue and brand recognition.
As the audience grows more expansive with every passing day, catering to them requires incorporating newer, more advanced technologies. Subsequently, tools and technologies that ensure sustainability, massive performance, and long-term results turn out to be more profitable choices.
When it comes to mobile apps, one such choice is cross-platform app development that enables businesses to develop solutions for a wider audience and extend the service graphs.
While many of you know what cross-platform app development is, the question still intrigues many others.
This article will take you through all the essential cross-platform mobile app development aspects that you must know as an app developer or an appreneur.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started.
What is Cross-platform App Development?
Putting it simply, cross-platform app development is the concept of building applications that are compatible with multiple mobile operating systems, such as android, iOS, windows, etc.
It enables app developers to come with digital solutions that run across different devices without any hassle, cut down development costs, and have cost-effective app solutions.
As the number of mobile apps in the US grows to be 298 million, the need to have large-scale and wide-ended solutions are essential.
With Apple claiming more than half of the smartphone market share in 2021, followed by android, developing applications that cater to both users is rudimentary as it opens new doors of success for business owners.
Benefits of Cross-platform App Development
Cross-platform app development brings along innumerable benefits to developers and entrepreneurs investing in app development. Following are the few important benefits;
1. Cross-platform applications enable code reusability to develop similar apps from different environments, enabling less time and effort into app development.
2. With enabling time and cost-efficacy, it is safe to say that cross-platform application development enables cheaper and faster app development.
3. With quicker app development and cost-effective production, apps’ time to reach the target audience and market also reduce. This means the app’s reach becomes better.
4. Since it enables application development for multiple OS, the target audience increases, allowing businesses to expand their customer reach.
5. Cross-platform app the development allows entrepreneurs to gain a competitive advantage in the market with early product release for a larger group, which brings in more revenue and business.
These are some of the primary benefits of cross-platform application development. So, as an entrepreneur, if you are wondering why you should be in multi-platform development, now you know.
Moving on, let’s have a look at the fundamental difference between native and cross-platform application development
What is the Difference Between Native and Cross-platform App Development?
With the most fundamental difference between the two development approaches, native app development focuses on developing exclusively for a specific platform.
These applications are written in languages that are compatible with one platform only.
On the other hand, cross-platform applications run across multiple platforms and therefore these apps are developed to be compatible with multiple devices.
Cross-platform applications are usually developed using HTML and CSS, while native applications are developed using languages like Swift, Objective C for developing application iOS operating system.
Native mobile applications require writing the application code from scratch to ensure dedicated experiences; it is a relatively simple development approach focusing on OS specifications.
Also, native applications are prioritized on catering to the basic specifications of native platform, such as features, functionalities, layout, etc.
In contrast, cross-platform development is more focused on providing time-effective solutions and saves nearly 80% of the total project budget with code reusability.
Cross-platform frameworks are majorly web-friendly and therefore are easy to integrate into different mobile OS. However, doing so may require developers to add additional features and functionalities to the OS.
What to Consider When Choosing a Cross-platform/Native Development Approach?
Application development is subject to many aspects that help in deciding the relevant approach and development technique.
These aspects enable entrepreneurs to evaluate the scope and nature of their project while helping them make better choices in terms of development tools and techniques.
These aspects include;
· Complexity of Project
· Development Time
· Design Features
1. Complexity of Project
Suppose you are developing a project with complex requirements and features and require integrating numerous features like Bluetooth enablement or voice recognition, etc. In that case, native app development is a suitable choice.
On the contrary, if your app is a simple digital solution with minimal functionalities, such as displaying the fetched information on the screen, opting for a cross-platform application is optimal.
2. Cost of Development
The app development budget primarily depends on the scope of your app. however, choosing the right technologies and tools can help optimize the development cost.
Therefore, choosing cross-platform app development can reduce your total budget by at least 50%.
However, native app development is highly result-oriented and ensures robust performance; the cost is also high.
3. Development Time
In several cases, app developers prioritize developing an MVP for the project before launching the final app. This is where cross-platform app development comes into play.
While it would reduce the time required for developing the app, it would also assist in the quick development of 2 versions of the single app within the same time.
4. Design Features
When it comes to features and design aspects of an app, native application development offers the incorporation of several features creating highly interactive and engaging apps.
Whereas cross-platform applications limit the integration of UI/UX features in the app, it often needs to be compatible with multiple mobile OS.
What are the Best Cross-Platform Application Development Frameworks?
Hoping that you would have developed a detailed idea about cross-platform application development and how it differs from a native application.
Let’s now talk about some of the best and most-used cross-platform frameworks to be used.
1. React Native
Popular apps like Facebook and Instagram are successfully running on this open-source platform.
Some advantages of React Native framework include;
· An application written on React Native has almost 90% of the same code, enabling maximum code reusability.
· The platform develops highly interactive yet easy-to-understand user interfaces.
· If offers third-party support for additional feature integration to developers.
· React Native has a vast community of developers and learners to support.
Another popular cross-platform framework that is launched by Google and is used by numerous multi-platform app developers.
A platform is also an open-source tool that uses Dart programming to develop profitable mobile applications. One of the platform’s best features is that it allows developers to view real-time changes in the code and update accordingly.
The advantages of Flutter include;
· Easy to learn, understand, and adapt as Dart programming is similar to android.
· Hot Reload feature enables developers to make and see changes to in code within seconds.
· A strong community of developers to help others learn and understand the platform.
Ionic is another Software Development Kit (SDK) for hybrid mobile applications that enables creating individual modules and components for platform-specific applications for android and iOS development.
Another widely used cross-platform application development framework that used C# and .Net framework applications. The framework was initially created by Microsoft Visual Studio, which was later released on various platforms.
The framework offers integration of visual studio to develop powerful IDE. Also, it enables additional features like cloud services, UI features, themes, and several other development aspects.
Cross-platform application development is one of the leading app development approaches for all the right reasons.
As the app development industry is integrating into every corporate sector while expanding in scope and usability, the solutions must be robust and profitable.
The cross-platform application allows developers to create an application that works well on multiple platforms and helps cater to large user bases and expand business horizons.
Although the approach is suitable in specific scenarios, developing cross-platform mobile applications brings numerous benefits to the business. And, this is the reason there are numerous cross-platform frameworks available for developers to leverage.
- Mehreen consultancy Services