More and more companies want to bring their solutions, websites and product offers on smart phones and tablets. For the last several years both the mobile developers and the clients have been faced a core question: native app or a cross-platform solution? A native app represents a development technology for a specific operating system of particular end devices. A co-called cross-platform development, on the contrary, means an app development simultaneously for several platforms.
But what is the best choice? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each technology?
Pros of cross-platform development:
- Reduced costs
The development of a cross-platform solution can be significantly cheaper because it leverages one code base, unless the application requires a lot of customization for each platform.
- Greater reach
Having a cross platform solution you can reach nearly all smart phone users. Developing an application that runs on both iPhone and Android provides you with additional competitive advantage on the market.
Developing a cross platform app usually takes less time as just one codebase is leveraged instead of creating a new one “from scratch” for each platform.
Cons of cross-platform development:
- What if…
What if Apple will decide not to support CPT anymore? It would mean that you will have to develop at least one new app for iOS, if you wish to continue be represented on the platform. In the past, Apple has already dropped some technologies, so this possible risk should not be neglected.
Apple and Android have clear specifications, how the design elements should look like. For example, the navigation elements of iOS should be on the display below, of Android, on contrary, always above. So you have to pay special attention to the design development.
- Platform limitations
Each platform has its own unique functionality and tools. You can be faced with the serious challenge trying to integrate the app with local settings, preferences or even storage options.
Pros of native app development:
As a rule, native apps show a very high performance level. They interact with the hardware and enable a faster speed while the app is in use.
- Native functions
Besides, due to the interaction between the native app and operation system all the functions are controllable. Native app can send push-notifications and access further internal functions: for example, data transaction via Bluetooth.
- Installation and usage
The installation of a native app is very easy. The app can be found by user in an app store and installed with a click.
Cons of native app development:
- Costs and updates
The development costs for a native app can be very extensive, as different operation systems usually require development of different versions. Moreover, updates for native apps involve additional costs as each operating system needs its own update to be rolled out.
- Complex maintenance and support
Users of various mobile devices may use different app versions. This fact makes it difficult for the developers to maintain and offer support.
- Development time and resources
Native apps require more development and testing efforts, more resources and developers with particular skills.
Will cross-platform frameworks actually make the native development needless?
No, definitely not. Despite all the benefits, they don’t represent an absolute alternative to a native app.
In fact, considering giving your preference to the cross-platform development, it is recommended to evaluate the following questions:
- Platform requirements: Which platforms should be supported by the app?
- Technological requirements: Which features of the end devices should be supported by the app?
- Performance: How important are the graphic requirements and the computer capacity?
- Design: How different are the designs of the apps?
We suggest you certainly to go native, if:
- The app requires a high performance
- The system resources of smart phones are expected to be used very intensively (GPS, storage media, etc.)
- You develop a game