A rapid technological evolution and transformational changes define the course of the new mobile era. With a gigantic number of interconnected mobile devices present in almost every aspect of life and to use it for acquiring significant business advantages developing mobile applications has become a necessary accomplice to extend the business reach manifolds along with establishing the brand identity and digital presence firmly among the users. To develop a reliable and responsive mobile application which will be able to achieve these goals, first it is absolutely essential to lay out a mobile app development plan in detail and it involves some crucial considerations that will determine the future of the application and impact it will generate.
One of them is sure whether it will be a native application or a cross-platform development. Which will be capable of complementing business requirements better and best suited with the present resources? Before zeroing on one let’s take a closer look at the native and cross-platform solutions and the advantages to better address the dilemma of choosing between the two mobile app development prospects.
Native Applications are exclusively built for a certain platform using technologies native to that mobile OS enabling it to correspond perfectly to the requirements of that mobile operating system to work seamlessly. Native mobile applications are mostly built targeting two major players in the mobile platform arena, either iOS or Android. Both platforms need specific programming languages for front-end development. In case of Android application development normally the best choice is Java or Kotlin and for iOS development programmers prefer to code in Objective-C or Swift. The server-side development can be done with any programming language or framework according to the requirement. Also, there are multiple SDK tools available for native application development.
The significant benefits a native app development offers:
- Absolutely native look and feel with seamless user experience on the devices with highly efficient execution of the application on the associated platform.
- Usually accepted by the concerned app store easily as the application is confirmed to the required native look, speed and performance standard of the App store or the Play market.
- Another very promising feature of the natively built apps is these mobile apps can be integrated with the device’s hardware, perfectly supporting the interaction with the hardware of the devices’ camera, location detection, speakers, accelerometers, etc. as it enjoys the access of all the device’s features and native APIs.
- Errors and issues are easy to correct and it will only affect one platform rather than impeding the functioning of the app in both platforms.
- Native development requires the mobile app developer to follow a single guideline instead of matching both the app store and play market standards while developing a mobile application.
But then again there are disadvantages too which makes native app development always not a favorite pick for the mobile app development.
- High development cost is a prime deterrent that prevents mobile app development project with a small budget to adopt native app development as it demands more resources than cross-platform app development efforts.
- Another major concern is time. A native app development requires more time invested in the app development compared to a cross-platform development as the dedicated mobile app developers need to build apps for both platforms from scratch.
- Native apps must be updated in each platform individually. Providing update and support is difficult and more complicated as the changes have to be made in the applications separately in every platform.
Cross-platform application development is compatible with multiple operating systems and capable of running smoothly in any mobile device, smartphone, tablets developed on platform independent web technologies like HTML and CSS usually developing web applications and hybrid applications. But now with advanced tools like Xamarin, Appcelerator Titanium cross-platform apps with native feel can be created using a single code base for both iOS and Android where the unified API will run on the top of the native SDK.
Some of the advantages of cross-platform apps are:
- Cross-platform applications require less time than their native app counterparts and produced in less turnaround time.
- Again Cross-platform app development demands to engage fewer resources and definitively less expensive than building two native apps.
- One cross-platform app can facilitate wider reach compared to a native app as it interacts with both iOS and Android users.
- Support and maintenance are a lot less intensive in a cross-platform app as the update can be implemented simultaneously in both platforms and with a single codebase rolling out patches and/ or new features are a lot easier than a native app.
Again there are major drawbacks that make cross-platform apps not so desirable choice such as:
- Another disadvantage is the limited hardware integration which makes it unable to access all the APIs, features and offer the same seamless experience like the native applications do.
- The cross-platform application cannot communicate the same way a native app is capable of communicating with all the components and harnessing all the functionalities and also often the interaction between the cross-platform app and the non-native component and their conflicting nature leads to several performance challenges, a buggy experience for the users.
- If there is an error or a bug found in cross-platform app both the platforms along with the users will be affected instead of a single platform and the users.
- While the cross-platform app development it is impossible to follow both app store and play market guidelines exactly and there are fare chances the cross-platform application is denied to get published by these two.
The intense debate surrounding the native app and cross-app development is here for quite some time now. But from the above discussion, it is clearly evident that there is no certain answer when it comes to choosing between the two. Whether a native application or a cross-platform app development, the best approach is to comprehend the business need first and the purposes of the application along with the available budget, of course. Another very important aspect is the time of development. If the faster time to market and low budget development is the goal then the cross-platform app is a more feasible option to go for. Mostly cross-app development is suitable for light mobile apps with fewer features. But where the core services depend on the mobile applications and the features, security, reliability is a mission-critical aspect for the business operation the obvious choice is the native application development.
Again there is a lot of buzz around another entrant Progressive Web App (PWA) capable of conferring native-like experience. The key to developing a successful customized mobile application exclusive to your business requirements need a comprehensive understanding of the business domain, exhaustive knowledge of the application development and current technological trends to combine and use them to design an application perfectly suitable for your need. At Webmatrix Technologies we have designed, developed and deployed mobile applications and multiple solutions around the world encompassing education and e-learning, Cargo and logistics and many more. Thinking of developing a mobile application or just curious to know more just drop us a mail at email@example.com. We will transform your ideas into reality.