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The question of whether cross-platform development should be used for app development is not simple to answer since every business has its own goals and requirements for mobile apps.
What are cross-platform apps?
Cross-platform applications are apps that are developed to work immediately on different platforms (Android and iOS). The essence of the development lies in the fact that the source code of the application is translated into native, that is, understandable to a specific mobile device. As a result, the program can interact with the operating system installed on it.
Advantages of cross-platform development
• Expansion of the user base due to the appearance of the app simultaneously in several stores. • The single-source code saves you from having to hire several developers for each platform. • 75% of the code base of a cross-platform app can be reused, adapting it for new projects.
Cons of cross-platform development
1. Greatly depends on the mobile device
Cross-platform apps usually do not work offline, so their capabilities are highly dependent on the user's stable Internet connection. The operating system version and model of the device are also important: a cross-platform application is almost guaranteed to reduce the performance of the device over one or two years, while the native application will work stably even on an ancient gadget with outdated firmware.
2. Unfriendly user interface
Users become so accustomed to the appearance and functionality of their gadgets that they expect maximum responsiveness from applications installed on them. They want to be sure that each button will be in its rightful place, that the page will scroll at the optimum speed for them and that an immediate reaction will follow any action they take. Cross-platform applications are usually difficult to adapt to the device, and they cannot boast of speed.
The problem is that for cross-platform development, there are no guidelines - development standards from the creators of the operating system. You can create separate designs for different platforms, but in terms of effort, this will be equal to creating two different applications. You should hire dedicated developers for your Android app development from app development companies.
3. Struggle for primary development tools
The competition for the primary cross-platform development tool is becoming tougher every day. So far, the most popular development tools are React Native and Xamarin. If one of the tools fails and is overtaken by competitors, it will lose the most important advantage - operational support of the code and this can happen with any cross-platform tool.
A similar problem is not terrible for native development: the introduction of new tools occurs gradually, and the knowledge of several programming languages will allow the developers to quickly deal with all the innovations. In addition, there are huge professional communities around each operating system, with the result that any difficulty that arises is solved by searching for a similar problem in forums where thousands of people are ready to help solve it.
Which application is right for your business?
Before answering this question, it is important to analyze your business - consumer segments, the value of time and money resources, the desired depth of integration of the application with user devices, plus well-defined long-term goals.
1. What does your audience use?
If you know that the ratio of iOS and Android users among your customers is close to 50 to 50, choose a native development. So you will show that you equally respect the needs of all your customers, regardless of their income level. The connection between the choice of a mobile device and the level of solvency was once again confirmed by App Annie. A study of the number of downloads and sales of mobile apps on Google Play and the App Store for the first quarter of 2018 revealed that Android smartphone users downloaded 135% more apps than visitors to an iOS store. At the same time, the App Store brought its owners 85% more revenue than Google Play.
The path to success is obvious: play on two fields at once. More precisely, in two stores. Just calculate which application should appear first (of course, if a simultaneous release is not part of your digital strategy).
2. How much time do you have for the development?
The answer to this question depends on the financial costs of the project. The fact is that in terms of time spent, a cross-platform application only seems to be a more profitable solution. In fact, its adaptation to platforms may take almost as much time as the creation of two native applications, since developers will have to write additional pieces of code for problem areas.
3. What device features do you plan to use?
Only native applications can reproduce heavy graphics quickly and without loss of quality. But the technical advantages of native development are not limited to this. As an example, you can look at the Facebook application: thanks to the release of separate versions for Android and iOS, scrolling has become smoother, image loading times have been reduced and all problems with the cache have been solved.
Moreover, native applications get direct access to all services of the device, which allows you to get information about the user's geolocation or his contact list. Cross-platform applications have to use special native plug-ins, which adversely affects the data transfer speed and overloads the device’s RAM. You should hire app developers for your Android app development.
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