Considering cross-platform mobile development most people think it is something that is appropriate for the developers. However, this knowledge could be quite important for Project Managers and investors as well. Actually, when it comes to more convenient workflow, fewer employees engaged in the process, less time to completion, and shorter expenses – everyone is interested.
Code Once, Deploy Twice
In a nutshell, cross-platform app development means coding for both Android and iOS devices at once instead of coding separately. It is possible due to the special frameworks or tools, that are currently represented by Adobe PhoneGap, Microsoft’s Xamarin, Facebook’s React Native, and Google’s Flutter. They use different programming languages and, thus, require different knowledge and skills, but function as the same environments. You may wonder why haven’t native developers moved to “cross-platform-geeks” yet? Well, it’s not as simple as it looks. Check out profits and drawbacks below and you’ll understand why.
PROs of Cross-Platform Mobile Development
When working on cross-platform application developers use one environment and one codebase. It is not necessary to handle iOS and Android projects separately. There is also no need for two teams working on the same app but for different operating systems. According to the researches, those developers who use React Native, Xamarin, or Flutter for their applications reduce time spendings to 30-50%.
You can hardly find an investor or a client ordering a mobile app with no desire to make it less expensive. In this case, offering a cross-platform app can be a proposal hard to refuse. Because one project costs lower than two. Judge for yourself – developing the same app for iOS and Android would cost you, for instance, $20 000 while following a proposal mentioned above would cost only 12 – 14 000$.
You may recall a situation when a launching app is available only for iPhone fans and Android users have to wait months to see it in Google Play. it is no good from the marketing point of view. No matter who your main target audience is – if you want to make your app a hit and expand the global market you should prepare the releases for both AppStore and Google Play at the very beginning. It is quite simpler with cross-platform app development. You don’t need to decide which platform to choose. And you get ready-to-launch versions for iOS and Android right after beta-testing.
The differences in navigation and design between iOS and Android User Interfaces are typical for every app. This often causes inconvenience between native developers because it is not just about re-writing or adapting the code when it comes to building an iOS application based on Android one or vice versa. React Native, Flutter, and other tools normally handle most UI differences by default. They take into account the app’s behavior on different phones and tablets with different OSes.
Cross-platform development tools evolve rapidly. Such environments as RubyMotion and Titanium expand developers’ community just like Xamarin or React Native. All of them imply enhancements and improvements, add features that make developers’ work easier, and follow new trends in order to provide modern solutions. According to the statistics, each year there are more and more apps released by app development companies on a cross-platform basis. And this tendency will keep going.
CONs of Cross-Platform Mobile Development
Lower performance, slower response. This is what you can often hear about the cross-platform app. Indeed, comparing to native apps, you may notice that the application doesn’t function so fast. However, this difference is mostly rather small and can be encountered only in heavyweight applications with high-quality graphics, animations, and server connections. And even in that case, a solution can be found – all you need is to co-operate with a native iOS or Android developer on customization and final touch.
Despite coding for two platforms within one environment looks time-consuming it doesn’t mean it is easier. Complex algorithms and hundreds of exceptions due to the difference between devices cause additional work. The more complex code is the more bugs are hidden. That’s why a big part of work for the developers is not about focusing on the app itself or user experience but on removing bugs.
Sometimes apps’ performance and functionality depend on new features announced by Apple and Google in the OSes releases. SDKs for native apps are updated quite quickly, but the same cannot be said for cross-platform mobile development. Because it takes some time to update an app so that it can support new features, there can be some negative feedback from the users. But new features support is not as inconvenient as bugs presence. Fixing bugs before publishing updates can be another reason to worry about. In the end, users are ok to wait for new features but they are not happy to encounter bugs every time they launch an app on their smartphone or tablet.
Cross-platform app development is good for simple lightweight apps. If you need a mobile version for the store, pizza delivery, or arcade game this can be a perfect solution. But if you are looking for a 3D shooter with a lot of animations or MMORPG or some service where users enter their financial details it is better to find experts in native apps creation. Gravum developers are good in both cross-platform and Java/Swift coding. And if you have an idea of an application, they will have the best solution how to make it real.