Whether the application is supposed to be built as a native or as a cross-platform one determines a lot in the further development process. This particular choice is the foundation of the entire plan for the apps’ characteristics and elements. Therefore, today we would like to discuss some differences in building native apps for iOS and Android. Let’s start by highlighting the most common perceptions and facts about native and cross-platform app development.
What do we need to know about native applications? The main distinguishing criteria here is that native app development implies using the specific programming language for a specific platform, while in cross platform development you write a single code for multiple platforms. To make things simpler, when we speak about iOS we speak about Objective-C or Swift and speaking of Android apps we think about Java or Kotlin.
Cross-platform apps, on the contrary, are already built to run on multiple platforms. Which sounds like a winning point at once – less work and a bigger range of the market at the same time. But is it as simple as it seems? Many developers do not trust cross-platform apps because of the potential risks they may pose. But let’s go about this slow and discover what are the pros and cons of cross-platform vs native mobile development.
In our guidelines on cross-platform app vs native app, we want to outline such aspects as:
- Time required for building an app;
- Costs and difficulty of the process;
- Efficiency of the performance;
- Integration with the device;
- User experience.
We begin our comparison with analyzing the native mobile app development.
Native or Cross-Platform: pros and cons
Native – the pros
Probably the biggest advantage in creating this type of apps is native platforms performance. When you are developing an application designed specifically for the platform of your choice you will not face any of the integration problems. This app fits the platform perfectly which gives you lots and lots of benefits.
What’s more, if you are building an app with heavy content on board, like pictures or videos, and complicated animation, native app development gives you quite good chances that your users won’t experience such issues as slow down or crashes.
Also, since we have mentioned the better understanding of the hardware by the native apps, there is one more thing to take into account. Native apps interact with the core functions of the device which might be helpful for the developers especially when they want to access and take advantage of some of those functions. Additionally, that also means native apps have a highly responsive UI which will help to get the highest level of performance.
Moreover, when it comes to the building process, there are some noticeable advantages as well. Rather than to look for the solution where “one size meets all needs”, developing for the particular platform gives developers the opportunity to use a better tooling, which is more specific and appropriate for the chosen project.
One more important thing is the user-friendly interface. As we have already mentioned, native apps have no difficulty in integration with the devices they are built for. Which means that their user interface creates positive UX and in general eases further process of customization. This gives the users a feeling like their new application simultaneously integrates into their devices and becomes a part of it.
And the last but not least, all of the enlisted pros we have mentioned are more likely to create a pretty good feedback on the app. Of course, native development won’t guarantee you the future success but the professionally done work using all those benefits we’ve listed, will definitely lead to the high rankings on the market, and so, will draw some extra attention to your product. The users’ number one priority is to have a well-working app which wastes no time on lagging and freezing.
Native – Cons
Probably the most obvious disadvantage of native app development is the time. Firstly, it might require to almost double the time of the developing process if you are planning to run your product on more than one platform. Creating the same app for another platform means developing a new product from scratch. The code developers have written for one platform will be basically useless for another, so lots of the time will be spent on converting or even completely rewriting some of the parts of the code.
Before we move on to the pros and cons of the cross-platform mobile application development, we would like to take time for one short note about these apps. Important to know that there are two types of them. First one is sort of a “native” cross platform, another one is a hybrid, mainly HTML-based one. The first option will be fully covered hereafter. The second one that uses HTML is the one that works with standard web technologies. It is sort of a mix of native and web app development.
Additionally, there are numerous cross-platform frameworks. Those frameworks are free and you can easily find them on the web.
First of all, going cross-platform is all about time-saving. Finding a single solution that fits many platforms is a great idea. Developing for multiple platforms by writing just one core code might be seen as a highly efficient work. It’s not just erasing the need to rewrite everything you have already done but it actually minimizes your need in the working force – developers.
Another example of the time saving is the process of launching and updating the app. Once you make a change in the codebase you automatically make a change for multiple platforms at once.
In overall, the major disadvantage of using the shared code is the issues with its integration. The truth is that this code most commonly doesn’t want to work the way you expect it. It may give your users slow performance or delays as such, sudden crashes or in general just some strange behavior patterns. So cross-platform apps are known for being not really reliable. These things are happening mainly because a non-native code has its issues with keeping communication with the software and hardware functions of the device at the same time.
Also, it is fair to notice that even though we have mentioned timing as an ally of the non-native apps, and that updates for the shared code can be made faster, this type of development will require more attention from the developers and more frequent updates and changes in the code in general. Once again, the integration with the devices is not going to be easy here.
We hope those things got a little bit more clear to you and our native vs cross-platform app development guide appeared to be useful. In case you are still hesitating between those two solutions, our company Lunapps is always here to your service. We are happy to give you a free consultation on the topic or help you to create a great native app based on your ideas. Contact us for more information!