Native vs cross-platform development

Native vs cross-platform development

Advantages and disadvantages of native and cross-platform development.

There is a perception that cross-platform development offers more advantages than the native one: it seems to be faster, cheaper, and only requires one set of code for all devices. So are there any pitfalls in such a universal option, and why is cross-platform development cheaper?

Native development is carried out in the original programming language, involving the tools of the mobile operating system.

Cross-platform development is based on special tools that allow creating applications for several mobile operating systems at once.

Cross-platform development vs native

Cross-platform development

Pros:

  • It’s budget-friendly – using one technology reduces the number of working hours and the total expenses of the project;
  • Facilitated support and updates – adding new functions or fixing bugs immediately applies to all platforms;
  • A shared code repository potentially holds less bugs and inconsistencies than 2 separate codebases

Cons:

  • The speed of operation – it may be slower than that for native applications, as it is often impossible to adjust the technology to all the nuances of each operating system’s architecture;
  • Limited functionality – there are potential difficulties that might affect the access to some smartphone functions, such as microphone, camera and geolocation;
  • Unpredictable UX – cross-platform development cannot adjust the application to the specific requirements of each system. For example, there is no “Back” button on iOS, as there is on Android.
  • When developing a unified design, this point must be taken into account: in iOS, the button will either remain, but will not work, or will require the implementation of additional code;
  • The likelihood of problems with the implementation of new functions – cross-platform solutions can not provide immediate support for the latest updates of iOS and Android, as they are third-party software.

If the application logic is the same on all platforms, and the interface is simple and doesn’t have any fancy frills, cross-platform development helps bring the product to market faster.

Native development

Pros:

  • Enhances the speed and stability of the app – the project code is optimal for the native platform, and the app gets full hardware support for the device;
  • The lifecycle of the software is likely to increase – meaning that users will utilize the app longer, thus making development investments pay off.;
  • Flexibility and scalability in implementation – native development uses the potential of the mobile operating system to its fullest;
  • New software and hardware functionality is available for implementation as soon as the updates are released.
  • The interface exactly matches the platform – no need for further modifications
  • All code speed issues can be tracked during the development phase
  • Fewer restrictions in the architecture and features.

Cons:

  • Native development can require much more time and financial investments than a cross-platform solution

How to make a choice?

Both of these approaches have their advantages and drawbacks. For complex applications, we recommend native development; for the simple ones, we would rather suggest hybrid development.

We would definitely recommend choosing a native development if:

  • The application performance and speed are important;
  • The UX design is complicated;
  • The application requires using the system resources and in-built functions of mobile devices: cameras, GPS, accelerometer, etc;
  • Low power consumption of the application is required;
  • There is a need for integration with third-party resources (API, etc).

We would choose a cross-platform development if:

  • The resources and the time for penetrating the market are limited;
  • The main purpose of the application is to test the idea;
  • There are no plans of implementing a large number of features.

At a first glance, cross-platform app development seems like a relatively inexpensive option. However, additional costs can build up like a snowball if you decide to choose the design or implement new features.

If your plans include releasing apps for two platforms, you don’t necessarily need to do it all at once. Release the first version, take a break and follow up with the solution for the other platform – you just need to determine which one your customers would prioritize.

To understand which solution is best for your app, we suggest contacting us right now: you can sign up for a free consultation with our CEO.

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