Native or the web is the hot topic of argument between confounded decisions makers and developers. Considering the pros and cons of evolving technologies and analyzing its substantial effect over business performance spawns countless arguments. With the entry of cross-platform app development, a new player has entered this longstanding debate.
Cross platform mobile app development allows you to use a single code base whilst target multiple platforms; instead of writing native codes for each platform separately. After opting for cross-platform mobile development, you as an Entrepreneur are entitled to a reward or a prime benefit-“build once and get the app deployed on multiple platforms”. Nevertheless, cross-platform apps come with a few drawbacks, they do not adopt high graphics with additional fluidity and they consume a substantial amount of memory.
Startups are using cross-platform mobile app development as a tool to penetrate the market and so replacing it with the native apps. Even you can do so.
When it comes to mobile app development, then it is a great deal harder for a novice entrepreneur to figure out whether to collocate with native or with the cross-platform app development. The motive behind writing this blog is to break down the pros and cons of both, cross-platform as well as native apps so you can call for an informed decision.
The Face Off: Native Vs Cross-Platform Apps
- Cost of App Development
For each native operating system, you need to re-build the app. For an instance, you invest a certain amount in developing the native app for the first platform. Reinvesting about 70% to 80% of the same amount is required to develop an app for the second platform. The necessity of developers with different skill sets (iOS-based on Objective-C; whereas, Android-based on Java) is must develop native apps on multiple platforms. Thus, it becomes extremely challenging to develop native apps using in-house resources, as you need to either train the current employees or hire new staff skilled in developing apps for different native platforms.
The cross-platform app development is supposed to save overall app development costs. The ready-made, open-source and versatile tools available for cross-platform app development (Ionic, PhoneGap, Xamarin, Titanium, etc.) helps you in controlling your expenses. Therefore, cross-platform app development is a cost effective solution wherein you can develop an app for different platforms in much lower investment compared to the costs involved in developing native apps. Especially startups facing money crunch problems should opt for cross-platform mobile development as their first resort.
- Time to Market:
The time required to develop an app is consequently dependent on the how many technologies you are required to get it run on different platforms. For native app development, you need to develop an app independently for different platforms. If you are creating an app for catching up with your competitors or if you have identified the untapped business opportunity, it adds up a sense to indulge in native app development.
The cross-platform technology consists of a single code base deployed to run on multiple platforms. Therefore, the total time required to market is comparatively less in cross-platform mobile app development. Companies targeting less than six months of time to market should think about cross-platform app development. Entrepreneurs in need of quick prototype to test and validate a business concept or requiring a promotional application with limited lifespan should opt for cross-platform app development
- App Performance:
As an entrepreneur, you should be aware that apps perform better if a language highly suitable for the specific platform or operating system is preferred for its development. Due to its very design, a native mobile app is faster and more reliable compared to a cross-platform mobile app. Users navigating the native app experience the seamlessness and ease it provides as the structure, content and visual elements already there in the hardware enhancing faster loading.
Notwithstanding the expectations, cross-platform mobile apps ordinarily lack in performance. These applications resemble a wrapper downloaded on the user’s phone (irrespective of the presence of navigational elements), wherein the bulk of the data is loaded from the server. Thus, two major parameters, a number of server requests and the load balance requests, holds the key to making or breaking the performance of an app.
- User Experience:
Statistics suggest that 79% of users would try a mobile app once or twice. If it failed the first time, then only 16% would dare to give it a second chance. Always remember, nobody has time and patience for an app offering bad user experience, including you.
Native app development environment offers a special set of tools allowing developers to create interfaces and build interactions that are specific to the native user experience. A robust, user experience addresses the issues like adaptability and layout, navigation, modal structure, interactivity and feedback, animation, color & typography as well as in-app branding. A native app does this better compared to cross-platform mobile apps.
Normally, cross-platform apps are often witnessed to have performance delays, hampering the overall user experience. Clicks, list, scrolling and animations are the key issues expected to offer not a good user experience. Thus, chances are extremely high that users might feel low responsiveness while using cross-platform mobile applications. Nevertheless, the cross-platform app offers intuitive user experience when interface designs with dynamic content are used.
- App Management:
Maintenance costs for native apps are definitely higher as they work with a silos-based model. Each operating system is different and evolving; accordingly, the versatility of the devices also makes it imperative to launch repeated updates, ensuring compatibility of the app with the operating system as well as with the device.
Managing cross-platform mobile apps is comparatively easy. Updates sync immediately as maintaining and deploying changes in the single application developed for the multiple platforms is quick and seamless. Furthermore, it is easy to manage a single team of developers working on a single platform rather than managing different teams working on different platforms.
When it comes to building an app for the enterprise, it all comes down to flexibility vs usability. Considering the plethora of devices introduced every day in the market, it is obvious if entrepreneurs are looking to develop mobile applications with a flexible combination of both cross-platform and native app features. In many instances wherein cross-platform mobile apps seems appropriate, whereas in many cases, native apps lead the way.
Nevertheless, the choice to go with native or cross-platform mobile app development is dependent on the context of your objective. Remember, there is nothing like one-size-fits-all…not yet. To decide whether to go native or use cross-platform technology, you will have to consider the timeline, performance, needs, consumer choice of platform, objective, cost, etc. to make a decision based on the unique situation.
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