Nobody these days is content with only one smart device. People are using Windows on their laptops, iOS on their Mac, Android on their phones and again iOS on their iPads. Not to mention our love for the Amazon’s Kindle. So to create harmony between mobile apps on all the different devices, cross-platform app development can make any developers life much easier. That way the said the app will run both on Android and iOS while its code can be modified for progressive web apps and desktops app (with the framework like Electron).
So to define cross-platform applications, you can say that these are the apps which are compatible with more than one operating systems while using a single code base. Cross platforms mobile Application development services have their own limitations for sure but they are not without their perks. Depending upon your application development needs you can choose whether pros of cross mobile application development outweigh its cons. In this article, we are enlisting them both for your convenience. But before going on to tell you about pros and cons of cross-platform apps, we would like to tell that the cross-platform development can also be further categorized based on the two techniques for its development:
Native Cross-Platform Apps
All operating systems offer their own SDKs (Software Development Kit) with their own preferred programming languages nowadays, for mobile application development. Apple has Objective-C and Swift; while Android prefers Java. The apps that are developed with preferred language in official SDK are native apps.
But now it’s possible to use the APIs offered by these native SDK in other programming languages. A third party vendor chooses the programming language he prefers and creates a unified API on native SDKs. A unified API can support multiple OS with a single code base. This third-party vendor also provides an IDE for the creation of native app bundle for iOS and Android from the single cross-platform code base.
But since the app is still developed in a native API, it has the functionality of a cross-platform app but the performance of a near-native app without any noticeable lag.
Hybrid ‘HTML5’ Cross-Platform App Development Environments
Mobile apps depend on backend web service for the larger portion of their business logic. The creation and management of effective GUI make up for almost 60% of the code of any mobile app.
Famous Frameworks and tools for Cross Platforms Mobile Application Development Services in the year of 2017 are:
- Apache Cordova
- Sencha Touch
- Codename One
- Kony Mobile Platform
- Ionic Framework
- Framework 7
- Apache Weex
- React Native
Now that we have discussed the categories and tools of cross-platform app development, now we can finally tell you about the pros and cons so you can test the merit of cross-app development for each individual project.
Pros of Cross-Platform Mobile App Development:
- If you are a strategic developer than retaining 50-80% of the app code can be reused across the platform, which will undoubtedly speed up the development process.
- When you are running the testing and maintenance phase, it’s easier to fix any bug in a common codebase since you only need to fix it once.
- You need not excel in a particular programming language as you can use your existing knowledge.
- Cross-platform app development is especially beneficial to the B2B apps and enterprise mobility apps where the time of deployment and smoother faster efficiency means more than the look and feel of the app.
Cons of Cross-Platform Mobile App Development:
- Desktops are capable of faster raw processing power than mobile phones. Which means that HTML5 animations that are no issue for a desktop can take a long time to load on phones, making the apps slow on mid-range and low range phones. Also supporting older versions of mobile operating systems.
- HTML5 based apps consume more battery power than native or native cross-platform apps. Because modern HTML and CSS use a lot of CPU/ GPU resources.
- HTML5 hybrid apps use callback-style programming to connect or native plugins which require complex programming and is a slower approach.
- Native cross-platform mobile app SDKs are still in progress state which means that GUI needs to be coded more than once to achieve the right look of the app.
- Designing an app for cross platforms with a platform-specific user can prove to be quite challenging because all platforms have their own interface guidelines and supporting them with unified code is too difficult.