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Why You Should Switch to Cross Platform Mobile App Development?

Now as we can see, mobility has become an integral part of the digital world and it is now highly affecting businesses, society and the economy in general. The emerging technologies and the mobile app engagement has changed the lives and work of millions of people, enterprises and e-commerce businesses in such a way that mobile first approach has become their preferred strategy. No doubt every organization wants to reach large number of customers to increase their revenue and penetrating in the smartphone users market can really make it happen easily. That’s why mobile app development is playing a key role for most of the businesses. But there is one challenge in this and that is – smartphone users who are the potential customers use different devices, versions, platforms or the operating systems and more options are coming each other day. Hence the organizations have to make a choice as to build their mobile app for which platform or option. They can go for either native app development like for Android, iOS or Windows or they can go for cross-platform app development.

In this article we will explore more about the Cross Platform Mobile Development and also its benefits and why you should switch to it in today’s market scenario. Let’s start by first understanding native and web applications with their advantages and disadvantages

Native Apps

Native apps are the applications that are installed through an App Store like Google Play or Apple App Store and are accessed through icons on device home screen. Native apps are specifically developed for single platforms like Android or iOS and are developed in the respective development tools and languages like Java and Android Studio for Android development and Swift/Objective C and X-Code for iOS development.
The main benefit of native apps is their sheer power and the performance they give. Native apps can easily make use of the device’s software and inbuilt hardware features. But developing native apps is time consuming as it requires the app to be developed for two different platforms i.e. Android and iOS and also it requires the approval of Google and Apple for placing app on their respective App Stores.

Mobile Web Apps (HTML5 Apps)

Web apps are actually websites but in look and feel they are like native applications. These apps are written in HTML5 and are run in web browser. They are accessed like other web pages by navigating to their URL and installing them on home screen. HTML5 apps use standard web technologies like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. Mobile developers can develop sophisticated apps with HTML5 and JavaScript but they have limitations.
Their benefit is that developing these apps is quick and saves lots of time. They also allow you to develop the code once and then deploy it on any platform. Although the code may still need to be optimized for different web browsers but that task is less time and effort consuming compared to coding it again.
HTML5 apps has one drawback that it does not provide its users a central location to purchase these apps like Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Hybrid Apps

Hybrid apps are partially native and partially web apps. Like native apps they reside in the app store and can even utilize the device features. They resemble to web apps as they rely on HTML being rendered in browser. Companies build hybrid applications as wrappers for existing web apps and they get presence in app store without much effort being made on developing a different app. Hybrid apps are nowadays becoming more popular as they allow cross platform app development and significantly reduce cost of reuse of different mobile OS.

Cross-platform App development

Cross platform app development works on Write once and run everywhere methodology. It is implemented by writing an application using a codebase and technology that allows it to be distributed and deployed across multiple devices, operating systems and platforms. For example, a cross platform application may run on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. The biggest challenge of cross-platform app development is the software stack architecture and the hardware capabilities of the devices running on two different platforms.
Some of the popular tools used for cross-platform app development are:

  • PhoneGap
  • Xamarin
  • Appcelerator
  • Sencha Touch
  • Convertigo and more

Advantages of Developing Cross Platform Mobile Apps

The main benefit of cross platform app development is that it targets multiple platforms and devices by writing minimum source code.
Some other advantages are:

Lesser Maintenance and Development Cost

These applications can originate from single codebase having single development skillset. It can target all platforms and does not require staff for individual ones. Having single codebase also reduces maintenance costs as it no longer requires to keep bug tracking for large number of codebase and relative staff for each platform.

Easy to Develop due to Language Familiarity

App Development with JavaScript and HTML5 is easier when compared to Java and Swift. Due to this ease of development and language familiarity, the technical barrier is lower in cross platform app development. It allows more number of developers to build applications which were previously not that easy to do. With this there is no need to learn different technologies for different platforms. Cross platform app development requires the developer to be proficient in only one skillset or language and he can focus more on how to develop the app rather than on learning the skillset.

Technical Advantage

Some technologies make some tasks easier like data visualization and programmatic drawing is lot more easier using ActionScript and Flex while developing similar experience in native code is much more difficult and time consuming. The main aim of building any mobile application is to attract lots of customers and have more engagement with them. When most of them are using the same single platform the work becomes easy but when you are targeting huge audience having multiple platforms then cross platform app development is the best choice. Also it is easier to carry out changes and updates later while developing single application for multiple devices.

Uniform Look and Feel

If you go for cross platform app development, then the same design and overall look and feel can be maintained across all platforms as there is a single codebase while when designing separately for different platforms it is much difficult to maintain the same look and feel as the development teams are different and they have different level of expertise.

Conclusion

We have just discussed how it has become highly important now for you to switch from native app development to cross platform Mobile App Development in this diverse mobile world. By this you will save lots of your time, effort and the development cost as you will have a single code base and you can also carry out the app updation and maintenance work comparatively lot more easier and cheaper.

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About Author
Aman Malhotra
Aman Malhotra

Aman is a business consultant and strategic leader bridging the gap between technology and client satisfaction. With 15+ years of knowledge, innovation and hands-on experience in providing consultations to startups, agencies, SME's and large enterprises who need dedicated development and technology partners. He has also lead to the delivery of countless web development and mobile app development projects with 100% client satisfaction.

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