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What is the difference between native apps and mobile cross-platform apps, and which is better?


It is unsettled that anything will change much in the next years, as the market for mobile applications abides to develop. Simultaneously, iOS and Android comprise the operating systems of 99% of mobile phones worldwide.

Every day, impartial developers, entrepreneurs, and start-uppers actualize hundreds of applications in a reach of areas. Nonetheless, while creating a mobile application, developers must decide between two approaches: native or cross-platform development. There are several differences between the two techniques.

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This post will demonstrate the distinctions between native and cross-platform applications, as well as the premiums and drawbacks of each, and which is preferable in assured scenarios.

The most basic illustration of a native app is this: they are the ones you see when you first use the device. That includes the alarm clock, calendar, mail client, browser, and other fundamental apps.

Programming languages and development tools that are “native” to a certain operating system are used in native development. For iOS, there would be Objective-C and Swift, and for Android, Java and Kotlin. Originally, the goal of developing such applications is to provide a product that will only function on the intended platform.

Benefits of developing native apps:

There are no limitations on speed or performance. This has significance for certain application categories, such as those intended for use with graphics;

This platform user is used to the user interface components, which results in an excellent user experience;

Access to every feature and operating system choice on the smartphone, including the accelerometer, camera, microphone, and geolocation;

Following the release of the upgrade, new hardware and software capability is instantly accessible;

The availability of a wide range of quality control instruments, which facilitates and expedites the testing procedure;

High degree of platform integration: technologies suggested by the creators of a certain operating system are used throughout development.

Drawbacks associated with developing native apps:

If you need to be present on both iOS and Android, you will need to create two different applications, which will take a lot longer to design and test;

The budget rises when separate development is needed for each platform since more professionals are needed;

Applications for both platforms need to be monitored, which adds to the time and cost of technical support.

Apps that run across platforms

The creation of source code for cross-platform applications is made possible by specialized tools like Unity, PhoneGap, and Xamarin, the majority of which are subsequently used again to assemble the program for an alternative operating system. Xamarin is the most promising tool for cross-platform development of mobile applications.

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Benefits of developing for several platforms:

  • Unifying logic, architecture, and a portion of the code reuse option may all greatly save development times;
  • High economic efficiency that enables even modest enterprises to afford growth;
  • When a product has to be repaired, it is fixed across all distribution channels for the project;
  • Quick startup times and inexpensive update costs. This is a pretty strong case in the current market.

The drawbacks of developing for several platforms:

Ensuring an optimal user experience across various operating systems may prove to be a challenging task for programs that rely on shared code, since their integration into the platform is not always smooth;

The lack of native OS integration in cross-platform programs degrades their speed and performance;

Access to the special features of the platform and the functioning of the device could be restricted.

If highly qualified people are working on the project, these drawbacks usually don’t matter. For instance, Xamarin makes it simple to communicate with the API-interface app for the required device function.

Which Is Better for My Project: Cross-platform or Native Development?

These choices all have advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the necessary functionality and the app’s intended use, one should decide between native and cross-platform development. Since every situation is unique, it is hard to provide a general response to the question “which is better?”

From a technological perspective, native applications are more advantageous when taking the user experience into account. Nonetheless, there are several circumstances in which a cross-platform solution is the better option.

Select a native application in the event that:

Full access to OS capabilities and hardware characteristics is required for your product;

When using the hardware capabilities of the device (e.g., processing high amounts of data on the client side), maximum efficiency is necessary;

When creating system resource management tools, the product must provide the best possible user experience.

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Cross-platform technology is a great option if

To test your concept in the actual world, you must move fast to get it into the market;

It has to do with creating a B2B solution, where deployment velocity is much more crucial than appearance;

You have a tight budget and must develop an app for many platforms;

For a website (or other product), you must create a client application with simple functionality.

Never forget that circumstances might change unexpectedly, therefore it’s wise to consider a plan from a long-term viewpoint.