Developing using cross-platform tools

By Moblrs
On 8 Jan., 2016

Hybrid app VS Native app

Developing using cross-platform tools

When developing an app, there are a lot of decisions you’ll need to consider, including those regarding the design, look and feel, functionality, and navigation. There are also technical decisions to consider such as which APIs to use, whether the app should be developed in a multi-platform environment, whether to use native code, and more. The answers to these questions will have an impact on the cost, functionality and preformance of your app. Therefore, it is worthwhile to look at the pros and cons of each option.

As a mobile studio owner, I work with a range of companies, including start-ups, so I have a good understanding of the importance of budget. I strive to develop the best possible solutions for our clients for the lowest possible price. Apps built in multi-platform development environments cost less, while native options cost more. Let’s a take a deeper look at the two options beyond cost.

What Is Multi-Platform Development?

Most businesses and organizations want their app developed on both of the major platforms – Android and iOS. To achieve this while also reducing development time and costs, we use multi-platform development environments such as:

• Xamarin
• Fuze
• Codenameone
• PhoneGap

The Case for Native Apps

One of the downsides of using a multi-platform development environment is that these environments have to compromise on other areas in order to ensure their service is functional. These compromises make it harder – and sometimes impossible – to create complex apps, or apps that incorporate a lot of internal APIs.

Another downside is the lack of support for third party components and libraries. The effect of this is either to restrict the functionality of the app or increase the cost of development. There is also a reliability concern. Working with the native platforms means working with Google and Apple, so there is a significant community of developers and comprehensive support provided. No multi-platform environment can match this.

Should You Choose A Multi-Platform Development Environment or Native?

In most cases, I use the following rules:

• Smaller, uncomplicated apps can be developed on a multi-platform environment. This will save money and will have little (usually zero) impact on functionality and performance.

• Larger, more complex apps should be developed using native code to ensure proper functionality, good user experience, and optimum performance. The initial cost of the development is likely to be higher, but it makes more sense in the long run. It also gives you the opportunity to test the app on one platform before developing it on another.

You should always discuss the decision with your developer since they will be in a position to determine which option best suits your needs.