Businesses have learned that mobile touchpoints are now more efficient than any other channel at reaching and engaging customers. Those who are thinking about developing their own mobile app will inevitably have to make the choice between creating a cross-platform app or a native app.
Developers were limited in the early days of the smartphone era to building applications that were native or specific to particular devices, operating systems, and whatever platforms they had to be built on. The ability to create the same software for various platforms emerged as the market and ecosystem for mobile apps expanded. Cross-platform development came about in this way.
Let’s discuss the distinctions between native and cross-platform app development in this blog.
Native App Development
Native mobile apps are those created specifically for Android or iOS. Your apps are often programmed in a particular programming language depending on the operating system you are developing for.
Utilizing the Java or Kotlin programming languages, you create native Android applications. The first language used to construct Android apps was Java. In 2017, Google added Kotlin support for Android. While Java is only capable of object-oriented programming, Kotlin also allows functional programming.
Swift or Objective-C is the programming language you use to create native iOS applications. A superset of the C programming language is Objective-C. It was the first language used to create iOS-compatible software. Swift was first released by Apple in 2014 at their World Wide Developer Conference. For the Apple ecosystem, it is a potent general-purpose, high-level programming language. According to Apple, Swift is 2.6 times faster than Objective-C and has a simpler syntax.
Native app tools
Native mobile development needs an integrated development environment (IDE) in addition to operating system-specific software development kits (SDKs) (IDE).
You must use Android Studio or IntelliJ IDEA to create Android apps. Linux, macOS, or Windows can all use these tools. You must use Xcode or AppCode as your IDE for developing iOS apps. These utilities only function on macOS.
Pros of Native Apps
1) High Performance
You develop and enhance native apps for a certain platform. You also compile them utilising the APIs and primary programming language of the platform. They become much faster, more efficient, and more responsive to user activities as a result.
2) Broad Functionality
Native mobile apps have complete access to the device's features and functionalities, resulting in a richer, more integrated user experience. Additionally, they get access to features like push notifications, which are important for increasing user interaction.
3) Tight security
Native apps can improve the security of the data you save about your users. They have access to built-in security features that are specific to the platform.
4) Quality UX
Input and output from native apps are more efficient. They adopt the OS interfaces from the device, so the appearance and feel are constant. They adhere to design standards for the particular OS, which improves the app's natural flow.
5) Better Store Support
Native apps receive excellent marks for their superior usability and performance. It is a significant ranking standard that makes it simple to find native apps among the top results on app marketplaces.
6) Minimal bugs
Updated SDKs are immediately available to native app developers. New features and enhancements are constantly included in these releases.
Cons of Native Apps
Developing native mobile applications is typically expensive. You must have several development teams for the various platforms. For instance, to develop a native Android app, you require developers who are skilled in Java or Kotlin. For native iOS, you will also want additional Swift and Objective-C developers.
2) Development time
It takes time for different teams to create similar apps for different platforms. In addition, maintenance and improvements demand a lot of work.
3) Lack of code reuse
To target several mobile operating systems, you must write and maintain code in distinct projects.
4) Cross-platform App Development
From a single codebase, you may develop cross-platform mobile applications. The aim of cross-platform app development is to create a single project that can run on many operating platforms. These apps are made utilising cross-platform frameworks that draw from a single API to access platform-specific SDKs (Android SDKs and iOS SDKs). This makes it simple for you to access the various platform SDKs and libraries.
These frameworks are developed by private companies. Popular cross-platform frameworks include, for instance:
•Google's Flutter. The programming language used is Dart.
•Microsoft's Xamarin (which is being migrated to MAUI). Its programming languages are XAML and C#.
Cross-platform mobile apps are frequently built with native UI components to give them a native feel. They offer an abstraction to the underlying platform SDKs, as was already indicated. Access to the GPS, battery level, camera, and microphone are among the exposed sensors.
You still need a Windows, macOS, or Linux machine with the Android SDK installed in order to deploy your app on Android. You still need the iOS SDK, Xcode, and only a macOS computer to develop for iOS.
The following is a list of IDEs that support the previously listed cross-platform frameworks:
React Native Mobile apps: Visual Studio, Android Studio, WebStorm, Xcode, and Atom
Flutter Mobile apps: Visual Studio, Android Studio, and IntelliJ
Xamarin Mobile apps: Visual Studio
Pros of Cross-platform
1) Low cost
Only one team of developers is required for cross-platform mobile development. They must be informed about the selected framework. In order to start developing traction and testing the market, the app reaches a larger audience.
2) Code reusability
Cross-platform frameworks let you employ a single codebase, which increases code reuse. This guarantees consistency in the applied business logic.
3) Rapid development
You can reach the market more quickly by increasing productivity and reusing code. Cross-platform frameworks have also improved the way that apps are tested as they are being developed.
4) Easier maintenance
Updating a cross-platform App is simpler. You are working with a single codebase, which is why. Using the same code across all builds for the various platforms ensures consistency.
Cons of Cross-platform
1) Larger digital footprint
Cross-platform apps typically have a larger digital footprint The alternatives for mobile optimization must be taken into consideration.
2) Integration challenges
Not all platform-specific features are integrated by cross-platform frameworks. Some hardware integrations, such as the use of GPUs, may need knowledge of native app development.
3) Lower performance
Custom runtimes are frequently bundled with cross-platform frameworks to execute your App. It is in charge of interacting with specialized services on a given platform. This increases the amount of computation, which lowers performance.
4) Platform updates
New SDK versions frequently come with new updates and functionality. You must wait for a separate upgrade with cross-platform frameworks to access these more recent capabilities.
The development of native and cross-platform apps both has Pros and Cons. Therefore, before settling on an app development framework, it all boils down to the exact business necessity. Before choosing an app development framework, IT business owners should be aware of what they really want. Additionally, the choice should be based on considering both the present and the future.