Native vs. Cross-Platform development: old but gold vs. brand new

Pub: Oct 23, 2017Upd: Dec 27, 2018
Written by
Content writer

The Big Question: why native app development or why cross-platform mobile development?
Before we dwell upon pros and cons of native and cross-platform mobile application development, let’s make some points clear.

What is native development?

Native mobile apps are created for a single mobile platform installed on the device.
Cross-platform mobile apps are built with different combinations of languages to suit different mobile platforms.

What is cross-platform development?

Cross-platform mobile app development appeared as an alternative to the comparatively expensive native app development. Imagine that you have a unique idea for a mobile application: it would work wonders for your business, satisfy all clients, and increase income dramatically. All of your target audience/consumers actively use their mobile phones and that’s great news because you can head to the closest software developer. Bad news, you only have money to pay only for the iOS or Android mobile app. And that’s pretty bad news. But, wait, here comes a hero – the cross-platform mobile app development.

Some more details about the types of cross-platform mobile apps:

  1. Hybrid apps are the usual web pages built with HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript and a variety of tools. The PhoneGap is one of the frameworks that bridge the native SDK with the JavaScript WebView.
  2. Mobile websites (also known as mobile responsive) that look like apps. They are not listed in your menu because you access them via a mobile browser.
  3. Mobile apps that utilize their runtime to run different programming languages. As soon as they launch an app, it runs a virtual machine that triggers the cross-platform code execution. The most popular platform for this app type is Titanium.
  4. Mobile apps that execute the cross-platform code ingrained into the native code. This type of apps is often developed on the Xamarine platform.

Cross-platform vs. Native development

The Big Question: why native app development or why cross-platform mobile development? The choice is always after you and we are here to help you with your choice. Let’s analyze the advantages and limitations of both native and cross-platform development to see what type suits you.

Native app development pros:

  1. works with the built-in features of the device which means that they perform faster and easier;
  2. users can easily find and download the apps from the markets as the native apps usually have better support from the interested marketplaces. Before an app is placed on the market, it is being checked for the safety and security to get the market’s approval;
  3. the developers find the native apps more convenient to work with as they can be built with the system tools and in a shorter time;
  4. the native apps feel very natural to the system in which they operate. The thing is that they are built with the system’s templates and surprise with the smooth UX.

Native app development cons:

  1. The native apps cost more as they have to be absolutely compatible with the other platforms and devices.
  2. Talking about the maintenance, it’s important to mention that the native apps are more expensive to support, especially when one application supports two and more platforms.
  3. With the native apps, there is a risk of losing time as it has to be approved to enter a marketplace. Plus, there is no guarantee that it will instantly become popular among the users.

Cross-platform application development pros:

  1. In case the code was carefully planned, 50%-80% of it may be reused in the cross-platform. This results in decreased costs and time of development.
  2. During the maintenance period, the bugs are fixed in a common codebase only.
  3. Perfectly suits the business process automation and B2B apps because there, the time, not the user experience plays the main role.

Cross-platform application development cons:

  1. UX is a pretty important thing and it lags behind when it comes to cross-platform mobile app development. The thing is that the desktops are more powerful than the phones since the phones have less processing power. Consequently, the HTML5 hybrid apps show poor UX performance on the middle and low range phones.
  2. The cross-platform apps consume more battery than the native ones because they require the rendering of the advanced features that need a lot of GPU and CPU resources rendered by the latest CSS and HTML.
  3. Pretty often, the cross-platform apps need to act in a “call-back” manner to communicate with the native plugins which only makes the code more complicated. There is also a high probability of making cross-platform mobile business apps too slow.

Now that we know the weak and strong points of the Native and Cross-platform app development, it’s possible to draw a line and see what really works in practice.

So, is native development dead?

Even though the future is after the cross-platform app development, now it is far from ideal and it causes more inconveniences that ease the process of development. Thus, we can state that currently, the native app development is a better choice for your business.

When it comes to the success of your business, you have to be ready to spend more. Surely, the development of two separate native applications for one mobile system is more expensive than making a cross-platform one but what really decides the success is the superior UX. Ordering a cross-platform development means that you’re saving on the overall cost of the development, however, losing on the quality of the UX.

What’s UX?

User Experience is a set of advantages that an average user sees using an app. Statistics say that the UX is a driving force of success as it determines whether the user will return to using an application or leave it far behind. Statistically, after the third time application malfunctions, users delete it. The mobile systems have their differentiating features such as the location of the buttons and the way you navigate around the application and, finally, what kind of impression this application leaves. If the user comes back to using it and finds the layout logical and easy to use, the UX is positive and efficient.

Finally, the cross-platform apps are better for the B2B solutions as they offer a wider range of functions. Those who aim at a direct communication with the clients tend to order the native app development as it guarantees the efficient UX and UI. Fortunately or not, the cross-platform app development is still in the process of dynamic development and suffers from the rising number of inconsistencies, technology-wise.

Native app development remains the best practice in the modern market as it provides sleek navigation around the app. Inoxoft specialists have proven to provide the smooth functioning native apps for Android and iOS systems. We would be pleased to help you with your idea for a native mobile app idea – just share your vision with us!

Written by
Content writer, Foreign Languages Department Graduate. The former member of NGO with experience in social work, promoting leadership and changes in the youth community. You can find Yaryna on Facebook, Twitter or on Linkedin, .
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