There are more than 4.4 million apps available on both Appstore and Google Play today. These apps are installed on over 6 billion smartphones all over the world. The fast-growing market of mobile apps has lured many entrepreneurs towards it. If you are one of those entrepreneurs who want to launch a mobile app and have chosen to build a cross-platform app, then this write-up is for you.
We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of cross platform development, have a brief look at the best app development tools and frameworks and give you a few tips for efficient cross platform app development.
Cross-platform apps have gained immense popularity amongst the developer community due to the various advantages that cross-platform apps provide. Before you contact top cross-platform app development companies to build an app, you need to be aware of the various advantages of cross-platform apps. We have enlisted below some of the most important advantages of cross-platform apps
A cross-platform app can work on multiple platforms. This trait of a cross-platform app proves to be a major advantage for the app as it helps the app maximize its reach. The cross-platform app can reach users of multiple platforms like iOS and Android easily.
As compared to native apps, the development time of a cross-platform app is significantly quick. With native apps, the app owners need to employ a separate team of app developers for each platform. Two teams take up more time to build, test and deploy two apps. This is not the case with cross platform apps, as only a single team can build the app for various platforms.
Maintaining two native apps for different platforms is far more difficult than maintaining a single cross-platform app. It is easier to debug and update a single cross platform app as compared to two native apps. The developers can save a lot of time and money as they have to maintain a single codebase, and the updates can be easily synced over all the platforms and devices.
The cost of developing a cross platform app is significantly lower than developing a native mobile app. This is because of the fact that in a cross-platform app, the developers need to build only a single cross platform, and this fact removes the need to deploy separate teams to develop native apps. With only one team required to develop a cross-platform app as opposed to two teams for native apps, the cost to build a cross-platform app becomes half. You can also utilize cloud technologies to reduce app development costs.
Cloud is one of the most popular technologies as it provides security, scalability, ease of use, and reliability to the app. Using modern app development technologies, it is easy to integrate cross-platform mobile apps into cloud hosting services.
Cross-platform apps can take benefit of the various plugins that are integrated with the cloud settings. The developers can integrate a single source code with multiple extensions to improve the scalability and functionality of the app.
Writing code from scratch can drastically increase the time taken to build a cross-platform application. Cross-platform apps allow the developers to reuse the code. The reusability of cross-platform apps helps the developers save time and resources spent in writing new code.
Consistency in user design is one of the most important factors that contribute to a smooth user experience. If the design is not consistent across devices and platforms, then it can lead to confusion amongst the users. This confusion will deter users from using the app and will act as a catalyst for the app’s failure.
Maintaining a uniform design across multiple native apps on different platforms can prove to be a headache. The cross-platform apps allow the developers to maintain a consistent design and feel of the app across various platforms.
They say time is money, and it applies to app development as well. A faster time to market for your app is necessary because it will boost the prospects of business growth for your eCommerce business. Cross platform app development helps businesses achieve a faster time-to-market as a business needs to build only a single cross platform app and not two native ones. Moreover, if you need to transform or customize the app, it takes less time to make changes in a single code as opposed to making changes in two or more codebases.
Now that we have seen why you should go for cross-platform app development, we will see at the other side of the coin and see some precautionary measures that you will need to keep in mind when you go for cross platform mobile app development.
A major reason why businesses opt for native apps instead of cross-platform ones is the lack of performance. The performance issues get magnified in apps that need access to devise hardware like GPS and camera to deliver good performance. For simple apps and for those apps that do not require access to devise hardware, there is no noticeable difference in performance.
As native apps have separate codes for iOS and Android, they happen to be more user-focused towards UI and UX design. Conversely, with cross-platform app development, the developers have to use a single codebase for both the platforms, hence they are not able to utilize all the platform-specific UI/UX design features. Poor UI/UX design can be eliminated by hiring expert cross-platform app developers.
With native apps, whenever Google or Apple provide the updates, new SDKs are provided with the updates. This is not the case with a cross-platform framework, as it takes much more time for them to release updates. Cross-platform app development frameworks that have a great developer community can mitigate this issue.
As a business owner, you need to have some knowledge about the various tools used in cross-platform mobile app development.
To aid you in your quest, we have identified the most popular cross platform tools for 2022 based on performance, feature support, cost, and framework risk.
Basic knowledge of the various tools used will help you discuss the same with your multi platform app development team, and this, in turn, will help you select an appropriate team.
One of the most important questions that you need to ask your cross-platform app developers is the cross-platform app development framework that they would be using to develop your app. The quality of the end product won’t only depend on the kind of cross-platform app development framework selected but also on the experience and skillset of the cross-platform app developers with the selected framework. Ensure that the developers working on your cross-platform app have experience in building a cross-platform app on the framework on which they are going to build your cross-platform app.
Most popular cross-platform app development frameworks:
Flutter is one of the most popular cross-platform app development technologies available today. Flutter has a solid backing of Google and this fact makes it one of the top reasons why developers choose to go with Flutter for cross-platform app development. Flutter has got credibility due to the fact that many leading businesses have chosen Flutter for cross-platform app development.
React Native is another top cross-platform app development technology used backed by another tech behemoth, Meta. One of the finest cross-platform app development technologies, React native is behind many popular apps around the world.
Microsoft is behind Xamarin, which happens to be a decent multi platform app development technology. Although not as popular as Flutter or React Native, Xamarin is still preferred by many cross-platform app developers in the industry.
All the three cross-platform app development frameworks mentioned above have their own pros and cons. You should select the best multi platform app development framework according to the specific needs of your cross-platform app. Your cross-platform app developers can help your make the correct choice.
Also Read: React Native Vs. Flutter: The Epic Comparison
You need to take care of a few aspects when you go for cross-platform app development. How well you deal with these aspects will decide the success or failure of your cross-platform app. We have given below a few tips to effectively handle cross-platform development.
All good cross-platform apps have one thing in common, robust market research. In-depth market research will provide you with valuable insights into the demands of app users and also help you get a credible cost estimation of the project. The market research will also unveil the strategies your competitors are using to solve the problems of the users. While conducting market research, be sure to be customer-centric and develop a cross-platform app that focuses directly on the customer pain points.
Do not forget to take into consideration the latest cross-platform app trends when you conduct market research. Whether it is about building MVP or a full-fledged app, good market research always helps to build a feature-rich cross-platform app.
The first thing that will attract the users towards it is the look and feel of the app. A visually appealing app would contribute positively to user engagement. Follow the UI/UX design principles to build a design that is both unique and consistent.
iOS, Windows, and Android all use different types of schemes and fonts. So you will have to specifically customize each of these fonts to ensure that the app functions smoothly. Choose imagery that is consistent with your brand and always have a platform-independent vision of how you want your app to look.
Many developers tend to think that with cross-platform development, there is no need to consider platform-specific interface standards. This is an incorrect approach as there are some Android-specific features and some iOS-specific features. Best cross-platform app developers will know what iOS users expect from an app and what Android users expect from an app. Poor cross-platform app developers won’t be able to take advantage of these non-generic features.
You must find a balance between design consistency and platform guidelines. A good cross-platform app should be easy to use and should align perfectly well with each type of platform. Using HTML & CSS, the developers can easily customize your app. The developers need to do little work to add minimal DOMs and a few CSS lines for every mobile platform.
Most of the popular cross-platform app development technologies have a wide range of reliable and pre-tested code components available. Using these pre-built components, cross-platform app developers can build an app quickly and easily. So make sure that you are not paying your cross p[latform app developers to reinvent the wheel. By plugging one of the ready-made modules into your app development project, you can reduce the production time and improve both quality and performance.
In case your app developers have experience in building a solution similar to yours, then they would already have a lot of the pre-built components necessary to build a cross-platform app. Before you give your cross-platform app development project to any development team, make sure you ask the team how much of the project they intend to build from scratch and how much will they use pre-built components.
With certain hybrid frameworks, the developers can boost the app’s performance by storing information in local storage or by rendering information through cache. The developers can substantially reduce the server calls and network requests when they utilize local storage for caching purposes. The app runs smoothly as the pages load instantly from the cache.
Ask your developers to fetch and pre-load the data whenever possible. One can minimize access to DOM by reducing the number of DOM elements and updating them ‘offline’ before reinserting them into DOM. The developers can reduce the burden on the app as both static as well as dynamic data can be saved locally.
Rigorous testing is important to ensure the success of your cross-platform app. Before you release it to the market, ensure that every aspect of the app, right from design, loading speed, and performance, is up to the mark. The developers can use tools like Istanbul, Jasmine, Karma, and Mocha to test the codebase.
Tools like Browser-Perf can help your developers test the performance right on the browser. New Relic lets you monitor issues like response time. Discuss with your cross-platform developers the approach of testing the app, the tools they are going to use, and the resources that they will deploy to test the app. An efficient cross-platform app development company would have a robust app testing procedure that will help them deliver a high-quality app.
Cross-over to cross-platform
Cross-platform app development has brought down the costs of mobile app development. With tech heavyweights like Google, Meta, and Microsoft throwing their weight behind cross-platform apps, the future looks bright for cross-platform development. Great things happen when efficient teams collaborate. This is true for cross-platform app development as well. Collaborate with a good cross-platform app development company to build a great cross-platform app.
An enthusiastic Operations Manager at TopDevelopers.co, coordinating and managing the technical and functional areas. She is an adventure lover, passionate traveler, an admirer of nature, who believes that a cup of coffee is the prime source to feel rejuvenated. Researching and writing about technology keeps her boosted and enhances her professional journeying.