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Digital revolution has redefined the future of our industries, societies, and economies as a whole. New technologies and innovative mobile apps have been significantly changing the way we work, and live today. Mobility is fast becoming essential for every application and digital product that organizations offer. Companies are now adopting the mobile-first approach to remain ahead of their competitors. Every organization is planning to connect to a larger audience through an intuitive app that runs without a glitch on multiple mobile platforms.
However, with so much diversity in devices, platforms, versions, operating systems, companies are clueless about whether to choose a cross-platform app or a native app. This has always been a challenge for most developers and companies to find the best development approach as there are advantages and disadvantages with both the approaches.
Presently, the mobile marketplace is widely fragmented due to the presence of different devices with a variety of interfaces, languages, and SDKs. It’s a Herculean task for organizations to develop a versatile app that can run on multi-platforms. Therefore, the concept of a cross-platform mobile app is fast gaining currency as it allows developer to first code, and subsequently deploythe app across various platforms.
Advantages of cross-platform mobile app?
Reusable code: The development of cross-platform mobile app simplifies the task of maintaining and deploying codes and it also eliminates repetitive tasks. Developers can easily reuse the codes for other platforms instead of writing a new code for specific task or action.
Saving cost: It is far more economical for companies to build a cross-platform mobile app and leverage a single codebase. They do not need to invest a fortune to get an app, and also the same developers can be asked to work on various platforms, instead of having a dedicated team for each platform like we get in the current native scene.
Easier to market: Cross-platform app development framework leverages the unified codebase that enables businesses to fast track the mobile application development and timely delivery of the app for its customers.
Easier to deploy: Most apps offer modules and extensions that seamlessly integrate with other tools to improve its functionality and appearance. It is relatively easier for the developers to deploy and maintain codes for apps to run across all platforms. Moreover, the latest updates allow the app to get easily synced across multiple devices and platforms.
Consistency: One of the most important qualities for any app is its User Experience (UX). The single codebase used to develop a multi-platform app help in maintaining the overall look and feel and consistency of the app on most platforms.
Popular Approaches to develop App
One of the major issues that developers encounter while working on a mobile app is the different models of mobile phones that need to be supported. Despite the fact that the most popular platform for apps supports android, it’s no longer enough. Window and iOS are worthy competitors, and the iPad presents different options and possibilities that often require developing their app experiences. To make a mobile app truly dynamic, you need to support every platform that users normally choose.
Currently, we lack the technology to create an app that magically works on most platforms and on all mobile devices. Though developers are working hard to achieve this milestone, it will take some time. Meanwhile, there are two popular approaches that are currently adopted.
The second approach is to first write the app in the one language, and subsequently get it translated to other languages that are compatible with other phones. This helps a developer to create the app,say for the android devices,and run it through a tool to produce versions that could run on other platforms.
There are other ways to develop an app through HTML5, which is an advanced versionof HTML that could provide direct APIs to GPS and other mobile-specific features. But the problem with HTML5 is that its standard is yet to be finalised and there are not manydevices supporting it. However, an app could be still created by using this method that can run on all phones as well as support most.
Pros and Cons
There are both positives and negativesabout the current and future options. The main advantages of using such technologies lie in easy marketing and maintenance of a single app instead of doing it for multiple apps.
The major disadvantage, apart from not supporting every platform, is the limitation ofwhat driver ortranslator is able to handle. You may not be able to access local storage, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or something similar that may not be available on most phones. There areperformanceissues also because the code that is either translated or written in a scripting language needs to be interpreted, and may not be optimized for a given phone
The multi-platform development approach is widely accepted across the world since it makes the entire development processes agile. Before taking a decision about whether the multi-platform approach is the right strategy, it is important for companies to understand the users’ needs. The smartest approach should be to study and analyze various parameters such as customer types, diverse mobile devices, range of supported platforms, and customers’ interaction with apps, etc. to find out whether a cross-platform solution is the right choice.