Native vs. Cross Platform Apps: Making the Right Choice for your Business

The increase in the number of mobile users invariably led to the rapid development of the global mobile application market. No matter what your business is, it is impossible today not to take into account the time that people spend in front of mobile devices each day. As covered earlier, businesses have quite a few options for the approach they want to opt for the development process. In the previous article, we made a comparison between native and web apps to help make the right choice. However, apart from web apps, another great option that businesses have is that of a Cross Platform app.

In this we will be analyzing the pros and cons of native and cross platform apps to help you evaluate your position more precisely and make a more accurate decision.

Native Applications

Native applications are those that are developed for a specific platform (like Android or iOS) using the platform specific programming language and other standardized development tools. They can easily access all hardware features of the device such as GPS, camera etc. Native apps are usually downloaded directly from app stores (App Store, Google Play).

Cross-Platform Applications

As the name itself suggests, it’s an application that is developed only once and works on multiple platforms. Cross platform apps have the flexibility to provide an interface and feel same as that of a native mobile app. Their development includes writing just one code for the core logic which is usually over 70% of the total code whereas the rest of it is the one that decides the interface for each platform.

Now that we’ve had a general introduction, let us analyze the pros and cons of each approach and determine which one is best to use in a given situation.

Native Application Development Process Analyzed

Benefits of Developing a Native Mobile App

1.Performance and speed: Because applications are created using platform-specific Integrated Development Environments, the resulting compiled high-performance code will be tuned to the given platform and will run at its best. The application has full support for multithreading and hardware accelerations.

2. User experience: The Human interface guidelines and other UX conventions change from one platform to another and users get accustomed to one specific platform. Designing a native app can help you make sure that the UI elements crucial for the platform users are in accordance to their comfort.

3. Hardware Features: A native app has full access to the all of the device’s services and features since it is specific to the device and its platform.

4. Faster Integration of Latest Features: Mobile operating systems are evolving at a very rapid pace and more and more new features being added every year. New software and hardware features provided by the device manufacturers and operating systems are available for implementation in native apps immediately after the release and easily integrated.

5. Ease of testing: Developers and testers have a range of technologies at their disposal for Application performance monitoring. If the application is consuming more memory than expected or more CPU resources — it will not pass unnoticed. Secondly, wide applicability of unit testing allows to automatically test virtually every method in the application.

Cons of Developing a Native App

1.Development Speed: Supporting multiple devices requires more time to build an application since the code has to be written right from the start for each. Similarly testing time is also increased since the app has to be tested separately for all platforms.

2. Development Costs: Due to development speed, development costs are automatically increased since more resources are required to be employed to develop the app. It also requires developers with expertise in the platform specific programming languages.

3. Maintenance and Support: Maintaining native applications on multiple platforms (finding and fixing bugs, updating and other changes) demands more time and resources to be focused on individual platforms.

Cross-Platform Application Development — Analyzed

Benefits of Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

1.Development Speed: Developing cross platform apps are a much faster process since over 70% of the code has to be written only once and is shared by multiple platforms. Only a little extra coding is required for developing the user interface specific to each platform.

2. Development Cost: Since most of the code is shared, it requires much less resources at its disposal. Also, the number of developers required reduces significantly as developers with an expertise on only one framework (Xamarin) is required.

3. Maintenance and Support: Since, cross-platform development introduces a much simpler development lifecycle, the maintenance and updates required too are easier. Any bugs in a code, updates, addition of new features all need to be done just once. Therefore, maintaining cross platform apps are much simpler than native ones.

4. Fewer Bugs and Errors: Programming languages of cross platform apps are simple and type safe which helps prevent type errors that could result in flawed program behavior. Another reason for this is the fact that since most of the code is shared, the code is not exceptionally long. Lesser code also leads to a lesser bugs.

5. Greater Reach: One great advantage with cross platform apps is that they can be launched at multiple platforms at once without any delay unlike in Native apps. This also reduces efforts on marketing the app for different platforms separately.

Cons of Developing a Cross-Platform App

1.Platform Integration: When it comes to integrating the app with the local settings, preferences and notifications apps, there could be some issues dealing with multiple apps. Hence it’s important that your developers are highly skilled and experienced.

2. Access to Limited Features: Each platform provides its own features. When designing a cross-platform app, developers will have access to only the common features. However, almost all of the majorly used features are common.

3. App might Run Slower: Since the code written for all platforms is similar, calling the code might take a while since it first has to be converted into a language specific to the platform.

Native App Development Vs. Cross Platform App Development — Conclusion

As mentioned in the previous article, choosing the right type of app is always dependent on your business goals and current situation. However, choosing between the option of a cross platform app and a native app isn’t as easy as choosing from a native app and a web app. Cross platform apps definitely provide a leverage over native apps in several crucial instances, however native apps too have some leverage over them.

In recent times, a hybrid native cross-platform application development technique has come up as an effective solution for this dilemma. However, it still is always better to consult an experienced app development company before making a decision.

Originally published at on October 26, 2017.