App

A Quick Blueprint on Crossplatform App Development – What, Why, When and How

As an existing or future app founder, you’ll have your lightbulb moment when you have found an epic mobile app based solution to a pressing problem in your industry for a target audience. What’s your next step? You reach out to a mobile app development company in Dubai and weigh your options to materialize the app based on cost, development timeline, launching devices and so on. And more or less all mobile app development companies would recommend you pick either of the two approaches:

  • native app development
  • cross-platform app development.

But if you’ll mention budget and/or time constraints to your prospective developer, they’ll most likely suggest the latter. A strong thought process, strategy and careful judgment and cost analysis go into deciding and recommending native over crossplatform app development – and rightly because it slashes almost all barriers to entry in the app market. 

In this article, I am covering those three reasons and the technology stack you’ll work with if you choose crossplatform app development.  

Top Mobile App Development Approaches 

In the mobile app development industry, I have seen two primary types of approaches that vary based on the development platforms. 

Native Development

This is the most comprehensive, expensive and highly user-centric approach to mobile app development. Native development means building separate, native versions of an app for each platform including Android and iOS. Developers building native apps typically use platform-specific languages and tools for native development.

For example, developers use:

  • Java and Kotlin for Android app development
  • Swift and Objective-C for iOS app development

This approach offers the highest level of performance and access to platform-specific features but requires separate codebases for each platform – which logically translates into more development hours and high development costs. 

Startup founders are often reluctant to pour heft budgets into native Android and iOS development, and hence they pick crossplatform development – and for all the right justifications. 

Cross-platform Development 

Crossplatform app development means writing a platform-independent code once – and then using it to power multiple applications for diverse platforms. There are three main scenarios in crossplatform app development: 

  • Crossplatform Mobile App Development  

These are cross-platform mobile applications that are actually platform-independent. They run and perform like native applications on Android and iOS devices with a singular codebase.

With advancements in cross-platform app development practices, designers and developers now use native components to unify the user experience of these apps that can be built for two platforms for the price of one. 

  • Hybrid Development

In hybrid development, developers use technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build apps that run on multiple platforms. 

Developers use frameworks like Apache Cordova and Ionic to create cross-platform apps using web technologies and they can be deployed across multiple platforms with minimal modifications. 

While hybrid apps require low development time and effort, they definitely are least user-friendly and not the right fit for businesses in the long run. 

  • Progressive Web Applications (PWAs)

In PWAs, you can visit a web developer company in dubai that use a mix of mobile and web technologies. But these apps give a near-native, app-like experience despite being launched on web browsers. 

Progressive Web Applications are responsive, secure, and offer features such as offline support, push notifications, and home screen installation.

Is crossplatform development the right approach for you?

Whether you should go for native-level or crossplatform development is a strategic decision. Deciding this requires a subjective thought process. Here are three factors that I consider when recommending either to my clients: 

  • Performance

Think about your app’s performance requirements. If you want it to work on mobile apps and very fast, and also give a native user experience, plus if you don’t have budget constraints, native development is your way to go. 

If you need fast performance, a visually appealing app – but for Android and iOS platforms in a limited budget, crossplatform development can work for your business. 

  • Time-to-Market

Native development will require developers to write separate codebases using the legacy technology stack. 

This means native takes more time and effort in development than crossplatform. 

I would recommend you evaluate the time constraints of your project and determine whether cross-platform development frameworks offer faster development cycles compared to native development in your case.

User Experience

Assess the user experience expectations for your app and choose a development strategy that can deliver a seamless and intuitive user interface across all platforms.

Crossplatform App Development Frameworks

Here I am discussing the technology stack utilized in a platform-independent approach – which should answer almost all shows of crossplatform app development. 

React Native

RN was developed by Facebook. It allows developers to build native-like mobile apps using JavaScript and React. It is interoperable and allows code sharing across platforms while maintaining native performance and user experience.

As an app founder, you can utilize React Native to build native applications as well. 

Flutter

Officially developed by Google, Flutter is an open-source UI toolkit for building natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. 

It uses the Dart programming language and offers a rich set of pre-built widgets for building beautiful and responsive apps.

Xamarin

Xamarin is a cross-platform development framework owned by Microsoft.

It allows developers to build native mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows using C# and the .NET framework.

While frameworks like Xamarin also offer crossplatform capacities, React Native and Flutter are the most popular.

Side-by-side comparison of React Native and Flutter

FeatureReact NativeFlutter
LanguageJavaScriptDart
FrameworkJavaScript libraryUI toolkit
Developed byFacebookGoogle
User InterfaceNative componentsCustomizable widgets
PerformanceGood performance, Slightly lower than native appsHigh performance due to compiled code
PopularityWidely adopted by developersFlutter community is thriving 
Community SupportLarge community with extensive resources and librariesActive community with growing ecosystem
Development TimeRapid development with Hot ReloadRapid development with Hot Reload
Learning CurveReact Native is relatively easy for web developers familiar with JavaScript and React. Flutter offers a steeper learning curve due to Dart language and custom widget-based approach. 
Platform SupportSupports iOS and Android, with limited support for other platformsSupports iOS, Android, web, and desktop
Native FeaturesReact Native provides access to native modules and APIs.Flutter provides access to native modules and APIs. 
UI CustomizationLimited to native components and third-party librariesHighly customizable UI with widgets and themes
DocumentationWell-documented with extensive resourcesWell-documented with growing resources
Conclusion..

App founders and product development strategists dedicated to specific app projects take several factors and circumstances into account when suggesting crossplatform development. They think about the founder’s vision of performance, the time required to market and the user experience expectations of the target audience that will download and use the app. If you’re sold on building a crossplatform app, then the side-by-side comparison brings you to decide between React Native and Flutter – and definitely, Flutter is your way to go. That’s because Flutter works well for scalability – so even if you are not launching an MVP, it has the capacity to help you build a fully-featured app with a high-end user experience and a performant backend. But because of the stability and long-established expertise in React Native, developers would recommend you React Native if you need to publish on Android and iOS only.
A Quick Blueprint on Crossplatform App Development - What, Why, When and How
A Quick Blueprint on Crossplatform App Development - What, Why, When and How

Related Articles

Back to top button