Cross-platform vs. single platform development - Here's what you should know

Cross-platform vs. single platform development - Here's what you should know

The business world has transformed over the years. Whereas organizations used to provide company-provided mobile devices to access their applications and data, they are now encouraging a growing contrasting trend- BOYD (Bring Your Own Device). With an increasing number of staff members bringing their personal devices to the workplace, businesses must develop corporate apps that function on various devices. The app market has expanded to incorporate numerous mobile devices and their different operating systems. 

The debate of whether a company should invest in a single or cross-platform mobile app development is a hot topic. The decision of which framework to use depends upon the documents and resources that an organization has. Consider the following example:

In 2012, Facebook labeled their hybrid endeavor as “the biggest mistake” and replaced their HTML5 application with a native iOS because it did not meet the company’s mobile app requirements . Their decision to go, native, helped resolve the company’s issues related to app performance and launching speed.

Since each device and the operating system has its own ways of dealing with apps, selecting the right IT platform can help run the app effectively in various environments, especially on the cloud or wireless network.

Key differences between single and cross-platform development

Single platform development

As the name suggests, single platform mobile apps are apps that meet the requirements of a particular operating system. They target a specific audience, such as iOS or Android users. It is especially beneficial for internal-facing enterprise applications. This technology is still being widely implemented. Here are a few benefits of why apps are developed on a single platform.

1. Work offline as well

These apps don’t usually require an Internet connection. All the files are already available on the device.

2. High performance

Since the app is designed for a system, there are fewer chances of errors or lags, and user experience is more pronounced. The architecture and hardware of the device are utilized optimally. In fact, software that relies on a great deal of graphics or interactivity works best on this platform because the device has complete access to all the software functions on the device. Features such as the microphone, camera, address book, player, and location services can be efficiently utilized without draining the phone resources, like battery power and memory space.

3. Greater store visibility

An app designed for a platform can be easily promoted through its respective app store, App Store for iPhones, Play Store for Androids, and Ovi Store for Nokia.

4. Easy implementation

Apps written in a specific programming language can easily incorporate more ideas. Many times, this can be quite difficult for cross-platform developers. More importantly, they are more compatible with browsers

5. User interface

Model of native applications development requires a unified approach to the user interface and provides a comfortable and full user experience.

Though the above highlights significant aspects of single platform development, you must understand the following drawbacks:

6. Cost of development

You will need to allocate quite a bit of money for a professional developer that has advanced programming skills. Whether the developer uses Java for Android or Objective-C/Swift for iOS app development, there is a lot of effort and time that is dedicated to justifying the high price for these tasks.

7. Limited users

It can only be implemented on a single platform, either Android OS or iOS. Just those people who have a device with a specific OS will be able to download the app. 

8. Updates

On single platforms, an app updated version must go through the app store once again to get accepted before it’s available to the public. Many times, multiple versions of the same app must be supported.

Cross-platform development

So, what’s the other option? Cross-platform development allows mobile apps to be compatible with multiple operating systems. It permits the same app to be run on any smartphone or tablet. Top cross-platform app development tools such as Apache Cordova, Xamarin, and Unity are used 70% of the developers. It’s ideal for apps that need to utilize a device’s resources efficiently and quickly, outweighing the importance of UX. some of the benefits of choosing this form of app development are:

1. Quicker time to launch

With the right plan and tech support, a launch can be up and running in a shorter amount of time. A vendor can re-use up to 80% of the original codebase. It’s easier to make changes and reproduce them between platforms.

2. Cost-effective solution

 With reduced labor and quicker launch times, a company can save money. When a company plans to develop an app on a single platform, it’s necessary to develop one for Android users, and another for iOS users as 99.6% of all smartphones run on either iOS or Android. Cross-platform app development offers a cheaper solution. And the plus point is that a larger audience will use the app.

3. Synchronized updates

Successful apps need to be updated at regular intervals. Cross-platform development can effortlessly incorporate updates, reducing maintenance costs.

But you should know that a quicker and cheaper app development comes with strings attached. One of its shortcomings is performance issues. Because a smartphones’ computing power is relatively small, using cross-platform programming can put a load on its resources. This could increase an app’s response time and interfere with user experience. However, ordinary users often do not notice much of a difference.

Deciding on which of the two approaches in the design to choose, it is very important to select one that matches the project requirements. Consider the app’s intended feature and the scope of the application. Compare the cost of each. It’s best to use a single platform when maximum performance is required, such as interactive gaming or when specific functions of custom gadgets must be used. Likewise, cross-platform development is ideal for informative or content distribution apps. So, choose what’s best for the company.

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