The iOS vs. Android debate first came to light when Android became one of the most popular and extensively used mainstream mobile platforms. According to Statista, together, Google Android and Apple iOS account for 99% of the global mobile OS market share. Initially, mobile app developers focused on designing native applications (platform-specific) that were not functional on multiple systems. This is how cross-platform mobile app development came to play.
Today, mobile app market trends are constantly changing and evolving, creating a growing demand for innovative mobile apps. Thus, businesses and brands must target users of multiple devices and operating systems.
This need to capture the attention of users of various platforms is pushing mobile app development companies to shift to cross-platform mobile app development.
Thanks to cross-platform mobile app development, you can expand your reach to users of multiple operating systems. It ensures that brands do not miss out on any major user bases.
What is cross-platform development?
Both iOS and Android platforms offer native apps that promise unique functionalities and user experiences. Essentially, native apps are applications designed to run on specific mobile platforms.
Unfortunately, native apps have certain disadvantages. Since native app development focuses on developing specific (unique) features for a particular OS, developers need to make upgrades and changes for individual elements. The entire process becomes both time and cost-intensive and also reduces development speed.
Cross-platform mobile application development solves these challenges. In simple words, it facilitates the creation of apps that can run seamlessly across multiple platforms. Here, developers write the code in one language and then compile it for different platforms using their respective native libraries. Thus, a single code works for various operating systems. Cross-platform mobile app development is a flexible and highly cost-efficient option for mobile app development firms.
Why opt for cross-platform mobile app development?
As we mentioned earlier, cross-platform mobile app development helps reduce the time and costs associated with developing mobile apps for different platforms. Here are X benefits that cross-platform mobile app development offers:
1. Language stack
2. Code reusability
This is one of the greatest advantages of cross-platform mobile app development. You can create just one codebase for multiple operating systems, eliminating the need for writing platform-specific code.
You need not write specific actions or sequences for individual platforms. Instead, you can write a general code and reuse almost 50-70% of the code for different platforms.
3. Hot reloading
The tech stack for cross-platform development ensures a top-notch developer experience. Hot reloading is one such feature that allows developers to incorporate new changes (features or versions of files edited during runtime) while the app is running.
So, you’re making the changes to the UI, the page will not refresh, and the app state will remain intact. Hot reloading helps save a lot of time.
4. Over the air updates
Cross-platform mobile app development facilitates the delivery of over-the-air (OTA) updates. The OTA feature allows developers to seamlessly send upgraded versions (with new features and assets) of apps to the users.
They need not build and re-submit a new standalone app for each new update. Thus, users can receive app updates anytime and anywhere. The upgrade occurs in the background, without hampering the usability of the app.
5. Quick product launch
Thanks to the write-once-run-anywhere (WORA) approach, it efficiently reduces the app development time. Developers design cross-platform apps as single projects with support for different operating systems.
Since everything lies consolidated in one place, you can get a cross-platform app running in no time. From conception and prototyping to development, testing, and market release, things move extremely fast.
6. Development Cost
When it comes to costs, cross-platform development can be 30% cheaper than native app development. The single codebase and code reusability features help to bring down development costs significantly.
It eliminates the need for investing in resources and skills required for individual platforms. Developers can make an application compatible with multiple platforms by reusing bits and pieces of the same code.
7. UI iterations
In cross-platform mobile app development, a bulk of UI elements are the same across multiple platforms. This allows for consistency in the primary characteristics of the app. Naturally, the UI iterations make for an excellent, smooth, and enjoyable user experience.
In cross-platform development, developers can keep the overall design and feel of the app uniform across different operating systems.
8. Code inspections
Cross-platform mobile app development makes the process of code inspection much more manageable. Developers can perform comprehensive testing for cross-platform apps to study their behavior in different environments. If the code inspection process identifies any bugs or issues with the UI and app performance, developers can only make the changes in the common codebase. Thus, there’s no need to write separate unit tests for individual systems.
To conclude, cross-platform mobile app development sure has numerous benefits. However, it is essential to acknowledge that it is not the befitting option for all cases. For instance, for mobile apps that require highly platform-specific functionalities and features, native app development is the ideal choice. Contrarily, cross-platform development is the most suitable option for startups/small to mid-sized firms that have limited financial and human resources.