Native vs cross-platform mobile app development. Which one to choose?
As your idea for a new mobile app gets more and more clear, you're probably wondering what technologies you can use to build it. The decision about technologies will probably depend on your experience in building mobile apps and advice from mobile developers.
However, in this article we’ll try to make it easier for you to recognise which way is better for you to choose – native or cross-platform app development.
Let’s dig into pros and cons of using both of these development options and you’ll be ready to decide which is a better fit for your solution.
Cross-platform app development
Cross-platform mobile development means creating a mobile app for multiple mobile operating systems at the same time, with one code base. It’s an extremely time-saving solution for those who decide to create an app that doesn't need to use any system-specific features.
Nowadays, the most popular framework for cross-platform app development is Flutter. Flutter is an innovative technology for creating applications on mobile, desktop, and web platforms. It’s a free, open-source UI framework from Google which has hit the market in 2017. Actually, Flutter is a collection of tools, libraries, documentation, APIs and frameworks. It provides everything needed to build cross-platform apps.
Choosing a cross-platform solution is ideal for those who have decided to make a quick MVP release to test the idea and the product. Startups usually choose cross-platform apps as their aim is to launch the product as soon as possible and check if there's a market fit for them. That’s why cross-platform app development is a good way to go for them. The app is built faster and owners can check its viability to decide whether they should continue or not. It’s also very cost-effective as only one developer is enough to build a functional MVP. Find out more about cross-platform development with Flutter from this article.
Another popular tool for creating cross-platform apps is React Native. No matter which tool you choose, these kinds of apps are created much faster but also have their disadvantages.
Advantages of cross-platform apps
- Cross-platform apps are built for iOS and Android at the same time
- It’s a time and money-saving solution, especially good for startups
- Great app performance – with cross-platform apps you can discover nearly the same performance as in case of native apps, although they will never be the same.
Here you can find 10 examples of apps built with Flutter at FiveDotTwelve. This will show you what cross-platform apps might look like and how they work.
Native app development
Native app development is creating a software program for the use on a single platform (Android, iOS) or device written in language that is native to that platform. A particularly important benefit of native apps is that they can take full advantage of the device features and latest system updates. Additionally, native apps have an extensive list of libraries that are made specifically for a given platform so that you can make the most of it.
If you want to learn more about what native apps are, jump to this article.
Advantages of native apps
- Native apps can take advantage of the system features, they use the device’s internal features like camera, compass, storage, GPS, list of contacts, etc.
- Using system components and taking advantage of the latest system features – native apps are the first to use the new trends in their features
- Native user interface (UI) provides positive user experiences thanks to a design style that matches the operating system, as well as system-specific libraries, components, patterns and others.
Find 10 examples of native apps created at FiveDotTwelve here to see how they can work.
Native and cross-platform app development comparison
Here’s a short comparison of native and cross-platform app development.
Cross-platform app development characteristics:
- You can build apps for Android and iOS with one codebase
- One developer is enough to build the whole mobile app
- It’s best for simple apps which don't need to use system features
- Can be taken into consideration if there's no need to create new libraries
- It’s an extremely time-saving solution
- The app needs to be planned carefully in terms of features
- You can make use of universal, all-purpose tools for both platforms
- The latest development trends are released after a while
- It’s perfect for MVPs
Native app development characteristics:
- You need to build two separate apps for iOS and Android
- Requires two developers to work for both platforms
- It’s a good solution for complex apps which take advantage of system features
- You should choose it when creating libraries is necessary
- It’s rather a time-consuming solution
- No features limitation – the app can be developed further with any features
- There are tailor-made development tools for each platform
- You can take advantage of the latest trends
- It’s perfect for complex solutions
Hope this can help you with the decision on which path you should choose for your mobile app and your business. Which solution you choose with the help of the development team depends on many factors. First of all, you should talk to the team about your business model and your app monetization plan. With the right advisors, you will certainly be able to make your software project your biggest success.
Remember to check out the descriptions of native apps, and if you’re more into cross-platform development take a look into apps built with Flutter.