The mobile apps have been proving their efficiency in drawing up the people and tweaking the business KPIs. This spurs the quantity of apps being created. As of the third quarter of 2022, 3.55 million apps are up for downloads in Google Play and 1.6 million apps are available in AppStore, Statista says. Many of the apps we use now are available in both Stores but the gap in the number indicates that some apps are placed on one OS.
As time went on and the demand for the apps grew, the approaches to app development changed as well. Earlier, developers had to keep in mind the limitations imposed by a platform or device for which the app was constructed. As you may know, development practices are ever-evolving ones and engineers wanted to find a way out to save time and resources on making an app for several OS. This is how the native app creation approach was complemented by a cross-platform one.
This article answers such questions as “what is a native application” and “what is a cross-platform application” as well as reveals the difference between native and cross-platform development to make it more painless for you to choose between native and cross-platform.
What is a Native Mobile Application?
Before moving on to the dissimilarity between the two types of development, let's first talk about each. It is correct to start by answering the question "what is a native mobile application".
Native mobile application is app creation tailored for one specific operating system, iOS or Android for instance. Pinterest, Google Maps, Spotify, and WhatsApp are developed as native apps though they exist for several OS.
Advantages of Native App Development
Performance and Response: Since native app development is dedicated to a precise OS, it yields ultimate performance and faster response, both of which are unquestionably benefits of native app development. The foundation platform's programming language and APIs are utilized, which results in greater response speed and performance.
Security: One of the key advantages of native app development is heavy security. The apps are more protected owing to OS’s interior security features.
Stronger UI/UX: Native application designs make use of operating system-specific libraries or UI components. As a result of the user-friendly and intuitive interface, the user experience with the application is enhanced.
Updates: Software Development Kits (SDKs), interface elements, and other development tools are continuously supplied by both Android and iOS which contributes to the stability of app update development.
Offline mode: Though it’s not often implemented as most of the apps are connected to a server but it remains possible to make the app run with no internet connection.
Disadvantages of Native App Development
Only one platform: If your target audience is on the Google Market and the App Store, and you intend to touch both, you will need to build two separate but equivalent apps for every store. And since it takes 2 distinct teams to create two native apps, this will consume a significant amount of your time and funds.
Inability to reuse code: It is not feasible to use code from, for example, an iOS app to construct an Android app when constructing a native app. The creation of native applications is the work of two unique teams, as was already indicated. As a consequence, two separate codes in two different programming languages are necessitated.
The support and maintenance workload doubles: It's more of a result of the described-above disadvantages of native app development. Since, native app creation doubles the labor requirements, the same applies to support and maintenance. All support and maintenance works are performed by separated teams with the following increasing in entailed resources and time.
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What is a Cross-Platform Mobile Application?
Let's first give a clear answer to “what is a cross-platform mobile application”, just like we did when we were discussing native apps.
A strategy for crafting an app that can run on multiple operating systems, typically Android and iOS, is known as cross-platform mobile application development. An app may be operated across several platforms thanks to a single codebase.
Advantages of Cross-Platform App Development
Lower cost to develop: While the creation of two native apps requires two teams, cross-platform app development requires one. This is the main difference between native and cross-platform and it leads to lower development costs.
Reusable code: As it was mentioned, cross-platform app development goes from a single codebase. It’s one of the most evident advantages of cross-platform app development that helps to reduce time and effort in writing separate codes for native apps.
Shorter timeframe: the previous two benefits of cross-platform app development result in reduced time that is needed to make an app. The product journey from being an idea to market is rather shorter if compared to the native app creation.
Simplified support and maintenance: Thanks to the single codebase again! It makes support and maintenance more consistent and easier.
Disadvantages of Cross-Platform App Development
Heavyweight: Cross-platform apps weigh more and hence leave bigger digital footprints. The engineers need to ponder mobile optimization.
Feature set limitation: Implementation of a platform-specific requires extra effort and time as cross-platform frameworks may not include them.
Not as high performance: Cross-platform app development demands an extra layer of computation and rendering process since such apps don’t connect directly to the service but through the custom runtime with cross-platform frameworks. Thus, the app performance decreases
Slack updates: SDKs update plays a significant role when we’re talking about native vs cross-platform mobile app development. SDK for native apps is released more frequently which contributes to faster update delivery to the users. If your app is a cross-platform one, you have to wait for SDKs to be added to a framework.
Native vs Cross-Platform Apps: Which is Better?
The choice between native and cross-platform relies on the priorities and goals you expect to achieve by means of the digital product. We have discussed the boon and bane of each approach, but, there are still some points to add to native and cross-platform difference and which are important in decision-making about the development approach.
Differences between native and cross-platform app affect app performance. If more speedy performance is desired for your goals, give precedence to crafting a native app. Optimizing performance for a particular operating system keeps the application running as efficiently as possible. As for cross-platform applications, they fatigue in performance because they require extra effort and native app familiarity from developers.
If the application is to be used in an environment where security must be ensured to the highest possible level, such as banking applications, then in the choice of native vs. cross-platform it is worth voting for the native application. As we mentioned, native security features like file encryption and smart fraud detection make the differences between native and cross-platform applications concerning security.
Time to Market
If you're pressed for time to get your application up and running sooner, then cross-platform is your option. The time-to-market gap in native vs cross-platform development will be significant since a native app requires more time for both development and maintenance since two native apps are being worked on at the same time.
The budget size for making an application has a significant bearing on the approach you choose. It has already been mentioned more than once that cross-platform development demands fewer funds, hours, and heads, which reduces its cost contrasted to native.
Native or Cross-Platform Development - Celadon Can Do Both
Celadon is a team committed to professional mobile app development. We knuckle down to both native and cross-platform apps that targeted your business goals.
Not sure between cross-platform or native apps? Share your application vision. Our experienced developers will analyze your requirements and tell you which approach to take to make sure your app meets them.