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January 20, 2022

Development
Business

Native or Cross Platform Development and what does it mean?

You may have heard that Native App Development is really expensive and Cross-Platform App Development diminishes your product quality. You don’t want the first version of your app to take 24 months, or for it to go live well below your expectations.

Well hey, every app company is different. So, make sure you do your own research to understand how to launch your app - if not, you might find yourself out of pocket and out of time.

“Gold jacket, Green jacket, who gives a shit,” Happy Gilmore ponders in the 1998 self-titled comedy. Similar to the old school traditions of the Golf industry, tech people can also be found living in the past. I know it sounds contradictory, surely tech should be the most innovative, right?

Well, you would hope so.

When it comes to app development there are a only a handful of ways you can split the approach to platforms:

  • Native Development (Exclusive to a single platform, such as Apple)
  • Cross Platform Development (Works across several platforms, such as Apple and Android)
  • Hybrid Development (Not mentioned in this article)

What is Native App Development

Many tech buffs (Generally the traditionalist who have been around for a while) believe that Native apps offer users a greater experience and performance. Like how Happy Gilmore strolled onto a prestigious golf course in a hockey shirt - new age tech has been creeping up in popularity.

Native refers to the development of a mobile app for a single platform. When you develop an app natively it means you are building it for a single device type e.g. Native iOS mobile app can only be used on Apple Devices.

Pros:

  • Vital when developing advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Allows deeper customisation on individual devices
  • Suitable for complex, granular projects

Cons:

  • Notoriously expensive (you could end up developing two different frameworks if you want to reach across iOS and Android, and then two separate apps within those platforms for phone and tablet.)
  • Time consuming (again, developing across different frameworks to create one unified app experience)
  • Maintenance of performance and bugs across different frameworks

Apps Developed Natively:

  • Google Maps
  • Spotify
  • Whatsapp
  • Pokemon GO

What is Cross Platform App Development

For the newbies who assume cross-platform app development and hybrid app development are the same, let’s clear this up, they are not. Cross-platform frameworks operate on the agenda of developing a shareable code for building apps. It is popular in today's times with full credit to React Native, Flutter and Xamarin.

Pros:

  • Cross-Platform App Development allows apps to operate on different platforms from a single code base.
  • Rapid development, reusable code is rapid and efficient
  • More affordable
  • Great product maintenance as you are not monitoring half a dozen code bases

Cons:

  • Need skilled Developers that can adapt across platforms as different operating systems have different hardware it runs on. Although Google Maps is a Native App if your developers are talented enough, they will be able to integrate with this in Cross-Platform development.
  • Complex integrations - again this is a developer problem, Cross-platform apps need to apply local device settings and will Bootstrap integrations in order to achieve a bespoke product

Apps Developed in Cross-Platform:

  • Canva
  • Slack
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Grammarly

What is React Native

Introducing the not so vulgar, Cross Platform App Development version of Happy Gilmore. React Native is one of the best frameworks for developing native apps across one code base.

Originally developed by Facebook, it continues to be something they use on their platforms (Facebook and Instagram) I mean if it’s good enough for Mark Zuckerberg!

For the reasons mentioned above, the majority of our clients here at Moonward leverage our React Native. This framework enables our clients to build and launch their mobile apps in a much shorter timeframe. Not only does it save our clients development time but it also saves in both initial upfront development costs and ongoing development maintenance costs.

React Native is particularly attractive to our startups and small business clients who are looking to build an initial app version, efficiently and economically. In the tech space, we call this ‘bootstrapping’.

Having developed and launched over 100 apps onto the app store, we very rarely see performance issues, design challenges or disadvantages to working with React Native.

Being in the tech space we always believe it’s best to be on the cutting edge. We’re believers in new technologies, new methodologies and embrace change. In doing so we believe we’re able to provide our clients with an honest and fair assessment of their project and find a solution that is tailored to their exact needs.

React Native is a great example of a technology we’ve tried, tested, embraced and grown over the past few years.

Want to see some examples of our React Native and Native apps? No worries, feel free to contact us on our website and we’ll be happy to show you some examples!

Is Native or Cross Platform App Development Better?

Well, you may not find much comfort in this answer, but it depends on the project requirements and the project goals.

If you are creating an app that needs super granular development, such as playing in the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning space then Native is unrivalled. It costs more and takes time but is suited to nitty gritty projects.

If you are creating an app that has a simpler feature base, but is focused on growth through quick releases, Cross Platform and Hybrid is the way to go. You can work to a stricter budget and a shorter time frame with these App Development platforms.

At the end of the day, you need to make the best choice for you and your business. Don’t just think about what you need now - think about the future.

What is the direction you want your business to go into? Will it start simple and get much more complex in the future, or will you double down on feature improvement rather than feature expansion.

If you want to discuss ideas, book a 30 minute strategy session with Moonward

Moonward Apps Brisbane