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Creating a mobile app in 2020: Native vs cross-platform development

When deciding on the technical aspect of software development, it is worth paying attention to details, because cross-platforms are cheaper.

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Before you start creating mobile software, you should think about choosing a technical approach: will the app designing be native or cross-platform? By native (original) designing, experts mean the use of original programming languages ​​and mobile OS tools. With cross-platform (hybrid) development, they use specialized tools to create software that work in several mobile operating systems at once.

Both of these approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s find out all the pros/cons of original and hybrid mobile app development.

Understanding the Differences

Original designing is the process of creating a mobile software using official tools provided by the developers of the system for which it is made. It usually aims to run one specific mobile system. For instance, Apple provides the Xcode integrated environment for native iOS software creation. Meanwhile, you can’t develop an Android app using Xcode. It’s very simple: one code — one system.

Hybrid software implies the ability to adapt it to multiple systems. So, it uses one code for many systems. Even though hybrid tools can save a lot of time, the original one is more popular among programmers. Here are several reasons for this:

  1. The mobile systems iOS and Android have significant differences that cause difficulties in hybrid creation. This applies primarily to interface elements. That is why developing one universal code is sometimes much more difficult than doing it natively.
  2. Original environments are optimized as much as possible to work with their system. Meanwhile, the hybrid apps crash more often and load longer.
  3. Maintaining a hybrid code is much more difficult than native. Updating systems leads to frequent updating of the programming interfaces, which requires more work for the developer.
  4. When developing a native software, a developer almost always finds an answer to a question of interest from colleagues or uses libraries for a specific task. In a cross-platform world, the community is smaller: often you have to solve the problem yourself. This point refers to the field of popularization of native tools: the more supporters, the more community. This means that the work on a specific task is simplified.

Thus, the advantage of the quick cross-platform design is undermined by several other negative factors. It is convenient for writing a simple application that has a few screens and many common elements for different platforms. The best job for a hybrid developer is to create a mobile game.

For software with unique interfaces and complex business logic — original designing is more appropriate.

In Conclusion

When deciding on the technical aspect of software development, it is worth paying attention to details, because cross-platforms are cheaper, and everyone thinks in advance that it is worse. However, you decide what result you expect to get and what budget you are ready to spend on it.

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