With 14 billion mobile devices used worldwide and with more than 4.4 million apps available on both the Appstore as well as Google Play, app development has become a profitable business.
When it comes to mobile app development, one of the most common debates is whether to go for native or cross-platform development to build an app that's efficient and cost-effective.
But how do you choose which to use? With pros and cons to both approaches, choosing between them depends on several factors, such as development costs, the need for file encryption and intelligent fraud detection, and the target audience. In this article, we'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of native vs cross-platform development so you can make an informed decision.
Native development refers to building an app specifically for a particular operating system, such as Android or iOS. Apps built with native programming languages and tools are specific to a single platform.
Native applications are known for their great user experience due to their better performance and enhanced visuals that are tailored to the platform's UX.
The code behind any kind of computer software is collectively known as a codebase and when you build natively, you're creating a single codebase for a single platform. Say iOS. Now, when you want to create an app for Android too, you can't use the original code because it was created with just iOS in mind so, you have to start a second one built natively for Android.
The benefits will be the same – better performance, feature availability and enhanced visuals, however, it'll be more costly because you have to pay for not just one codebase, but as many platforms you want supported.
That's the trade-off, greater development freedom and better performance for a longer, more expensive project.
Instead of having to build several codebases to support every device, mobile app cross-platform development means you can build your software using one codebase for every platform you want to support.
Cross-platform development is becoming the more modern solution as Google's Flutter and Facebook's React Native are gaining more popularity due to their efficiency when it comes to time and cost. Unfortunately, the cost you risk sacrificing the quality of your app in the process.
Lower performance is due to the difficulty of tailoring a single application to run optimally on various platforms resulting in the software needing an abstraction layer.
The cost of app development is a crucial factor to consider when choosing between native and cross-platform development. Native mobile app development typically costs more because you need to create separate codebases for each platform, meaning you'll need to hire individual teams of developers, which can be costly.
On the other hand, cross-platform development is often cheaper because you can use a single codebase to create apps for multiple platforms, so you'll only need to hire one team of developers, which can significantly reduce development costs.
If you need to ensure that your app's data is encrypted and protected from fraud, native mobile app development may be the better option. Native mobile apps have access to the device's hardware, which means that you can use hardware-level encryption and fraud detection measures.
Cross-platform development, on the other hand, may not have access to the device's hardware, which can limit your options for file encryption and fraud detection. However, some cross-platform frameworks, such as React Native, have built-in security features that can help to mitigate these issues.
Native and cross-platform both have their pros and cons, so it's crucial to evaluate both approaches and consider the specific needs and goals of your app before making a decision. Both are two very different app development methods, so deciding which one best suits your business depends on your project's requirements and the skills of the developers involved.
Native mobile app development is often the better choice if you need to create an app that's optimised for a particular platform, requires complex functionality, or needs to be highly secure. Whereas cross-platform development is often the better choice if you want to reach a wider audience or reduce development costs.
If you're in the process of deciding what would work best for your app, our team can offer professional advice to best suit your needs.
Talk to one of our app experts today.