Cross-Platform Development: Analysis of Options

Developers very quickly realized the business problem of the need to deliver services on different mobile platforms, and today there are a huge number of tools on the market for creating cross-platform applications that differ in the range of supported devices and mobile operating systems, as well as in the engineering solutions underlying them.

A potential business customer needs to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed implementation of cross-platform so that later they do not have to order this work again from another team. The cross platform app development company market is constantly growing, as the demand for mobile applications is very high.

By and large, there are a few different technical approaches: native applications for each platform, universal web applications, using code generators to create native applications, and hybrid solutions.

We must not forget that mobile diversity does not end at the level of operating systems and development tools (which, by the way, exist in several versions). On the market, there are devices of various shapes and sizes, with different screen resolutions.

Therefore, they have to conduct large-scale testing of their product on all kinds of equipment. They estimate that there are more than ten different screen sizes and proportions, more than 30 resolution modes, and more than 2,000 models of mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets.

Web apps on mobile devices

All smartphones and tablets today are equipped with a web browser, which allows you to browse any site and run almost any web application as is, without modification. However, this is not to say that users like it – if the site has not been adapted for viewing through the small screen of a smartphone, then the user will turn to this feature only in the most critical case. Therefore, developers have to create special versions of sites for mobile devices that differ in design, size of controls, and structure.

In principle, for some areas, this is quite enough. For example, to read newspapers and news sites on an iPad or Galaxy. Users of such applications do not need advanced functionality and any special services, so the limitations inherent in such an architecture are acceptable: lack of access to sensors and buttons of the gadget, the inability to use specific functions of the user interface, the need for a permanent connection to the Internet, etc. This is compensated by the speed and ease of development.

A more advanced web architecture involves active JavaScript components running the user interface on the client side, while the business logic still runs on the server.

Native apps: pros and cons

Each mobile platform offers its own application development tools. Of course, from a technical point of view, this is the best solution – then your application will be able to use all the features and benefits of the platform, show the best performance and use resources optimally. But what about the business?

If you have an unlimited supply of time and money, develop native mobile apps for each platform. If you have a few fewer resources, you need to find a reasonable compromise, optimizing the price, quality, and speed of development.

Perhaps that says it all. The labor market for mobile developers is extremely overheated, they are welcomed with open arms everywhere, and in case of any conflict with the employer, they easily change the company. It is almost impossible to assemble a team of programmers who know at least iOS and Android equally well, this requires too different skills – Objective-C for iOS and Java for Android, plus specific SDKs.

Therefore, you will have to contain two, three, or even four commands if you need to support BlackBerry and Windows. It is expensive and there are high risks that products will be limitedly compatible in terms of user experience – each team will create a unique solution using the features of its platform. Summary: If a wide market coverage is important, it is better to avoid building native applications and choose one of the options for cross-platform development.

New challenges

The world of mobile platforms today is extremely diverse. Unification, as happened with desktops under Windows, does not threaten mobile devices – this market continues to be full of activity.

If you don’t know which development is suitable for your mobile application, contact the developers and take a consultation, and they will evaluate your project and tell you what will be more profitable, efficient, and suitable for you.



Helen is a multi-published, award-winning author of over 30 books, including the delightful Ivy & Bean series. She has written novels for young adults, including YA romantic comedies, and has written BBC drama.

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