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A Complete Guide on Native vs Cross-platform App Development

Do you know how many apps are created and downloaded per day?

Let’s take a look at some statistics:

  1. As of the first quarter of 2021, 3.48 million apps were available on Google Play, and around 2.22 million apps were available on Apple App Store. (Source: Statista) 
  2. There were more than 218 billion app downloads alone in 2020. (Source: Techcrunch) 
  3. It is predicted that there would be a 25% increase in global mobile app downloads between 2018 and 2022. (Source: Finances online) 
  4. Google Play has the biggest number of available apps while the Apple App Store was the second-largest app store as of the first quarter of 2021. (Source: Statista) 

If you are planning to develop an app, choosing the right development technology is important to make your app stand out. Whether you choose to build a native, hybrid, or cross-platform app, each has its pros and cons, depending on the nature of your project.

In this blog, we will offer you some insight into native and cross-platform technologies to examine which one is better for you.

Let’s start!

What is native app development?

Native app development refers to the process of building an app for a single platform using specific programming languages and tools. For example, using Java or Kotlin for building an Android app and Swift and Objective-C for an iOS app.

Advantages of native app development
  • – High Performance: The direct interaction between the code and the resources results in high-performing native apps. They are fast, responsive, and have a higher user experience.If the platform used by the developer is utilized to the fullest, native apps can be optimized to highlight the best features and capabilities of that platform.
  • – Great UX: Along with high performance, functionality, and better speed, native apps also offer an amazing UX experience.With numerous tools available, designers and developers have more creative freedom to create good-looking as well as smooth functioning apps.
  • – App store’s support: It is easier to launch native apps on app stores as they comply with iOS and Androids app stores guidelines. Furthermore, native apps also get featured by app stores which results in a higher downloading rate.
Disadvantages Of Native App Development
  • – High cost: It is very costly to develop native apps as it requires professional development and support. Furthermore, to cater to two different sets of audiences, i.e Android and iOS requires two distinct native apps which lead to setting up two development teams and ultimately soaring the total cost.
  • – Time-consuming: In native app development, work done for one platform cannot be copied for a different platform which results in longer development time.

What is cross-platform app development?

Cross-platform app development refers to the process of building an app that can work run on multiple operating systems, i.e. Android and iOS.

Some of the top cross-platform frameworks are:

  1. 01. React Native
  2. 02. Xamarin
  3. 03. Ionic
  4. 04. Flutter
Advantages of cross-platform app development
  • – Less development time: Cross-platform app development helps create apps that can run on different platforms, saving both development time and cost.
  • – Single code base: It is required to create only one code base for different platforms in cross-platform app development.
  • – Exposure to a large number of users: Cross-platforms apps run on multiple operating systems which gives exposure to a large number of users.
Disadvantages Of Cross-Platform App Development:
  • – Low performance: Cross-platform apps perform poorly compared to native apps because of their need for an abstraction layer and rendering process.
  • – Limited functionality: Cross-platform apps do not support all native features and the support of third-party libraries is also limited in these frameworks.
  • – Limited UX: There is a big difference between the UX experience provided by native and cross-platform apps.Cross-platform apps do not support all the native UX components which results in a lower user experience.

Native app development vs cross-platform app development

Each of them has its unique characteristics. Let’s find out the best development technology for you by comparing them on various parameters like:

ParametersNative app developmentCross-platform app development
ToolsJava or Kotlin (Android)
Swift or Objective-C (iOS)
React Native (JavaScript)
Xamarin (C #)
Flutter (Dart)
App performance & speedFast and responsive appsComparatively slower than native apps
Development timeRequires more development time as different codes are written for different platforms.Requires less development time as only one code base is required for every platform.
Development and maintenance costHigh cost of development and maintenance as it requires more resources.Relatively cheaper in terms of both development and maintenance.
User experienceOffers high user experience due to better performance and speed.Relatively low as it does not support all native UX components.
Customer reachTargeting a larger audience requires a larger investment.Higher customer reach as the app is compatible with every platform.
TeamRequires a big team.Does not require many individuals.
DependencyLess dependent on other open source libraries or platforms.Largely dependent on various libraries and tools.

Conclusion

Native and cross-platform app development have different advantages and disadvantages. Choosing one out of them depends on project requirements and the skills of the developers involved.

Still doubtful about choosing between native or cross-platform app development? Get professional advice from our team.

Jellyfish Technologies has developed numerous mobile apps for global clients across diverse domains, such as social media, micro-finance, sports & leisure, e-commerce, productivity, and fitness, among others.

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