Digital revolution is advancing at a rapid pace redefining the future of industries, society, and economy as a whole. Emerging technologies and engaging mobile apps are significantly changing the way we work and live today. Mobility is becoming an integral part of every application and digital product of most organizations. Enterprises have started considering the mobile first approach to remain ahead of the competition. Today, every organization aims to connect to a larger audience through an intuitive app that runs glitch-free on multiple mobile platforms.
Mobile apps will continue to revolutionize the digital landscape and will play a significant role in the business world as per the experts. However, with new devices, platforms, versions, operating systems, the organizations are confused whether to choose a cross-platform app or a native app. It has always been a struggle for the developers and organizations to find the best development approach as both the approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages.
While some developers may prefer a native app others might believe that developing a cross-platform app makes more sense as it is device agnostic and runs on multiple platforms. Moreover, developing a cross-platform app has high potential to tap the greater market.
Outlined below are some of the advantages of developing a cross-platform mobile app:
- Reusable code: Cross-platform mobile app development simplifies the task of maintaining and deploying codes and eliminates repetitive tasks. Rather than writing a fresh piece of code for specific task or action, developers can directly reuse the codes for the other platforms.
- Cost-effective: Building a cross-platform mobile app turns out to be economical for organizations as it works on multiple platforms and leverages a single codebase. Companies can get an app without investing heavily in the resources, tools, and technologies for a particular ecosystem. Also, the same development team can be leveraged to work on various platforms, instead of having a dedicated team for each one like we have in the current native scene.
- Faster time to market: Cross-platform app development framework leverages the unified codebase that enables businesses to fast track the mobile application development and timely delivery of the app for its customers.
- Easy deployment: Most of the framework offers a variety of modules and extension that seamlessly integrate with other tools to improve the app’s functionality and look. It becomes easier and faster for the developers to deploy and maintain codes for the apps to run across all platforms. Also, the latest update to the app gets easily synced across the devices and platforms.
- Uniformity: One of the most important considerations for any app or software is its User Experience (UX). The single codebase used for developing a cross-platform app helps in maintaining the overall look and feel and consistency of the app on all platforms.
Top Tools or Platforms for Developing a Cross-Platform Mobile App
The mobile marketplace is immensely fragmented due to different mobile devices with a variety of interfaces, programming languages, and SDKs. Developing an application for these platforms is a challenging task for every organization. Hence, the concept of cross-platform mobile app development is gaining popularity as it allows the developer to code once and deploy the app across various platforms. However, there are numerous cross-platform mobile development solutions and tools available, but which one should enterprises choose?
Outlined below are seven popular cross-platform mobile app development tools or platforms that enable organizations to ship mobile apps faster:
- Xamarin: Owned by Microsoft, Xamarin uses C# codebase to develop a robust cross-platform mobile app for Android, iOS and Windows devices. One of the key features of Xamarin is that it allows code sharing on multiple platforms. It also has a cloud service that allows mobile app testing on various devices.
- Kony: It provides one of the industry’s popular mobile application development platform that creates native, mobile web, and hybrid mobile apps for smartphones, tablets, kiosks and desktops. It uses a single unified codebase to build apps for major mobile operating system including iOS, Windows, Android and BlackBerry, Java ME, Symbian, and WebOS.
The cross-platform development approach has been widely accepted by developers across the globe as it makes the entire development process agile. Before taking a technology decision whether the cross-platform approach is the right strategy, it is important for organizations to understand their customers’ need. A smarter approach is to study and analyze various parameters such as customer demographics, diverse mobile devices used, coverage of supported platforms, customers’ interaction with apps, etc. to see if a cross-platform solution is a right choice.