Cross Platform App Development – Facts and Myths

August 4, 2020

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Many myths and misconceptions were created around cross-platform app development. We’ve decided to bust them. Discover 10 most common statements about cross-platform apps, and find out which one of them are myths and why.

 

In this article, you’ll learn if these statements are true:

  1. One code works on Android and iOS
  2. Cross-platform apps are unsafe
  3. Cross-platform apps are slow
  4. Native device’s functions are unavailable with cross-platform app development
  5. Design and UX are poor and problematic – cross-platform apps need a lot of work
  6. Cross-platform app development costs are lower
  7. It’s easier to manage the project in an Agile way
  8. Instead of building a cross-platform app, it’s sufficient to make your webpage responsive
  9. Cross-platform frameworks can disappear anytime
  10. Users will notice a difference

 

1. One code works on Android and iOS

TRUE. The amount of the code shared between platforms depends on the framework you and your software development company choose for your project. Flutter allows developers to share the code between Android and iOS by 100%. There’s no need for any platform-specific code, because the framework does all the work automatically. Developers create an app using widgets, and Flutter displays the code natively on every platform. There’s no quality loss and both apps look and act exactly like native ones (check out Flutter app examples). With many other frameworks, we can share the code between iOS and Android by 70-90% (which is also good and speeds up the development process). 

2. Cross-platform apps are unsafe

FALSE. There’s an opinion that when you need an extra secure app, it needs to be native. It comes from one misunderstanding and a slight difference: cross-platform apps are not less secure than native apps, it just needs more work to make them that secure

Developers create cross-platform apps using web technologies. Security measures they need to take are the same as with web apps and websites. It’s also crucial to choose technologies and frameworks that don’t create any unnecessary risks. Therefore, your cross-platform app can be as safe as a banking or financial web app. The catch is to hire experienced developers who know how to secure a cross-platform app.

 

3. Cross-platform apps are slow

FALSE. Although, again, not with every framework. With some frameworks, the code is compiled into native one every time animation or navigation is used. It may cause friction in the app’s performance. Here’s where the statement about low performance comes from. Experienced developers know what to do to avoid it, but it needs work.

To entirely avoid problems with slower performance, we need to choose a proper cross-platform framework. With Flutter, the code is compiled into native one ahead-of-time, so there’s no friction while using the app. Flutter apps aren’t any slower than native ones. Ionic also worked hard on improving performance, switched to web components and now it’s called the best framework for Progressive Web Apps – and they need to be fast.

 

4. Native device’s services and functions are unavailable with cross-platform app development

FALSE. Modern cross-platform frameworks allow us to access native device’s features like geolocation, camera, microphone, etc. Developers are able to do that through plugins. And if there’s no plugin for a thing we want to accomplish, developers can write it easily. For example, we needed to use geolocation in one of our projects to enable order tracking in real-time. We chose a cross-platform approach to speed the development, and Ionic framework to be able to access a geolocation feature. The result: shorter time-to-market and geolocation accessed without problems (check the case study of ASAP app).

 

5. Design and UX are poor and problematic – cross-platform apps need a lot of work

FALSE. With the best, modern cross-platform frameworks it’s easy to create consistent, delightful, native design across all the platforms, and provide excellent UX. Flutter automatically displays a design as native one, adjusted to any platform’s version and device’s screen. Your app’s design and UX depend on the technologies you choose and specialists you hire. It’s easy to create a delightful cross-platform app that fulfils your company’s and users’ goals with a flawless UX. Also, choosing native approach doesn’t automatically provide that.

 

6. Cross-platform app development costs are lower

TRUE. You pay less, because you need only one app development team, that creates one code for you. With mobile app development, the overall cost raises along with time and resources needed to implement the solution. If your app is complex and needs a lot of functionalities – the cost will be higher. If you want to build separate native apps for Android and iOS – you will need two teams of specialists working simultaneously. With cross-platform app development you only need one team. What is more, frameworks like Flutter or Ionic make the development easier and faster. It all contributes to lower overall cost. If you want to cut it a bit more, choose a software development company that works Agile.

 

7. It’s easier to manage the project in an Agile way

TRUE. In general, the best software development companies organize work according to Agile/Scrum methodology. It allows for the highest efficiency, transparency, and keeping clients in the loop the whole time. While developing two native apps, two teams need to cooperate with each other, but it’s hard to organize it in an Agile way. Platform’s specifics entail different work pace, need different approaches, and developers can encounter various problems and bugs. It’s hard to deliver the same feature for Android and iOS at the same time. Cross-platform teams don’t have this problem. One team of developers, designers and QA specialists works together in Scrum sprints, and a Project Manager takes care of the workflow.


8. Instead of building a cross-platform app with web technology, it’s sufficient to make your webpage responsive

FALSE. Simple responsive website doesn’t provide mobile-specific behaviour and layout. Users will immediately see the difference in User Interface and feel poor UX. Although, if you also want to have a responsive mobile website, you may consider developing a Progressive Web App. That way, you’ll get an excellent mobile website that transforms into a native-like mobile app after a user adds in to the home screen. Read more about Progressive Web Apps and their benefits.

 

9. Cross-platform frameworks can disappear anytime

FALSE. There are a lot of cross-platform frameworks that have solid, long-established positions on the market: Ionic, React Native, Xamarin. Flutter by Google is fairly new, but we can already say that it will stick to the market. During last year’s Flutter Interact conference, Google proved that they take this project seriously. It may even become their recommended Android development tool. Flutter is evolving and in our opinion it will soon become the first choice for many cross-platform developers, as well as some native Android ones. 

 

10. Users will notice a difference

FALSE. With any cross-platform framework, the performance gap is so little that users’ won’t notice anything, unless your app is a 3D game. With Flutter or Ionic, the performance is excellent. The same in case of app’s design. With the right framework and right developers on board your cross-platform app will look and feel like a native one. 

 

Cross-Platform App Development Facts and Myths – Summary

The quality of your app doesn’t depend on the approach, but the developers and technologies you choose. Your cross-platform app can have the same highest quality as two native ones, if you hire the right software development company. To receive a successful product, you need to choose the proper technologies, and leverage the experience of top frontend and backend developers.

Cross-platform app development also entails time and cost efficiency. Last year, we faced a challenge of developing 3 radio apps for Agora, each for iOS and Android, in the shortest time possible. The first app was ready after 4 months, and two others… after a few days. What is more, all three apps receive great notes and provide 99.6% crash-free sessions.

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