Mobile app developers are always faced with one of the most challenging decisions when building an application: should I develop native or cross platform? While there are obvious pros and cons for using either approaches, a lot of the determining factors lay in the app’s purpose and audience. Let’s examine the difference between native development and cross-platform development and the tools/frameworks used for them.
Native is code compiled for the specific devices using fixed development languages.
- For iOS, Xcode is used as the development tool and Objective C as development language.
- For Android, Eclipse or Android Studio is the development tool and Java as development language.
- Example Solutions: RhoMobile, Appcelerator, PhoneGap, MoSync.
Why choose native?
- Better Performance: When coding with the indented programming language, you have access to the full device APIs. Though cross-platform solutions offer native APIs to use, you will have to wait until it is released in order to use it. When it comes to animations and gestures, native code will be more polished and slicker than cross-platform solutions.
- Better Solutions: There are some cross-platform solutions that will compile code into the native language, but none of them compile it to completely native so it becomes very hard to do the custom changes for the specific platform for the developer. In native, there are less serious limitations between creativity and platform capabilities, which provides a developer better solution.
- Better Support: Developers we work with often say that they like to work in native code because it is easier to get help. They can go online to forums like Stack Overflow and quickly get answers since there are so many more people writing native code.
- Better Deployments: Issues with deploying cross-platform codes are more prevalent compared to the native deployments because of its built in packages. Additionally, applications tend to suffer from real performance pains during run time.
When using cross-platform solutions, fragmentation is a major concern developers must overcome. The notion of a one size fits all approach to building apps is not realistic.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.