With the mobile world being as competitive as it is today, a developer needs to know their options when developing a cross-platform app. If a developer chooses one platform and sticks to it, they risk getting left behind if other platforms gain more momentum. On the other hand, developers can always take an approach where they develop for many different platforms at once. However, this may leave them open to not fully utilizing any existing resources and infrastructure.
Here we will detail a few of the most popular cross-platform approaches so you can decide which one would work best for your next project.
What is a Cross-Platform App?
A cross-platform app is any app that runs on multiple operating systems. Unlike native apps which are usually developed specifically for one platform at a time, cross-platform apps are usually developed with web technologies so they can run on different platforms without additional coding or changing the codebase. This results in the ability to release the same app across multiple platforms in one go.
Benefits of a Cross-Platform App
There are many reasons why a business should have a cross-platform app. Some of the benefits are:
Benefit #1: Ease of Deployment
With a cross-platform app, you only have to deploy the app once. When you release new versions, updates can be pushed out as needed.
Benefit #2: Easier Staffing
With different platforms come different qualifications and work experience requirements for developers. Having separate teams for each platform is problematic and potentially costly. The benefits of a cross-platform mobile app is that your developers only have to learn one language and platform.
Benefit #3: Ability to Port to Other Platforms
If you decide later on down the road that you want to port your app over to another platform, it will be much easier with a cross-platform app. You already have all the code written and it’s just a matter of modifying it to run on another platform.
Drawbacks of a Cross-Platform App
Some of the potential drawbacks of using a cross-platform solution for your business are:
Drawback #1: Performance Issues
One key issue with cross-platform apps is that you are limited by the performance capabilities of the targeted operating system. For instance, an app may perform well on iOS but not so well on Android.
Drawback #2: Lack of Native Functionality
Another major drawback is that many cross-platform solutions can’t provide all the features and functionality available on native apps. So if your business requires specific native functionality, you may want to rethink your decision. Additionally, some things can be done on one platform that can’t be done on another. For example, an app for iOS may have the ability to track the device’s location while this feature is not available in Android.
How to Develop a Cross-Platform Mobile App
Below are the steps that you should consider in cross-platform app development.
Step 1: Determining Your Goals
Before embarking on any project it’s important to determine your goals. With a cross-platform app, identifying what devices you need to target is key. Do you want your app for phones? Tablets? Laptops? You don’t want to go through the process and expense of developing an app if you only need it for phones.
Step 2: Checking Your Existing Infrastructure
Do you already have some existing web properties that you can leverage with your cross-platform mobile app idea? If so, then this will help tremendously as your development efforts will be concentrated on the app itself instead of having to build all your infrastructure.
Step 3: Identify Your User Base
If you do not have a large user base already in place, this is something you should consider when developing your cross-platform solution. You don’t want to release an app only to find out there’s no one to use it.
Step 4: Determine Your App’s Functionality
This should be pretty straightforward but you need to identify what your app should do for your business. There are many other apps out there that may already offer the same functionality you’re looking for, so take time to evaluate them before you begin development on your app.
Step 5: Determine How You Will Monetize Your App
You need to determine how you will monetize your app and what the revenue model is going to be such as paid downloads, advertising, in-app purchases, or a combination of these factors. For most apps, there’s no one silver bullet for monetization so you’ll need to create more than one revenue stream.
As you can see, there are many different things to consider before moving forward with your cross-platform app idea. You need to determine what your business goals and objectives are and how the cross-platform option will best serve those needs. There is no one right answer here as it depends on each business and its requirements. The important thing is that you take the time to do your research before making a final decision.
Sunvera Software develops next-level software applications from start-to-finish. We are a premier software and mobile app development agency specializing in healthcare mobile app development, custom mobile app development, telehealth software, sales dashboards, custom mobile app development services, retail software development, supply-chain software, ecommerce, shopify, web design, iBeacon apps, security solutions and unified access software.
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