If you have looked into what it takes to develop an custom application, you have undoubtedly heard the phrase “cross platform” before. Cross platform can mean a lot of different things depending on the context. Traditionally in computing, “cross-platform” usually refers to software that is designed to work in several computing platforms. However in the app development community and from what most people are searching for online, the phrase “cross platform app development” is usually referring to “write once run everywhere” frameworks meant to simplify the app development process.
We have spent the last few years working with various cross platform frameworks as well as working with platform provided languages and toolsets and have lots of thoughts on how best to proceed with your upcoming app project.
What is Your Goal Longterm?
Developing a mobile app requires a considerable amount of preparation and planning before proceeding ahead with the app project. When potential clients refer to “cross platform”, they are really trying to make sure that the coding is being conducted in such a manner that bringing an app to other computing platforms is more cost effective. This is the right mindset to be in when starting off with a development project. However there are two different ways to approach this, cross platform frameworks or having a cross platform strategy.
Cross Platform Frameworks
There are many options available for making cross platform projects or sharing code bases between them. Some of these frameworks are Xamarin, ReactNative, Cordova or Flutter. These cross platform frameworks strive to provide translations between the native code of the respective platform by providing a set of tools that developers can write once and that code can be shared amongst each respective platform. Some of these frameworks can be directly run on
any platform without any preparation by the developer, with the frameworks being written in an interpreted language. Things like interpreters or run-time packages are fairly common to provide standard components of all supported platforms.
Downsides to Cross Platform Frameworks
From a developers perspective, cross platform frameworks sound like a no brainer. We have repeatedly tried several different development frameworks in an attempt to drive down the cost for developing apps for our clients. One of the issues with these frameworks is that once you chose to use them, you need to keep within their boundaries, including specific tools and libraries. This can introduce a series of limitations and even pose a big risk in terms of dependency on that 3rd party frame. Besides that, for many of those options the resulting app will lack the quality of a fully native app. The biggest downside of all of this is that these decisions are completely devoid of any connection to the client or even the end-user. The benefits of cross platform from March is almost exclusively a developer benefit. Most frameworks have a steep learning curve to truly master, so any cost savings are lost.
Having a Cross Platform Strategy
With all the headaches and compatibility errors that comes with trying to make cross platform frameworks work, is much more efficient to code directly into the latest developer language is provided by the platform creator. Our strategy is to use Swift for iOS and Kotlin for Android. These phone coding languages, along with HTML5, allows us the most agility to launch into other platforms like iPad, Apple Watch, tvOS, Smart TVs, Amazon Fire Tablets, and even Windows PCs. For most of our clients, a website is central and imperative to their overall business and marketing strategies. We specifically build our website platform in such a manner that our clients can easily and affordably extend into native applications in any way that they need to in the future.
Let’s Get Started!
To be able to implement a strategy like this, you have to be forward thinking and make very specific decisions early on within your business life. It’s never too late to course correct her to set things up the right way! Contact us today to set up a FREE app consultation!