One of the decisions you will have to make regularly as a developer is the type of app to build. Sometimes clients come looking for the cheapest deal.
Should you recommend a native app or a cross platform app? What is the difference?
Coding schools in Kenya teach you how to develop all types of mobile and web apps. However, the decision on the best app that serves your purpose lies with you.
The pros and cons of both native and cross-platform apps are outlined below to help you with this critical decision.
Native mobile apps are built to work on specific platforms such as Android or iOS. Users must have devices that support the specific platform to access and use native apps.
Most developers prefer native apps because of the following advantages.
1. High performance
Native apps are impressive in their responsiveness and speed because they are built for a specific platform.
Developing such an app gives you room for flexibility and creativity. You can include different features as long as the platform supports the features.
Complaints from users are also fewer compared to cross-platform apps.
2. Offline Capabilities
Native apps can function without an internet connection.
Many phone users still rely on mobile data to access the internet, especially when on the move.
Users can access some features of native apps without the internet.
If you want to develop a product that does not need the internet, consider going for a native app.
The app users will only require the internet to download the app from the app store
3. Easy integration
Modern devices are built to integrate with the supporting operating system.
Native apps integrate perfectly into the devices. For instance, when you build an app for Android, it will easily use the features on an Android phone.
The app may require access to features such as the cameras, GPS, or microphone. Once the user downloads and completes the installation process, the app easily accesses such features.
Some apps will prompt the user to allow or deny access to the feature depending on their capabilities.
4. Intuitive UX/UI design
Each platform provides specific guidelines to developers concerning the UI/UX design.
With the skills attained in coding schools in Kenya, you can develop a user-friendly interface for each native app.
The guidelines work for both developers and users. You will realise that the design part of app development becomes easier over time.
Sometimes clients accept the same template for different products. However, you can easily customise templates and create unique products every time.
1. Time and cost
Native apps require a longer period to develop than cross-platform apps.
You must meet each guideline that the platform provides. Otherwise, the app store may not publish your app.
App stores are very strict with their design guidelines.
Professional development skills are necessary to create native apps. Hence, the projects are expensive.
Sometimes clients do not understand the development process. Hence, they may be unwilling to invest in a native app since a cheaper option exists.
Consequently, closing deals with clients take a lot of effort. You need to explain the difference between native and cross-platform apps, especially their performance.
2. The apps are built for one platform
Since native apps are created to work on one platform, you may need to create two or more apps.
The same challenge comes when dealing with clients with a limited budget.
Clients want to maximise their budget and reach all phone users.
The strategy here is to identify the most popular platform for your target users.
You can start with that platform and then develop another app for the other platform later if your budget cannot cover two native apps.
Cross platforms use codes that integrate into different platforms. This means that you will only write one code that can be shared on both Android and iOS platforms.
The deal sounds good but there is a catch. Let us first look at the advantages
1. Low development cost
As mentioned, you need to develop one app that works across platforms, which minimises the development cost.
The development process is also shorter compared to developing two or more native apps.
Many clients will prioritise cross-platform apps because of the reduced costs.
You can easily achieve a uniform outlook of a product by creating a cross-platform app.
The same process is required to access the features of the app on all platforms. Hence, users get the same experience on different devices.
Uniformity is great when introducing or marketing a brand through mobile apps.
3. Great UX/UI design performance
You can achieve nearly the same performance of the UX/UI design as a native app.
The design performance has a significant impact on the user experience.
It is easy to keep app users engaged with an outstanding interface.
Cross-platform apps use the same controls as native apps and hence the possibility of achieving high performance UX/UI designs.
1. Lower overall performance
The UX/UI design performance may be high but the overall performance is lower than that of native apps.
Some of the user commands are interpreted when the app is in use. Hence, users may experience poor performance and slow speeds.
2. Overreliance on plugins and frameworks
Cross-platform apps rely on frameworks and plugins to function on different platforms. This partly explains their performance issues.
Reliance on plugins and frameworks also limits the features and functions you can add to the app.
It is easy to customise a native app and give it an outstanding design.
3. Native codes
The code used in cross-platform does not fully integrate into all platforms. You still need to write parts of it in a specific platform’s language for the app to function properly.
In other words, you still need to learn all native languages even when developing cross-platform apps.
Since cross-platform apps rely on frameworks, some updates on the operating system may not reflect on the app.
For instance, for devices that use Android, you must update the app framework when Android updates its system.
You must keep up with updates to ensure that frameworks and plugins support new updates.
Coding schools in Kenya train you how to develop all types of apps. However, you will have to weigh your options before creating new products. Sometimes a simple cross-platform will do the job. In other cases, you need customised native apps. The purpose of creating the app should guide in choosing between native and cross-platform apps.