Home TECHNOLOGY Cross Platform vs Native App: Which Is Better?

Cross Platform vs Native App: Which Is Better?

An app, commonly known as the short form for application, is a type of program or computer software package that is equipped with features to perform specific functions and can be installed and run on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. Apps are developed for several reasons and can be used by different people for different purposes. There are different types of apps and these are categorized by the technologies employed in their development.

The type of app you plan to build depends on the purpose the app will serve. The different types of software applications have their strengths and weaknesses which make them suitable for a particular platform. Some of the different types of apps available are the cross-platform app and the native app. In this article, we will examine the differences between these apps, their advantages, and their disadvantages.

Types of Software Applications

There are four major types of software applications. These are classified according to the tools and technology used to develop them. These include Native apps, Cross-platform apps, Web apps, and Hybrid apps.

  1. Web Apps: A web app is a more responsive version of a website that is run on the web server and can be accessed on any device with a web browser and internet connection. A web app is very similar to a native app because they comprise the client-side (front end) and server-side (back end), however, web apps do not need to be installed on a device before they can be used. Tools and technologies involved in the development of web apps include HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, etc. Advantages of web apps include usability across all kinds of devices, easy installation and maintenance, low development cost, no need for download or update, etc. Despite their numerous advantages, web apps also have some disadvantages. These include restriction of functionality to the type of web browser, limited offline function, the inability of developers to put sell the app, etc.
  2. Hybrid Apps: As its name implies, a hybrid app combines the features of two types of apps. A hybrid app is a blend/combination of a native app and a web app. Hybrid apps are designed to run on web browsers like web apps, however, they can also be downloaded and installed on a device like native apps. They have responsive designs, and optimal performance, and can even function offline. A hybrid app can be considered a web app that has the appearance and functionality of a native app. Tools and technologies such as HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and Objective C are used to code a hybrid app, then with the aid of plugins such as Ionic’s capacitor and Apache Cordova, the app is embedded into a native wrapper. Advantages of hybrid apps include high speed and low cost of development, easy maintenance, fast performance, high user experience, suitable for poor internet connection, etc. Disadvantages of hybrid apps include the inability to access every device’s features, lack of power, etc.

Cross Platform App vs Native App

There are over 4 million apps available on the Apple Appstore and Google Playstore available for download on over 13 billion phones around the world. Cross-platform and native apps are two of the most popular types of apps and it might be tough to decide which one is best for your project or business. However, we will determine the better app by weighing their pros and cons against each other.

Cross Platform App

Cross-platform apps are apps that are designed and developed to work across several platforms and on multiple operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows, Linux). This is made possible with the help of cross-platform app development frameworks and tools such as Xamarin, Flutter, or React Native. A cross-platform app allows a developer to build applications that run on several platforms and multiple operating systems with just a single code system. A Hybrid app is the simpler version of a Cross-platform app. Since cross-platform apps can work across all devices regardless of their operating systems, this helps developers to save time and money while delivering the utmost quality. Technologies involved in the development of cross-platform apps include React Native, Kotlin, Titanium, Flutter, Xamarin, Native script, Javascript, Ionic, etc.

Pros of Cross-platform Apps

The following are the advantages of cross-platform applications for your project or business:

  • Cross-platform apps use a single codebase system that can be used across multiple platforms.
  • Cross-platform apps are cost-effective because there would be no need to hire different developers for different operating systems or platforms.
  • There is faster development and release of products for different platforms into the market since cross-platform apps use a single codebase system.
  • Cross-platform apps can be easily maintained. Since there is only a single set of code, debugging and other maintenance are easy to carry out.
  • Cross-platform apps can easily reach wider audiences. People with different types of devices can access cross-platform apps because of their ability to function across all types of platforms.

Cons of Cross-platform Apps

The following are the disadvantages of using cross-applications:

  • This type of app might not be able to deal with security threats across all platforms
  • Cross-platform apps might sometimes perform slower than Native apps.
  • Since cross-platform apps have to work with different operating systems, they have harder code designs.
  • Cross-platform apps might take longer to reflect new features.
  • Integration of settings, notifications, preferences, and customizations might be difficult on cross-platform apps.

Native Apps

A Native app, as its name implies, is a type of app that is developed and designed to run and function on a specific platform or operating systems such as Android, Linux, Windows, or iOS. Native apps are built with tools and technologies that are associated with the operating system that will be used to run the app. Native apps cannot run on any other platform apart from the particular platform for which they were built. Unlike Cross-platform apps, a Native android app cannot run on an iOS device. Native apps can be downloaded and installed on the device with a compatible operating system. Tools and technologies involved in the development of native apps include:

  • Android native app: Java or Kotlin.
  • iOS native app: Swift or Objective-C.
  • Others include C++, Python, React, Appcelerator, PhoneGap, etc.

Pros of Native Apps

The following are the advantages of Native Apps for your project or business:

  • Speed and Reliability: Native apps are developed for a specific platform. Therefore, they are faster and more reliable in performance than other types of apps.
  • Optimized User Experience: Native apps are built with the interest of the people using a particular operating system at the heart of the developer. Therefore, there is user satisfaction which leads to an increase in user experience.
  • Increased Security: Since a native app is developed for a particular type of platform, it is well-equipped to protect itself from security threats associated with the operating system.
  • Easy customization: Developers are able to concentrate on native apps, therefore, the user interface stands out.
  • Maximization of device functionalities: Native apps make use of a device’s hardware such as a microphone, GPS, camera, and other features.

Cons of Native Apps

The following are the disadvantages of using Native apps:

  • Cost: Native apps are generally more expensive to develop because they are developed to function on one platform.
  • Duplication: For every operating system, a native app’s codes have to be rewritten because a platform’s code cannot be reused for another platform.
  • Time: The development of native apps is very time-consuming. This impacts the time the product launches into the public market.
  • Support and Maintenance: Native apps cannot be maintained easily.
  • Update: Native apps can prove difficult to update as users have to download and install a new version.

Which is Better?

The best type of app for your project or business is dependent on the purpose for which it is intended to serve. Cross-platform apps and native apps both have their advantages and disadvantages which make them better than each other. If you need a cost-effective app that requires less maintenance, can function on different platforms and can hit the public market in a short time, the cross-platform app is suitable for you. However, if you need an app with optimum speed and performance, increased security, responsiveness, and customization, you need a native app. Therefore, the better choice of apps between cross-platform apps and native apps can be determined by performance, cost, and purpose to be served.

Also Read: How To Make An Android App

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