The Pros and Cons of Cross-Platform App Development

Ilya Vishnevskiy

Ilya Vishnevskiy

Resource Director

Mobile Development
Jul 7, 2023
Lesedauer: 10 Min.
Ansichten
  1. Cross-platform app development: some figures to consider
  2. Cross-platform or native: what is the difference?
  3. Benefits of cross-platform app development
  4. Balancing the pros and cons of cross-platform app development
  5. How to develop a cross-platform app
  6. Define your idea and objectives
  7. Build and test prototypes
  8. Pick the right technology
  9. Development: MVP and iterations
  10. Launch and enhance your product
  11. Exploring cross-platform app development trends with Andersen

Cross-platform app development—today's topic—is a meaningful IT trend. What are its pros for modern companies? And what about the cons? According to Andersen's experts, this approach involves intentionally developing solutions that can work on different operating systems and devices with a single, unified codebase. In this piece, we’ll touch upon its advantages and disadvantages.

Any aspiring company needs a stable and working digital product. But mobile solutions can be created as native as well. To get a good application and attract as many users as possible, you should evaluate the pros and cons of cross-platform app development and understand if it is the right option in your specific case.

Cross-platform app development: some figures to consider

The most important thing about this approach is that a business gets an app that runs impeccably on various OSs. That’s why building such products is a trend worth considering. When embracing it, you reap major budget benefits. One engineering team can support various solutions, so you don’t need to involve many specialists for different software versions.

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But how prevalent is this trend in the IT sector nowadays? It's challenging to pin down precise adoption figures, given the multitudes of apps and programmers creating them globally. However, rough estimates offer interesting insights. Per recent surveys, around one third of IT professionals have now unlocked the benefits of cross-platform tools. This indicates that the pros are really convincing for many specialists.

Current IT trends speak for themselves. Thus, a 2021 ranking revealed that:

  • 42% of developers choose Flutter
  • 38% employ React Native
  • 16% prefer Cordova
  • 16% tap into Ionic
  • 11% opt for Xamarin
Mobile app development trends of 2023

This breakdown shows the diversity of tech stacks within the cross-platform ecosystem. While no single framework gives maximum value and minimum disadvantages, IT professionals can easily assess various options and pick what brings you maximum benefits.

Cross-platform methodologies are now mainstream. They enable organizations to cut expenses and make the development process easy. But within this trend, there remains vibrant competition in terms of specific tech stacks.

Cross-platform or native: what is the difference?

When examining cross-platform app development trends, you will definitely come across one old dilemma. Should you benefit from an app created for a certain OS or employ a hybrid approach relying on the same codebase across various systems? You can find ardent proponents on both sides of the argument, so let's look at the most important considerations.

Performance is often cited among the key pros of iOS and Android products. These apps usually have impeccable speed and deliver smooth, lag-free UX—and these are considerable benefits. Hybrid apps running interpreted code may suffer performance hits, which is among the significant cons. However, innovative cross-platform frameworks have considerably diminished this. Benchmarks show lightweight hybrid apps can now achieve impressive performance, with almost no drawbacks.

The usage of platform capacities is one more benefit. Thanks to native SDKs, you can use the camera, Bluetooth, fingerprint scanning, etc with optimal outcomes. In the case of hybrid software, some features aren’t accessible at all.

Delivering an impeccable UI design is another meaningful trend. This has raised serious concerns for specialists creating cross-platform systems. Because web components are employed, the UI here has a different appearance compared to iOS and Android products. However, frameworks like Flutter utilize native system widgets to achieve a platform-specific appearance. Clever design can make hybrid UIs feel consistent with platform-specific products.

Specialists with different team roles mention one more peculiarity that directly affects their work. Having one codebase for multiple platforms leads to faster development cycles than creating separate apps for each OS. Mastering various languages is more challenging than learning just one.

So, there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. The choice depends on the app’s functional and performance requirements, development deadlines, and money an organization can allocate to a project. For basic apps that don’t need complex customizations or real-time performance, the cross-platform approach can bring benefits. For feature-rich apps pushing device limits, the native approach may be preferable. However, innovative cross-platform frameworks keep on closing the capability gaps. Balancing the pros and cons requires a thorough evaluation of an app's unique peculiarities.

Benefits of cross-platform app development

So, one cannot ignore the cross-platform trend nowadays. Now, let's examine the benefits in more detail. What's driving teams to opt for this approach?

Boundless options

We have already listed top frameworks like Flutter, but the possibilities are endless. There is an abundance of tools to choose from. With numerous choices, businesses can select ideal tools for their needs and readily find developers skilled in a specific tech stack.

Cost savings

Every company wants to maximize revenue while minimizing expenses. By consolidating development under one cross-platform team instead of separate teams per OS, a company can achieve major cost savings. This is an essential benefit.

Expanded outreach

Addressing the needs of iOS users alone misses the huge Android audience, and vice versa. A limited number of users can become a tremendous disadvantage. Cross-platform applications enable businesses to tap into the entire mobile audience from the very beginning.

Speed

Products can be launched faster without juggling multiple parallel development streams. This impressive time-to-market is a must for competitiveness.

Continuity

Unified code makes it easier to maintain continuity. Updates and new features effortlessly spread across different platforms. Knowledge sharing prevents dependency on individual team members. The likelihood of errors decreases, and they become easier to correct.

The benefits of cross-platform app development are impressive. By unlocking the rich functionality of cross-platform apps, organizations are positioning themselves for efficiency, flexibility, and market expansion. When employed strategically, this approach yields pros that impact both the development and business outcomes. Everyone benefits in this case.

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Balancing the pros and cons of cross-platform app development

Apart from the apparent technical benefits of this development method, any company should be aware of the business-related disadvantages. Like any approach, this one also has its limitations to weigh. To create successful applications that will easily find acclaim among users, b