Before we even start this article, let’s first start by defining cross platform mobile development.
So, what is it?
Cross platform mobile development is a type of development option that allows app developers to create a single source code that’s compatible with two platforms—usually the Android and Apple stores. This typically results in a significant win, particularly on mobile, allowing for cost-effective, quick, and efficient app development.
Now, the big question remains:
What are the benefits of cross platform mobile development?
And more importantly, what do they mean for your business.
However, before you can understand the benefits and their significance, you’ll first need to understand why cross platform mobile development is so important in the first place.
And that means understanding what came before it—and how it hit the scene running.
Let’s talk about it.
Breaking Down Cross Platform Mobile Development
Like we said in the introduction, cross platform mobile development is a type of development that allows developers to effectively do two things at once.
By creating one application that’s compatible with both frameworks (Android and iOS), developers can significantly cut down on their build times—and simultaneously their costs.
The biggest benefit of cross platform mobile development is that it allows developers a significant amount of flexibility in the development process.
How to Get Started with Cross Platform Mobile Development
Begin with Native, Scale Up to Cross Platform
Using a host of helpful development tools like React Native, Xamarin, Nativescript, or our personal favorite, Flutter, you can develop an app that uses native APIs.
Approaching cross platform mobile development from this route not only delivers powerful performance across the board but thankfully, it’ll prevent you from having to code your app separately into their Android and iOS frameworks, respectively.
You’d be surprised how much time this will save you—and when it comes to app development, time is money.
The Word on Hybrid
Now, hybrid app development is its own can of worms. In performance, it’s not as strong as cross platform development.
Do your research on this, but from our perspective, cross platform mobile development is the clear favorite in terms of development strategy.
Where Did Cross Platform App Development Come from?
As you know, there are two dominant app stores within the mobile space—the Android store and the Apple store.
These app spaces utilize the Android framework and the iOS framework, respectively.
Now, as we described with native app building, the development process effectively means building a purely customized app from the ground up. Think of this as creating a tailored suit; it’s for one person and only one person.
In the case of building an app using native application development, you’re effectively building the app for either Android or Apple, only. Not both. This meant that if you wanted to have your app on iPhones and Androids using the native app development process, you’d have to build two separate apps.
This also meant you needed to maintain two separate apps, as well.
Updates, bugs, all of it.
However, with the introduction of cross platform app development, rather than creating two uniquely separate versions of your mobile app, you could instead build two apps from ONE foundation.
Using our suit example again, this would be the equivalent of a general off-the-rack suit—something that a wider variety of people can adapt and make their own.
With cross platform mobile development, developers gained the ability to create a coding foundation for two applications, then branch out from there to create a version for the Android Store and one for the Apple store.
Not only did this cut down development costs considerably, but it also the time it took to get both versions ready for launch.
So, how does cross platform app development work?
Everything You Need to Know About Cross Platform Mobile Development
One thing that’s impossible to deny is the impact cross platform mobile development has had on the industry. Thanks to this innovation, thousands of companies around the world have been able to build their mobile apps quicker, cheaper, and more efficiently than ever before.
Not only has this given small and medium-sized businesses the ability to compete with larger entities—who have the budget and scope to utilize native app development—but to expand their influence in the digital space.
Here are a few development tools currently being used in the space…
Introduced in 2015, React Native is a big contender in the hybrid framework space. As a leading mobile application development framework, it’s renowned for its iterative tools. These include code reusability, ready-to-apply elements, and help UI rendering options.
A legend in the hybrid framework space, Xamarin is an open-source development tool that uses C# coding that’s applicable to both Android and iOS.
This is the development tool, we at Goji Labs use so forgive us for being a little biased. Flutter is one of the newest hybrid development frameworks available, is open-source, and cross platform. Making beautiful native interfaces for Android and iOS, Flutter is great for SMBs, nonprofits, and startups.
Now, let’s talk about benefits.
The Benefits of Cross Platform Mobile Development
Reusable Code Base
Any written code can be used and sent by multiple platforms without further customization.
In comparison to native app development, cross platform mobile development has the potential to halve your development costs.
Only One Team is Necessary
Since you aren’t making two distinct apps for each platform, you won’t need multiple teams of specialized developers. Just one set of generalists will be fine.
Lower Learning Curve
Again, since you aren’t building two unique versions of the same application for each platform, you only need one foundational set of expertise. Need to make a change? No problem, you only have to edit the basic codebase.
Getting your app on both platforms simultaneously means a wider reach and a higher level of visibility at a fraction of the time and cost of native development.
With a single, shared foundation for both app versions (Apple and Android), you’ll deliver a uniform experience for your users every time.
If you need to get out a minimum viable product (MVP) fast, it’s a quick and effective method.
As we said before, it’s fast compared to native development. This means quicker build times and earlier launches.
So, Does All This Mean for You?
A few things actually: speed, convenience, flexibility, and lower entry costs.
If you’re a small or medium-sized business, nonprofit, or startup and speed and cost-efficiency are high on your list of development requirements, cross platform mobile development is a good friend indeed.
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