Mobile application development has become an enterprising field for phones, tablets, and all other devices as well. But one of the big trends that have been observed over a long period of time is the monumental shift from native applications to those for cross-platform applications.
An estimated 40% of developers create apps primarily for Android, while nearly 37% create for iOS. The trends indicate that iOS still maintains its dominance in the European and North American app development circles but the Android still is the primary platform for development all over.
App creators don’t seem to prefer the Windows phone with only 8 % of developers using it. While cross-platform applications are complex to create and implement, they’re becoming the norm as more and more tools become available.
Here are some of the trends driving this shift.
Native applications have always been the bane of app makers since they require separate versions for each platform. Up until recently, only three primary domains were cornered- Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. The difference of compatibilities sets new challenges as well. Native iOS apps are made using Swift or Objective-C and work on Apple devices. Android apps however are built from Java or Kotlin. A median price to create an app these days is $171,450 while simpler apps with fewer features can cost between $10,000 and $50,000.
Cross-platform applications help to cut down on the code and time required to implement the same features and functionalities in a different environment which is highly advantageous during deployment.
Cross platforms for mobile apps have become the buzz among businesses mainly due to the larger audience base that they cater to. Startups have seen tremendous and faster results. Cross platforms have become a one-fix solution, especially for small businesses as it allows them to save on time and money as varied to the strategy of creating an app for one platform first. It also helps them to cover all the nooks and crannies because what may have worked for one platform may not be so useful for others.
“Content is King”, so said the great Bill Gates. But how that content is delivered and immerses users becomes a grueling task as there may be separate teams working on them for various platforms. Keeping the same UI and UX doesn’t seem so difficult on cross platforms that use a uniform codebase.
In order to develop native apps for many platforms, businesses will always need a wide selection of specialist developers each suited for a separate language and design. Current estimates state that a total of 2 developers are always needed for just one application on a single platform as determined by the company’s user base. But with cross-platform apps, more and more businesses are hiring coders proficient in platforms such as Unity, PhoneGap, and Xamarin that help them to cover all bases in a knick of time.
As businesses cut on fewer people required for development, the write once and run everywhere feature helps in a smooth transition from the testing to the ground phase and allows for easier maintenance as well. Cross-platform developers benefit from a flexible plugin design to help create native device APIs in a modeled framework. Native apps can again charge high licensing fees and bring compatibility issues with different libraries across various architectures. These issues become a thing of the past with cross-platform.
The market for cross-platform has reached an estimated USD $7.5 Billion this year with more than 80% of users convinced that they are more expedient in making faster and more cost-effective applications. As more and more devices join the market, the complexity of building a tailor-made app for each will be a burden far too great to bear for developers. As such, cross-platform is surely ready to become the convention in the industry.
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