As a start-up business, you may be considering the launch of a mobile application, either to enter the market and expand your revenue and visibility or to meet business user requirements for a mobile enterprise app. One thing is for certain. No matter what type of mobile application you need, your start-up business wants the best option, with the most flexibility at the lowest price – and one that will allow it to grow and expand.
In this article, we discuss three things to consider when choosing between a native and a cross-platform approach to a mobile application development framework for your start-up mobile app project.
What Are You Doing?
Much of the decision to go Native or Hybrid will be based on what you want the mobile application to do, and who will be using it.
Hybrid Mobile Applications are designed to satisfy access, user interface and security needs for Apple iOS iPhone, iPad and Apple Smart Watches, as well as Android devices. These applications leverage one code so access is seamless and upgrades are easier to achieve. This approach is very popular today, as it provides access to an entire market of users (whether they are business users or consumers) and ensures comprehensive coverage.
Hybrid mobile apps use various development technologies based on Swift, Objective C, HTML5, ReactNative, and other foundations and these frameworks and environments are well supported by the developer community. hybrid mobile app development and cross-platform access would be particularly suitable for international apps and for target markets that serve clients or users with more than one type of device.
The cross-platform approach improves user adoption and supports a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and a better Return on Investment (ROI). It satisfies business needs for high performance, scalability, cross-platform device usability and large user volume.
Native Applications support only one type of operating system – either Apple iOS or Android. The design and development process for a native application is fast and easy, principally because the development and testing process does not have to comply with one-stop solution requirements.
Native applications are designed for one particular platform and operating system (OS), so developers can leverage all the capacity and features of that platform, assure a positive user experience (Ux) and address security issues using the tools provided by that native development environment.
Technology for native application development is specific for each platform and can include Java, Kotlin, Python, Swift, Objective-C, C++, or React. The native mobile application development approach is suitable for narrow app and target market needs where only one type of device is provided to business users, or where a certain device is typically used by consumers to perform certain tasks or engage in games, entertainment, etc. Native mobile app development is suitable for applications targeting a special interest or use, or for businesses that want a single code base, and high performance for a particular operating system.
What’s the Long-Term Plan?
The process of selecting a framework and platform for development should always be driven by the requirements you have developed for both your business goals and for your customers or users. That planning must also include the long-term vision.
For example, if you can keep costs down and implement your solution more quickly by developing a native application, you will have to look into the future to determine whether that time and money will be well spent if you decide to expand to another operating system.
Taking an existing mobile application and adding and maintaining a separate code base for two platforms is more expensive and opens the door to more omissions and errors. If your business believes it will need to accommodate both Android and iOS, the time to do that would be at the inception of the project.
Whereas, when you design only for a native environment, you are satisfying one operating system and using tools developed for that platform so the solution is not as flexible.
While a start-up business may wish to limit the amount of time and money it dedicates to this type of project, the business management team must have an eye toward the future and consider that the monies spent today will provide a foundation and ensure that the costs for expansion, upgrades and maintenance will not be exponentially higher to accommodate re-engineering or creating and maintaining a separate code base, etc.
Who is Going to Do the Work?
Whether your team is comprised of internal or IT consulting members, the developers and the technology management staff will choose tools that are appropriate to meet your requirements and build a development environment with the features and the functionality you need.
Cross-platform development tools like MEAN Stack (Mongo, Express JS, Angular and Node), Angular JS, Ionic, Flutter and React Native (to name a few), are commonly used for hybrid mobile application development. iPhone development tools might include CodeRunner and XCode and for Android, AndroidStudio or VisualStudio might be selected.
Members of the mobile application developer community will tell you that there is a trend toward cross-platform development and away from native mobile app development. Building, testing and maintaining code for two operating systems are expensive and time-consuming.
In addition, the hybrid mobile approach allows the business to leverage developers (whether internal or IT consultants) to assure that they will have the resources they need today and tomorrow to support the app and continue its evolution. The majority of app developers today are not native app developers but rather a web developers or cross-platform developers working across operating systems and devices to create a single code base.
Engaging an expert IT consultant will ensure that you choose the right approach for your needs. When your start-up business is considering a native vs. hybrid approach to mobile application development, your business must ensure that the choice is appropriate to meet their needs.
Whether you choose a cross-platform mobile application, or hybrid mobile app approach or a native app approach for iPhone, iPad, Smart Watch or Android, you should consider engaging an IT consulting partner to ensure that the team members are skilled in the technology and frameworks and tools needed to complete the project. For more information about mobile application development, visit our Blog.