Posted on June 23, 2016 at 9:00 AM
In the modern age of mobile development, there are so many options for assembling your idea that it can almost be overwhelming. Between all the different mobile platforms, IDEs, and languages making the final call can be a daunting experience for even seasoned veterans. Combined with the sheer amount of jargon out there, it’s even harder for newer developers to find a starting point.
Today, we’re going to explore one facet of this process: Native or Cross-Platform?
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“Native” is the term for code written specifically for a target platform. For instance, if I wanted to write a piece of code for iOS, and iOS alone, I’d likely be looking to use Swift. On the other hand, if I wanted to write for Android I’m picking up Java and getting to work. What’s written on one won’t work on the other, but this was how it was done for quite a while in the early days of development.
There’s been some concessions, of course. Interfaces are often written in some variation of XML, which makes it easier to keep the same look on the face of the app. Android also released the NDK, allowing developers to write code in C++ for Android - far closer to Apple’s original required language of Objective-C. However, if you wanted to write an app for both platforms, you’d still be rewriting the same code multiple times in different languages. This is both time and resource consuming, which can delay releases and updates. Thus, Cross-Platform was born.
Cross-Platform is a self-describing term; products made like this are designed to work across multiple platforms. That is to say, one piece of code to work on iOS and Android both. There are many tools that have been released recently to make this possible, such as Xamarin, each one offering a suite of useful features and concepts. Picking the one right for you takes some time and energy, but is quite rewarding in the end.
Writing a single batch of code which, with minor edits, can work on all of you customers phones and tablets saves development time, and allows you to focus more on the actual functionality of your app. Updates are easier to deliver, code is simpler to maintain, and the user experience is more streamlined.
"That’s why we here at Green Dragon Development are huge proponents of Cross-Platform development; the cost and time savings from this approach are passed directly to our customers." - Kevin Manning
Faster, simpler, code means less cost for developers and clients. It also results in a more streamlined for the end-users; essential for growing a business or product. Reducing costs and increasing users is always a business goal, and Cross-Platform development delivers exactly that.