Cross platform app development is the practice of building apps that can run on multiple app development platforms. This technology was introduced in the year 2012, and the need for such apps has risen tremendously in recent times. This can be attributed to the increased number of businesses that target all major app development platforms in their effort to enhance mobility. There are a variety of tools that are used in cross platform app development, and they include Appcelerator, PhoneGap, RhoMobile, Whoop, WidgetPad and Mosync among others.
Just like any other technology, cross platform app development has its share of advantages and disadvantages. The following are some of the pros and cons that every app developer should be aware of before considering this type of technology: -
Pros of cross platform app development
Low development cost is probably the biggest advantage of this type of technology. One of the factors that lead to the reduced cost is the reduced amount of time required to build such apps. When developers decide to utilize cross platform app development tools, they get to finish the task at hand within the shortest time, thus invest a lesser amount of money.
The fact that cross platform app development tools enables developers to complete the app development process promptly and economically makes them easily deployable. Most of these tools are made of scripting languages such as CSS3 and HTML5. These languages are quite dynamic in nature, which enables app developers to invest lesser time and effort in the process.
This kind of technology also offers support for cloud services. This means that app developers have the option to incorporate their apps with key cloud services such as Salesforce.com, Box.net and AWS, etc. another advantage that is associated with cross platform app development is that it enables a single centralized set of code to be automatically modified to interface one device to another. Tools such as Appcelerator and PhoneGap provide easy access to plugins that can be easily utilized in other tools or services.
Disadvantages of cross platform app development
One of the major shortcomings of this type of technology is that it does not include all features of all mobile devices and operating systems. This requires app developers to keep on updating the cross platform app development tools that they use, whenever mobile device or operating system companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google add new features.
Another disadvantage of cross platform app development is that it doesn’t facilitate speedy code writing run time. This is usually a challenge to mobile app developers, such that they have to opt for native app designing. Use of personal tools is also restricted, which is also another challenge that app developers have to deal with. In order for a developer to design apps with this technology, he must use tools that are compatible with the cross platform framework. This means that an app developer will be forced to pay no attention to his preferences, and instead utilize something else that he may be forced to learn all over again. PhoneGap is the only exception because it allows app developers to make use of native IDEs.
Cross platform app development doesn’t facilitate use of 3D support and graphics. This is always a huge disadvantage to app developers who may be looking forward to produce apps with high end 3D and graphic support. Code inefficiency is also another disadvantage of this type of technology. This usually comes about as a result of the inability of a developer to work on every platform’s native language. When translation engines in the cross platform app development tools become inefficient, the code efficiency also reduces.
Prior to designing apps, it is imperative for mobile app developers to be aware of the pros and cons that are associated with cross platform app development. It is also important to note that each of the various cross platform app development tools has distinct features that set it apart from the rest. It is advisable for a developer to compare different tools and choose the ones that will give the desired results and meet the specific needs that they are intended for.