Cross-Platform Development: Challenges & Opportunities

January 15, 2015 1594 Views
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Cross-Platform Development: Challenges & Opportunities

Creating one app that works on all platforms is quite a tempting endeavour. Adjust it to every platform you plan to cover, and to all devices you want to cover, which takes much less time than going native anyway, and there you have it! Right? Not really.

If the cross-platform was that much universal, native development would have gone out of business. Yet software owners thoughtfully launch apps crafted with PhoneGap, and keep their users more than satisfied. User groups can have the choice between iOS and Android as just a personal preference. They may have an Android smartphone beside them on the table, yet they'd prefer to use an iPad to access the same app sitting having a lunch in a café. Thus, the multiplatform is a good choice for those who know its pros and cons, its challenges and the opportunities it offers.

Opportunity: Reduced costs, less time required, and unified marketing. The obvious pro that outweighs many cons taken together.

Challenge: Since mobile platforms are completely different, from typical navigation controls to general philosophies, use the correct design approach. Great designs must be natural for each covered platform – not identical.

Opportunity: See whether PhoneGap is a good solution for your project. It's one of the most widespread technologies for cross-platform development, makes use of JavaScript/HTML5 development tools, which allow your developers to do the job fast and easy, with average code reuse approaching 97-99%.

Challenge: New mobile devices emerge on the market continuously. Not only you have to ensure great user experience from the beginning, the app should be fit for new devices with new OS versions, better screens, and performance capabilities. Your software is easily adapted to different sizes and resolutions, aspect ratios, and orientations.

Opportunity: Functional strength and performance of JavaScript/HTML5-based apps is already at an advanced level. They incorporate native capabilities of mobile platforms. They consume less energy on mobile devices. HTML and CSS obviously aren't going away in the observable future.

Challenge: You must look for a company that has experience in the multiplatform. They know how to create software with inherently optimized performance, and what tools to use. Most of the talk about bad performance of cross-platform apps appear owing to poorly built examples with non-optimized DOM structures, unsuitable image scaling, bad handling of long lists of items, etc. What's the result of the right approach? The smooth UX that your users are looking for.

Opportunity: Multiplatform apps can be both deployed/viewed in browsers as web apps and distributed/monetized as native ones. They are easier deployed and have decent support for cloud services.

Challenge: Advantages and flexibilities of one mobile OS may be missing on another one. The more complex your business logic is, the harder it is for multiplatform implementation and integrations.

Opportunity: There's plenty of cross-platform frameworks, plugins, modules, and toolkits that extend the functionality of your software. Some of them, like RAD.js by MobiDev, allows to enhance performance as well.

Challenge: Every time a feature is added/modified in native development tools, it has to be reflected in the cross-platform ones, and the code of your app will have to be adjusted as well. Such updates for the multi-platform lag behind those for the native.

Opportunity: The multiplatform is a good solution for enterprise and BYOD. Your employees will be easier to satisfy than any niche of the global user audience.

Challenge: Limited graphics and 3D capabilities. That's why for most mobile games native development is currently the only way.

We can't deny the fact that major players on the market can afford to stick to developing separate native apps for every platform. But in the case of startups that only start growing, multiplatform software can be the best place to start. And if you need a technical specialist for your own project, please contact us and we'll be glad to consult you.

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