Understanding Cross Platform Applications Development

As the word Cross Platform itself means across multiple platforms, this process involves writing a single code that is compatible with various platforms. For e.g. a code written to work for an Android-based system can work equally well on an iOS-based system as well.

To make it simpler to understand, we can divide cross platform mobile apps into two types;

Types of Cross platform Mobile App

  1. Native Cross Platform Apps:  These apps are developed by using programmable interfaces given by either Apple or Android, but the coding is generally done in an altogether different language, which is not supported by the operating system vendor and usually requires a third-party intervention.
  2. Hybrid HTML5 cross-platform apps: These apps haven’t been able to gain that much visibility as a Native app due to performance-related issues, as they run more as web views on browsers.

Why Cross platform App Development

One of the reasons why cross platform App development started to gain prominence was because , it would save development time and develop a more robust strategy for building mobile apps, which would present more advantages, for the same effort as developing platform-specific applications. Then came a very important question as to which would be an ideal framework, to build mobile apps, that can work across multiple platforms. And the answer was React Native!

Cross Platform App Development wasn’t every developer’s cup of tea a few years ago. The reason ranged from many from scalability to sustainability. Most mobile application developers would find it easier to develop platform-specific mobile apps which would suit their specific requirement. However, this perception has changed quite a bit now after getting a feel of what cross platform development can contribute to the companies and developers.

Advantages of Cross Platform Mobile App development for companies

Apart from the fact that cross platform apps work well across multiple platforms, there are certainly other useful benefits, which make them a developer’s favorite.

  1. Cheaper to build: The very idea that a single code can be written and used across multiple platforms makes it an economical proposition for organizations to think about. Even if not the complete code, at least 50% of the code can be reused.
  2. Low Maintenance costs: With quality assurance requiring lesser time as a common code base contains the general business logic, the company can save on maintenance and quality assurance. In this case of cross platform development, only the errors appearing in the common code base, to be addressed, with one single testing program.
  3. A common development team: Cross Platform development does not need two separate, experienced teams with specific platform knowledge, to develop applications. Just one single team with domain knowledge and know-how of one set of technologies will do.

Advantage of Cross Platform Apps for the End-User

  1. A complete and uniform user experience: A consistent user experience across different devices is the expectation of today’s users and cross platform development allows just that. Today’s generation has appreciated the technology behind cross platform apps as there are very good and effective tools, which enable developers to build apps, catering to the needs of the end-users.
  2. Supports Prototyping and high visibility for business promotion: Generally, in the case of emerging companies and startups, it would be very ideal if there is a provision for customers to take stock of his product progress, amidst a development process. Developing a fully functional prototype is a common and advantageous strategy. This is exactly what React Native is good at in terms of prototyping. It allows quicker development and the final product is compatible to work on multiple platforms. As a result, React Native allows you to get to market without sacrificing the quality of your code and end product, with much broader visibility.

The secret behind using React Native for Cross Platform App Development

Having known a bit about cross platform apps, we now get into our main focus on why React Native, as a framework, is a developer’s delight, while building cross platform apps.

Allows Reusability of Code: This is one of the most important advantages of React Native. Developers need not code for Android and iOS separately. They can code just once and reuse about 70- 80% of the code while integrating it with other platforms.  As a result of this feature, development time is reduced to a great extent.

Allow Third-Party Plugins: Another secret behind the successful emergence of React native is its flexibility to build mobile apps and customize it to suit the specific needs of the customer, by using third party plug-ins. Plug-in software is mainly used to enhance the performance of existing software and React Native fully supports this activity.

A Delight for Developers with JavaScript Knowledge: Developers with JavaScript Knowledge can be a real boost for organizations as it is very easy to navigate between React Native and Java or Swift.

The Hot Reload feature: One of the most enchanting features of React Native is the Hot Reload feature. This feature allows the developer to refresh and reload the application, whenever there is a change in code. This way, the developer can save on development time and attend to any development-oriented changes instantly.

Conclusion

React Native is a perfect option for cross platform mobile app development as it comes in with various advantages like reusability of code, Hot Reload, etc. From a developer’s perspective, it saves valuable development time as well as speeding up the process. React Native also helps in boosting the performance of existing applications as it is flexible working with third-party plug-in software. It also provides stability to the app, and above all, it is a cost-effective solution with a robust performance. Compared to other cross-platform frameworks, React Native supports a clean and smooth coding style.

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