New tools are making cross-platform app development a simple and affordable reality.
After the successive launches of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market, the importance of an app’s ability to function across mobile platforms became quickly apparent, as PC World explains. Back then, companies looking to maximize their user base had to develop two individual native apps — one on Android and one on iOS. Aiming to eliminate the need for two separate apps, cross-platform tools were quickly introduced — but their efficacy was limited. Today’s tools, however, are more sophisticated, making cross-platform applications a reality.
Tools of Old
HTML5 was meant to put to bed the debate between native and cross-platform app development. This development made it possible to create “hybrid apps” simply by taking an HTML5 web app and packaging it as a native app for any platform, according to tech.co. Facebook adopted this approach until 2012, when the company — declaring that the iOS app was proving inadequate — decided to scrap the hybrid apps and instead turn out an iOS native.
HTML5 is limited in its performance and ability to take advantage of features unique to each platform. Despite its drawbacks, HTML5 still proves useful for cross-platform development because it is a web-based system, and therefore built to accommodate any and every type of hardware and software. Its limitations gave rise to similar cross-platform tools, but these too faced issues — mainly of compatibility, security, and bugs (not to mention overall quality) — and the time needed to address them rendered these tools just as inefficient as building multiple native apps.
New Tools, New Tricks
More recent tools, however, truly are making cross-platform app development possible by providing a common coding language that is easily translatable across devices, according to apera. Since that code is functionally the same as the one used for native apps, cross-platform apps can be developed using the same user interfaces, ensuring that they perform exactly to users’ established expectations.
This common language also allows for one team to simultaneously build the iOS and Android app, expediting the entire process and reducing the time to launch, and thereby giving the developers a significant advantage to their slower competitors. This same team can also handle all the post-launch maintenance, thereby lowering the associated costs.
Twice the Fun
For those looking to build their own app, limiting its deployment to either iOS or Android cuts out a huge potential user segment, making it difficult to reach the largest possible audience and maximize your downloads. While Android’s market share has seen growth over the last year (it is currently up to 65.5% in the United States, according to CNET), Apple still holds a significant 31.6% in the U.S. Cross-platform development offers a viable solution for those who, in the face of limited resources, want to avoid dramatically decreasing their app’s reach by choosing one platform over the other.
For those with both a tight budget and limited knowledge of coding, simple DIY platforms like AppMakr are a no-brainer. Apps created with AppMakr function on both iOS and Android systems, and can be launched in a matter of minutes. With AppMakr, if you can dream a cross-platform app — you can create it.
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