Myths about Enterprise App Development in modern scenario – Native vs. Cross-Platform
Mobile applications are growing, in sync with the growing number of smartphones in the world.
Eighty percent of consumers prefer using their smartphones to access the Internet over any other device. Data from Nielsen shows the consumer preference for mobile apps accounts for a whopping eighty-nine percent of media time on mobile.
Analysing the choice
The simple understanding of a native app is one which functions for a specific platform only, say iOS or Android. Native apps are designed for a specific operating system, and often used on a particular platform or device. Since they’re made for a particular OS, they can take advantage of the different features it offers.
A cross platform app, on the other hand, can work on multiple operating systems, but you would be missing out on performance. While easier to create, and able to target multiple platforms, they cannot take advantage of the specific features of a OS.
While it may seem to be labour efficient to have one app for all platforms using cross-platform app development tool – the app that would run on iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry ( is it still alive?!), before making this choice, the compromises made by a cross-platform app have to be analyzed.
Criteria for an enterprise
When an enterprise decides to get an app built, there are multiple criteria that need to be evaluated. Foremost among them are:
- Your app needs to solve a problem that your enterprise faces.
- Help increase daily productivity.
- Find the enterprise objective and the actual user need.
- Has to benefit the end user, just like other consumer apps.
- Good apps lead to happier employees and higher employee engagement rates.
The importance of the User Experience
A general user does not know the difference between a native and a cross platform hybrid app, but can feel the difference. A great example of this is the positive reaction of users when Facebook went native.
In a world teeming with apps users expect great performance from your app right off the bat. Users do not care which app approach you choose, all they desire is a good and convenient user experience.
With this in mind, performance and an intuitive UI experience gain paramount importance while building an app. A cross-platform app may help you come into the market quickly and come onto multiple app stores at once, but that does not guarantee the success of the app.
The issue with going hybrid / web apps
LinkedIn threw away its HTML5 model and decided to go native for its apps. Fast Company went native because well, their HTML5 app just didn’t work out as they expected it to. Facebook too went native way back in 2012, after ditching the mobile web.
There are three net pros of cross-platform apps – portability, cheap costs and faster initial speed to market. But the problem is that the hybrid approach involves a lot of compromises along the way:
- User experience never reaches its full potential: The speed and reliability of a native app cannot be rivaled by a generic app. After all, hybrid app only has a wrapper. Most of the relevant data that the customer needs on the app is loaded from the servers instead of being present on the phone as in the case of native apps.
Now, the problem with the server approach is that the efficiency of this system depends on two things – how many people are making requests to the server at the same time; and whether there are distinct servers for requests from mobile devices and desktop devices.
2. Generic app rather than app specific to a platform – Users don’t like change. The average user base has grown accustomed to using specific gestures and navigation that are specific to their own OS, and expect apps to run within that.
Any app that forces the user to change a comfortable way of navigating their phone does not provide an optimal user experience. Since a hybrid app is not specific to any one OS, it fails to capitalize on the specific customizations of any OS, and remains a general product that merely functions on each one.
The Top Benefits of Going Native
Here is a look at how you can benefit by going native.
- Security of native language: Native apps can use the native language of the device, and offer the best possibilities with regards to graphics and animations.
- Richer experience: A big advantage of a native app is that it allows the users to get quickly accustomed to the UI of the app – it comes instinctively to them. A native app also provides better user experience. The content, structure and visual elements are already present on the phone, and only await loading, this making a native app fast and therefore pleasant to use.
- Benefits of the native ecosystem: A native app can very conveniently access and utilise the capabilities that have been already built-in to the platform – like GPS, address book, and camera.
For instance, developing a native app for the iPhone will help you use the iPhone’s fingerprint sensors. You wouldn’t be able to do that with a cross platform app, simply because not all operating systems and devices have a fingerprint sensor. With a native ecosystem, you get a thorough access to device hardware, being able to deliver the optimum performance with the app. So, if you’re looking to use sensors, reduce lags, improve performance for a particular OS or just develop on the overall user experience, you would want to go native.
- Upgrade and maintenance: As latest upgrades are made to the relevant OS, upgrades need to be made to the app simultaneously. In case of a native app this is a concentrated effort for a particular OS and thus leads to a good and integrated user experience.
Typically, if you are in a hurry to build an app, a cross-platform app might appeal to you. It will be cheaper; it will take less time and labour, and it will help you reach all platforms.
How Can Platforms Like Confgure.It Help?
Configure.it makes the process a whole lot simpler. With its unique browser based app development platform, you can create all that you wish, right within a browser. No need to develop and test your app separately, you can do it all in one place, ensuring that you create quality, bug-free Android and iOS apps.
A lot of the coding can become simple too, as you would need to ‘drag and drop’ compared to hardcore coding, and since it’s all browser based, it’s pretty easy to distribute and deploy.
If you’re looking to develop a quick app for an event, this is one of the best ways to go about it, ensuring:
- You use the latest technologies (it uses both Swift and Java)
- Easy and fast testing and sharing
- Create and sync databases with no limits
- Create friendly API’s with complete control over the development process
- Easy to create modules that can save up hours
- One-click deployment of backend
With Configure.IT, you’ve a bimodal approach to develop native apps rapidly, with a wide array of cross platform tools to have access from. The integrated approach for app and backend development makes app making a lot easier.
Most often, enterprises that consider the long-term, as well as the short term implications of this issue, tend to choose native apps – yes, it might take six months or more, but the additional performance, security and the superior user experience is well worth it. And platforms like Configure.IT makes it so much more worth it.
Take a look at the brief introduction video here