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Insights | By Jade Mulholland December 12, 2019

The Power of Building Cross-Platform Applications

If you need an application that works on mobile devices and the web, you are often faced with the issue of needing to develop for multiple platforms. This usually means having a code base for iOS, another for Android, plus a separate project for web. 

Applications that require a broad reach across multiple different platforms often require large development teams. This can be a very expensive and time-consuming exercise, along with having to maintain multiple different code bases ongoing. Coordinating complex business logic between multiple development projects can be a very tedious task for developers and their managers.

Beyond the code itself, other challenges arise. Trying to get an aligned user experience across all platforms can prove to be an extremely difficult task. Writing comprehensive unit-tests for multiple projects can be very time-consuming. The workload repeats and repeats and repeats… it doesn’t need to be this hard.

Cross-Platform Frameworks

This is where cross-platform frameworks, like Ionic, can provide a cost and time effective solution for app development. Imagine writing a piece of code once and having it shared across all platforms – iOS, Android and web.

From a singular codebase, you can produce applications that compile to multiple different platforms and devices while still feeling truly native to the end-user. Take the below screenshot for example. Ionic allows for a singular codebase to compile to both iOS and Android while maintaining the user experience that the user is familiar with.

 

iOS Android Comparison

 

From one case base, two different views were compiled. Take a close look and you will notice that the fonts are different, the headers have a different layout, the buttons are different sizes. Both views reflect and align perfectly with the UI/UX guidelines of Android (left) and iOS (right).

Cross-Platform Development Advantages

The biggest advantage of using cross-platform frameworks is that they are built on top of web standards. This means that any web developer can utilise their existing skills to build cross-platform applications without having to learn any new languages. These days, you can even utilise NodeJS for your server-side code – making use of Javascript on both the front and back end of your application. As you can probably imagine, hiring a team of Javascript app developers to create a cross-platform application is far more cost-efficient and time consuming compared to hiring multiple development teams. Still not too sure what technology to develop with? Unsure on whether native or hybrid is the best solution for you? Check out our Native vs Hybrid vs Web blog post for a more detailed comparison into the different application types.

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