Technology

Pros and Cons of Cross-Platform Mobile Development: Is It Right for Your Project?

Are you wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of cross-platform mobile app development tools? Well, developers are looking for new cost-effective and speedier ways to build apps for iOS and Android as the popularity of mobile apps grows across various businesses, both physical and digital.

Cross-platform app development tools provide an alternative to writing separate apps in native platform languages; instead, a single code is utilized to create iOS and Android apps with minor changes. Know more about architecture consulting services.

Surf has over ten years of expertise in developing mobile apps for banks, retailers, restaurants, streaming platforms, and other organizations using native and cross-platform frameworks. In this post, we’ll go through the advantages and disadvantages of cross-platform mobile app development tools, as well as a review of one of the most popular, Flutter, so you can make an informed decision when deciding whether to build your app natively or cross-platform.

Native Vs. Cross-Platform

Benefits of Cross-Platform Programming

The rate of development

Cross-platform frameworks allow developers to construct programs for two distinct platforms using only one code set, reducing development time and cost dramatically. Of course, the app’s pace is determined by its complexity, features, and integrations. However, in our experience, developing an app using Flutter’s cross-platform technology involves 20-50 percent fewer development houses than developing native apps with the same functionality.

Cost of app development

If you want to create native apps for iOS and Android, you’ll need two teams of developers that can write in Swift and Kotlin. Both apps may be developed by the same developers using a cross-platform framework. A typical native development team includes three Android developers, three iOS developers, a designer, a QA engineer, and a project manager for nine highly talented (and appropriately compensated) people. For the same project, a cross-platform development team of only seven people would be required: a designer, a project manager, a QA engineer, and four developers. The ultimate cost is significantly reduced when the team size is reduced.

When Surf developed apps for the Rigla pharmaceutical chain, the client required six apps: one Android and one iOS app for each of the three brands. We constructed all six applications from a single codebase using the Flutter cross-platform framework, saving 40% of the project’s initial price.

Code maintenance

Maintaining two independent native apps after the first release is a resource-intensive endeavor. Each platform will have its own set of faults and difficulties, necessitating the development of separate patches and upgrades for each program.

With the introduction of new iOS and Android versions, the expenses of code maintenance rise even more. Supporting a cross-platform program is a more straightforward procedure because the same code necessitates identical solutions for both platforms in most circumstances.

Cross-platform development’s drawbacks

Performance

Nothing beats an app designed in a platform-specific programming language for performance. Native programs consume at least half as much CPU power as cross-platform apps since they directly access the device’s resources. Native programs are also significantly less demanding on the hardware when it comes to memory utilization.

However, depending on the technology employed, the performance of cross-platform programs varies substantially. For example, apps created using the Cordova cross-platform framework run in a WebView, effectively collecting web pages in an app. Apps with complex visuals and games may suffer due to this technical approach. On the other hand, due to their optimization and architectural solutions, frameworks like Flutter and React Native can manage motion and many graphic components almost as smoothly as native apps, at least to the point that most users won’t notice the difference.

Stability

Apps with extensive logic and platform-specific integrations are more likely to have difficulty operating on one of the platforms when designed with a cross-platform framework. Furthermore, cross-platform frameworks typically have delayed access to the most recent Android or iOS updates and features, making them unsuitable for developing apps that depend on cutting-edge and platform-specific technology.

However, many possible flaws and mistakes may be avoided by using high-quality code and thorough testing throughout the development stage. Because of their growing popularity in recent years, the most prominent cross-platform technologies now offer integrations with various third-party testing tools. They have extensive communities of developers eager to assist one another.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a prominent cross-platform framework that many consider the greatest solution for cross-platform mobile development. Flutter was first published by Google in 2017 and is based on the Dart programming language. It allows you to create seamless and attractive apps for iOS and Android. Widgets are the building blocks of an app, and the framework idea is built on them. Widgets’ look adapts automatically to the visual style of the platform on which the app is opened.

The framework makes use of Skia, a sophisticated graphics engine that maintains a consistent frame rate even in projects with a lot of animation. More information about Flutter architecture may be found in our in-depth article.

Flutter has swiftly garnered popularity among developers worldwide despite being a relatively new technology. Surf has used Flutter for various projects, including a video-streaming platform and corporate banking apps. Let’s look at some examples of Flutter apps and why Flutter can be the proper framework for your next project.

Flutter-Based Applications

My BMW

My BMW app was created by the company’s in-house team using Flutter. The software allows car owners to monitor the quantity of petrol in the tank, the charge of the battery, and the position of their vehicle from afar.

The app will deliver a push message if the automobile needs an oil change or other technical maintenance. Some automobile models also feature My BMW app Remote Services, such as locking and unlocking doors remotely and observing the vehicle’s environment in 3D.

The Hole

Surf for Medium Quality, a prominent YouTube publisher and production firm with over 16 million viewers, created The Hole, a video-streaming app. Medium Quality films many shows vertically to make watching material on mobile devices more comfortable, while the app automatically crops horizontal movies to match the screen size.

Interactive quizzes and programs that allow viewers to determine story twists are just a few elements that distinguish the platform from the competition. The customer saved roughly 40% of the initial budget by using the Flutter framework instead of two native applications, which resulted in seamless UI animations and screen transitions.

Stadia

Stadia is a Google-developed gaming platform. Users may broadcast and play video games on many devices with this software. Thanks to cloud-based technologies, users may start playing a game on their smartphone and effortlessly continue on their TV or laptop. Stadia also allows you to play games immediately after purchasing them while simultaneously downloading and uploading content.

Head to our dedicated post to help you learn about other Flutter-based apps.

Why use Flutter?

Development Procedure

As previously said, designing apps utilizing cross-platform frameworks saves time and money because just one program needs to be created for both iOS and Android devices. The Hot Reload feature in Flutter takes things even farther. When the app’s code is modified, it instantaneously updates it, allowing the developer to experiment and explore alternative solutions without waiting for the entire app to be refreshed.

Performance

Flutter apps outperform apps produced with competing for cross-platform frameworks in several tests. A strong Skia visual engine and Flutter’s design are the fundamental features that allow the framework to render big scenes and sustain steady above-30 frames per second. There is no JavaScript communication bridge in Flutter, as in other cross-platform frameworks; instead, the framework communicates directly with the platform’s components in native code, resulting in faster reaction times.

User-Interface

Like any other cross-platform solution, Flutter has its own UI components.

However, unlike the Apache Cordova framework, Flutter automatically adjusts the UI (fonts, colors, and animations) to fit the visual style of Material Design and Cupertino style systems. As a result, the developer may preserve the app’s native appearance and feel regardless of the platform.

Security

Flutter is considered more secure than competing frameworks by many developers since its source code is turned into native code, rendering it unreadable by humans and complicating reverse engineering. Security features like Touch ID and Face ID are also fully supported by Flutter.

Together with the framework’s other advantages, these features make Flutter an excellent choice for building financial apps. One of the most notable examples of Flutter in fintech is an app for Brazilian Nubank, one of the largest Neobanks with over 40 million clients worldwide.

Surf was the first developer in Russia to use Flutter to create a banking app. Our corporate banking software for Rosbank allows users to easily manage the funds of many legal entities or corporations in a colorful and modern design. The app received the top Russian prize for interactive projects in the Banking, Finance, and Insurance category, the Tagline Awards 2020-2021.

Support from the community

Flutter is now the most popular cross-platform framework among programmers. Flutter has grown in popularity at an incredible rate over the last several years, surpassing React Native and Apache Cordova, two other established cross-platform frameworks, despite the technology’s youth and the fact that it requires knowing the Dart programming language.

The framework’s capabilities and performance are reflected in the number of developers who actively use it. A vast community also makes the development process more manageable. Many ready-made solutions, tools, and individuals are eager to help if you get stuck at any stage during your app’s development.

The expanding popularity of Flutter, as well as numerous examples of it being used by well-known and affluent firms, shows that the technology’s future is brighter than ever.

When Should You Use Flutter?

After reviewing the framework’s capabilities and benefits, let’s look at the sorts of apps most suited to be created using it.

MVPs and app prototypes are two sorts of prototypes. A flutter is an excellent tool for building a minimum viable product (MVP) – an app with key functionalities in a short amount of time. When you create an app with Flutter, you’re nearly concurrently designing applications for iOS and Android, and the framework’s Hot Reload feature lets you make changes and experiment with code while you’re on the move.

In today’s fast-paced digital economy, reducing time to market is critical for companies, and Flutter can assist in delivering a viable product to investors and consumers as rapidly as possible.

Apps that are both beautiful and functional. Flutter is a highly optimized framework with a robust graphics engine that displays fewer missed frames and greater FPS than other cross-platform technologies. So, if you’re working on an app with many animations and graphics, or one that requires a quick reaction time (like a stock trading platform), Flutter is the way to go.

Apps that appear to be native. Flutter is the way to go if you want to create a cross-platform app that looks and feels like one made using native Android or iOS technology. Even though the framework does not employ native UI components, it automatically modifies their look to fit the platform’s visual style and supports native scrolling, navigation, and gestures.

Conclusion

Native development is the ideal solution for convenience, performance, and stability; if you want to build an app particularly for one platform, your concept is centered on platform-specific features, or you want to update the app as soon as new OS versions are released. Otherwise, try using cross-platform mobile development tools to create an app for both Android and iOS consumers.

Compared to native frameworks, cross-platform frameworks provide many benefits, including a speedier development process, a smaller team size, and lower expenses. Flutter, a popular cross-platform mobile app development program, is highly optimized and offers integration with a wide range of third-party libraries and kits, thereby overcoming two frequent limitations of cross-platform development: poor performance and a lack of tools for certain jobs.

Now that you know about the advantages and disadvantages of cross-platform mobile development, you can decide whether it’s right for your project.

Surf has a lot of expertise with both native and cross-platform mobile app development. We’ve created applications for e-commerce sites, restaurants, banks, and digital platforms throughout the years. If you’d like to talk about your project and get a price estimate, please fill out the short form below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Shazam Khan

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Shazam Khan

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