Today, more and more companies have to develop apps that function on multiple devices because of the BOYD trend (Bring Your Own Device). Thus a debate is born: should a company use a single or a cross-platform mobile app development?

Because every device behaves differently with apps, choosing the right IT platform can tremendously help run the app in various systems. And this is particularly true on a Cloud platform. Let’s see how to pick the best development environment for your apps.

Main differences between single and cross-platform development

What are the benefits and disadvantages of a single platform development?

The name almost says it all: a single platform development meets only the specificities of a certain operating system. Only a specific audience can then be targeted (iOS or Android for instance). Here are some benefits and limits of this modus operandi:

1. It performs very well: That shouldn’t be a surprise: as the app is built for a specific system, it will likely have less errors and bugs, offering a better user experience. If the software possesses a lot of graphics and interactivity, this type of platform development would suit best.

2. It works offline: Generally, apps built on these platforms don’t require an internet connection. The device already contains all the necessary elements for it to work offline.

3. It’s easily implemented: Implementing an app built on a specific platform lessens the burden of the developer, allowing him to be more creative, which can be difficult in a cross platform.

4. It can be costly: On a less bright side, developing on a single platform requires hiring a developer with quite advanced skills, which can be costly, as these profiles are rare on the market.

5. Less users: As the app will be available only on one platform (if not developed separately on each one), it will automatically have less users, thus limiting the audience and the potential revenue of the company.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of cross-platform development?

If a single platform development allows mobile apps to only be suitable for a single operating system, a cross-platform allows for multiple ones. Said simply: the app can function on any device. Today, 70 % of developers use cross-platform development, and here’s why:

1. It allows for a quick launch: As the code is easier, the launch can be very quick, if of course there is the necessary tech support.

2. It will cost less: The company using a cross-platform development can save a lot of money. As the code is reusable for every platform, it’s not necessary to hire a specialist of each platform. It’s a one size fits all solution.

3. The updates can be synchronized: maintenance is key to success for an app. With a cross-platform development, the updates can be done quite automatically, which is a cost and time saver for the company.

Of course, no solution is perfect, and cross-platform development has its own limitations. Performance is one of them. A smartphone has relatively small computing power, and a cross-platform development can reduce its performances, thus providing a poor user experience. But this is the exception, not the norm.

In a nutshell, to choose between the two options, you really have to ponder the project specificites. What are the features of the app? If interactivity is the main one, then a single platform programming is the best. Otherwise, if the app is mainly about content and information, then you may want to consider a cross-platform development. It will make a big difference for the company.