Debunking imaginary shortcomings of cross-platform frameworks

Debunking imaginary shortcomings of cross-platform frameworks

The cross-platform approach to mobile development has taken its rightful place in global development practice along with native development. The continuously growing mobile-app market incentivizes the appear of unified solutions capable of deploying applications for several platforms simultaneously. As cost-efficient models of mobile development offer evident competitive advantages, cross-platform development and hybrid solutions begin to attract more and more customers. Faster delivery and lower cost comprise two basic benefits inherent in cross-platform app development. Such cross-platform frameworks as Phonegap, React Native, or Ionic 2 expand their ecosystems involving a large number of developers into rapidly growing communities. However, the adherents of native development keep insisting on certain restrictions in the frameworks in order to demonstrate the cross-platform mobile development as insufficient in some particular cases.

The frequent accusations

The most frequent arguments against cross-platform solutions come from their slow response and partial access to the hardware. Besides, applications developed on cross-platform frameworks are often accused of inadequate functionality when heavy and complex assignments are required from the apps. Sharing their own practical experience, K&C developers are going to figure out whether such arguments and allegations are relevant and sound. Their strong expertise in cross-platform mobile development allows K&C to suggest how to overcome the frameworks’ shortcomings and drawbacks, if any. 

Performance: speed matters

The argument about the slowness of hybrid solutions is grounded in the manner in which hybrid apps work. In contrast to native, the hybrid apps use web-like technologies such as HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. This influences the communication speed of an application within a device to a certain degree. In the case of native development, the task of compilers is to translate the native language to machine code without any intermediary agent. No doubt, native APIs represent the fastest interrelations between the software and hardware within a device.

However, the significance of this argument depends on the particular framework applied for cross-platform app development in each distinct case. It is hardly reasonable to develop a game with abundant graphics on Phonegap, for example. Meanwhile, Phonegap technology was not created as a one-fits-all solution capable of removing native development in each and every case. The developers fluent in Phonegap are moving toward the consensus that the strongest advantage of Phonegap is the cost efficiency provided by the framework. Thus, if a budget solution for a simple application is required, Phonegap can step in as one of the most relevant technologies. 

When React Native behaves like native

At the same time, when it comes to React Native, the performance speed of apps developed on this framework can hardly differ too much from the native apps. The reason is that React Native uses native platform-specific elements while JavaScript is applied for the apps logic. In such a case, the difference in performance of the pure native and React Native apps can be registered only with special load testing in most cases. The situation is similar to the megapixel race among smartphone cameras. In pursuit of high resolution, the gadget manufacturers ignored the average users unable to notice a definite quality difference between 13 MP and 18 MP snapshots, especially while watching them on 4”-5” screens. It was a case when business pragmatism reflecting the best interests of users was sacrificed in favor of some hyped publicity.

The functionality issue

The reduced functionality of apps created on frameworks is the second popular argument of the native development adepts. They declare that cross-platform app development solutions cannot offer true development flexibility, being unable to satisfy developers with everything necessary out-of-the-box. The allegation is based on the necessity of creating some native elements in cases where they are unavailable in the framework’s scope. This may limit the cross-platform apps’ functionality, as the native pundits suppose.

However, this argument constitutes its own counterargument in large part. React Native, for instance, exhibits customization simplicity, inviting developers to create native components in accordance with the simple granularity required by each project. Working over a complicated cross-platform application, K&C has developed a React Native plugin for the Android fingerprint feature which was unavailable in the framework’s libraries at that moment. Such a practice is rather common for any reputable mobile developer whichever development approach is applied. Besides, the framework libraries and code repositories are worth taking into account. Since React Native developers’ community is growing continuously, new modules and elements appear regularly on React-Redux and other libraries at GitHub. In addition, the React Native team releases the framework’s updates frequently, at least twice a month. It means every developer can find thousands of new elements becoming available out-of-the-box with each update.

The right focus is crucial

In any case, the choice between native and cross-platform approaches depends on the peculiarities of each particular project. The presence or absence of various technical and business features can define the nature and the development approach of an application. However, the capabilities of the contemporary cross-platform frameworks begin refocusing the choice driver from the technical aspects to rather financial and temporal motivators. Nowadays, the abundance of available functional elements, along with advanced developing flexibility, makes such frameworks as React Native either equal or even superior to native solutions. The precise ability to deliver applications significantly faster and cheaper without compromising their functionality attracts both business owners and developers to cross-platform mobile development.

K&C developers are always ready to share their rich experience of the professional cross-platform app development with the new project owners interested in cost-effective and time-saving solutions.

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