Nowadays, computer platforms come in different form factors with different levels of performance and functional capabilities. If we go back a few decades, all these platforms were catered to by software which were native to each platform. However, fast forward to the 2020s and you’re currently with a plethora of cross platform frameworks who are trying to achieve the almost impossible.
The top contenders for this category are Xamarin by Microsoft, React Native by Meta and Flutter by Google. Each of these frameworks handles development in a different way but provides a platform-specific application bundle.
When choosing any of these frameworks, the focus should be given to the following factors:
- Time to Market
- Learning Curve
- Tools & Technologies
If each of these factors are taken individually, we can compare them as below:
|Time to Market
|High as individual apps need to be created for each platform
|Low as all apps will be the outcome of a single codebase
|Easy to Moderate
|Tools & Technologies
|Complete platform specific UI components
|Common UI components for all platforms
|Higher than average performance
All in all, there is no clear winner that can be used in all development projects. If the project is more time-centric and if the outcome is expected be deployed in multiple platforms such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Web, Android & iOS then the Cross-Platform development approach is comparatively better as 95% of the codebase would be the same for all platforms and the remaining 5% will be for platform specific capabilities. This would also have a uniform UX across platforms.
However, if the project is more performance-centric and would need platform specific capabilities, the best option would be to use Native development where the outcome would be developed using native components and will have a platform specific UX.
In conclusion, Cross-Platform development vs Native Application development is like comparing Apples vs Oranges. If you expect native performance with a native UX that has a small time to market value in a project and an easy learning curve for the developers, that will be an unrealistic expectation. Hence understand the objectives of the project and choose wisely!
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