Every major mobile operating system has its own SDK (Software Development Kit) to create mobile apps. These SDKs also have preferred programming languages which are supported by the OS vendor. For example, for iOS, Objective-C and Swift are the preferred programming languages supported by Apple, whereas for Android, Java is the preferred language supported by Google. Generally, apps created with these languages using the official SDK are called as "native apps".
Cross-Platform apps use APIs (Application Programming Interface) provided by the native SDK, in other programming languages which are not supported by the OS vendor. Generally, a third party vendor chooses a programming language and creates a unified API on top of the native SDKs provided by the various OS vendors. Using this unified API, it is possible to support multiple operating systems with a single code base. Since, the final app produced still uses the native APIs, the cross-platform native apps can achieve near native performance without any visible lag to the user.
A smooth and enjoyable user experience is critical for any app. And consistency is one of the crucial characteristics of a well-designed UX. Consistency means that users are able to recognize UI elements and predict their interactions across multiple platforms (web or mobile). When the first cross-platform apps appeared on the market they lacked this uniformity in UX. That’s why a lot of people were reluctant to use them. The latest generation of cross-platform development tools allow developers and designers to create the uniform user experience that app users appreciate.
Developing a fully functional prototype is a common and advantageous strategy for a product company or innovative startup that wants to see if its idea has product-market fit. React Native is ideal for prototyping, allowing for quicker development and release of an app that works on Android ad iOS at the same time. Quicker development provides product owners with an opportunity to collect user feedback and to secure a patent and a spot in the market. Many people feel that they have to hit the market with their innovative product as soon as possible before somebody else seizes the opportunity. React Native allows you to get to market without sacrificing the quality of your code and end product.
Mobile apps serve as tools for promotion and as sales channels for various businesses. As such, cross-platform apps are more useful for many business owners because they provide a wider reach: by creating one application you can tap into both iOS and Android target audience markets at the same time.
It is easier to maintain and deploy changes when your team is developing one application that runs across all platforms. As well, the development process is reduced by half. This will save you money.
Video by Google Firebase Team
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