Which platform is best for your mobile app—a native platform, a cross-platform hybrid, or a mobile web platform?
These are important decisions to make before you begin building your mobile app.
Taazaa’s team of mobile application developers can help guide you to the best platform and development environment for your needs.
Apps built on a native platform—iOS or Android—are able to take advantage of the full features of a device (e.g., calendar, camera, location).
iOS App Development
Apple’s iOS platform is a closed system, meaning that apps developed in native development languages can only be used on Apple devices—iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and so on. The two languages for developing iOS apps are Objective C and Swift.
Apple Objective C is a relatively user-friendly language for those new to object-oriented development. The development environment is full-featured and scalable. Because it’s a C language superset, Objective C has many functions that deal specifically with graphics, input/output, and display functions.
Swift is Apple’s own language for iOS development. It’s an even easier and faster method for iOS development companies to use. Swift app development includes a feature called “Playgrounds” for helping iOS developers teach themselves to move from Objective C to Swift programming. Swift development can be used either in conjunction with Objective C or separately.
Android App Development
Apple aside, most mobile device manufacturers use the Android open-source environment for running apps on their smartphones, tablets, and wearables. The two main development languages for Android are Java and Kotlin.
Java is an object-oriented, open-source environment used widely in development for both Android and other operating systems. Java app development is easy to do, with code that looks much like C/C++. Java Android apps have access to extensive libraries for everything from logging to unit testing, for example. The Android Studio integrated development environment (IDE) contains built-in Java source files.
Kotlin for Android requires developers to write less code than Java does, which accelerates development. Kotlin also eliminates some Java-specific issues such as NullPointerException. It also offers access to all frameworks and libraries written in Java.
Cross-Platform Mobile Development
Cross-platform mobile development environments allow you to create apps that work on both Android and iOS devices. The tradeoff is that those apps may not be able to access some features, like the device’s calendar, email, and other native apps.
Like ReactJS, React Native replaces the use of HTML and CSS for UI development with JSX, an XML markup language that compiles UI components into native platform-specific components. For example, a React Native text component will render natively on Android as a TextView, but on iOS as a UILabel.
Flutter and Dart Development
Flutter is a popular widget-based UI toolkit from Google. It lets developers build graphically “beautiful” Android, iOS, web, and desktop apps from a single code base.
Flutter app developers use Google’s Dart programming language. Flutter also contains a hot reload feature meant to let Flutter mobile developers build UIs, experiment with new features, and fix bugs with sub-second reload times without losing state on hardware, emulators, and simulators.
Flutter’s fully customizable widgets include a “Cupertino-style” series for iOS app development. Google eyes expanding app development in Flutter from iOS and Android to Microsoft Windows and Apple’s macOS environments soon.
Xamarin and C# Development
Xamarin uses C# and native libraries wrapped in Microsoft’s .Net layer for cross-platform app development across iOS and Android, with support for both Apple Watch and Android Wear. Code for business logic, database access, and network communications can be shared across all platforms, but Xamarin also lets developers create a platform-specific UI code layer.
Developers can generally keep the native look and feel of iOS and Android apps from within Xamarin, but can also call existing platform code, such as Swift, to achieve platform-specific functions like barcode scanning.
Apache Cordova and HTML5 Development
Mobile Web Platforms
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
Progressive Web Apps use modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like user experience. They deliver all the functionality of immersive, top-level apps, with the ease and speed of the web.
Progressive Web Apps work across all browsers, but function best in modern browsers. Progressive enhancement is a core component of the PWA model.
Responsive Web Apps
A Responsive Web App is usually a mobile version of a desktop website with its own distinct URL (e.g., m.samplesite.com). It contains only the desktop content that works for mobile browsing. Responsive pages adapt to the screen size of the user’s device. Responsive Web Apps can be built quicker and cheaper than native mobile apps, but their performance isn’t as fast or as functional.
Get Help with Mobile App Development
Need help developing your mobile app? Give us a buzz! Whether you want to build a mobile application from scratch, redesign an existing app, or modernize your mobile app infrastructure, you’ll get secure, stable, high-quality results from our development team.
Learn more about our mobile app development capabilities or reach out to us to discuss how you can get started.