Why cross platform mobile development is need of the hour.

I recently went to a startup meetup where I saw lot of demos for the mobile apps. All the startups were in the mobile app space and strangely enough, they had only Android based app ready for the market. When I asked them as to the status of the iOS app, everyone said that it is in development. Some of them even said that it will take them minimum 3 months to come to market with the iOS app.

I asked them why they are not building an iOS app simultaneously and they had the following answers:

  • We don't have an iOS developer
  • We can't afford a mac at this time
  • It is easier to develop on Android
  • It is easier to share the Android app screen via vysor app
  • Our target market is dominated by Android apps
  • We will build iOS app once we are sure that there are no bugs in our app
  • We don't know any cross platform development technology
  • We don't want to use cordova as the user experience is not good

By ignoring iOS app, these startups are making a grave mistake of ignoring that audience which will actually make money for them. It has been observed that iOS users are more likely to pay for apps or services than Android users Source.

One point which is very relevant is "We don't want to use cordova as the user experience is not good". Especially in India, cheaper Android phones dominate the market which have very bad configs. On these phones the cordova based app does not run very good and if you add crosswalk, the size increase is a lot. With bandwidth being very expensive, people are reluctant to download apps or update them very often.

This is where NativeScript comes in. For those of you who don't know what it is I recommend going through their website. By using NS, I can write native apps for both the platforms simultaneously and can share the same business logic on both the platforms. In my experience, business logic consists of 80% of the code base and only 20% is platform specific code. Writing and testing platform specific code will take less time than creating or porting the Android app to iOS. The biggest advantage in my opinion is that one developer can write code for both the platforms rather than 2 developers. This is a huge time and cost saver.

It makes a good business sense that companies embrace cross platform development and ditch pure native approach. Pure native approach has its place but that place is very small.