March 16, 2023 • 640 Views
In the world of technology, there will always be “holy wars” between the supporters of technological giants. Probably each of us has at least once seen or even participated in arguing on Xbox vs PlayStation, or Chome vs Opera vs Mozilla Firefox, etc. Yet, one of the most essential and well-known such fights is the opposition between Android and iOS platforms.
Clearly, we are here not to stand for any side of the conflict. While it may be just a fun activity for the fans of specific OS, developers, as well as development companies should actually take such disputes seriously. As a matter of fact, the advantages of each platform may be a real deal-breaker for product owners. However, such importance of native platforms was significant lately. Yet, the market was slightly changed due to the improvement of existing software solutions and the appearance of new development approaches.
For instance, not so long ago, it was a challenge to develop an app for both iOS and Android, saving time and resources, and being able to propose the same functionality and seamless working process. One of the most effective solutions for a long time was to simply develop two native apps: one for Android and the second for iOS, using the most suited tech stacks, designed specifically for these operational systems. Alternatively, hybrid apps and progressive web applications found their place among mobile app development trends as well. Yet, once again, in such cases, the functionality and performance of such apps would be difficult to maintain.
Nevertheless, as for now, the number of best tools to develop mobile apps is constantly increasing, allowing software engineers to experiment and still gain great results on both platforms, not to mention the overall development of mobile devices’ hardware. So, let’s try to answer the question of how to make an app for both iOS and Android, what are the odds and are there any best mobile app frameworks for today?
First of all, we will have to learn the context of each mobile platform, in order to figure out what we are going to deal with, and what should our expectations be. Actually, iOS and Android apps are the most popular mobile applications, meaning that these two platforms actually occupy the largest part of the mobile application market, to be precise, almost all of this market.
According to Statista, the Android operating system is dominant in the mobile OS market, having a share of 71.8% of this market as of the 4th quarter of 2022. At the same time, its main opponent, iOS share is only 27.6% of the market. At first glance, it may seem that we have a clear winner because the gap between them is too obvious and significant. Yet, take your time with the decision.
Undoubtedly, Android is a much more popular choice as a basic mobile platform, which is used on a wide variety of mobile devices due to its open-source nature. At the same time, iOS is a very closed ecosystem, used only in Apple devices. This is why 27.6% seems not so low now. Moreover, we also should take into account the actual revenue of the apps for each platform. Judging from the charts, proposed by BusinessOfApps, we will find out that the annual revenue from iOS applications and games for 2022 equals 86.8 billion dollars, while Android apps and games generated only 42.3 billion dollars for the same period.
In other words, iOS-based applications are three times less spread than Android, yet are twice more profitable. This is why, when considering your goals, whether you are looking for a large community of users, or are trying to effectively monetize your software product, you may need to decide which platform to pay more attention to. However, truth be told, you will need more than the foregoing statistics to guarantee you will achieve your goals. This also does not mean, that iOS applications will be less popular than Android ones, or that it is impossible to monetize your Android app successfully. Everything depends on whether you will or will not choose the software development process that works.
As we already mentioned, there are a few main types of mobile applications: PwA vs Hybrid vs Native apps.
Finally, we can also add cross-platform frameworks for mobile applications to this list. They were created to make it possible to develop an app for both iOS and Android. So, they are commonly confused with other such types, especially hybrid applications. Despite their similarity, these two development environments are very different.
To cut a long story short, cross-platform frameworks are used to develop a single mobile app, which can be used for both iOS and Android. One of the most important features of this type of framework is reusable code, which can be shared between a wide range of different platforms. In other words, instead of developing two different native applications for iOS and Android, you can create a single basic app using cross-platform frameworks, and then adjust it to each platform, slightly changing or implementing new code units.
To put it in a nutshell, the list of benefits of the best cross-platform frameworks and their features will vary, depending on the technology you have chosen. For instance, there are Flutter, React Native, Cordova, Xamarin, and many others. Obviously, each of them has its own specifics, pros, and cons.
So, instead of examining each of the individual features, let’s sum up the main benefits of cross-platform frameworks, which will be common for all of them.
Truth be told, these technologies are not ideal and have their own disadvantages as well.
So, how do the best tools to develop mobile apps work? Honestly, the general working scheme seems very easy. These frameworks are plating the role of the interpreter. To put it in another way, the general development process is very common: the development team is simply creating an app from the scratch. So, there are software engineers who are coding, designers who are creating UI components, etc. Everything is processed as in any other development case.
At the same time, the framework is automatically adapting the code units and transforms them into OS-specific native code. So, we can assume, that such frameworks as React Native can be compared with “translators”, which are taking the code samples, created by the developers, and are “translating” them into the required native programming languages, supported by Android, iOS, or both.
As a result, the easiest way to answer the foregoing question, apart from the advice to develop two independent native versions of your app, is to simply use a cross-platform framework or other similar best tools to develop mobile apps. With their help, your development team will be able to set up the code basis of an app for both platforms, yet will also require some additional time to adjust some elements and code samples. After all, there are no such frameworks, which guarantee 100% reusable code, yet some of them show impressive results. For instance, Xamarin assures it can get up to 96% code reuse.
Finally, when the development process is done, and QA specialists have already tested the build, the product owners can publish their apps. Yet, even before it, it is recommended to obtain app approval on the desired platforms. Each mobile app is officially distributed through specific stores like Google Play(Android) and App Store(iOS). Obviously, to publish your app, they need to make sure it meets their requirements and is not threatening its potential users. Yet, the approval process is the same for any app, no matter whether they are hybrid, native, or cross-platform.
There are 4 main ways of developing iOS and Android apps. However, if you are going to develop an app for both iOS and Android devices, you will have 3 options left, because native apps should be considered as two different applications.
One of the best approaches to do so - is to simply use cross-platform frameworks, which allow the development of multiplatform apps, suited for both OS. Still, before actually choosing any of these approaches, it is better to examine some case studies and weigh all pros and cons. Additionally, you can contact specialists, to better estimate the development and choose the approach, which meets your requirement the most.
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