There’s no “all-in-one” tool to sail you through the ocean of cross-platform mobile app development. There’s no standard process using which companies can evaluate which tools to bring in and which to leave out. Clashes over which tool to use are common an app development teams.
The state of cross-platform app development in the enterprise
With Typescript, Windows has forayed into open-source. Linux has always been there. IoT is just emerging. Then there are smartwatches and other wearables. Fuchsia was announced just a few weeks back. And we don’t know what will change in next two years.
There can be no more uncertainty than there is in current times!
This calls for creating standards and frameworks to help companies decide which tools to use for cross-platform mobile app development. With one in three companies adopting cross-platform apps, the need for the standard has accentuated. Cross-platform apps are easier to scale, use, and decreases the cost. With time, the speed factor will also improve.
When Java came, it promised a golden era for coding. Its tagline was: Build Once, Run Anywhere. The idea was you can use a single development tool and run on different environments. However, down the line, this also changed with new developments in software technology.
Several companies across the world developed tools that bring same promises as of Java’s in cross-platform app development. It can all be split into three major sections.
Tools that a power user or business analyst can use to create a mobile app rapidly
Mobile Web tools
Advanced tools that use languages such as C# to create cross-platform enterprise solutions
Although all tools are useful and must be taken into account when deciding tool-standards for your company, the third one is most relevant for our purposes.
We will use its concepts to see how you can choose the best cross-development tools for your business.
Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux and the founder of the Linux Foundation, has said in the past that digital world is never going to be fool proof in terms of security. The recent WannaCry Ransomware attack that affected millions of people around the world is one such proof of Linux genius.
With rise in fintech startups and new mobile wallet avenues, security is the driver in choosing a reliable mobile app development tool.
At times when security is the key priority for developers or is the most coveted feature of the app, teams choose to build it using native apps and then deploy it using cross-platform tools.
2. Company Size and the Skills of the Staff
You can almost say the scalability of a tool you use is directly proportional to the number of employees in your company. This also means a large section of your team must either be aware of the tool or the tool must be so easier to capture and learn that a large team can be trained effectively.
Small teams (Team strength < 50)
For small teams, who are under the stress of limited resources, two factors always loom over their heads:
1. Development time
Faster turnaround time means more dollars for business. So the tool small teams must be looking for is the one that not only costs less but also helps in faster release of apps.
In case the budget is on the upper side, small businesses can also adopt commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) tools that plummets the development time drastically.
Medium teams (Team strength 51-500)
Medium teams are the one in the ocean. They cannot select a tool blindly and start working on it. They have to maintain stability between resource optimization and customer satisfaction.
Xamarin and Appcelerator Titanium fit into the requirement of medium teams perfectly. They are simpler to adopt and build high performance apps.
Large teams (Team strength 500+)
Most of the times, issues like choosing a app development tool doesn’t bother much to larger teams. They have been operating for years, gathered loads of experience, and are able to adapt to big changes in the industry.
Having said this, the bigger the company, the bigger the responsibility to maintain reputation. That also implies that most clients of such large teams will be enterprises who are excessively concerned about customizations and security.
There’s no subject in this world of business that is not influenced by cost. The matter of choosing the best cross-platform mobile app development tool is no exception.
There are myriad of tools in the market. Consequently, the spectrum of cost is too wide. There are free versions for small team and then there are tools which only enterprises can afford.
But before you choose a tool, you must always keep this one fact in mind: a cross-platform app costs at least 50-70% less when you’re developing a native app for Android and iOS. Imagine what would happen if you had to develop the native app for Blackberry and Windows too.
So there’s a lot of cost that automatically offsets itself just because of the nature of cross-platform. Otherwise, you can always go for open-source tools like Apache Cordova.
Although there are other factors like speed of delivery which can affect the selection of cross-platform mobile app development tool, considering these factors will suffice for now.
With rise in cross-platform mobile apps, businesses will need to ensure to put up a system that streamlines app development process effectively. If you keep the three key factors—company size, cost, and security—in mind, you will always end up choosing the right tool for your development team.