Why Cross Platform Applications?

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In this article, we will discuss n why one should go for cross platform application development. Before diving in,  discussion let me just go through what we mean by cross platform applications (Hybrid applications).

Cross platform applications (Hybrid applications)

Hybrid apps are part native apps, part web apps. (Because of that, many people incorrectly call them “web apps”).  Like native apps, they live in an app store and can take advantage of the many device features available. Like web apps, they rely on HTML being rendered in a browser, with the caveat that the browser is embedded within the app.

Often, companies build hybrid apps as wrappers for an existing web page. In this way, they hope to build a presence in the app store, without spending a significant effort for developing a different app. Hybrid apps are also popular because they allow cross-platform development: that is, the same HTML code components can be reused on different mobile operating systems, significantly reducing development costs. Tools such as PhoneGap and Sencha Touch allow people to design and code across platforms, using the power of HTML.

The app  is usually written in a web-based code such as JavaScript, CSS and HTML, like a Web application. However,  it runs on the device, rather than on a Web page, making use of a device’s browser engine without using the browser itself. What makes this work is that the platform’s native APIs are shown to a hybrid app as if they were in JavaScript. This allows a hybrid app not only to be accessible on different platforms, but also to be able to get the most out of each of those platforms’ capabilities.

Now, let’s come back  to the topic of why we should choose cross platform applications. The following are some parameters that help in defining our agenda of this article:

  1. Device features: Unlike webapps, hybrid applications can access many native features of the device based on the applications requirement.
  2. Installation: The process of installing hybrid applications is similar to Native apps installation.
  3. Platform Independence: While different browsers may support different versions of HTML5, if platform independence is really important to you, you definitely have a better chance of achieving this by using hybrid applications.
  4. Development cost: It is arguably cheaper to develop hybrid apps, as these require skills that build up on previous experience with the web.
  5. User Interface: A rich user interface can be developed using the power of CSS and HTML5.
  6. Maintenance: Maintaining a native app can be complicated not only for users but also for developers (especially if they have to deal with multiple versions of the same information on different platforms). Changes have to be packaged in a new version and placed in the app store. On the other hand, maintaining a hybrid app is much easier.

Based on the above points, we can conclude that hybrid applications are the future of mobile applications where the mantra is “write once, deploy on multiple platforms”.

About Ravi Agrawal

Senior Lead Business Analyst

  • Healthcare
  • FHIR
  • Blockchain
A self-confessed healthcare warrior, an expert in Medicare, Medicaid, ACO, and Integration projects, Ravi speaks HL7 as a language. A doctor, doubling up as a Healthcare consultant, he is always a ‘patient’ person (pun intended) with a business mind. He says that technology never ceases to amaze him, and he is a student forever.