Native, web or cross-platform app development?

Native, web and cross-platform are different approaches to creating a smart app solution. Are you looking for an app developer and curious what approach suits your challenge best? We are happy to help you make the right choice.

4 minutes - Published by Julian de Lange on 20 May 2020

Red smartphone with the logo of a Swiss knife on it

Native solutions: our golden standard

Native means the app is specifically developed for a certain platform. The most prevalent platforms are Android and iOS, their combined market share roughly 99%. Many of our partners choose to have a native app built for these two platforms, but what exactly are the benefits and what does this mean for the costs?

Native app solutions are the best when it comes to performance, UX / UI design and maintainability. They make optimal use of device-specific features, are quick, can be used offline and more. At Webuildapps, native app solutions are the standard; in our experience, this choice leads to custom solutions of the very best quality.

A downside to native app development: the price tag. When making the choice for native, an app will have to be developed for both the Android and iOS platform, unless you choose to ignore one of them (usually not the case). This means development will be done twice, which shows itself in both time and cost requirements. The costs are higher, but this translates to optimal quality. The consideration of whether or not you should choose for a native app is part of your app strategy. What's the goal of the app, would native be the right choice for that, and what does it mean for the budget?

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway

What can I do with web apps?

Is native always the right choice? No. It's important to ask the app developer some critical questions before making your choice. Make sure your concept will create and/or add value when used as a native app. Are people actually going to download and use the app, or is this a step too far and would they rather use a (mobile) website? Naturally, there's a difference here between B2C and B2B solutions.

A web app can be opened via an internet browser. If this web app has a responsive design, it can be used independently of the type of device you're using. This way, you can serve every single platform, device and browser with a thought-through web solution. You also skip having to use the app stores. Sometimes, downloading an app in the stores is an extra step that isn't logical in the process of your end user. Do your users actually want to download and use an app? Again, our advice is to think well about this when constructing your app strategy.

Because web apps allow you to serve all platforms in one go, the costs of development are lower. But watch out: this is not necessarily a holy grail. Contrary to native apps, you cannot use custom, specific features of smartphones of tablets. The design usually isn't up to the level of native. The user will also need a connection to the internet (unless the app is a Progressive Web App). All the same, if we think a web app is the best solution, we will be realistic about this and advise you as such. Webuildapps' focus is and will remain native, but for a high-quality web app you can also contact us.

Red smartphone with the logo of a Swiss knife on it

Cross-platform app solutions

There are also cross-platform solutions based on for example Flutter, ReactNative or Xamarin. For such solutions, development is done once, resulting in an app for both Android and iOS. In our experience, these solutions are not (yet) on the same level as native apps, but we do keep track of the latest developments. Widgets and tools such as Flutter make sure that as many platform-specific differences are bridged.

Looking for an app developer?

Smartphones are like a Swiss knife: they can be used for almost anything. Our goal as app developer is to support you in improving a process, or helping you reach a higher level. How can you best use the available data of your organisation? How can you best visualise this data? Is it possible to improve the productivity among your employees? And is that best done using a native app, a web app, a cross-platform app or even a virtual reality app?

Some processes are better suited for improvement than others, just like one tool will better help you reach your goal than the other. We are happy to assist you in finding the right approach. Let us help you with our critical thoughts and advice. Feel free to get in touch with us to discuss and explore your options.