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Cross-platform application vs PWA

21 Apr 2021 Developer News
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Mobile devices are a very broad market, which generates demand for mobile apps. Currently, there are two platforms on the market that compete with each other for customers, namely Android and iOS. Each of them uses a different technology and programming language, which makes applications dedicated to one of them. Recently, we can observe the development of multiplatform technologies. What are their types and advantages?

What is cross-platform technology?

The presence of two big players on the market, Android and iOS, meant that applications had to be written in dedicated languages to reach the largest number of users. Currently, it is possible to use cross-platform technology. Such solutions can be supported by both Android and iOS devices. In this way, it is enough to have one codebase to create a programme, rather than two separate ones. This reduces the time of application development, its price and the amount of work involved. Thus, the user gains a complete product and can enjoy it regardless of the type of device.

What are PWAs?

The second solution is progressive apps. These are web applications installed on websites that can be downloaded to a mobile device. They allow you to access information even when offline. Progressive apps are very easy to install, as all you have to do is visit the website and agree to add an icon to your home screen. The situation is similar to cross-platform apps. You don't need to create separate apps for Android and iOS as they are compatible. So, once again, you can get a complete product that works on any device.

Cross-platform vs PWA - pros and cons

First of all, it is worth starting with what makes the two technologies different. Cross-platform apps need to be downloaded and installed through one of the platforms. In the case of PWA, they work through the browser even when added to the home screen. This way you don't have to download anything and installation is almost instantaneous.

Both types of apps can use all the functions of the device, i.e. the camera or GPS. In the case of hybrid applications, there is a possibility of better cooperation with individual components of the device, which cannot be used in the case of PWA technology.

It is worth mentioning that both technologies save time and money, as it is enough to create an application in one universal language. In this way, it is possible, for example, to test which customers are more interested in the product and on which platform the programme works better. It is worth mentioning that some of the most popular applications are both cross-platform (e.g. Facebook) and progressive applications (e.g. Tinder). Therefore, it can be seen that both technologies offer the opportunity to create a successful product.

Speaking of disadvantages, the biggest one is hardware optimisation. Applications dedicated to specific platforms can work much more efficiently and with their help, it is possible to create more complex products. However, it should not be forgotten that smaller programmes will work well on both Android and iOS.

In conclusion, there is now technology to create software that runs on iOS and Android at the same time. There are some limitations, but also opportunities. The choice of how to create an application must be well thought out to avoid writing programs that do not fulfil their functions.

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