Choosing Where to Build an App: Cross-Platform or Web?

Tejendra Patel, the Principal Application Engineer at Westrock, joined Shockoe’s Kevon Adonis, Senior Developer, and Andrew Rumbley, Senior Mobile and Web App Developer, to shed light on when app developers should consider cross-platform vs. web when building an app.

“With a cross-platform application, you’re writing code that’s going to match up to native elements,” Rumbley said. “With a web application, you’re not using native components. You’re limited to the web components we’ve used since the 90s, and some features of the mobile platform like access to camera and microphone, and other native functionality is more difficult to work with.” One downside is when new versions of platforms, some of those new features may require code updates for various non-native apps to work with those cross-platforms.

“When you start thinking about, ‘hey, I have tens of millions of users, I have these fancy animations, performance,’ everything is of importance,” Patel said. “Maybe at that point, you’re better off going the native route rather than trying to use Ionic or React Native to build something cross-platform.”

Adonis pointed to some of web applications limitations, especially in hardware interaction. “Over the years, where web has always struggled is it’s difficult to interact with the mic, or the camera, or any hardware on the device. And for good reasons. All security reasons. I’ve never disagreed with any reason in terms of locking access to that hardware.”

With PWAs, web applications have more functionality in the desktop world than ever before, including desktop app icons, which create user familiarity and adoption of an app.

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