Many developers struggle with the question of whether or not to develop a new application from the ground up with the intent to deploy to multiple platforms. In the short term, this can appear as a large extra overhead cost, as it can be complicated to make sure that an application runs smoothly on all target devices and quality assurance testing takes extra time for cross platform app development. In general, the time that it takes to develop mobile application software for additional platforms is less than the time it takes to create the first iteration.
Accessing a Larger User base The primary reason that anyone would want to pursue cross platform app development is to access the largest possible user base, which can mean huge increases in revenue and exposure down the line. Developing for only one platform limits the number of people able to use your application, which can, in turn, severely limit the growth potential of the app. The majority of users only have access to a single type of mobile platform, so it’s important to spread your cross-platform application across as wide a variety of platforms as possible.
Planning Ahead to Make Development Easier It’s possible to integrate tools that allow you to develop mobile application testing workflows so that you can ensure that each new update works simultaneously across each target platform. The easiest way to do this is by planning ahead and making sure that each step in your platform is being tested for functionality and quality assurance to prevent large compounding issues later on in development. Essentially, you want to make sure that each stage of development is compatible with each target deployment platform. Working in this manner allows you to minimize the amount of work that you’ll need to do at the end of the development cycle and allows you to spend extra time polishing the app rather than fixing bugs.
Determining Which Platforms to Launch on One of the questions facing developers attempting to develop cross-platform applications is deciding which platforms to launch the application on. Most of the time, developers choose to launch on Apple and Android devices since those two platforms have the majority of the market share. The result is that not many people are developing applications for more niche platforms or lesser-used operating systems, leaving room for enterprising developers to come in and conquer the market space with ease. Deciding if it’s worth pursuing smaller platforms really comes down to doing market research prior to launch and gauging whether enough of your target audience uses the specific platform that you are considering.
Maintaining Support for Multiple Platforms While it’s relatively easy to make the decision to launch on multiple platforms, it can be trickier to maintain support and compliance with each platforms specific requirements. Most platforms require you remain a certain level of support in order to stay on their proprietary application store, which means that each additional platform adds another layer of complexity whenever you want to update the application. Most app stores also have some kind of review system prior to publishing, which means that the app has to be approved on each store before it can be uploaded.
If there was a single good piece of advice to help you decide about cross platform development, it would be that you need to carefully consider your target audience and production goals to determine which platforms to develop for and how many platforms your development team can handle. With careful planning and modern tools, it’s possible to release an application on many different platforms without too much headache.