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Mobile development, once a niche market, is now a huge industry, covering all the smart devices, from phones and watches to TVs and even cars. If you want to keep up with the competition, you do not really have a choice, you have to have a good mobile presence. But perhaps you are overwhelmed by the options? With native and cross-platform options, pondering performance versus complexity and development time, all those are things that can keep you full of doubts. But do not worry, we are here to give you an overview of what is out there.

Platforms

iOS Development

iOS is an operating system developed by Apple. It is the platform that powers iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. After Android, it is the most widespread mobile operating system in the world. iOS' focus is on tactile input with support for multi-touch gestures.

Apple releases major versions of the OS annually, with the current major version, iOS 10, having been released in September 2016. Version 10 currently powers a bit under 80% of all iOS devices, with version 9 taking care of an additional 13%. On iPhones, iOS 10 does even better with approximately 90% of users having upgraded, and with iOS 9 down at only 5%.

Apple released the iOS SDK in 2008, which made it possible for developers to submit their applications written in Swift (recommended) or Objective-C to the curated Apple's App Store. There are also options for developing for the iOS platform using cross-platform frameworks like React Native.

Read more about iOS development here

Android Development

Android is an operating system developed by Google. It is based on the Linux kernel and best suited for touch-based interaction. Since its initial release for smartphones in 2008, it has also found its place in smart TVs, cars, watches, notebooks, consoles, cameras, and other electronics.

Android's code is released as open-source. There are middlewares, libraries, and APIs written in C, and the applications are primarily written in Java, though version r5 of the Android Native Development Kit also enabled developers to write entire applications in C or C++, which, however, is not advised for most use-cases. A third alternative for writing Android applications is Google's Go programming language (v1.4 and higher). There are also several cross-platform options for writing mobile applications that support Android, one of the most popular ones and recommended by us being React Native.

Read more about Android development here.

Cross-Platform Development with React Native

Most importantly, using React Native, you are not building a "mobile web app" or a "hybrid app" but rather a full-fledged mobile app, indistinguishable from one built in the platform's native language. This is possible because React uses the same fundamental UI building blocks as regular iOS and Android apps.

Besides making Javascript the lingua franca of both the web and mobile, React Native also provides one major benefit - no more recompiling! Not only can you reload the app instantly, React Native even supports hot reload, which lets you run new code while retaining your application state.

Sometimes, however, the native language simply must be used, be it for optimization or other purposes. When that time comes, React Native lets you elegantly write parts of the application in native code and even combine Javascript and native code, which is how e.g. the Facebook app works.

Read more about Cross-Platform Development with React Native here.

Conclusion

There are several options to pick from when you are deciding to go mobile. Are development speed and reach of the utmost importance? You can hardly go wrong with a cross-platform solution. Does the application have to squeeze every single atom of power from the device? Maybe the platform-native language would be the better option.

Whatever your requirements may be, however, our mobile development specialists will be more than happy to help you pick the most optimal solution and create the application your company deserves for you.

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Check out how a few of our Mobile programmers have grown recently:

  • Gianluca Esposito
  • Gianluca Esposito
  • completed "Building React Applications with Idiomatic Redux" course on Egghead.
  • attended ReactEurope in Paris with 10 other X-Teamers.
  • submitted a pull request to, GatsbyJS, a React static site generator.
  • Szymon Michalak
  • Szymon Michalak
  • completed the Webpack course on Egghead.
  • attended SmashingConf in Barcelona with 15 other X-Teamers.
  • read "SurviveJS - React", a top resource on mastering React.
  • Michal Kawalec
  • Michal Kawalec
  • hosted Monadic Warsaw, a functional programming meetup.
  • attended Lambda Days 2016 in Krakow.
  • open sourced IMAP, an IMAP library for Haskell.

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