Platform differences

Platform Dependency

Most of the differences between the two apps are due to differences in the underlying platforms. Android and iOS have different design criteria, and each app is developed as a native app for its own platform. No attempt is made to copy features directly from one app to the other, without changing them to match the design standards of the new platform.

Some features are only available on one of the two platforms (usually Android). For instance Android devices have SD slots, while iOS ones do not. When this happens, the decision whether to use the feature at all is taken on merit. Some minor features can be omitted altogether. Others are so important that they have to be included, albeit on one platform only.

Navigation Drawer

The Sales Manager mobile app has a large number of screens, and navigating between them is particularly important. The traditional hierarchical menu structure offered by both Android and iOS is slow and time consuming.

Android offers another solution for larger apps, called the Navigation Drawer. This allows the developer to present a menu for the entire app, as a drop-down list. The top part of the navigation drawer for the Android app is shown on the right.

Unfortunately no such paradigm exists on the iOS platform, and the iOS app is stuck with an old-fashioned, hierarchical menu system.

Split Screen

Although it is not quite as important as the navigation drawer, split screen mode is another feature that is only available on Android. iOS offers some limited support for split screen mode, but not in a form that can be used by the mobile app. Split screen is only available on Android tablets, in horizontal mode.

Using both Platforms

It is possible to use a mixture of Android and iOS devices, but there are a number of caveats:

  1. Separate payments must be made to Google Play and iTunes. Payments made on one platform cannot be transferred to the other.
  2. It may not be possible to transfer an SQLite database from one platform to the other, due to their running different versions of SQLite. It used to be possible before they diverged, but now it is probably only possible one way round.
  3. On a brighter note, all versions of the web server support both platforms equally well. The transactions are the same in both cases.

Author: Philip Sheard

Philip Sheard has been working in IT for over 40 years, and on this project for the last 20. His current skills include Java, Android, Objective-C, iOS, PHP, MySQL, ASP.Net, SQL Server, HTML, CSS, Apache and WordPress.