Why Mobile application development for the business?
Today, mobile devices are a standard delivery platform for apps, often with higher usage numbers than the desktop/laptop version. Mobile application development is similar to Web application development and has its roots in more traditional software development. One critical difference, however, is that mobile applications are often written specifically to take advantage of the unique features a particular mobile device provided. Mobile Application developers must consider the screen sizes, hardware specifications, and configurations because of intense competition in mobile software and changes within each of the platforms.
As part of the development process, UX UI design is also essential in the creation of mobile apps. Mobile UI considers constraints, contexts, screen, input, and mobility as outlines for design. The user is often the focus of interaction with their device, and the interface components of both hardware and software
Native App Development
A native app is programmed within the specific environment of the target platform so that it runs “natively”. A native iOS App designed for iPhone/iPad therefore only runs on iOS – the Apple operating system used on those devices. The app does not work on other platforms such as Android or Windows.
Because the native app exploits the underlying hardware and operating system to the fullest, it runs fast and efficient. It can use whatever capability the device, such as fast graphics, geolocation, compass, accelerometers or cameras.
The main disadvantage is that the app is limited to one platform. Making it available for other platforms requires re-doing the app in another programming environment, e.g. for Android. So creating a native app for X platforms means doing the work X times. Obviously, the concept, the underlying logic and much of the graphic design work is re-usable, but the extra programming cost can quickly escalate. Another disadvantage is that native apps need to be distributed through multiple stores: at least iTunes and Google Play.
Web App Development
A web app is basically just a shortcut (a URL) represented by an icon. “Starting” the app forwards you to a website that looks like a native app. If multiple devices are targeted, it’s important that this website is designed as a so-called “responsive” site: it adjusts its layout to the screen size and aspect ratio of the device so that it still offers good usability in all screens.
The advantage of this approach is that there is only one design effort that is valid for all devices. At first, this seems like a great solution. But the growth of browser incompatibilities, especially for HTML5/CSS3, has substantially increased the development and debugging time to obtain the same results on all devices. Another disadvantage is that web apps are generally slower and less feature rich; they have limited or no access to the hardware features mentioned before. Finally, a web development requires that the device is online. If there is no internet access, the web app is not reachable and cannot run. Some efforts have been made to allow off-line use, but so far with limited results. There is no distribution requirement through app stores because it’s a website that can be reached directly.
Hybrid App Development
A hybrid app is also developed only once but is then published multiple times to all the required platforms. On these platforms, the hybrid runs within a native shell such as Adobe Air, Xamarin or Apache Cordova.
Making the Right Decision
The best approach in Mobile application development depends on the requirements: target audience and their devices, type of content, online all the time vs. offline, distribution, performance and of course budget. The more platforms you want to be on, the higher the development cost. How much higher depends on the chosen method.
HTML5 has become the standard in web and hybrid apps, but it is still a work in progress, with incompatibilities between browsers. It is not (yet) the all-encompassing solution because of its limited capabilities in off-line use and interactive 3D.
In general, the budget needed for a Mobile app development should not be underestimated, due to the growth of devices with multiple specifications, leading to an exponential increase in testing requirements. More than ever, a good preparation, clear specifications and a professional and experienced Mobile application development partner will ensure excellent cross-platform results within the allocated budget. At Hubstrew, our experts assist you right from consulting to the execution of Mobile application development.