Mobile application development – where are we headed?

2 min read

mobile application developmentWith powerful web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and advanced Javascript at our disposal, the question arises; which development approach do we choose for mobile applications? Native, web or hybrid?

Maybe there isn’t just one solution. I guess it comes down to identifying the needs of the client and considering parameters such as the functionality of the application, the target market and the budget. There will be instances where native mobile app development is essential, and when it’s not. First know the strengths and weaknesses of each development approach, and find the right fit for your project.

Here are some key points about each method that could help you in making your decision…

Native app development

  • The code created for a mobile platform can’t be used on another, which means maintenance as well as development can become expensive and time consuming.
  • The Application Programming Interface (API) is what makes this a good option, however.
    • Low level APIs allow the app to interact with the keyboard or touch screen. It can play and process sound, receive images and video via the camera, render graphics and connect to the GPS, to name a few.
    • High level APIs allow the app to do things like browse the web, manage contacts, manage the calendar, send and receive texts etc.

Mobile web app development

  • The web app is only exposed to a limited number of APIs that run inside the browser, so it has access to fewer features than a native app would.
  • A great plus is the lower development costs and the multi-platform support.
  • There’s a large number of Javascript toolkits available to generate interfaces that appear similar to native apps.
  • It’s easy to update.

Hybrid app development

  • Provides the best of both worlds, where both native and web technology is used.
  • The downside is that the web portion of the app only makes content available when the device is online.

You will find that you won’t get all the benefits from just one of the approaches. It is important to focus on the client’s needs, and what the proposed app simply can and can’t do without.

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