Is Multiplatform The Future Of Mobile Development?

Based on a report contributed by MobiDev at CeBIT 2014.

Where Can Multiplatform Development Be Applied?

If you are sure about devices and operating systems, which are used by your target audience, you don’t have to encompass everyone. But if your business requires a huge audience with many device types, you should think how it will influence your business. Such apps may include:

– promotional apps – when a brand is integrated in the content of a useful or interesting app;

– entertainment apps – include all media, apps for presenting products and services, m-commerce;

– business apps for internal use – when a business starts considering mobile technologies as business advantages and an important direction for investments.

In the first two cases, the main advantage of multiplatform development is encompassing a bigger audience with lower costs. In the third case, it is the opportunity to create an app for every employee, without considering personal preferences in devices.

Here we can say that the BYOD trend (Bring Your Own Device) has reached the critical mass among employees. New and non-standard devices, which are brought by employees, may be incompatible with the app you are planning to create. Technologies develop faster than standards. Companies that apply mobile technologies need to find the optimal balance between preferences of employees and costs for app development, and they need to provide access to them.

Making employees mobile is just a part of the whole picture. The line between work and home environments gets blurred. This means that employees who work with information, expect that their enterprises will rid of the standard way of building IT. This means work in preferred OS and apps, as well as personalization of work technologies. In order to use the advantages of mobile technologies, it’s quite logical to build flexible, employee-oriented solutions.

Fragmentation Of The Mobile Market

There are many mobile platforms on the market, but only three obvious leaders. According to worldwide marketshare stats (Q4 2013), the leader on the smartphone market is Android (69%); the second place belongs to iOS (19%); the third place belongs to Windows – 10%, BlackBerry has about 2%.

As for tablets, the situation is different. A part of Android’s share (62%) is taken by iOS (33%). Windows and BlackBerry have 5% and 0,2% respectively. And of course, the number of devices and operating systems will grow.

What Else Do You Lose Developing For One Platform?

If we consider the big growth of Android, the risks of development for one platform are obvious. You don’t know which platform will succeed. What if tomorrow there won’t be three leaders? What if they will be replaced? Does it mean you have to build another app, or is there another solution?

Consider the fact that app development is not cheap, and the app will be used for several years. You will need to understand what to do, if the market or preferences of employees change.

Undoubtedly, the future of mobile development concerns multiplatform support. These technologies are getting more important, and there are such HTML/JS solutions as RAD-js, which help make cross-platform apps with native responsiveness.

Many clients and developers still use native SDK to build apps. It’s natural. But it’s the reason why there is poor diversity in mobile apps. They are all similar, because SDKs are limited. An app that stands out, costs a lot, and doesn’t always pay for itself.

Why Is It Hard To Create Uniqueness With Native SDK?

Each OS has an SDK. It allows to create standard interfaces relatively easy. And you should consider two factors while working with native SDK:

– Native SDK cannot do everything;

– Uniqueness takes time and efforts.

If your app is okay with that, this SDK is enough. But if you want something non-standard, what happens next?

– either developer tries to persuade you to stick to standards (as a rule, it’s explained with interaction patterns);

– or you insist on making a unique interface and have to pay great amounts of money, because non-standard elements take lots of extra efforts.

But the solutions to these problems were invented long ago – in Web. Your developer only has to optimize them for mobile devices, and everything will be ready. What’s more, most of the standard native objects can be easily implemented with HTML/JS. Some elements should be implemented as native ones, to save time. Thus, HTML/JS elements enter the development environment. They divide all apps into three parts: native apps, HTML/JS apps, and hybrid apps.

Where Can HTML Be A Better Solution Than Native?

There are no native methods of implementation of such objects. In HTML it’s done with CSS. The area of response is also hexagonal, which is almost impossible for native SDK.

It’s a simple solution that allows to create unique products.

Text formatting is a very hard task for native development, but it’s very simple and natural for HTML. Ask your native developers, how much time it will take to create a text which wraps an image, with elements in bold and italic. Then ask your Web developers the same thing. You’ll be surprised by the difference.

Things are even more interesting with non-standard UI patterns.

The side menu from Android is very frequent for iOS apps, but it’s not included in the SDK. Same goes for Windows Phone Tiles, which are absent in Android and iOS. These elements are hard to create, both in native and multiplatform development, but if you create them one, you will be able to use them on any platform, including Web.

There are many visual effects that are very expensive and hard to create from scratch natively. But if you use ready JS libraries, lots of time and money can be saved.

Why ‘Hybrid Apps Often Fail’ Is A Statement Of The Past

Of course, HTML/JS development cannot solve every problem. Because of use of JavaScript, it can’t be used to create apps with complex mathematical calculations or analytics on the client side. But there’s no better solution than HTML/JS, when you need to create something non-standard, when the visual part is more important than business logic (data calculation and analysis).

But if a part of business logic is crucial, data processing can be moved to the server side or native chunk. Thus we get a hybrid app, designed with HTML/JS.

‘How will it help me?’ – you’d ask.

If we properly analyze the requirements of the future app and divide it into elements, we’ll point out the most crucial for the success of the product. We’ll define the goals of the product, the business purposes of the product, target audience and interaction patterns. Then it will be possible to effectively distribute the implementation, using the advantages of HTML/JS and native SDK. The more elements are written with HTML/JS, the more multiplatform capabilities are there in the app.

In other words, all the examples of failed apps, often provided by developers, are caused by bad understanding of strengths and weaknesses of different programming approaches. For example, when HTML apps received unnatural mathematical logic; or when was applied the logic, which is natural for desktop web with its powerful hardware.

A good example is an app for Facebook, which moved to native code because of the slow speed of the HTML app, and which was properly remade by SENCHA. It became a fully responsive HTML-app. Unfortunately, on weak devices and on Android version 2.2 it lags.

The future of mobile development concerns multiplatform solutions – fast, attractive and highly responsive. One of these solutions is RAD-js – a toolkit for speeding up multiplatform apps. It was developed by our team, considering our experience in multiplatform development. It provides a set of development tools, which can be used either separately, or along with other HTML/JS frameworks. Thus developers can create responsive apps, which run consistently on several platforms, and thus helps software owners encompass as much target audience as possible. If your planned app fits in the picture described above, maybe hybrid software is the solution for you.

Why You Need Website Developers

Unless you are well versed with the internet and creating websites, there is no doubt that you need website developers. An internet presence is a prerequisite in today’s world. However, it is not enough to have a website. What counts is having a professionally done website that is efficient and functional.

Many web developers

As a matter of fact, there are many website developers and it is your task to ensure that you get the very best to work on your project. This is because there is cutthroat competition among websites on which gets the best rankings. You should note that the website that has a higher ranking gets more visibility and is likely to be visited more. Since traffic counts in the cyber world, having a professional website developers to create or rework your website as well as its content is a great step forward towards better ranking and more traffic.

Professional website developers can help your website get better rankings. This will definitely help you to market yourself and your products. It goes without saying that those who get more traffic are the ones who have a higher chance of converting the numbers into leads. Therefore, if your website does not appear at the top of internet searches, it’s highly unlikely that your website would do you any good.

Hire professionals

Those who have tried their luck on the internet would certainly tell you that there is a lot of competition among businesses. Therefore, you will need the services of professional website developers to help you create a website that would give you the best results.

It is important to remember that good website developers should be well versed with browser compatibility, accessibility and web development techniques that would give you an edge over your competitors. Presumably, the first thing you will do when looking for qualified web developers is search for them over the internet. Well, if this is not the first thing you were to do; now you know better.

What to do

Once you have found website developers who interest you, you should go ahead and look at their portfolio. If they do not have one on the website, ask for it or for any recommendations they may have regarding past projects they have worked on. When you go through the portfolios, you should be able to tell who can do the job you have and who cannot.

After settling down on a number of website developers who you think can professionally execute the task you have, you should go ahead to contact them. At this stage, you should schedule an interview with them. This is a sure way of finding out more from them. After all, words on a page cannot be the basis for your commitment. You will be spending your money and time and it is therefore important to ensure that you spend them well.

Lastly, you may now go ahead to select one developer from your list of website developers. Ensure that you have no doubts about their capabilities at this stage. If you do, get another one!

Top 5 Cross Platform Mobile Application Development Frameworks

Cross platform mobile application development is a welcome respite for developers that find it hard to manage sizable teams for each of the mobile development verticals. Moreover, developing an application using this much-in-demand platform is a profitable affair as it helps in popularizing the product among a larger section of potential users. The lines below talk about this very topic and discuss various open source tools that developers use to create interactive apps.

Rhomobile

Previously known as Rhodes Framework, RohoMobile Suite is used to build native mobile applications that can function on multiple devices and operating systems. Owned by Motorola Solutions, the open source framework currently supports numerous platforms including iOS, Windows Phone, iOS, BlackBerry and so on. It uses Model View Controller (MVC) pattern where HTML and Ruby are used for writing views and controllers, respectively.

Appcelerator

For developers wishing to create applications for desktops and tablets alongside mobile phones, Appcelerator Titanium is a welcome choice. It supports iPhone, android, iPad and Blackberry based applications and also allows the programmers to use JavaScript to develop native apps for Android and iPhone. Knowledge of Titanium API is important for coders willing to use it.

PhoneGap

It is yet another much sought after cross platform mobile development framework. It lets the coders to use the combination of JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3 together with standardized web APIs to build quality applications to run on a slew of OS and devices including iOS, Android, Symbian, BB, Windows 8, Windows Phone and more. Developed by Adobe systems, PhoneGap consists of Apache Cordova as underlying software.

MoSync

Developed by Mobile Sorcery, MoSync provides free, simple, and open source Software Development Kit (SDK) to build a flurry of cross-platform mobile applications. Developers can use it to create native apps with the help of C/C++, CSS, HTML5 and JavaScript. The framework supports iOS, Android and Windows Phone among others. The company also offers to download MoSync SDK and Reload tool right from its website for maximum benefit of its users.

Sencha Touch

Web developers prefer using Sencha Touch to build interactive application UI with the help of JavaScript library together with the combination of HTML5 and CSS3. With this framework, programmers can comfortably and swiftly develop apps that could run perfectly on the devices supported by Android, iOS and BB. The mobile web apps thus developed give the appearance and experience of native applications. An additional advantage with Sencha Touch is that it offers GUI based controls, which further simplify using the mobile web applications.

For companies and individuals into the business of mobile application development, these frameworks promise very cost-effective solutions as compared to the native platforms. Moreover, owing to the fact that the code written in all such tools are reusable, once written, developers can use them as many times as they want. Prominent reasons such as cost-effectiveness and enhanced visibility due to the availability of apps on multiple OS and devices, often tempt the clients from different walks of life to invest in these cross platform mobile development frameworks and rear exceptional benefits in the long run.