Hybrid mobile apps
Although the iOS and Android are the most dominant platforms for the app development market right now, more and more developers are opting to build hybrid, cross-platform apps.
Inventiveness is an important strategy for many a mobile app developer. When you think about it: Is there really a need to spend more money and time developing native apps for different platforms when it is possible to build a single app that can be adapted to all mobile platforms?
Even though hybrid apps are gaining more attention today, developers are realizing the need to go beyond the hybrid vs. native debate. A much-preferred approach is simply adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of each app development project.
Todd Anglin of Telerik, a cross-platform development software toolmaker, observes that developers are realizing that although hybrid apps may be cost-effective, sometimes a one-size fits all approach does not always work out well.
Taking into account several challenges faced in developing hybrid apps, there is an uptick in the number of game developers who are building cross-platform instead of native apps. In fact, studies show a decrease in the number of developers who are solely building native apps.
Interestingly, in spite of the surge in cross-platform mobile apps, developers are still using HTML code to build native apps. Meanwhile, some cross-platform apps also comprise of native components, while some are purely hybrid.
Use of HTML5 in Mobile App Development
One of the most important questions developers are grappling with right now is whether HTML5 is sustainable in the marketplace. Most developers are of the opinion that HTML5 is indeed enterprise ready, but others are still pessimistic of the market potential of HTML5 as a development tool.
Even then, no one can deny the advantages of working with HTML5 to build hybrid mobile apps. Compared to software development kits for native apps, developing hybrid applications with HTML5 is more convenient. In essence, HTML5 acts as a wrapper around a native app, making it possible to distribute and adapt the app across different platforms.
As mentioned earlier, apps built with HTML5 can easily be adapted to work on a web browser, allowing desktop users to access games and apps that are otherwise built for mobile. In fact, HTML5 can run on less dominant platforms such as Blackberry and Windows.
At that at the start of 2014, only four percent of developers were building for the iOS platform only. Meanwhile, just 13 percent are developing native mobile apps separately for the iOS, Android and the web.
Development of Cross-platform Native Applications
Native apps are built for specific platforms and will work on all devices that run on that particular platform. Initially, developers who sought to build apps for many different operating platforms built a separate app for the multiple platforms.
Today, the new approach to developing multiplatform apps is using an integrated environment. This approach uses one codebase and adapts it for use on several other operating systems.
Tools such as Titanium, Xamarin and PhoneGap make it possible to develop code and apply it for use across different platforms. Working with a programming language such as Java, developers can use these tools to automatically convert the code to make it compatible with several operating systems. Upgrading and maintaining a cross-platform tool developed in such a way becomes so much easier.
The reason why many developers are choosing hybrid web apps is that they offer the same dependable functionality provided by native apps. Developers and publishers are set to enjoy great benefits by developing mobile apps optimized for the web. Also advertisers can also benefit by creating content that works across several platforms. In this way, advertisers can incorporate native apps into web networks, making the content easily accessible by different types of users, including mobile and desktop users.
Although there is growing interest in hybrid apps, developers realize that some projects require these hybrid applications while in other cases, the native apps make more sense. What is important right now is for developers to access tools that can help them to stay competitive by being able to build both hybrid and native apps, depending on the context.