Consolidation of Mobile OS Market Share
Gartner forecasts mobile phone sales will reach 2.1 billion units by 2019, which will fuel demand for apps in the enterprise that meet the high performance and usability of consumer apps.
Meanwhile, the erstwhile fragmented mobile phone OS market has consolidated into three major players – Android, iOS and Windows Phone. However, businesses still have to develop applications for all the major platforms to reach a critical mass of users. Each OS has its own set of guidelines and best practices to deliver applications. Add to that the complexity of independent coding languages. This means that enterprises need to hire mobile developers for each platform making mobile app delivery an expensive proposition.
Before committing to mobile application delivery, the key stakeholders would do well to understand the different options to deliver applications on mobile – responsive, hybrid and native.
Responsive vs Native vs Hybrid Mobile App Development
Responsive Web Apps
Responsive web design emerged as a new way of building websites and web apps that adapt their UI to the size of the current browser window. This became possible with fluid grid layouts, flexible images and media queries. While responsive web design is highly suitable for websites, data-oriented apps may not find it very suitable. The app needs to be opened through a browser URL and not the typical fashion of mobile installed app. More importantly, the apps cannot leverage device capabilities resulting in a less engaging experience.
Native apps provide the best experience on mobile devices, as they are specially built to the platform/OS. Each mobile platform has its own development tool and SDKs, which enables professional developers to build native apps leveraging device or platform specific features. The problem with native apps is that you need to develop individually for each platform (iOS or Android or Windows), using different technologies (ObjectiveC or Swift for iOS, or Java for Android) making it an expensive proposition. Hence, native apps are suitable for consumer-facing apps or games.
Hybrid Apps are built using HTML5, just the way a Responsive Web App would be developed and then packaged into a thin native container and libraries that provide access to native features of the device. That way, Hybrid Apps combine the best of Native and Responsive Web Apps. They are built using familiar web technologies, but run like a typical Mobile App and use device capabilities. Not only does Hybrid App development offer better use of available skills and people, but also the ability to build Apps that follow UI guidelines of the device platform.
The table below lists out the main differences between responsive web, native and hybrid mobile app development so that enterprises can take an informed decision before committing to mobile application delivery.
|Same application, but mobile friendly||Yes||No||No|
|New code base for each mobile OS||No||No||Yes|
|Invocation like true mobile app||No||Yes||Yes|
|Use of device capabilities||no||Yes||Yes|
|Ideal for||Websites||Business and Data Apps||Games and Consumer Apps|
|Cost of Development||Low||Low||High|
WaveMaker Hybrid Mobile App Development Platform
For an enterprise who is looking for practicality over a true user experience of an application, a responsive / hybrid model of development is the way to go as it provides a reasonably good UI with the ease of development as it runs on common web technologies such as HTML, CSS, JS which are common skills most developers possess. WaveMaker supports both Responsive Web and Hybrid Mobile applications.
With WaveMaker, you can use the inbuilt layouts, themes and templates that confirm to the platform guidelines resulting in near-native experience for both iOS and Android. You can also connect to backend services (MBaaS) of your choice (like AWS Mobile Services and Azure Mobile Services) for identity management & sync, analytics, push notifications, and more. WaveMaker also simplifies access and use of device features like camera, location, network, battery, contacts, local storage and more.
Ensure higher security
With the emergence of mobile phone apps, security risks have also risen. Unlike other phone app development platform providers,WaveMaker offers comprehensive solutions to secure the apps developed. At an application level, WaveMaker security enables both authentication and authorization. Authentication is done based on DB, LDAP, AD credentials. By configuring Wavemaker security, authorization to access widgets, pages, data and APIs can also be controlled. WaveMaker also ensures that mobile apps are protected from external threats like Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and forging attacks (XSRF), with policy-based filtering mechanisms in place. Also, support for OAuth 2.0 authorization protocol enables seamless integration of mobile applications with third-party cloud services, preserving identity and trust.
Continuous deployment and testing
A unique feature of the WaveMaker hybrid mobile phone app development platform is that the current stage of the application can be viewed and tested at any time. The application can be viewed as an end product and instantly tested. This allows business stakeholders to check whether the application meets the approved requirements. In addition, WaveMaker platform’s inbuilt continuous deployment capabilities allow a smooth and instant transition of the app from one stage to the other. For instance, developers can instantly deploy the app in a designated QA environment, without any worries about provisioning hardware and installing the software stacks.
Android, iOS and Windows Phone App Publishing Checklist
- You need to have a Microsoft developer account
- Adhere to the Windows app properties guidelines of name, description, categories, ratings etc.
- The app package must pass the WACK test (Windows App Certification Kit)
- Understand the Store listings page