December 30, 2013

More Enterprises Choosing a Mix of Native, HTML5 and Hybrid App Development

You may or may not know this but there are three ways to develop a mobile app. Of course, there’s the popular native approach, the Web-based or HTML5 app, and then a combination of the two, known appropriately as the hybrid app approach, seen by many as ‘the best approach.’ However, the reality is, at least in terms of enterprise app development, that there is no ‘best’ approach; different app building methods are best suited to different needs.

As enterprises are becoming increasingly dependent on mobile devices, particularly smartphones, it is now more important than ever that they learn to take advantage of each app building method in order to save on costs and boost efficiency.

Native apps are those created using Apple’s (News - Alert) Xcode developer toolset, or Google’s Android SDK. Apps created using this method are able to take full advantage of all the features iOS and Android have to offer, while offering a look and feel similar to the OS they run on.

On the flipside, native apps require more development time, since supporting both iOS and Android (News - Alert) is a must these days. There are cross-platform development tools that make the process a bit easier, but this tends to sacrifice some of native apps’ primary benefits, namely a stock look and feel.

Creating Web apps in HTML5, JavaScript or CSS, meanwhile, is a much easier process as all platforms are supported outright, including lesser used ones like BlackBerry OS and Windows Phone (News - Alert). However, Web apps tend to lack access to low-level functionality and inherently can’t offer a native look and feel, or performance, like native apps.

Finally, hybrid apps promise a “best of both worlds” approach that offers HTML5’s portability across platforms, while still offering access to the types of features we’ve come to expect from native apps. That said, the situation isn’t as clear-cut as it seems. Like Web apps or native apps developed cross-platform up front, hybrid apps can’t offer the type of user experience that a true native app brings to the table.

Fortunately, there’s nothing saying that enterprises have to stick with one development strategy. The real challenge for businesses, then, is deciding which type of development best suits each individual app.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker


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