When it comes to the strategies for Mobile App Development, there are prominently three ways to develop your app. The first way is a native app. As the majority of the mobile market has its share in Google based Android Phones and Apple based IOS phones, you may aim at capturing either of the markets by developing an app native to the platform using its software development kit (SDK). The other way is a web-based app which works on all mobile phones because it is embedded in the browser itself and has nothing to do with the mobile platform. Though, easy to make and cost-effective as compared to native apps, it comes with a lot of disadvantages – a bad user experience, perpetual need to customize according to different screen sizes, does not work offline and so on. The third form of apps is hybrid apps which in terms of complexity and user experience come somewhere between native apps and hybrid apps; more towards the native app I may say.
Both the web apps and the hybrid apps are developed using a cross-platform strategy- a strategy that allows you to create a one-time codebase for an app, that helps it to run on different platforms. With most statistics pointing at the growing popularity of cross-platform strategies for developing mobile apps, it may not be wrong to say that they are THE future of mobile apps. And why not?
Though native apps may offer a better end-user experience because they tend to tap into the wider functionality of the device and are designed keeping in mind the standard of each platform, cross platform apps, despite their disadvantages, are just what a business needs! The idea here is an app that works on all platforms and at the same time provides an outstanding user experience for each user.
With the introduction of new tools and new platforms for enhancing cross-platform strategy, it is improving every day by removing all the disadvantages it encounters and is moving forward to carve a niche position for itself in the app marketplace.
Considering Mobile App Development with this strategy?
Here’s what you need to know.
The Market Scenario
The Numerous technologies
The market offers a wide number of options when it comes to choosing the right technology for developing a cross-platform mobile app. A web app relies on the browser and needs no concrete platform, though frameworks like Jquery and Sencha Touch may help you optimize these apps for further use on your device. Then, there are hybrid apps, which may prove to be best suited for your interests if you are looking for a versatile option. They have a common code base just like web apps but additionally, they have access to the API for making use of device specific features. Where a web app cannot use device-specific hardware features like cameras and cannot be installed like a native app, a hybrid app resolves these issues. There are multiple tools for developing a hybrid app; PhoneGap being the most prominent.
PhoneGap, owned by Adobe, is open source software based on Apache Cordova. Developers use a single codebase for creating the app based on HTML 5. With the help of its open source codebase that accommodates different device APIs, can function effectively across various platforms.
Uniform Look and Feel
When opting for native apps, maintaining uniformity across different mobile platforms is the biggest challenge faced. With different sets of expertise required for different teams in order to create different designs on each platform, it becomes extremely difficult to monitor these apps to create a uniform look and feel across different platforms. This can be effectively tackled by developing apps using cross-platform strategy. Because the code running on all platforms is developed by the same set of people, a uniform user experience is guaranteed on all the platforms. Consider the analogy of writing a book in more than one language, even though the author is the same. This effectively increases the impact of the book across various multilingual audiences, especially due to the considerable decrease in loss of meaning during translation.
Easy to Market
“Build it and they will come” just doesn’t work for mobile apps. Marketing and feedback are more than ever important in this age, especially when multiple apps are available for the same purpose. When developing an app using a cross-platform strategy, you can adopt a single marketing strategy to attract users instead of focusing on different sets of platform-specific users. Generalized messages and common clips may work in this case. Also, now you have the option to choose from various modes to promote your app, especially due to the various marketing techniques that become available to you once you gain access to different platforms.
To sum up, cross-platform strategy, with its lesser costs and huge audience base can prove to be a boon to your business if developed keeping the right set of things in mind!