Fundamentals of Mobile Application Development

Mobile application development is picking up speed with the exploding popularity of smartphones and tablets. The process involves writing software for small, wireless computing devices. It is pretty much similar to the traditional application development process but there is one critical difference – mobile apps software is intended to utilize the unique features of a particular mobile device. For example, programmers can develop a gaming app meant for an iPhone or write a mobile health app to take advantage of the features of a particular smartwatch.

Mobile app development has become a key factor for business success as customers can access them easily on their mobile devices. By releasing a mobile version of their apps, businesses can attract a large number of potential consumers. As the sale of smartphone and tablets continue to increase, the number of mobile apps installed has also spiked exponentially. This gives a unique opportunity for organizations to engage with new kinds of customers from different geographies.

Types of mobile apps

Applications created for desktop PC operate on a minimum set of hardware. The same is true for mobile applications as well, although the hardware variances for mobile are even less. But since hardware on mobile devices do not function with the same capacity as in laptops and PCs, it is designed to show optimum performances. Hence mobile apps may have certain limitations – a gaming app will have fewer graphical elements as the device may support limited graphics processor.

The solutions for these problems are different for different devices. For this reason, the code is designed specifically based on the hardware a particular device supports. On a broader scale, there are three major categories of apps –

  • Native apps – These software applications are developed for use on a particular platform or device. It uses software development tools and languages that are specific to those operating systems. Native apps have the ability to function optimally and take advantage of the latest technologies. This is where it differs from web apps that are developed to be generic across multiple systems. Also, unlike web apps, developing native applications can be expensive considering it requires more time and effort to develop them for each device.
  • HTML5 apps – These apps take a write-once-run-anywhere approach to mobile development. As most of the current mobile devices support HTML5, developing applications for multiple mobile platforms are much simpler, as the code is written only once. HTML5 apps are based on the near-universal standards of web technologies which makes them cross-platform compatible – these apps can be used on mobile, desktop, tablets, notebook browsers with minimal changes applicable for each OS. One significant downside of these apps is that you get an average UX compatible for all devices when compared to native applications.
  • Hybrid apps – Hybrid approach to mobile app development combines the power of native programming and HTML5 mobile app development. Here, programmers write the core of the application as an HTML5 mobile app and then embed it in a native container. This allows the app to use the native device’s browser engine to render the HTML5 and process the JavaScript locally. As the app core is written only once, it can be reused for other mobile platforms, reducing development time considerably.

What to consider when building mobile apps?

There is no denying the fact that mobile app development is booming. Before starting on this path, it is important to set a clear goal for your mobile app. Ask yourself what purpose this app will serve and what expectations you want to set for your users. Identify the functionality elements and technical requirements and then put together a development team that will deliver your project. It is not that difficult.

 

 

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