Do You Need to Know Everything About Hybrid App Development?

Hybrid mobile applications are like any other applications you will see on your mobile. They get easily installed on your mobile device. You can look for these apps in the App stores. By using these apps, you can engage your friends via social media, play games, track your health, take photos and much more.

Hybrid mobile applications are developed using a combination of web technologies like CSS, HTML, and JS as same as websites on the internet. The major difference is that hybrid applications are hosted inside a native app which further uses a mobile platform’s WebView. Here, WebView is a chromeless browser window which is typically configured to run fullscreen.

In fact, hybrid mobile apps enable you to access various device capabilities viz. camera, accelerometer, contacts, and much more. However, inside mobile browsers don’t allow you to access these capabilities from it. Furthermore, hybrid mobile applications include native UI elements in those situations where it is necessarily required, as proved by Basecamp’s approach towards hybrid mobile application development.

It is not easy to answer the question how a mobile app is built. Similarly, hybrid mobile apps are no different. A well-written hybrid application should not behave or look any different than its native equivalent. However, users don’t care about it as they only want an app that works well. It is what actually matters to them. If you are trying to figure out whether a mobile application is hybrid or native, it would be like you are trying to differentiate rare grape varieties of wine.

Unless you are the one who really cares about this, it is not terribly important. What all matters are how your hybrid mobile application development is going to work in the long run as no one will care about how it was built. A hybrid mobile application is said to be good if it performs well for its users.

How are hybrid mobile applications built?

Like other websites are built, hybrid mobile apps follow the same manner. Both are built with a combination of technologies like CSS, HTML, and JS. Generally, a hybrid app targets a Web View which is hosted inside a native container rather than targeting a mobile browser. This allows its users to access various hardware capabilities of the mobile device.

Many hybrid mobile apps today leverage Apache Cordova, a simple platform that consists of a set of JavaScript APIs for accessing mobile device capabilities through plug-ins that are built with native code. These plug-ins include APIs in order to access the device capabilities like contacts, accelerometer, camera, and more. In fact, a huge number of plugins are built and maintained by mobile app developers community-at-large which is can be found in the Apache Cordova Plugins Registry. A group of plugins that have been properly tested, documented, and extended can be found at the Telerik Verified Plugins Marketplace.

If we talk about Apache Cordova, it was actually started as a project named PhoneGap. But nowadays, PhoneGap is considered as a distribution of Apache Cordova which includes additional tools. To know more about its history, you can check out Cordova, PhoneGap and what’s in a name?

Various application assets like CSS, HTML, JS are packaged via tooling through Apache Cordova for targeting platform SDKs. Once a hybrid app is built, it can be run just like any other app on the mobile device. Apache Cordova provides the tooling that is highly driven by a command line interface. However, mobile app developers can still leverage IDEs such as Visual Studio and effective solutions like the Telerik Platform to further increase productivity.

Since mobile app developers don’t want to be getting locked into proprietary platforms, so hybrid mobile apps give a way to mobile app developers for re-using their existing skills in web development. This mainly includes SDKs provided by platform vendors and the programming languages.

Hybrid mobile app development somehow looks appealing to a company’s bottom line such as Why hire a developer for each platform when you can hire one developer and target all of them through CSS, HTML, and JavaScript? But, the reality is actually a bit more complicated to accept.

Obviously, it’s true that mobile app developers become able to target multiple platforms with hybrid mobile app development. But when it comes to WebView or web runtime, each platform comes with a set of caveats. This is more true for Android and not consistent between OS versions.

Furthermore, there must be some unique capabilities of platforms to which a mobile app developer may wish to target. In such cases, a combination of platform-specific code and plugins must be utilized which will take advantages of those capabilities. Optionally, mobile app developers can take advantage of 3rd party web runtimes such as Crosswalk which can be further embedded into your hybrid applications.

When should you build a hybrid mobile application?

It is the foremost concern of every mobile app developer who wants to build a hybrid mobile app. The first thing you should do is to check your mobile application’s requirements. Before committing to a platform strategy must evaluate the technical merits as well as non-technical merits of hybrid mobile apps over the web and native mobile apps. You should first consider the following questions before developing a hybrid app:

– What are the technical abilities of your mobile development team?
– Which mobile app platforms do you wish to target?
– Are you looking to use the multiple capabilities of the mobile device?
– Do you want to distribute your apps through the app stores?
– Does the hybrid approach really live up to its promise in the coming years?

The above questions are needed to be answered properly before the development of mobile apps. You may further evaluate more questions in detail.

WHICH MOBILE APP PLATFORMS DO YOU WISH TO TARGET?

You may have a number of choices if you want to target more than one platform. This is because the web offers a highly interactive solution for this purpose. However, the mobile browser is your target. HYbrid apps lend itself to this due to its reliance upon the WebView.

On the other hand, Native apps find a unique space among this. In fact, you are essentially coupled to this platform if you rely upon platform-specific programming languages and vendor SDKs. For this case, Objective-C or Swift is used for iOS, Java is used for Android and C# is used for Windows phone.

DO YOU WANT TO DISTRIBUTE YOUR MOBILE APP VIA APP STORES?

If you want to distribute your app via an app store, you must build a native or hybrid app. You can not distribute sites through app stores. Hence, browser’s address bar is provided for this. Despite this limitation, whether you build a hybrid or native app, it is strongly recommended that you must have a website available for your mobile app. You need to create this because this will be the first place your app users might expect to go in case if they stuck with any problem.

ARE YOU LOOKING TO USE THE CAPABILITIES OF THE MOBILE DEVICE?

As compared to native and hybrid apps, websites have a limited set of abilities. These limitations are put up by a browser that effectively sandboxing it from mobile OS. A lot more device capabilities are exposed through HTML5 with the help recent developments with mobile browsers which include geolocation, camera, and others.

In spite of these advancements, support for advanced functionality is still limited. For an instance, streaming and media capture are still unsupported in various mobile browsers. Due to these limitations with mobile browsers, there are many mobile app developers who are compelled to evaluate native and hybrid apps as alternatives. These platforms enable mobile app developers to access device APIs. While in case of hybrid apps, plugins support this capability.

It is often said that native app development is best suited for apps where graphics performance is paramount. The best example is the mobile games which completely rely on complex visual interactions on the screen. No matter, how wonderful game app you have developed for your users and how flawlessly it operates from a functional perspective, you can expect this game app to have a very low app store rating if it is lacking energy. Due to these reasons, mobile app developers have long argued for using a hybrid approach to build their game applications.

However, there exist a number of solutions for hybrid mobile apps. This includes WebGL and HTML5 Canvas that are well-suited to build game applications. In fact, these technologies are most preferred and approachable for mobile app developers due to the presence of libraries like EaselJS, Paper.js, and others. This is not limited to game development only. Developers build more traditional, line-of-business apps by using frameworks like Kendo UI and Famo.us.

WHAT ARE THE TECHNICAL ABILITIES OF YOUR APP DEVELOPMENT TEAM?

The team’s technical abilities is another major factor when it is about to evaluate development options for mobile. To build native applications, you need to hire developers who are proficient and experienced with the programming languages of every platform that you wish to target and platform SDKs. But for building web and hybrid apps, you need to hire developers who use web technologies like CSS, HTML, and JS. You may also have a team that can target more than one platform with a single set of technologies. So, this is a worth considering when you have to evaluate your opinions.

DOES THE HYBRID APPROACH REALLY LIVE UP TO ITS PROMISE?

Lastly, it is important to know that hybrid is not the be-all and end-all approach for mobile app development. At the initiation of this article, I have thrown light upon the challenges of overcoming the inconsistencies between WebViews. While other challenges still remain. With hybrid app development, you can target the various features of a mobile platform in order to discover if they are inaccessible. This is because plugins used for them can be unreliable, out-dated or missing altogether. This takes you to the dilemma whether to remove an application feature or to write the plug-in by yourself.

You may find hybrid app development model restricted when you have to develop an app that requires numerous native features or an app where performance is critically required for the success of the app. With this situation, you may found yourself to forcefully choose native development technologies. However, these are considered as alternative approaches which let you build performant native apps without having core knowledge of tools like Android Studio and Xcode.

Furthermore, the JavaScript-based NativeScript framework allows developers to build Android and iOS apps that forego the WebView for interactive and enhanced performance. NativeScript provides 100% access to Android APIs and iOS, removing the reliance on plugins which prove limitations while developing hybrid apps. But it is also not the be-all-end-all approach for developing native applications. However, this approach to application development is powerful which become more powerful with a higher learning curve. With NativeScript, you would not be using HTML to build UI. So, NativeScript is seriously considered by app developers if they have to develop an application with non-trivial performance requirements

How to Develop iPhone Programs and Apps

Are you interested in developing an app for the iPhone? These apps are a major way to making heaps of money. If yes, then there are four ways to learn, how to do this:

1. One thing you can do is, take your idea to the developer who can build an app for you.

2. You can use an online program builder tool that requires little or no programming.

3. You should learn how to convert a program developed in HTML or other programs for use on the iPhone.

4. You can learn to develop your own apps by learning all the programs and skills yourself.

First of all, you need to decide whether you want to use “web app” or “native app”, after considering all the pros and cons of each approach.

Once you proceed it is necessary for you to know about the apps.

What is a web app?

A web app is fundamentally a website that is specifically designed for or modified for the iPhone. You can use various tools to adapt an existing website for use. It is built with web technologies like HTML, JavaScript etc. If you can build a website, then you can develop a basic web app. You need a URL and link, most of the functions and hardware are not available for you. The Web app is installed on the phone like a native app and not available in the iTunes app store and it is not written in Objective – C.

Pros:

  • Web developers can use the tools what they know and they can modify the current web design and use existing development skills.
  • Not limited to Mac OS.
  • The app can run on any device that has a web browser like Blackberry, Android, etc…
  • Bugs fix in real time and not require the users to upload revised versions of their phone.
  • The development cycle is much faster.

Cons:

  • Hardware access is not available.
  • You must develop your own payment system if you want to charge for the app.

What is a Native App?

A native app is developed using the iPhone system and is installed on the iPhone. The application can use all hardware like speakers, accelerometer, camera, etc. It is available in the iTunes App store which increases their appeal for users. But means that the apps have to be submitted to apple and approved.

Pros:

  • There are excellent tools available through the registration of Xcode, Interface Builder, and the Cocoa Touch framework.
  • You can access all the excellent hardware features.

After considering all these pros and cons, now you have to decide which way you want to go ahead.

1. You can take your idea to the developer who can build an app for you.

There are several developers who will work with you and create a program for your idea and make it registered with the app store. They will fully develop the native or web app for you for an upfront fee, a monthly fee or a share of the profits.

2. You can use online program builder tool that requires little or no programming.

You can use online tools that can use to build your own apps from the templates and various tools any functions, which have the templates and tools. There are some general online app builders that are designed for general business and entertainment needs and more specific ones that target specific needs. Some of the others allow the developers familiar with HTML and Java Scripts to write the code with a specific knowledge of development. It would be nice if you know HTML, Ruby, Java, JavaScript, CSS, Python, PHP.

3. Develop your own apps by learning all the programs and skills yourself.

It may be you need to play various roles for the programming skills and understand the iPhone system, you have to be a researcher, creator, idea developer, entrepreneur, project manager, information architect, user information designer, accountant, developer, marketer and advertiser.

You need some aspect to work on an iPhone app, that includes:

  • You must have an ability to know what works and what doesn’t work for existing systems.
  • You should have market research skills to find out what is in demand.
  • Graphic and layout design.
  • Graphic user interface design, and so on.

The Importance of Ajax Technology in Application Development

Rich Internet Application (RIA) has transformed the entire look and feel of the internet. It has made the World Wide Web more vibrant and colorful. There are different technologies that enable to create innovative web apps. Ajax is one such technology that is popularly used to build dynamic web applications with a rich look and feel.

AJAX – the acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML provides rich features and wide functionality.

Ajax enables to make the web pages user- friendly and simplified. It also makes the web pages responsive for the user’s demands. It comprises of various technologies that together provides incredible functionality for websites and web applications. It also enables to load the websites faster, saving the user’s time. Companies prefer to use technology for fulfilling their web development needs. Ajax enables to create innovative and rich websites with a high user appeal.

Role of AJAX in Application Development

It enables to build customized websites and contributes to quick and rapid development. The applications created on this platform tend to be compatible with different browsers and operating systems.

It is the best technology to create a rich interactive user- experience for the visitors of the web. It is a popular choice because of its lower rate of dependence on internet based applications.

Ajax helps in the quick interaction between the server and browser. It provides excellent browser compatibility. So, users don’t have to wait for a long time before the web pages loads before their eyes. It increases the user appeal and so, is frequently used making websites for large organizations. It enables to attract more visitors, which increases the chances of attracting business opportunities.

It provides smooth navigation options for the website and enables fast page reloading, which facilitates smooth scrolling down the page. It makes the web development simple and easy.

It extends plenty of customization options and developers enjoy working on this platform. Ajax provides high amount reliability and scalability for developing rich web applications. Data remains completely safe and secure.

It can control and manage varied websites with plenty of features and wide functionality. It is a useful tool for building websites with loads of information and attractive features.

Ajax is used to develop Rich Internet Apps and make attractive web pages and applications. Organizations opt to build their websites on this technology due to its many benefits. It is based on different server side architecture that supports interaction model. It is important to find experienced Ajax developers who can develop websites in an innovative fashion.