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App Design & Development

Mobile application development is the set of processes and procedures involved in writing software for small, wireless computing devices such as smartphones or tablets.

Mobile application development is similar to Web application development and has its roots in more traditional software development. One critical difference, however, is that mobile applications (apps) are often written specifically to take advantage of the unique features a particular mobile device offers. For instance, a gaming app might be written to take advantage of the iPhone's accelerometer.

One way to ensure that applications show optimum performance on a given device is to develop the application (app) natively on that device. This means that at a very low level, the code is written specifically for the processor in a particular device. When an app needs to run on multiple operating systems, however, there is little -- if any -- code that can be reused from the initial development. The application must essentially be rewritten for each specific device.

The three types of mobile app development

Mobile app development is all the rage these days, with everyone from small business owners to large billion dollar corporations using them. Today we take a look at the main types of mobile app development and the differences between them.

Native Application

In layman’s terms, a native app is downloadable app which is installed and run directly from on device. Native mobile app development is written specifically for the mobile device’s operating system (iOS, Android, Windows OS…etc) and are always in that device’s coding language.

For each operating system, there needs to be a code specific to that operating system. Apple devices need their own code different from Android, and Android need different code from Windows etc.

This means that when creating the app, software developers need to be fluent in all types of operating systems. This takes time and money.

  • fast,
  • specifically tailored to operating system
  • feels “Native” to the device
  • more costly to build
  • more costly to maintain
  • narrow/limited audience
  • maintaining multiple “versions” of the application across the various mobile device operating systems is labour intensive

Mobile Web Application

Unlike Native web app development, Mobile Web Applications are not downloadable from traditional app stores such as the Apple App Store or the Android Market. How these app work is they come from the website itself. The site is made to fit into any phone device, so the original coding suits all.

  • runs on any device (Blackberry, iPhone, any Android Phone, any Windows…etc)
  • single codebase means it’s easy to update and maintain
  • utilizes “open web” technologies meaning it’s less costly to develop
  • Not quite as slick/polished as a fully native application
  • Requires initial web connection – although can be made to run largely offline.
  • Can only be distributed via the web – no App Store distribution network.
  • Offline storage of data is limited/capped – consider if your app is data intensive

Hybrid Application

This type of mobile app development is relatively new, but there is a significant growing community which is growing by the day. A “Hybrid” application is essentially an application which is developed using “open web” technologies and then packaged up into a fully native application. So a programmer should already be fluent in these open web scripts, which are then tailored for specific devices.

  • Single codebase produces multiple applications – extremely cost effective.
  • Takes advantage of open web technologies in which your developer team will be already skilled – cost effective
  • Native Application benefits - distribute via app stores, runs on device, has access to all features of device
  • Perhaps not 100% as slick as a fully native application
  • Potential for issues with debugging across various platforms as not writing pure “native” code Estimate Ballpark Costs

So there you go, the three main mobile app developments and the pros and cons of each. If you have any more questions, please give us a call and talk to one of our friendly staff members.

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