We have covered the increase in use of mobile devices in a number of articles. Given the increase there is continued focus on providing customers with the best user experience you can on their mobile device.
There are a number of ways to do this, fundamentally there are two, via a native application or via a generic html based application.
Anyone that has an Iphone or Android device will be aware of the App store and Play store, these online directories provide access to a large (and growing) selection of custom built native applications that target devices that run the IOS operating system (Apple's mobile operating system) or the Android operating system (Developed by Google) respectively.
Native applications are built on the native development language of the respective device. They offer benefits over web based solutions in terms of:
- Speed of response where calculations are made against stored data
- They offer the ability to function effectively when off line.
- They are also useful when the application needs to leverage functionality built within the device like location services
A few years ago the interface you achieved with a native application versus that of a mobile web site was significantly better, with advances in HTML and Java Script, this isn't quite so noticeable now.
Native applications are great if you are are seeking to monetise the use of your mobile application - ask people to pay to download. They are also useful when the application needs to leverage functionality built within the device like location services.
For the right reasons (and these need to be quantified) the development of a native mobile application can add significant value to a business.
The team at Koda have built mobile applications that integrate fully with backend systems via custom developed API's (integration layers designed and delivered by the Koda team) and existing integration layers.
An alternative to the development of a Native application is the creation of a HTML5 web based application. Where you are not trying to monetise the application (sell it) and where it is providing access to functionality suited to an application developed utilising web technologies this can be a compelling alternative option. There are a couple of key benefits which can be game changers when it comes to establishing a mobile application:
- Development time is significantly shorter when developing an HTML5 based application
- Development costs are reduced, as an HTML5 based application utilises the open source tech stack, there is plenty of competition from developers - keeping costs fair
- Updates can be completed in real time and changes reflected immediately to all users, no lengthy release process to work through
In some cases a HTML5 based application can offer a cost effective way to test the market before pursuing the development of a Native application, where the business reasons support the approach.
At Koda our team has built a number of web based applications, if you are considering alternatives and would like to discuss options please get in touch and a member of our team will arrange to meet.