Which Mobile Development Approach is Best?

The second is the Mobile Q&A series, this video explores the three primary approaches to mobile development and some of the pros and cons for each.  Full transcript below the video. Please leave comments here or on the Carlson On Commerce YouTube channel!




Hey, Kevin here from Carlson on Commerce back with part 2 in the Mobile Q&A series. Today I want to talk a bit about mobile development technology and pros and cons of mobile development approaches.

There are three common development techniques when it comes to mobile: Native, Mobile Web, and Hybrid.

Native development requires the use of a specific development environment where code is written in specific languages and compiled to run on a specific device family.

Mobile web leverages HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript libraries like jqtouch, to create a web application that runs in the mobile device’s browser.

Hybrid development uses web development techniques and wraps the web app in a native shell, essentially running the web app, in a browser, in a native app.

Even with only three choices, the decision can be critical to the success of a mobile implementation and, depending upon what you’re trying to achieve, one method may make more sense than the others. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Developing native iOS code requires knowledge of ObjectiveC or Swift along with iOS SDK, and for Android, knowledge of Java and the Android SDK if required. The largest learning curve in either case is for the SDK itself, which is quite extensive. Both environments ship with emulators so that developers can see what the app will look like before deploying it to a device. Native apps perform better in most cases and you have the advantage of full UI flexibility and device access.

Mobile web leverages more broadly available skill sets and is less difficult to deploy — no need to deal with an App Store. Plus, Forrester recently found that over 60% of developers use web technologies to support multiple platforms. That in itself is an important indication of how many companies are leveraging mobile web.

Hybrid apps combine both approaches, for good or bad, depending on your point of view. Hybrid platforms allow for a web app to be embedded in a native app wrapper that includes JavaScript libraries for accessing some native device functionality.

I’ve worked with clients that have chosen each development path and each has had varied results. The most important thing to consider in mobile is exactly how you’re going to engage your customer base — and how that’s done will influence the technology decision greatly.

Tune in for the next part in the series, where I’ll discuss how Customer Experience drivers influence the technology decision. Some pretty important stuff before jumping on the bandwagon for one type of technology or another.


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