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Smartphones and mobiles have come a long way since the turn of the decade. With technology and design advancing at an unprecedented rate, mobile application development has come a long way as well. In fact, with each passing day, there is more development and expansion in the mobile development domain than in any other industry domain. There are three types of mobile applications, native, hybrid, and HTML5:
Native apps: Native apps are platform-specific. For example, if you want to create an app that will run on an Android platform, you will need to code using Java and Eclipse. On the other hand, if your app intends to run in iOS, you will need Objective-C on an Xcode environment. Native apps generally have a rich and responsive user interface and perform the fastest. These apps are also widely distributed in the appstore. Native apps can seamlessly access in-built features of a mobile, such as, GPS, camera, address book, etc.
On the flip side, for an inexperienced developer, creating a native app is no less than conquering Mount Everest. With all the APIs and native frameworks required to build and run code on a native IDE, developers often find the steep learning curve required very difficult to develop a native app.
HTML5 mobile apps: HTML5 mobile apps are generally web pages interlinked to display on screens of any size. These apps are device-independent and can be opened in any mobile browser. Due to the usage of HTML5 to build these apps, the learning curve for any developer is much lower than that of native apps. HTML5 has worldwide support; therefore debugging an HTML5 app is easier and flexible.
On the flip side, HTML5 apps face a perennial issue with browser compatibility (or lack thereof). Also storage and security considerations make HTML5 apps less appealing for developers.
Hybrid apps: Hybrid apps combine features of both native and HTML5 app development features. A hybrid app is an HTML5 app wrapped in a native container with access to native mobile features. A developer can code the app using HTML and not worry about the native features. While a hybrid app combines the best of native and HTML5 apps, device compatibility remains a bone of contention in the tech community.
Future Mobile Development Trends
Over the past few years, mobile development has exploded beyond everyone’s wildest dreams. Here are some trends to look for in the not too distant future:
Security – Enterprise security will become the order of the day as developers will build apps that will withstand the most robust intrusion and brute force attacks from unknown sources. More emphasis will be laid on SSL certificates especially when creating apps for banking and financial institutions.
Cloud – To connect incongruent apps, developers will use the cloud to assimilate the front-end with back-end services. This approach will enable developers to focus more on the user interface aspects of the app while letting the back-end take care of services like push notifications and geolocation features.
More API Integration – With the recent developments in the cloud, location intelligence, and big data analytics, developers will embrace REST APIs to seamlessly integrate mobile applications. Stateless APIs like REST APIs will make it easier for developers to create next generation web services.
Legacy applications – As the number of mobile users are growing exponentially, legacy, and mainframe applications are gradually shelved out of market. Increased adoption of mobile apps has already pushed legacy applications to a distant second.
Location– Advertising and push notifications geotargeted to a user have already gathered momentum. Location-based offers and shopping deals have created a new breed of mobile audience. In the future, Near Field Communications (NFC) will enable more targeted penetration in the m-Commerce arena.