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Mobile Apps in 2015: New Technologies, New Opportunities


By David Smith 3 years ago
Mobile Apps in 2015

Creating applications which run on mobile devices (or “Apps”) has been an expensive operation, and for good reason. To create a quality App has always required the skills of specialist developers who are well versed in writing code which is “native” to a particular platform or device. Like any specialist such programmers have always been able to charge a premium for their services meaning the cost of developing even the most simple App has traditionally been out of reach for all but the most committed (or affluent!) of customers.

Alternatives to Native 

In recent years new technologies have arisen which have challenged the hegemony of the native approach.

Developers familiar with open web technologies such as those used to create websites (HTML, CSS & JavaScript) have long espoused the benefits of creating “Mobile Web Apps” – applications created in web code and run in your web browser but which appear like a native App. The benefit of such an approach is that the application itself runs in a web browser and so can theoretically run on any device capable of powering this basic program. In addition, a lowered technical barrier to entry for developers has meant lower upfront development costs for customers.

At first glance web-based apps appear to represent a panacea to the app creation conundrum. However, the reality is less convincing. There are very few examples of well implemented mobile web applications. This is typically due to problems of performance and lack of mature technologies required to access the full capabilities of the device (eg: camera, file system…etc). Moreover, a lack of distribution channels means that the rates of adoption are lower than traditional native apps which can be distributed by the relevant app store.

New Technologies on the Horizon 

Indeed, for all their promise, web based apps have failed to take the market by storm. So does this mean we’re stuck with creating costly native apps? Well…not necessarily.

Recent developments in the world of open source have given rise to a new breed of technology which provides a way for developers to author full native apps using the power of familiar web technologies. Of particular note is the product of the greatest minds at Facebook and it’s called React.

React reduces APP Creation Cost 

Originally developed to build fast User Interfaces for HTML powered websites, Facebook has since released React Native, an upgrade which allows coders to author fully native apps using JavaScript, the primary scripting language of the web.

Facebook themselves describe React Native as “…[enabling] you to build world-class application experiences on native platforms using a consistent developer experience based on JavaScript and [the core] React [framework].”.

The key here is the focus on efficiency. React simply provides a bridge to allow developers to author native UI components without having to learn the complex native coding languages required to create such elements from scratch. This removes the barrier to entry for developers used to working with web technologies, opening up the possibility for a new breed of apps developed at a fraction of the cost they were previously.

Even more exciting is Facebook’s promise to provide bindings to different native platforms including Android. At the time of writing React Native only provide the ability to author iOS apps, but in a recent statement Facebook made a commitment to roll out Android support before the end of the year.

Technology is changing the landscape of App development. Is it time for your business to take another look at creating the next killer app? If so get in touch with our Digital Director, Robert Lowe today to discuss your requirements.

Mobile Apps in 2015: New Technologies, New Opportunities https://www.mrbandfriends.co.uk/app/uploads/2016/01/mobile-app.jpg

Creating applications which run on mobile devices (or “Apps”) has been an expensive operation, and for good reason. To create a quality App has always required the skills of specialist developers who are well versed in writing code which is “native” to a particular platform or device. Like any specialist such programmers have always been…