Turning your mobile website into an app for a greater reach to users is not an easy task.
However, before you take the leap, you have to thoroughly weigh its benefits and consciously choose to migrate your website to a mobile app.
Previously, mobile websites were more predominant when browsers dominated the launch of many new eCommerce start-ups.
Browsers made the websites seamlessly fit in all kinds of handheld devices and users found it exciting to buy stuff on the internet using their mobile devices. The availability of the internet and the evolution of HTML to support rich media also enabled this transition.
So, many ventures have started to launch mobile websites to attract their consumers and thereby increase revenues.
With the present era of mobile devices being dominated by the app ecosystems, the prevalent question becomes whether or not mobile websites are indeed mobile and meeting its purpose.
Apps have been making inroads on many users’ lifestyles and its adoption for business is seen as a positive trend.
There are many benefits for businesses to migrate from the traditional browser-based mobile commerce sites to the mobile app ecosystem.
A few of these benefits are listed below to aid you in making a conscious decision to follow the trend.
Mobile apps are written on the handheld devices’ native operating systems, while the websites run on a browser and always depend on an internet connection to work.
So, apps are much faster than the mobile sites. This plays a critical role if you do not want to lose your customers due to a slow connection while waiting for the page to load.
An app can be designed more efficiently so that it performs all the processing offline and only accesses the internet when it is needed to close the transactions.
For a business to succeed, availability is a vital factor. If your website is down for a while or if your users find it too slow, then the revenues will start to dwindle.
The availability of mobile websites greatly depends on the availability of the internet for every little bit of work that it has to perform and for the pages to load.
However, apps work much to the advantage of the users because it can download the required content when there is the internet and can perform all the other processing using the handheld device.
This makes the user feel as though he/she is connected to your business all the time. It is magic that allures your users to ensure a greater reach and greater revenue for your business that has been running on mobile websites.
A mobile website’s major goal is to educate users and market a product line on the web. However, apps have the ability to offer personalised services.
For example, if a mobile browser-based shopping site rolls out personalised services to users, then databases in the back-end is required for millions of users who access the site and the access to the site must be ensured quickly to cater to the needs of an online shopper.
However, apps keep the personalised information within the client device and perform their intelligence to fetch only the needs of the shopper!
Thus, it is much easier and quicker for apps to roll out personalised and customised services to its users.
Easier to Use
On the one hand, mobile websites typically run on a browser and require the browser to have updated plugins to play the content as per the definitions of the URL pages. The sites also have to fit all the different sizes of the different screens of the handheld devices.
Furthermore, rendering is an important challenge in HTML-based style sheets. On the other hand, apps understand the device in a better way to get the best performance out of it because they are written using the native interface of the underlying hardware.
This is evident in gaming apps where the graphics and the memory are more critical to ensure the best user experience. Mobile websites cannot match apps in the world of gaming.
Apps offer a much more interactive experience to the user than mobile websites do. This is because apps understand the user of the device and roll out personalised services.
By being interactive, the user is provided with a rich experience of shopping or gaming using the app on his/her device. This increases the engagement of the user with the app.
Also, due to the real-time speed and offline processing capability, an app can bring this interactive feature more effectively than mobile websites that run on browsers.
Tools to Aid the Migration
Now that you are convinced and ready to move to a mobile app, take sufficient care to have a smooth process. There are many tools and services available for migrating mobile websites to an app for handheld devices.
There are also SDKs available from the respective native operating systems from the handheld makers that you can effectively use to migrate websites to mobile apps. BuildFire, Onbile and AppMakr are only a few of such tools which do the job in an effortless fashion, keeping the look and feel of the website when converting it into an app.
The app also needs to be designed in such a way that it is easy to navigate. There are many designer tools available, including Como and SwebApps, to design the interface and the outlook.
It is important for businesses to embrace the change in the ecosystem to sustain the competition. Wiser decisions about migrating mobile websites to app-based ones will certainly yield benefits as described above and help to march ahead of the competition.
So, which one do you prefer? Mobile website or mobile app? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
The difference in the syntax and structure of programming languages is no longer the talk of the town.
With every app enclosing thousands of lines of code, all that developers now talk about is their choice of app development frameworks, application program interfaces (APIs) and the cross compilation they provide.
App frameworks have become the norm and people cannot call themselves programmers if they are not well-versed in at least one particular development framework.
They offer a lot of benefits over the previous and newly outdated development approaches. These frameworks have reduced the learning curve so much that even absolute beginners can start developing apps with little training.
Adding complex functionality is no longer a genius’s work, but an effective way of writing API calls and developing apps for various platforms does not require you to be an expert in all platforms.
So, everyone with a great idea can now easily, quickly and effectively implement it with the help of app frameworks.
Therefore, you too can easily create your own mobile apps which might have seemed a difficult task a few years ago. Here is an overview of the cross-platform mobile app development frameworks to get you started.
Mobile App Development Frameworks
The mobile app development has become a million dollar industry with hundreds of mobile apps hitting the market daily. The growing demand and the need for high-performance apps have pushed the app development industry to a new level and frameworks help developers scale to the growing demands.
But, before we can delve into mobile frameworks, we first need to understand the difference between native apps and cross-platform apps.
There are many mobile platforms, for example, iOS, Android and Blackberry, and all of these require apps tailored to their own platform constraints.
Native app development is the original methodology where an app is developed specifically for a single platform using the relevant framework, syntax, and APIs.
However, this type of app development may prove to be costly and time consuming when a relatively simpler app has to be developed for more than one platform. In these cases, a cross-platform framework can be used to develop a cross-platform app that works on different platforms with a single code base.
Cross-platform frameworks provide a feasible way for developers to develop cross-platform apps easily. These tools can generally be classified as web-based frameworks and converters.
There is no single best fit of a cross-platform framework that suits all your needs. While frameworks like Corona are suitable for game development, others frameworks like PhoneGap are much more suitable for developing hybrid HTML5 apps.
Developers will mostly use more than one tool as the market is more niche than it is mature. With so many frameworks in the market today, your decision of choosing one out of the many heavily impacts the app you are developing.
Here is an overview of some of the major cross-platform app frameworks for you to choose from.
PhoneGap or Apache Cordova
It is a little difficult to fully exploit the native features using PhoneGap. It has numerous plugins that help you add the native device features in a modular way. Furthermore, it is an open source framework and is thus available free of cost.
Thus, it is capable of giving a higher user interface (UI) performance compared to hybrid apps. It also provides value-added services, such as backend as a service (BaaS), app analytics, and marketplace services.
However, a major disadvantage of this tool is that you can only use Flash and ActionScript to write apps.
Sencha Touch is an HTML5 mobile app development framework that can help you develop apps that have the look and feel of a native app. It can be used along with PhoneGap or Sencha’s native packager to utilise the device-level APIs.
Comparison between the Cross-platform Frameworks
Here is a comparison table of some of my favorite app frameworks on some important factors.
There are many more frameworks on the market waiting to be explored and exploited. If we have missed your favorite, leave some suggestions and feedback in the comments.
“I have an idea for a brilliant app, but how to get started?” This is a common question people who plan to launch a mobile app ask us.
Thousands of people think that they have a great app idea. If you’re one of them, then pull up your socks, because you got a great competition ahead.
“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”
- Scott Belsky, Founder, Behance.
But, don’t worry. Read on, if you need help fleshing out your idea to actually build a business around it.
Here we will walk you through the step-by-step instructions to make your dream project a reality.
So, by not wasting any time, and words, here we go.
Validate Your Idea
This is the first and most important step for every idea and not specific to any technology.
It’s good that you have a killer idea, but it’s not about what you think. Instead, you have to figure out what your ideal users or customers think about your app.
You need to find out:
- What pain points your app is going to solve?
- Is the problem which your app will solve indeed a problem?
- Do you have a competitor? If yes, why would your users prefer your app?
You also need to ensure that your app idea is unique or fills a gap which no other app is doing.
The best way to start validating your idea is to ask your friends and family. Ask people you can trust to give you valuable and eye-opener inputs.
This will not only help you conclude if your idea is worth something, but it will also show you how to make the idea worthwhile.
Decide the Type of App You Need to Build
Once you have validated your idea, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to work on. The most important and immediate next step is deciding on what type of app it should be.
- Do you want your app to be specific to any mobile platform like Android, iOS, Windows or Blackberry?
- How can your users access it? Can they access it from an app store, such as iTunes or the Google Play Store?
- Do you want a native mobile app or a web app that is optimised for smartphone usage?
Don’t get confused with too many choices. Just pick one and go for it. You can always tweak your strategy if need be.
Research and Read about App Development
This step may overlap with the second step.
If you’re non-technical, then you can find it challenging to decide on the type of app you need.
In that case, you may need to first acquire some knowledge about the basics of mobile app development. This will help you simplify your decision. Without this knowledge, you will not know what you need to know.
But, if you are aware of the basics, then this step will come after choosing the type of app.
In either case, you need to have a good understanding of mobile app development to ensure you’re on the right path.
Here are a couple of tutorials which can help you get started:
But, don’t just stick to these tutorials. Read interesting and informative articles or blogs as well.
This will help you to keep abreast of the latest updates. Some popular blogs you can explore are ZdNet, The Next Web, CIO and Forbes.
Identify and Meet the Technical Requirements
You don’t need to buy an advanced PC with the latest configurations for mobile app development. However, it’s better to go for this.
For Android or web apps, you can create the app with Linux, Windows or a Mac.
But, for iOS app development, Mac is the only option.
Also, you need to have access to a smart device (iOS, Android or Windows) depending on the type of app platform you plan to design for.
If you plan to write the code yourself, then you also need an Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
Here are a couple of free developer tools for different mobile platforms which you can explore:
The biggest benefit of IDEs is that it offers a virtual smartphone to test your app for both Android and iOS.
Keep a Budget Ready
You don’t need to invest in the developer tools, but it will cost you money to register and publish apps in different app stores.
If you plan to publish on the Google Play store, then you have to pay a one-time fee of $25 at the time of registration. For Apple and Microsoft, it is an annual fee of around $100.
Also take note that you need to share around 30% revenue of every sale your app makes with the app platform companies.
We hope by now that you have a clear idea of how to move from the ideation stage to the execution stage.
Although you can develop an app on your own, we advise that you get help from a specialist. If you make any deadly mistakes during the development process, all your efforts would be in the vain.
Thus, consult with a mobile development company that has extensive experience in delivering projects like yours. This will also give you a clear picture of whether you’re on the right path or whether you need to make a change.
So, when do you plan to develop your app? Which platform do you plan to go for?
If you have any questions or need advice, drop us a note below and we will get back to you soon.
According to Statista, an online statistics portal, Apple claims that the number of iOS apps downloaded from the Apple store has crossed the 100 billion mark in June 2015 (from July 2008).
Now that’s a staggering figure, isn’t it?
The regular mobile apps that you find on any app store are the ones developed to directly target consumers around the world. They are based on some simple tasks, like learning English and simple mathematical formulas, to complex tasks, like managing expenses and maintaining calendar appointments.
But, enterprise mobile apps are those that are dedicated specifically for teams within an organization and enterprise customers instead of for just direct consumers
These business apps are made for companies of different sizes and are more data-centric . Developing these apps involve fulfilling stringent requirements with regard to company security, administration and maintenance.
According to Apple, around 98% of the Fortune 500 companies have an iOS application which clearly shows that enterprises are keen on investing wisely in business apps from a long-term point of view.
Let’s check out the best practices for developing iOS apps for enterprises.
Hire Qualified iOS App Developers
Would you trust an individual app developer, who has made some regular apps, to develop an enterprise app for your company just to save costs?
Of course not! Right?
When the stakes are high, you need well-trained and qualified developers who have significant knowledge of iOS app development for businesses.
Being an experienced app development team ourselves, we realise the importance of getting the enterprise app development process streamlined from the start. And a key component to this is to hire (on contract or on a permanent basis) the right iOS app developers from proven mobile app development agencies.
Determine an Appropriate App Development Method
There are different ways in which your company could get its enterprise app built, based on your peculiar requirements.
This depends on whether you need an HTML5 app, a native app or an app that lies somewhere in between.
The following are some unique methods or techniques for iOS enterprise app development:
Bespoke App Development
Major companies opt for enterprise apps that are custom built.
The perfect way of achieving this is by using a device-side iOS Software Development Kit (SDK). You then need to appropriately integrate the back-end systems or applications with the mobile app, which often raises some security concerns due to the involvement of user authorisation and connectivity.
To deal with mobile apps and its integration with back-end apps, some changes to the back-end systems or hand-coding and logic building are required.
Cross-Platform App Development
You can build native apps (which meet most of the capabilities of a mobile) or HTML5 apps or hybrid apps (a combination of native and HTML5 apps), using cross-platform tools.
These tools include Configure.IT, PhoneGap, Telerik, Apache Cordova and more.
Even if you are developing an enterprise app for the first time, you can try a comprehensive platform like Configure.IT, because it offers automatic coding capability, app preview facility, direct API connect and similar features.
Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) solves the concerns for back-end integration in an enterprise along with proper user authentication and security.
These services can be used by you in addition to the cross-platform tools to design and develop integrated business mobile apps that will be compatible with any device.
With this method, you can easily integrate with cloud apps, but integrating with on-premise resources is a tad difficult.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is one of the latest model-driven methods used for integrated enterprise app development.
It consists of complete application lifecycle management abilities to model the business logic with code generated in the background and it makes it easy to integrate with on-premise and cloud apps.
Get a Work Model for iOS App Development
Although there are several models available which you can opt for but the most popular and effective approach to the enterprise app development process is the agile methodology.
It involves a systematic process from gathering the requirements through making a strategy through creating the app design to actually develop and deploying the app.
Deploy and Test the App
Developing an iOS app for your enterprise is initially done on an iOS simulator. As part of the deployment process, you need to get the app on your physical Apple mobile phone. You can then do the beta testing for your enterprise app before it is officially made available to users.
It is extremely important for your company to plan for the future and ensure appropriate maintenance of the deployed enterprise app.
Every app has to go through numerous innovations after real-time usage and it helps to have professional expertise at hand.
So, your company needs to have a budget for maintaining the iOS enterprise app which will go a long way in improving its efficiency and overall productivity for your organisation.
It is clear that your company needs to plan for enterprise apps and start the development process as soon as possible. The future is friendly mobile apps and to stay ahead of your competition, your firm needs to have highly efficient, secure and innovative iOS apps.
So, what are you waiting for?
The middle of the last decade saw two Operating Systems begin to take shape – the iOS and the Android. Apple owned one, and the other was open source. A lot has changed since then. The ninth iOS version has just been announced while Android has seen everything from Gingerbread to Lollipop.
The user base of both the companies has grown too. It wasn’t just a few years back that smartphones weren’t affordable for the common many. In fact, touch screens by itself were a luxury. Processor improvements, RAM increase and a host of new specs meant that these two OS needed to change too, for the better. Then, Google acquired Android. Android smartphone prices came at a level where the general consumer could afford one – and the smartphone war started.
While Google and Apple continue to battle it out against each other, both companies manage to woo in customers only because their OS gets better with time. One of the major developments that both companies have stressed in is that of design and development. Enhancing the user experience and intuitiveness seems to be at the focus point and for a good reason.
App Developers – A Story That Has Just Begun
The developments mean that app developers can rethink on their app strategies. With a better UI, app developers can design apps that rake in more customers and drive in more traffic. Some features are the same while some are unique to one of them. The unique benefits mean that developers can look at a good amount of customization too. So, what are the Android and iOS design trends that app developers can take advantage of?
Here is a look at the trends of both the OS.
Flat interface design
Android and iOS both have a flat design today, which offers a neat and clean look to the interface, and allows for a better user experience. A flat interface essentially means that users can access apps and features quicker. The simple colour schemes can beautifully use the Flat design.
Use of bright and vibrant colours
Again, this is something similar to both iOS and Android systems – apart from a high PPI ratio, the Android interface offers rich and vibrant colours for users, which aims to grab attention right away.
Use of layered interface
A layered interface means that users have a 3D-like experience, enabling increased user engagement. Users can also use a multi-layer interface, with active widgets at the front and the inactive ones at the back.
Google Material Design
Introduced in 2014, Google’s own Material Design has a host of new features, which includes grid-based layouts, and responsive animations. There is also Google Now, which uses a ‘card’ like motifs and extensive transitions, padding and in-depth effects. The introduction of shadows to app icons was a first, which meant that visible edges and surfaces of app icons and objects could be seen clearly. This in turn means that users get to experience the Android touchscreen in a more life-like manner.
Code Thumb-Focused Interface
Most people prefer using their smartphones with one hand – and developers can design apps that recognize simple thumb oriented gestures easily. You can even specify the instances when multiple finger gesture is needed. This betters user experience and increases the engagement rate.
Use of blur effects extensively
Both the iOS and Android use blur effects. It helps offer a clean look and users can focus on the areas of the screen that are ‘working’.
Animation just makes the user experience a whole lot cooler. From background animations to in-app animations, developers can add in graphics and animations easily to give their app an edge.
Gestures For Different Audience
Developers can create unique gestures for the application. Think of the Game Amazing Spiderman: Unlimited by Gameloft. This episodic adventure game which involves you running around mostly, allows you to control the super hero with your gestures. While a single swipe allows you to change lanes, a swipe with two fingers means that you can change two lanes at once. Developers thus have a world of potential out there, and app designing becomes so much more exciting.
If Android got you talking about the user improvements, here is what iOS has to offer.
Native improvised design
Developers have it easy with a native environment that is friendly to app development. Aimed to make the app user experience more enjoyable, it helps developers integrate the native functions into the app easily.
Flat design everywhere
The iOS 7 introduced the flat design, enhancing user experience up by a few notches. The design is just right for viewing on mobile phones and offers a complete experience.
Minimal design -just what is needed
Down the years, there has been a trend in going minimalistic. A minimal design tries to say a lot more by saying a lot less. That’s a reason app icon sizes have gone smaller and there is a lot more information to your screen space without it seeming overdone.
Another important change that I see is the fact that there are so many typography options available. Whether it being customizing your keyboard or using newer fonts, typography options help user explore more and send messages in new, innovative ways. Apple only recently allowed third party apps and API integration, helping users personalize easily.
Use of bright and vibrant colors
While pixel density is always focused on while creating iOS devices, Apple also uses bright and vibrant colours to enhance the user experience.
iOS too uses Blur effects, which means that users can check out the portions of the screen that are working – while all other portions of the screen can be blurred out.
Gesture targeted designs
Pinch on the picture to zoom in. Swipe your fingers to move from one screen to another. Gesture targeted designs have made users experience iOS devices in a new way while allowing developers to use their creativity a little more.
Building a successful app – Do’s and Don’t’s
How do you build your app? Understanding the benefits on offer and the unique features of the operating system you’re developing for, will just enable you to develop apps that fully explore the capabilities. This in turn betters user experience and helps you reach out to a wider audience. Here are a few do’s and don’t that can help you.
- Do explore the full potential of the operating system
- Do keep your audience in mind
- Do focus on user engagement
- Do create a fluid UI and gestures that are easy to comprehend
- Don’t use dull colors
- Don’t use complex working method that makes users read a ten page manual first
- Don’t just design something for the sake of it – the user has to like what you’ve to offer.
iOS and Android have stayed up to date, constantly reinventing themselves down the years and helping developers do a lot more. While they have managed to retain user engagement with their native interface, the question is, does your app have the potential to use those design features to spark user engagement?
iOS 8 Vs. Android Lollipop – Which one let’s you build better? Here is a quick head to head comparison of the features of both the platforms that developers need to take a look at.
There are more mobile users using the internet than those using fixed internet access lines today, and it comes as no surprise. It’s no longer the question of whether you should have a mobile presence, but rather ‘when?’ Google’s Mobilegeddon update was important for web developers. For app developers, Apple’s introduction of Swift as a programming language was a wake-up call.
Mobile adoption is increasing with a Gartner report stating that users are increasingly satisfied with the current engagement rates. So, does it mean that you need to develop apps for both these OS? That’s one area that many entrepreneurs and developers ponder about. App entrepreneurs and developers are looking to develop apps on both Android and iOS, and are often asking the question, ‘Which one do we look at first’? Here is a quick head to head comparison of the features of both the platforms that developers need to take a look at.
What do you like about the iOS 8 – the new developer friendly features or a smoother performance? iOS 8 has the same design as its predecessor and comes with a number of extensions for developers. With iOS 8, Apple has finally moved away from its policies of not allowing third party extensions to communicate with its operating systems. So, which extensions have come in? Here is a look.
There are other extensions as well. Photo editing extensions allow users to edit photos, right after taking the picture with the phone, without the need to go to the third party app. Storage provider extensions allow users to select cloud services like Dropbox and OneDrive easily.
What makes iOS 8 Special?
We know that iOS 8 boasts of new features – but which ones are the best? There are a host of things that are new to iOS 8. One of them is Continuity, or the ability of Apple users to pick up their work from one Apple device to another Apple device – say you were writing on your Mac and then had to go out – your iPhone could help you finish off your task. Introduction of Swift as a programming language brings in a whole new dimension to app developers. While there is a good learning curve of Swift, Apple promises faster and better app-making with Swift. There are many other features that can be a developers’ paradise – from Family sharing to Health Kit and Home Kit.
Where does it fall short?
Don’t fall in for the iOS 8 as your ultimate choice for app development – there are a number of areas that Apple still needs to address. For instance, Apple didn’t time the release of iOS 8 well, with bugs aplenty leading to missing features for users. Apple had to send in an immediate update to fix the issue.
Apple’s iOS8 isn’t open source like Google’s Android. While that can work to an advantage sometimes, it means that users and developers have to wait for Apple’s acceptance before bringing in something new.
What’s the future like?
The changes by Apple that allows third party app developers to integrate with Apple’s own services, is a positive one. While it opens a new world for developers, users are benefitted as well through increased choice. Apple is expected to work more towards making their OS more developer friendly, with app making becoming easier.
Google’s Android Lollipop
Google has recently unveiled the next Android platform – Android M. The move is a surprising one as Google is yet to fully roll out Android Lollipop for a number of devices. For developers and app publishers, the question often is to choose
Google has made quite a few changes to Lollipop and seems to bring significantly more to the table.
New & Vibrant Google’s Material Design
Lollipop sports a new design, and unlike iOS 8, which is similar in UI to iOS 7, has over 5,000 new API’s for developers. The design, called Google’s Material Design, offers new themes and new widgets that offer complex views and custom shadows and animations with the help of new API’s. Backgrounds and images look sharper than ever and the ‘shadows’ effect is the first to be introduced.
More stable core
Google seems to be doing away with its lagging issue bit by bit. The lollipop promises a more stable core, offering better frame rates and user experience. In fact, Google is investing in Project Volta that is making the cores more energy efficient.
What makes Android Lollipop appeal?
Android is open source and thus has the scope of customization. While Google releases its Android version, most providers customize it. So, there is a different feel to your Samsung Galaxy S 6 than the HTC M9. What the customizations do, is help enhance features and enable developers to expand on device capabilities.
Where does it fall short?
Google is still working on stability. Android still faces the lag issues
What’s the future like?
Google has been experimenting with Android for a long time. It’s time they got it right and the Lollipop was a step in the right direction. Android M, already slated to be released by the year end, will further expand on Android’s capabilities.
Google offers more customizations than Android but a system that still is plagued by lags. iOS offers a lag free system but offers less customizations. Both the companies are looking at enhancing user experience, albeit different ways.
While Apple’s CEO Tim Cook termed Google’s system as vulnerable, Google’s then CEO Larry Page said that there was no real competition to Google. Developers need to understand that both the app ecosystems offer a lot when it comes to exposure and the way out is only to move from one ecosystem to another. As to which ecosystem, works better initially, here’s the deal – Google’s Play Store fares better when it comes to freemium models while Apple is the better way to go first if you’re offering paid apps.