Mobile Web Apps

Mobile App Development Options: Which Way To Go?


When starting a new mobile project, the decision to build a native, hybrid, or mobile web application can be daunting. In this talk from the WindyCityGo conference, J Schwan of Solstice Consulting presents a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons of each mobile development option.

Key Slides & Quotations:

The biggest pro of the mobile web is that it's cross-platform. You've only gotta build it once, so that investment is much smaller.

Mobile Web Pros:

  • Cross-platform
  • Open standards
  • No proprietary programming languages
  • Easier reuse of existing enterprise tech
  • No dependency on app stores

Mobile Web Cons:

  • No disconnected state
  • No access to (most of) the phone's senses
  • Device testing a challenge
  • Writing multiple implementations
  • No marketing/distribution through app store

Native apps are great when you need access to the phone's senses, you need a rich uncompromised user-experience. . .and the majority of your functions require disconnected access. . .

Native App Pros:

  • Native access to the phone's senses
  • Native access to the phone's data
  • Offline storage
  • Richer GUI options
  • App Store monetization/In-App Purchases

Native App Cons:

  • Different Development Technologies
  • Different IDEs
  • Duplicate development efforts
  • Increased support costs
  • App Store approval queues

Hybrid apps are great when you are mobilizing an existing web app, but you need app store exposure, you want native app coverage across all platforms, your mobile web functions do not require disconnected state, and you require access to the phone's hardware for some features.

Hybrid App Pros:

  • Majority of content portable (developed on mobile web)
  • Disconnected state possible
  • Some screens can be developed natively
  • Notifications can be supported
  • App Store exposure/monitization
  • Decreased costs for multi-platform

Hybrid App Cons:

  • Decreased user experience for mobile web delivered content
  • Offline access not trivial for mobile web screens
  • Multi-platform wrapper requires native and mobile web technology know-how

Ultimately, we're moving towards a mobile-based operating system and we're going to have workstations that are going to be the exception scenarios versus workstation-based systems with mobile use cases being the exception scenarios. So this is all going to flip-flop. . .As we design new products, we better be thinking about mobile.

About the Speaker

J Schwan is the Founder and President of Solstice Consulting as well as Solstice's product development studio, Bottega Sol. Under his leadership, Solstice has lead the industry in helping enterprises understand, embrace and adapt to emerging technologies. In addition to helping his teams build great products for Solstice's customers, J enjoys speaking about emerging technology topics at many educational institutions, technology conferences and focus groups. J enjoys playing tennis and golf, but gets most of his exercise chasing around his 3 year old daughter and 2 year old son.

-Solstice Consulting

About the Venue

WindyCityGo is a two-day conference focused on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and HTML5 application development. Learn how to create better mobile apps and how to sell them effectively. Meet others who are just as passionate as you. Developers, designers, entrepreneurs, & investors all find value in WindyCityGo.

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