With 1.2 billion mobile phone users and millions more on tablets, the extent of the mobile revolution rivals that of the changeover from monolithic systems to client/server computing. As a result, we are witnessing huge changes to application architecture.
Businesses desiring to increase mobility and take advantage of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) are increasingly turning to mobile applications. While choosing consumer-facing apps is often easiest, this can put mission critical data at risk, thereby driving the need for more secure business apps. Almost a third of businesses are currently testing mobile applications and over two thirds expect to add one or more additional apps in the coming year. Meanwhile a quarter expects to have an enterprise app store by 2017
What are the most popular codes for developing enterprise mobile apps – native, cross-platform, or a combination of both?
Native App Development
Native code has obvious advantages. It can take full advantage of a mobile unit’s platform and offers more customization. Native apps also react about 15% faster than non-native and provide better security. However due to its non-transferable nature, its popularity continues to decline. While 15% of app developers said they were using pure Native last year, only 8% make the same claim today.
App development in HTML5 enables use across multiple platforms, rather than having to write a new application for each one. HTML5 is also very economical if developing a large number of apps for multiple tasks. These benefits explain why it’s become the most popular choice for mobile app developers. Despite comments by Mark Zuckerberg about problems Facebook has encountered with HTML5, developers are increasingly turning to it. While some 36% said they developed purely in HTML5 in 2012, this jumped to 41% in 2013 and a whopping 91% have already developed with it. Almost half, though, say that the code won’t be enterprise ready for at least a year.
What if you want the best of both worlds? Hybrid apps are written with web technologies that run inside a native app container. They’re developed mostly in HTML5 for the UI, but rely on native code to access device-specific features largely unavailable to Web applications. While once there was a dearth of effective development tools, the hybrid tooling offering has advanced significantly in recent times. There are now numerous strong solutions offering everything from device APIs and native UI, to simulators, SDK management, on-device debugging, and more. Due to its manifold strengths, it is predicted that by 2015 some 60% of mobile enterprise apps will be developed with Hybrid code, some 30% with HTML5 and about 10% Native.