More and more people are shopping online and purchasing products through mobile apps and marketplaces. Due to these realities, companies are on a course to automate processes and develop corporate mobility to make it easier for their employees to work, attract additional customers, and increase sales.
In this article, we talked about ways to develop mobile apps. In each point, we disclosed the advantages and disadvantages, as well as pointed out and what types of businesses are most suitable.
Let’s look at several ways to create mobile apps, their capabilities, and limitations, as well as for what tasks and for what kind of business they may be suitable.
Native development for iOS and Android
The popularity of development in native languages (Kotlin/Java for Android and Swift/Objective-C for iOS) is due to the accumulated expertise, the large market of specialists, and elaborate risks.
Such applications give businesses confidence that their problems will be solved and the risks of technical problems will be minimized.
- For most unique business applications where boxed solutions are not suitable.
- For high-performance applications, such as a video player, we recommend choosing native development.
- If you plan to create a solution for only one platform.
Capabilities and limitations
You can use third-party services to create push notifications. Purchases of digital goods can be made via the company’s website and virtual coins.
When there are high risks that your iOS application can be blocked, it is worth looking at the mobile version of the site or PWA. If the risks of this are low, you can use Flutter.
Adapting the site for the mobile version and PWA
PWA (Progressive Web App) technology allows you to add a website from your browser to your smartphone screen as an app.
- Companies that have a website with a large audience.
- For example, you have an electronic store. You want users to be able to browse and make purchases from their phone.
In this case, you can first make a user-friendly mobile version of the site, and then refine it to PWA. And the adaptation of an existing online resource will be cheaper than developing an application from scratch.
Possibilities and limitations
Push-notifications and offline work are available for users of PWA-application. At the same time all the capabilities of the site remain – simplified updating of information and attracting users by optimizing the resource for search engines, advertising launch and distribution of the published content.
Compared to the mobile version, PWA has many advantages. However, with offline support configured, the frontend bundle (site build) is taken from the cache, which means the app may not be updated in a timely manner.
With the mobile version of the site, if the cache invalidation strategy is properly configured, the user will always have up-to-date information.
In addition, PWA apps have limited use of some features (Touch ID, Bluetooth and other operating system specific functionality) and the amount of stored data/files (maximum 50 MB).
There is also no access to personal information on the user’s device.
No Code and Low Code-platforms
Recently No Code (without writing program code) and Low Code (with minimal coding) development platforms have become very popular. There are a lot of such platforms on the market.
By filling out a template, you can get a ready-made application, subsequently paying for monthly maintenance or the cost of a license.
- For hypothesis testing, if you don’t have a team to develop your own app or customers have enough standard functionality where the design doesn’t involve complexities like 3D animation.
- Small businesses, especially niche services for which platform limitations will not be critical.
Opportunities and limitations
Much in the success of such a solution depends on the task at hand and the depth of its development.
For example, if your business is related to transportation, you will need: two mobile applications (for the passenger and driver) and a working place of the dispatcher, combined with the CMS functionality for the site. If you plan to add a few cities of presence, the conditions become more complicated.
It is possible to find No Code/Low Code solutions, but it will take time. And yet they can be incomplete: somewhere you will have to do without add-ons or pick up plugins (often with a paid subscription) to replace individual functions.
Choose plugins that are:
- Are compatible with each other;
- fit into the current architecture;
- can support scalability.
No Code is often not suitable:
- High-tech solutions (e.g., a drone ground control application);
- Fintech products (such as RBS for businesses);
- Large projects with planned service scaling;
- If plans for product development are vague.
Open source platforms – Xamarin, React Native
- To create enterprise iOS and Android apps of varying complexity, aimed at solving internal needs.
Capabilities and limitations
Since Xamarin uses native components for layout, you can usually gain no more than 15-30% in development time.
React Native has UI performance and security issues, so you may have trouble with apps for mass audiences. Plus, there are few React Native experts on the market and they are expensive.
In the current reality, an important advantage is a painless transition to alternative application stores and, in the long run, to the web.
Cross-platform frameworks – Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile (KMM) and Flutter – help create the same interface regardless of platform specifics.
- For app development of any complexity, from MVPs to mobile banks.
- Large product companies and startups.
- If there’s a risk that your iOS app might get blocked, but you want to keep the native design.
Features and limitations
Unlike React Native, Flutter has no UI performance issues.
Our experience shows that you can save 20 to 50% of your iOS/Android development hours with Flutter.
There is not a lot of expertise on KMM on the market right now, it is difficult to correctly assess the profit. You can create desktop applications and websites on Flutter. the only thing – there are problems with SEO.
It is better not to use this way of development if the application’s main functionality is tied to the hardware. In this case, one part of the screens, where you need to work with the hardware, must be done natively, the other – on cross-platform technology.
Magento Mobile platforms
- To create cross-platform mobile solutions for iOS and Android to automate business processes and other internal company tasks. For example, an application for security checks and equipment diagnostics.
- For companies whose work is based on system products.
Opportunities and limitations
Magento Mobile technology can be used when a company’s business processes are tied to Magento products and a mobile application needs to be developed for employees.
For an IT product not to slow down, fast server processing of requests is important. For the mass user, this version of mobile application is not quite suitable: customization will require special attention, because their design may be different from the native applications people are used to
Social networks and Telegram-bots
Facebook and Telegram continue to grow, opening up new business opportunities, such as creating mini-apps.
Telegram bots can also take over some of the app’s functionality.
- For shopping, food ordering, entertainment and other services.
- For companies in the service and leisure industry.
Features and limitations
This method has a number of advantages: low development and customer acquisition costs, low competition, high virality and traffic: if you get into the catalog, you can get 100-300 thousand visits on the first day of the application launch.
Although geolocation in mini-apps is available, there are fewer opportunities to use it than in native apps.
In addition, such applications have a small weight – up to 10 MB, which means a simplified interface and a limited set of features. Such applications exist only within a social network and only narrow the audience of possible users.
How to act in the current situation
Today, demand for mobile apps is generally stable, but businesses are considering different options.
Some companies save their budgets for custom development, others look for ways to save money, and still others look for ready-made solutions. However, there are not many of them in the mobile market, and the priority is to create your own products.
To understand how to act for you, we suggest these steps:
- Determine the goal, why you need the app.
You may have already created it, but realized that it is outdated. Or, for example, if you only have an idea for a product, but no terms of reference or clear requirements, then start with the Discovery Phase.
- Based on the goal, calculate the potential “revenue.”
For example, you have a business selling products and your own website. Calculate how many additional purchases a mobile app will bring, whether its development will justify it, and in how long. Don’t forget to estimate the impact of external factors.
- Estimate the costs, and resources and weigh them against reality.
Calculate how much it will cost to develop the app in one way or another: ask for quotations from contractors and compare them to understand if you are missing any important stages of work in the estimate. This will help exclude the probability that at the initial stage you may be given the minimum cost, and then the budget will increase at the expense of additional work.
- Once again make sure that it is worth developing a mobile app at this point. After receiving the CP, make sure that you are right in your decision. It may be more profitable in your situation to leave it as it is.
- Decide on what to develop with and who, sign a contract, and launch the project.
When choosing how to implement a mobile app, it’s important to base your decisions on the available resources, your goals, and your potential results.
Any IT solution must pay off and bring benefits to your business.