24 April 2019
What Is Mobile App Development?
Mobile app development is the process of building applications for mobile devices such as smartphones, smartwatches, tablets and wearables. These applications can be downloaded from the appropriate smartphone app stores or a third party source. Many things must be taken into consideration while developing mobile apps such as app design, app servers, app backend, APIs, app databases, etc. In this article, we will be talking about the different components and facets of mobile app development and the different types of app development.
We will be mainly talking about apps that are related to Android mobile apps and iOS mobile apps.
Types of Mobile app development
Native Mobile App Development
Native mobile app development is using the official development environment for the device to build mobile apps. This means that it is using Android Studio for Android devices and using Xcode in iOS devices.
In native mobile app development, each development tool is specific towards the Operating System (OS) of the device. This will bring about many advantages to the development of native mobile apps. Being the official development technology for mobile apps of its operating system, native mobile app development can have access to the latest developer features. For example, if there is a new feature released in the mobile app industry, native app developers will be able to implement them into the apps before other players.
The advantages of native mobile apps:
- More secure than hybrid apps
- More customisation
- More interactive
- Includes latest developer technologies
- Tends to have fewer bugs during development
- Faster speed
However, native mobile app development does bring about disadvantages to the development as well. Since the mobile app development technology is specific to the operating system, more efforts will be spent developing for both Android and iOS devices. Therefore, that will affect the costs and development time of mobile app development
The disadvantages of native mobile apps:
- Slow development times
- Overkill for simple apps
- Difficult to learn
Android native mobile app development
In Android mobile app development, Android Studio platform is used with Java as the progrmaming language. Java is a good language to learn as it is universal and can be used in other areas such as server and backend. Android Studio was released in May 2013, replacing Eclipse in android mobile app development.
Android Studio has a rich layout editor for app developers to drag-and-drop UI components and previews it live. Upon dragging and dropping the UI components, the code updates accordingly. From there, we can edit the code to tweak how the UI will turn out.
Android Studio has also the backend editor where the logic of the mobile app lies. This is where the main bulk of Java code will be in. This logic can be things like querying the database, editing fields in the database or even calling an external API. These all can be done with the backend codes of Android Studio.
There is also an android emulator which simulates a real Android device, allowing app developers to preview and try their app after building the app. This option can also be switched to a physical Android device. This is beneficial for the app developer as they can see the app and identify and iterate on any changes to the mobile app.
iOS native mobile app development
iOS native app development is mainly written using Xcode in Swift. Swift is a programming language developed by Apple themselves, thus explaining it being native. Although Swift is not as universal as Java, Swift is able to write programmes for a range of Apple operating systems. Some examples of such devices are for macOS, watchOS, tvOS.
In Swift, you can drag UI elements into the canvas to preview how it looks like. You can even select a function and drag the function to the UI element to create other codes. iOS also provides you with resources to design clean looking mobile apps for your users.
The syntax for iOS app development in Swift is quite easy to learn as compared to Java which is an old-school language. Swift is a lean programming language which is more fun to learn as well.
You can test out your mobile apps by plugging your device into the development machine. You can also release the build for the public by using a programme called Testflight.
The limitation for iOS mobile app development is that you must have either a MacBook for you to develop these apps.
Hybrid Mobile App Development
Hybrid mobile app development is an interesting technology. Being able to write the code once, using web development language, and have a mobile app in both Android and iOS devices. That is a technology that we are only recently able to experience. Hybrid apps are simply websites that are packaged into a mobile app. However, it looks and feels like a mobile app.
Hybrid mobile app development is the best way for a business to launch a mobile app quickly and efficiently. This brings the costs down for app development while mostly delivering the same quality of the mobile app. The most common hybrid app development framework is Ionic. Ionic is commonly used now in the mobile apps in the modern world. It is agile and lean, yet powerful at the same time.
Ionic mobile app development framework was first released in 2013 that is built on AngularJS and Apache Cordova. There are new releases now, up to Ionic 4 that is currently in their Beta version. They are run on web technologies like HTML5, CSS, SCSS. They are then packaged into mobile apps using Cordova.
Although it is a website in a mobile app, these mobile app development technologies allow the mobile app to access native device features. This allows the best of both worlds. Hybrid app technologies were initially frowned upon in previous years. However, due to the advancement in mobile app development technologies, hybrid app performance has improved tremendously.
Today, hybrid mobile app development technologies are as powerful as native apps. Although the latest release of SDK in native mobile apps cannot be used immediately, hybrid mobile app companies like Ionic will work to release these as soon as possible, allowing developers to use them.
Cross-Platform Mobile App Development
Cross Platform mobile app development is in the middle of hybrid apps and native apps. It is also a framework that allows app developers to write app development codes once and allow it to run on both iOS and Android mobile phones, meaning a single codebase. However, it differs from hybrid app development because it renders native elements in the build rather than using web technologies.
We hope that this helps app developers understand more about what mobile app development is. We hope that you will use this knowledge to your advantage and can be beneficial for you in the future. Contact us at SleekDigital if you need any mobile app development done. SleekDigital is a Mobile app development company in Singapore specialising in enterprise app development.