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World wide smartphone usage
The worldwide smartphone usage in 2016 was 302 million units, up 31.3% in 2015 and grew to 986 million by 2020, with China expected to be the largest region at 350 million. The Apple App Store and Google Play Store are the first go-to app stores as they provide easy access for users searching for apps. With 2 billion active Android devices as of January 2017, it represents an opportunity for developers looking to make their mark on this current platform.
Mobile app development has been different from web application development from its very beginning because it is emotionally more intimate than desktop/laptop computers and requires high performance considering time-to-market and performance standards. However, recent statistics show that mobile application development is gaining more popularity than ever before. The total number of applications increased by 11% to 2,835,600 apps between 2014 and 2015.
Created for small handheld devices such as smartphones, tablet computers are now widely available. Tablet computer sales surpassed laptop sales in 2013 -- 2015, making them the primary computing device at home. While there was initially a massive spike in sales of tablets due to their relative novelty, that market has slowed down since then; however, they remain an essential device category both for mobile developers (due to technical constraints) and for customers (because unlike phones they still support non-native app use cases like watching the video). They also continue to grow as a share of web traffic.
Cross-platform frameworks and tools allow
Alternatively, there are tools or frameworks for building cross-platform mobile applications as they are bundled with it. There are many different types and solutions to choose from according to your needs. Some solutions produce Native code and wrap native library structures, just abstractions of native language and tools. Other solutions will create a hybrid application that contains several native components and Web-based components or HTML components. They will use the built-in mobile browser for creating most of the user interface and functionality of the application. Again, there are countless options to choose from and selecting is often tricky at first. The primary considerations are being considered when selecting or developing cross-platform solutions that address these concerns, e.g. us to reuse code across platforms easily. This can be a great way to quickly build a usable application for different devices using the same underlying logic and data models. These technologies also support native components and cross-platform UI elements, allowing developers to mix and match as needed. However, this should be done sparingly as the "lowest common denominator" may not contain the critical features required by your app.
As you plan out your mobile application development strategies, it is helpful to keep in mind that there are two main approaches: developing from scratch or rolling an existing web application into a mobile version with responsive design techniques.
The App economy has opened new opportunities for developers, entrepreneurs, localization experts and designers. As a result, many companies have been created, and many new jobs have been added to the market.
The study published by AppAnnie in February 2017 has shown that China has become the world's largest app economy, reaching $1.3 billion in revenues for January. In September 2016, Vietnam's app economy was ranked fourth globally, with total revenues from local apps estimated at nearly $200 million for that month. It is expected that within just a few years, both markets will grow 5-10 times larger as internet access becomes more accessible through mobile devices and smartphones take a more significant chunk of PC sales. In the first quarter of 2017, revenue from iOS and Android stores grew +48% year to approximately $8 billion compared to $5.3 billion in Q1 2016. The Yahoo report said that the iOS App Store accounted for nearly 90 percent of all app store revenue.
Compliance is not an easy task to implement in cross-platform mobile applications as it requires additional efforts and resources. In addition, specific APIs are needed to be implemented by developers within apps to enable them with privacy controls that allow users to opt-out from being tracked by advertisers on both Android and iOS platforms.
When developing a cross-platform application, one of the most critical aspects that you have to keep in mind is running smoothly across different devices. One way of achieving this has a good emulation process through tools like Xamarin or GenyMotion. With these, you can easily emulate your code using their cloud-based services, which will help you test your application across different devices and resolutions. In addition, these emulators can be very helpful in debugging or pushing updates to your apps without actually having physical access to the machine on which they are running.
Another critical aspect of cross-platform development is its ability to save time and money while developing the app. This approach allows developers and businesses alike to easily create more than one version of an app that works on various mobile platforms, using a single code base while maintaining native capabilities. In addition, it saves time during the development process by allowing developers to focus solely on programming for all of the different mobile operating systems without worrying about things like menus, buttons, timers etc.
There are numerous tools available today that allow you to build and manage a mobile platform effortlessly. However, it is essential to keep in mind that compromises may not be worth the benefits we're receiving from using cross-platform development.
Mobile applications can be developed much faster due to the reuse of code. Still, every decision must be made carefully as too many compromises can result in a poor user experience or, even worse – your app might fail altogether.
Native apps vs. cross-platform apps
Native mobile development is based on tools and programming languages created for one platform. Cross-platform development aims to create a single application that works identically on multiple platforms. IT uses platform-agnostic technology, including HTML and CSS, which helps businesses cover many devices at lower costs. To reach larger audiences, each target platform would need a few solutions that would consume time and cost. When defining the required operating system to produce native apps, developers must be guided by its required functions. Please be sure if your app is running compatible with another platform Android and Windows Phone. To create an app, you need to create a new version. This is not the case with cross-platform development, where you can easily symbolize one code base for all platforms.
Mobile marketing is experiencing a significant shift. The capabilities that smartphones have today are changing the entire application economy on two ends – consumerism and business operations. Businesses can now run their operations much more efficiently than ever by providing their users with apps that act as an activity tracker or manage their email inbox. But, on the other hand, they can also collect data about their users and market effectively to them by using these apps.
Marketing campaigns today are designed in such a way that they can track user events to compile data that is later used for promotional activities.
One of the challenges faced when creating cross-platform apps is building them for multiple operating systems, each with unique requirements. Every developer knows that there will always be bugs or issues that may arise during development, and it is best practice to create an application using native code where possible. There are many advantages to using Xamarin over other cross-platform mobile app frameworks, including using the same language across platforms, subclassing for UI components etc.
Also, Although React Native allows you to build truly native applications, it doesn't mean every single feature will work perfectly across multiple platforms. For example, if you use an iOS-only app on Android, it will crash since React Native doesn't officially support that feature on the latter platform.
React Native vs Xamarin
Xamarin was acquired by Microsoft in February 2016 and is now available as an integral part of Visual Studio (VS). Apart from allowing developers to create cross-platform applications for several mobile operating systems, Xamarin also provides UI design tools for all these operating systems. This way, it becomes possible to maximize code sharing between iOS and Android apps with minimal effort.
Microsoft has recently announced opening their toolchain (Xamarin + VS), making it easier for third-party community members to contribute with code, which might solve a few open issues.
Xamarin allows developers to use C# as the primary language for creating cross-platform mobile apps combined with UI controls that provide custom, platform-specific features. The only thing that you have to keep in mind is that all these platforms are native applications to consume more memory on a device than a React Native app.
React Native vs Flutter
Google announced Flutter at Mobile World Congress (2017) and since then has been downloaded over 5 million times from the Google Play Store alone. Flutter uses Skia Graphics Engine, which Chrome, Android Browser and several other popular products.
Another critical difference is that Flutter uses widgets as building blocks for your app UI, while React Native has several components with predefined functions.
React Native vs Ionic
The mobile application front-end
The mobile front-end handles the user experience and design of the mobile application. There may be many people working on the development of a mobile app. The team might include dozens to hundreds of individuals with significant technical knowledge. APIs that allow you to access back-end services are usually available via several API interfaces - most commonly known as APIs. APIs come in different forms, such as GraphQL and REST. There are a variety of approaches and tactics for gaining access. Back-end services can be accessed immediately via the application's call to the platform, but additional specialized services may need to be directly incorporated into the app via software development.
These services include:
Java, being considered the most popular object-oriented programming language, is used by billions of devices. It is a well-established language that combines high performance and portability features, providing a robust typing system and a vast range of libraries for developers to choose from. In addition, the development process can be sped up by using pre-compiled languages such as JRuby, Groovy or Scala, which are interpreted programming languages that allow you to use Java code instead of a different programming language.
Objective C is a general-purpose language based on C developed by Apple Inc. Objective C has been around since the 1980s but was never used widely until its introduction with the iOS operating system in 2007. Nowadays, it is used primarily as an app development platform alongside Swift - Apple's version of an open-source programming language introduced back in 2014, which aims to replace Objective C. When it comes to iOS app development, Xcode IDE is a must.
The reason why Swift has been receiving so much praise in the last few years is well-known - it's because of its simplicity and safety. It also happens to be one of the most popular languages today, both in the mobile world and in back-end development. Thanks to Swift Package Manager (SPM), writing code for iOS applications has become simpler than ever before. This relatively young programming language compiles directly into binary and can integrate seamlessly with the Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, making deploying swift code pretty straightforward and transparent.
You might have already heard about Angular 2, especially if you happened to take an interest in mobile app development. It is a software platform produced by Google meant for building web and mobile apps and desktop client applications for both Android operating system and iOS devices. The framework was first unveiled back in 2009 but has since gone through several upgrades bringing new features with every version upgrade, so now Angular is considered quite outdated. However, several other frameworks have infringed on its territory, including Vue.js, which is doing quite well in developing web applications and mobile apps.
While some might argue that Angular 2 has been dramatically improved over time as far as performance and code quality are concerned, it must be noted that this framework does not come with a rendering engine. In simple terms, this means problems for those looking forward to building hybrid apps because they have to rely on third-party engines such as Apache Cordova or Ionic. With React Native first announced back in 2015, developers had a powerful tool for writing code that would run on both iOS and Android devices at their disposal. React Native has been backed by Facebook, Instagram and several other large corporations.
The Mobile Application Back-End
The most effective mobile application will require a dependable back-end solution. Mobile app developers should not code their services themselves unless they have unique intellectual property in the app area. Even if they construct their services, they should always use cloud-based infrastructure to build and maintain the back end. The question is now more apparent: developers should exclusively utilize third-party services to manage and enhance this service.
Node.js was initially developed by Ryan Dahl back in 2009 but has since been improved upon thanks to contributions from developers worldwide. This means you have more resources to help you craft a highly efficient back-end solution.
Pros and Cons of Cross-Platform Mobile Development
As new technology evolves, mobile app development can be more dynamic and attractive to developers. Cross-platform development should be applied for the solution to be appropriate—including cross-platform applications, cross-engineered solutions or cross-developing solutions. Challenges are crucial, or not for your project. If your project is unique and requires controlling all the features 100%, it's better to consider native mobile app development. However, if you want an easy deployment process, shorter time-to-market and low-cost solution, cross-platform mobile development may be a good choice.
Next is platform compatibility. You can use React Native with iOS, Android and Windows mobile operating systems, which means you have more flexibility to create the mobile application you want for different mobile devices or platforms. Xamarin isn't as flexible because it's compatible with only two major mobile technologies – iOS and Android – but it offers complete access to native APIs, which might be necessary depending on what type of app you are developing.
Speaking of resources, React Native is supported by Facebook and a big community of developers, which means you can find plenty of tutorials and code snippets online for almost any problem you might encounter during development. The downside is that sometimes this large support group doesn't make things easier when choosing the best solution for your specific situation. There are always disagreements regarding how certain features should be implemented or whether such functionality should be included in the framework. Support on Xamarin is better since Microsoft provides vital support to its users, but not as good compared to what you get with React Native.
So, what does all this information mean? It means that React Native might be better if you already have web development skills or don't want to spend any time learning languages, but it also requires some extra resources for proper maintenance. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more straightforward solution with high performance and easy maintenance, Xamarin is worth considering.
Neither of them is necessarily better than the other; it all comes down to the type of app you want to develop and your resources. However, since both technologies are supported by big companies (Facebook and Microsoft), they will continue improving their products with time which means you don't have to worry about whether or not your chosen framework is good enough for future development.
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