Choosing an Approach to Mobile Development
Mobile applications are the new Shangra La for software development shops. This article in the Washington Post reports that more than 800 million iPhone applications have been downloaded and there are now more than 25,000 apps in the iTunes store. Clearly, there’s an enormous market for mobile applications. But, when it comes to choosing the best method for developing iPhone apps, it’s not always obvious which approach aligns with your business goals. This article outlines three different development methods for building mobile apps along with pros and cons to help you choose the development approach that’s right for your business.
Build In the Browser
The simplicity of browser-built iPhone apps attracts many developers, especially Web developers, but there are problems with this method. A major setback is that applications built this way can’t access native iPhone features like accelerometer, GPS, camera, contacts, etc. That’s a significant handicap when users are clamoring for applications that make the most of iPhone technology.
Create a Native App
Native applications built in Objective-C make full use of all the iPhone features: GPS, accelerometer, local storage, camera and more. This approach works especially well for robust applications, like 3D games. If your goal is to sell a complex, full-featured application, building a native application is your best bet.
So, why doesn’t every development shop build native iPhone apps? Because they’re built in Objective-C, an obscure programming language that can be difficult to learn. Not only are Objective-C developers hard to find, their skills don’t always transfer to other Web development projects. Finding and hiring a team of Objective-C developers is costly and not very practical, unless you plan to focus entirely on iPhone application development.
Take the Hybrid Approach
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Andre Charland is the co-founder and CEO at Nitobi Inc. He's been at the forefront of Web 2.0 software development for almost a decade and is an expert on the next generation web.