Determining the right mobile app strategy

Photo by William Hook on Unsplash

Determining the right mobile app strategy for an organization would depend on the answers to the following questions:

These are some of the determiners that would help one decide on the mobile app architecture that is best suited for their requirement. However, Mobile app development platforms such as IBM Mobile Foundation Platform supports frameworks for mobile application development across the spectrum of mobile app development modes.

The mobile application development frameworks spread across the spectrum of being fully native to apps that are primarily developed for Web and Mobile Web.

Read the post A deeply detailed but never definitive guide to mobile development architecture.

The image below shows the different mobile app development tiers and the frameworks for each of the tiers, which is supported by IBM MobileFirst Foundation v8.0 (Mobile Foundation Devcenter).

Mobile application development tiers

Let us take a look at when to choose each of the application development tier/framework as each one of them has their own benefits and shortcomings.

Native apps

IBM Mobile Foundation Platform (MFP) supports native app development for Android, iOS and Windows (8 and 10). Native applications have the following characteristics:

In IBM Mobile Foundation Platform v8.0(MFP):

Web apps

Web apps are usually developed for a user outreach not limiting to the mobile device. HTML, CSS and JavaScript are used to develop web apps. Web apps have the following characteristics:

IBM Mobile Foundation Platform v8.0 (MFP) supports:

PWA

Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are an improvement over Web apps. PWA attempts to provide reliability and speed with browser based web apps. PWA aims at increasing the user engagement level by working in an offline mode or when the connectivity is poor. PWA locally caches the necessary data. PWA has the following characteristics:

IBM Mobile Foundation Platform v8.0 (MFP):

Hybrid apps

Hybrid app development frameworks like Cordova, Ionic, Onsenui, Framwork7 etc., has the tools required to convert Web apps, developed in HTML, CSS and JavaScript, to mobile apps for platforms such as Android, iOS or Windows. Hybrid apps has the following characteristics:

In IBM Mobile Foundation Platform v8.0 (MFP):

Cross-platform apps

Using cross-platform frameworks like RubyMotion or Xamarin, applications can be developed using either Ruby in RubyMotion or C# in Xamarin and can be compiled to run in either Android or iOS. The characteristics of cross-platform apps are:

IBM Mobile Foundation Platform v8.0 (MFP):

Web Native apps

Web Native app frameworks enable app developers to develop Web apps using native components. Web View is not required to render the UI components . Appcelerator Titanium, React Native, NativeScript are some of the Web Native frameworks. The characteristics of web native apps are:

IBM Mobile Foundation Platform v8.0 (MFP):

Mobile Backend

Mobile backend capabilities is another important aspect to consider when developing mobile apps with complex business functionality requiring integration with enterprise backend systems. IBM Mobile Foundation Platform provides the MobileFirst server component and adapters that provide the runtime and connectivity required to run your mobile backend piece and integrate with enterprise systems. Additionally, MobileFirst server provides the necessary logging, security and administration for your mobile apps. IBM Mobile Foundation Platform also provides MobileFirst Analytics component that can provide operational analytics on the app activities, logs, user sessions, crashes etc.

You can also build AI apps that leverage the cognitive capabilities provided by IBM Watson services on IBM Cloud using the OOTB adapters provided by IBM Mobile Foundation Platform.

IBM Digital App Builder provides the speed necessary to build mobile applications targeted for Android, iOS, PWA or Web. With Digital App Builder even a semi-skilled development team or a citizen developer can build great apps quickly.

Summary

A snapshot view of the suitable mobile app development tier for some of the mobile app architecture determiners is shown below:

Pivot table showing determiners against mobile app development tiers

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