Enterprise Apps Development

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Our last article was about the needs and challenges of mobilization. We also talked on how these Enterprise apps are demanded by the Employees as well as, drive productivity. Today, we will talk about how to go ahead in mobilizing your enterprise, and how to make your Enterprise more productive with the right tools.
As the onset of providing your Enterprise applications to mobile devices, three major ways of developing Enterprise apps have been introduced. They are:
1) Native Application Development
2) Hybrid Application Development
3) Cross-Platform Application Development

An Enterprise can opt for any one of the three ways depending on needs as well as stability of the apps. We will be talking on these three prime application development process and will do a comparative analysis on how these applications will be benefiting in various scenarios.

Native Application Development:

A Native application is an application which is developed in their Native operating system using the underlying Coding structure of the OS. For example, Android native applications are developed using JAVA same as the coding platform for Android OS. Similarly iOS native applications are developed using XCode and COCOA which in turn is underlying for iOS.

Because Native Apps are written in the same coding language as that of OS, they can interact with the OS free hand and have the highest compatibility with OS features. They also provide the best compatibility of the underlying Hardware used in the operating system. These apps can further increase the usability with the ability to interact with system apps like GPS (Global Positioning System) and camera. Native apps are listed in the OS Specific online store, for android its Google Play and for iOS,it’s App Store. These application repository are very easy to communicate, as well as, provide the searching algorithm to search for their vast application repositories and finally allows install from a single click.

The term “native app” is often mentioned in the context of mobile computing because mobile applications have traditionally been written to work on a specific device platform. A native app is installed directly on a mobile device and developers create a separate app version for each mobile device. The native app may be stored on the mobile device out of the box, or it can be downloaded from a public or private app store and installed on the mobile device. Data associated with the native app is also stored on the device, although data can also be stored remotely and accessed by the native app. Depending on the nature of the native app, Internet connectivity may not be required.

In a nutshell, native apps provide the best usability, the best features, and the best overall mobile experience. There are some things you only get with native apps:
Multi touch – double taps, pinch-spread, and other compound UI gestures

Fast graphics API – the native platform gives you the fastest graphics, which may not be a big deal if you’re showing a static screen with only a few elements, or a very big deal if you’re using a lot of data and require a fast refresh.

Fluid animation – related to the fast graphics API is the ability to have fluid animation. This is especially important in gaming, highly interactive reporting, or intensely computational algorithms for transforming photos and sounds.

Built-in components – The camera, address book, geo-location, and other features native to the device can be seamlessly integrated into mobile apps. Another important built-in components is encrypted storage, but we will talk about that later.

Ease of use – The native platform is what people are accustomed to, and so when you add that familiarity with all of the native features they expect, you have an app that’s just plain easier to use.

Documentation – There are over 2500 books alone for iOS and Android development, with many more articles, blog posts, and detailed technical threads on sites like StackOverflow.

Native Android Application Development structure:

As we can see,the application draws all the files from the App location and nothing is saved in the Server Side, and so we can say this is a Heavy application and requires a suitable device to execute smoothly on. We will not dive too much into details but a sample overview of how the application development takes place, will provide us with the insight on how this applications perform. We can also observe that the whole of the application containDLL (Dynamic Link Library),resource files which are all stored or packed into a single APK file, which leads to considerable size of the application. Some applications further needs huge resource files which gets downloaded in a separate location on the mobile hard disk making them heavy on application size.

Native IOS Application Development Structure:

As it is observed, the application structure is pretty simple in iOS. We have Data Objects which are basically resource files used in application like images or some other data. Documents if any, like application uses some kind of database for functioning. These will all be stored in the application and are considerably heavy weight.
Controller deals with the Business logic of the application, and View part deals with the User Interface of the application. By business logic we mean the application functionality are coded and executed, and the DLL file thus created after execution, acts as the one point application with a business logic.

HTML 5 Cross Platform Application Development:

An HTML5 mobile app is basically a web page, or series of web pages, that are designed to work on a tiny screen. As such, HTML5 apps are device agnostic and can be opened with any modern mobile browser. And because your content is on the web, it’s searchable, which can be a huge benefit depending on the app (shopping, for example).

This picture gives us a clear idea on how an HTML 5 based Webapplication runs in any platform. The client platform or the mobile device needs only the Web Browser as the platform to execute. The business Logic which is the middle tier, deals with all the Business logic and Application logic including Database handling and resource handling. Web service is basically a container in which the application executes and generates response to user requests.

Hybrid Application Development:

A hybrid application (hybrid app) is one that combines elements of both native and Web applications. Native applications are developed for a specific platform and installed on a computing device. Web applications are generalized for multiple platforms and not installed locally but made available over the Internet through a browser. Hybrid apps are often mentioned in the context of mobile computing.

Hybrid application features:
• Can function whether or not the device is connected.
• Integration with a device’s file system.
• Integration with Web-based services.
• An embedded browser to improve access to dynamic online content.
Most applications could be considered hybrid apps. Web apps, such as online banking services, typically store some content locally; locally stored native apps, such as Microsoft Word, also interface to the Internet.

Comparative Analysis of Various App Development Methodologies:

Let us look into various comparative development features Native Apps have with Cross Platform Apps and Hybrid App

The main reason, the organization chooses an Application Developing procedure, is completely based on requirement. If the company wants the apps to be more portable and save cost and time, they can either choose from Hybrid or Web App. If the organization have applications which require a high amount of security and functionality, then the organization should go for Native applications.

For example, if the organization wishes to provide the Sales personnel with an innovative software for capturing Leads, and wishes the application to save all the data including pictures and text details securely, they can ask for a standalone app which stores everything in high security encoded format which gets stored to server only when the user connects to the internet.

The chart is very clear as to understanding the various differences in App development approaches and what an organization can expect from their apps.

Let’s look at various other functionalities difference which Native App Development provides to cross platform app developments.

This chart gives us what functionalities are available for various app development strategy. As we can observe, Hardware functionality are best suited for Native app development and would be completely lost to Web Apps, however some hardware are made accessible to Hybrid apps based on the Native shell they use to interact with the system.

Mobile development is a constantly moving target. Every six months, there’s a new mobile operating system, with unique features only accessible with native APIs. The containers bring those to hybrid apps soon thereafter, with the web making tremendous leaps every few years. Based on current technology, one of the scenarios examined in this article is bound to suit your needs.

A very simple diagram which provides with the various functionality as well as usability based on the Platform chosen, is given. We can observe that by going Native we get more Compatibility on Hardware and we get lowest platform compatibility. And by going complete Cross platform we gets lowest compatibility by highest platform compatibility.

The Mobile Enterprise Application Platform software market is constantly evolving and expanding. According to TechNavio’s analysts, “the Global Mobile Enterprise Application Platform market will reach $1.6 billion in 2014.”-Wiki(Source)

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