20 Jan, 2015

A Look at Hybrid Apps

Is a hybrid app best for your enterprise?

We’ve looked at the benefits and challenges of native apps and HTML5 apps. Now let’s look at a third type of apps, hybrid apps.

Hybrid apps use web views (native widgets that display web pages but without the address bar and navigation controls displayed in a normal browser) to display web content.

What this does is allow developers to embed HTML content inside an app to seamlessly blend native elements and web content on the same screen.

Apple App Store hybrid app example

The Apple App Store is one of the most recognizable examples of a hybrid app, using native elements for the top search and bottom navigation toolbars but web views to display search cards.

With their ability to combine the best of both worlds, hybrid apps are gaining popularity. In fact, the research firm Gartner predicts that by 2016, hybrid apps will constitute the majority of mobile apps.

Given their growing popularity and best of both worlds capabilities, should your organization choose the hybrid app model?

Let’s start with the number of compelling reasons for choosing a hybrid app.

13 Jan, 2015

Evaluating the HTML5 Approach

Should Your Enterprise Develop an HTML5 App?

HTML5 Apps

Now that we’ve taken a look at the pros and cons of native apps, let’s examine another approach, HTML5.

HTML5 apps run in a web browser but behave like native apps. Historically the HTML5 approach has been the primary rival of native.

According to IBM, 75% of Fortune 500 companies are taking steps to deploy HTML5 mobile apps.

Clearly it’s a popular approach. But does the HTML5 approach make sense for your enterprise? There are a number of factors to consider when evaluating its suitability.

Time and Resource Constraints

Taking a broad device approach is essential for both consumer and employee facing apps. HTML5 allows for a single codebase, so developers can write code once and deploy it on multiple platforms quickly. The native approach can require multiple development teams – one for each platform supported. HTML5 is thus a better option for enterprises without significant teams and resources.

Collaborative Community

HTML5 is known for its large, collaborative community of developers. Enterprise developers building HTML5 apps will readily find answers to technical questions, sample code, documentation, and many other free developer resources.

Frequent Updates

To make updates to a native app, you must go through an approval process via app stores – a headache if you want to make frequent updates. Web apps allow developers to bypass this process and make updates instantly.

Keeping Personal Devices Personal

In a Bring Your Own Device environment, enforcing data security policies for native apps may require installing mobile device management (MDM) software onto employees’ phones. An HMTL5 app, because it runs in the browser, bypasses the need for an MDM solution. Employees can access their work data securely while keeping their personal devices feeling “personal.”

Easy Transition to Mobile Web

If your company has an existing web app, you can leverage your existing code to build a mobile web version faster. By contrast, a native app on iOS, for example, is built in a completely separate environment using a different language (Objective-C) and is therefore not transferrable to a web platform.

Subscription Model and Content Advantage

For subscriptions purchased in the Apple App Store, for example, Apple takes 30% of the transaction. If your services are monetized via a subscription model, web apps are a better option than app stores.

And if your app is primarily content-focused, for example a newsfeed reader, your app is also a prime candidate for HTML5.

Despite the advantages, there are definitely instances in which HTML5 in not the best option for your enterprise.

If Advanced Performance is a Top Priority

If your app requires low latency, intense graphics or computational horsepower, HTML5 is not the best approach.

If Access to Native Device Functions is Required

If your app requires native device functions like offline data access or push notifications, native apps are a better fit than HTML5 apps. That said, there are an increasing number of APIs allowing web apps greater device access.

If You’re Looking to Monetize Your App

With the noted exception of a subscription service, native apps are a better option than HTML5 apps for monetization, due to the ease of distribution provided by app stores.

Download our Native vs. HTML5 vs. Hybrid Apps Ebook to read more about HTML5 apps, including handy lists of device APIs for HTML5 apps, HTML5 tools and HTML5 development tips from experts.

06 Jan, 2015

Should You Choose the Native Approach?

Pros and Cons of Native Apps

Enterprises looking to develop an app have a few choices – native apps, web apps and hybrid apps.

Native apps are the type with which we’re all familiar. They’re the apps we find in app stores, whose colorful icons fill our mobile devices’ home screens.

Native Apps

Native apps are often the first option to come to mind when developing an app. But how do you decide if a native app is right for your company? You first need to consider the inherent benefits and drawbacks.

Let’s start with the benefits.

05 Jan, 2015

Leading the Way in Mobile

Macy's named 2014 Mobile Retailer of the Year

macys-mobile-retailer

Macy’s has been recognized as the 2014 Mobile Retailer of the Year. The accolade is one of the most prestigious awards in mobile commerce, honoring the winner for their exemplary strategic and creative use of mobile.

With overall declining traffic to brick-and-mortar retail this year, Macy’s led the way in combining mobile technology with fashion. They succeeded in capturing the attention and wallet share of mobile consumers by providing highly optimized experiences that made shopping more exciting and convenient – particularly for the growing number of young consumers.

Macy’s overall mobile strategy reflects their clear understanding of mobile as a commerce must-have. In particular, three aspects of their strategy enabled the company to drive brand value and earn the Mobile Retailer of the Year honor.

16 Dec, 2014

‘Mobile-Friendly’

What does Google's 'mobile-friendly' label mean?

A few weeks ago, Google announced they would be adding a “mobile-friendly” label to their mobile search results.

This is not the first time Google makes updates reflecting the growing importance of mobile search. In 2012, a smartphone icon began appearing next to some mobile-friendly sites in Google’s search results, with the company confirming they were experimenting with ways to optimize mobile search.

However, the relatively recent announcement of the new “mobile-friendly” label was the first official acknowledgement by Google of their intent to help users find mobile-friendly pages with annotations on search results snippets.

Moovweb mobile friendly label in Google search results

This update has potential implications for mobile SEO, as Google confirmed that they were “also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.”

So how does the Googlebot decide if a page is worthy of being labeled “mobile-friendly”? 

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