Today, more users access the web through a mobile device than from a laptop or desktop computer. For this reason, it is critical that software applications are efficiently usable from a tablet or a smart phone for today’s workforce. As a custom software development firm, Brainspire leverages a variety of tools to build highly customized applications that function on countless devices. These solutions include native, hybrid and mobile web applications that can be used either when connected or not. Each business use case is unique, and the mobile requirements, and form factors, need to be considered when creating a custom mobile solution.
We Begin By Understanding Your Needs
Brainspire will work with you to understand your unique business needs when creating a mobile application. Many of our clients believe they need a true mobile application to be installed on the device. Oftentimes, after examining the business requirements, many are better served by building a mobile web application with responsive design. We will guide the requirements discussion with a series of simple questions to understand your needs.
- Who are your users?
- Are they using applications in a connected or disconnected environment (do they have access to the web)?
- What devices are being used and do you have any control over the devices?
- Do you want to maintain code for Apple, Android and Windows devices?
By understanding your needs, Brainspire will be able to make recommendations for iOS, Android, and Windows platforms using tools such as Xamarin, PhoneGap, Ionic, Sencha Touch, Appcelerator, Apache Cordova, NativeScript to name a few.
What Will The Application Need to Do?
The functionality of the mobile application will determine the platform and architecture, the tools used, and how it is constructed. For instance, there is a big difference in approach between developing an application that primarily provides information to users on a tablet (bigger screen) in the middle of a city versus developing an application for data entry on a smart device (small screen) in the middle of an oil field with no connectivity.
Brainspire can help you make the proper decisions that affect both the development and long-term support and maintenance of the application based on the how the application will be used and who will be using it.
What Devices Will the Application Need to Function On?
How the mobile application is constructed will largely depend on the devices the end users will be using. Perhaps the mobile application is for company employees in the field all using a specific Android device or iPad. Knowing exactly what form factor the application will run on greatly reduces the scope and complexity of building a mobile application. If however, you have no control of the devices, the application must be constructed to run on iOS, Android, and Windows tablets and mobile devices with a variety of screen sizes.
Sales of Android and Apple smart phones and a variety of tablets have exploded over the last few years as we see today where there are more mobile devices in use than humans on the planet. Demand and sales will continue to increase as users demand functionality on the go. Native applications are installed directly on the device and do not need to be connected to the web to function. Performance is rich and native apps typically leverage device features such as the camera or geolocation functionality. While native applications are all the rage, they are more expensive to build and maintain. Each iPhone or Android upgrade, or new device, presents challenges to the business for code maintenance and deployment. The decision for a business to build a native application should be examined carefully.
As a custom software development firm, Brainspire writes native mobile apps for Apple, Android and Windows devices using the native programming languages or cross-platform development tools such as Xamarin, Ionic, jQuery Mobile, PhoneGap, Sencha Touch or NativeScript. We understand the complexities of getting the apps through the various stores and into the market. Because of the investment necessary, and complexity of maintaining native applications, Brainspire will review the business case prior to taking on a native application project. This review may result in a recommendation to consider a hybrid application or mobile web solution, which is more cost effective to build and maintain.
A hybrid application is a web application that is hosted in a native app container on each device to allow access to device capabilities. The native app container handles the device interaction and the web application handles the user experience and business logic. Developing and maintaining a hybrid mobile application presents some compelling benefits including cross platform support for both iPhone and Android devices, providing access to device capabilities, local device installation and allowing for an unobtrusive way to provide application updates. Hybrid applications provide a long-term benefit for application maintenance and upgrades in terms of time and costs, although the user experience will be somewhat diminished as the application typically needs a web connection to function, unless a caching mechanism is used.
Leveraging both native and web application development techniques, Brainspire builds hybrid applications to meet an organization’s exact functional needs as well as long-term maintenance and cost goals. As with native development, there are several 3rd party tools to assist in developing hybrid mobile applications. Brainspire is also actively evaluating the new tools, approaches and techniques coming to market.
Mobile web applications are the most abundant, easiest to build, and least costly to upgrade and maintain. Basically, a mobile web application is a fully functional website that uses a browser on the mobile device. It is the easiest type of mobile solution to deploy for cross platform functionality as there are no apps to manage in the stores and has the fastest time to market when deploying to multiple platforms (iPhone, Android and Windows). Mobile web solutions meet most business needs because mobile web applications are not installed directly on the phone. The biggest drawbacks to utilizing a mobile web application are that the device must be connected to the web for the application to function and mobile web applications can’t access most device functionality.
When deciding to build a mobile web application compared to a native or hybrid application, the business case needs to be examined. Unless there is a compelling business case for a native or hybrid mobile application, Brainspire will likely recommend a mobile web application due to time and cost considerations. Other exceptions include whether native device functionality is required for the application to meet the business need. Using responsive design, a fully functional application can be built to perform exceptionally well on any mobile device, using one code base to support all users. In addition to building new mobile web applications for business users and consumers on the go, Brainspire can transform legacy applications to function on mobile devices, further extending past investments and providing low cost, highly maintainable mobile business solutions.
The team at Brainspire Solutions would love to hear about your mobile strategy or you vision for a specific mobile app. Simply fill out the form on the left side of this page to contact us and tell us about your goals. We’ll be in touch shortly to set up a conversation.