Making core business functions available for mobile devices is a trend that is gathering momentum for enterprise clients. Yet, unlike a lot of other IT decisions, it is marked by an unsettling lack of control, in a bring-your-own device world where the landscape of devices and operating systems to support is constantly shifting.
Developing a mobile strategy becomes a nuanced process, shaped as much by the audience as by the business objectives. Some key questions to ask might include:
At Portland Webworks we specialize in helping companies make considered decisions, and we can help you develop a mobile strategy that provides the flexibility to adapt to this shifting landscape while still realizing the productivity and convenience gains that mobile devices promise.
First, let us understand some of the different options...
A “native” application is software written in the device's native language, installed directly on to the device. Traditionally native applications have been relied upon to provide optimum performance and the tightest integration with device and operating system features like GPS or contacts. Applications that are graphically or mathmatically intensive definitely benefit from this direct access to device processing power. However, given this tight integration, native applications need to be rebuilt to run on different operating systems, and so the development path can get costly when catering to a diverse audience.
This approach to mobile development allows you to hedge your bets on the future of the mobile landscape by developing a platform-agnostic core for your application, and letting PhoneGap act as the bridge to any of the devices you need to support.
While mobile optimized web applications can bring significant development efficiencies, there will always be times when a native application is still the best solution. For graphically intense or computationally demanding apps, where performance is key, native applications are hard to beat. Also, if you're targeting a specific device or operating system, it can make sense to develop using native user interface elements, for a consistent experience.
While the barrier to entry for application developers in the mobile space is very low, and frameworks exist for rapidly developing basic functionality, it still takes talent to deliver the sophistication or performance levels required at the enterprise level. Just like any complex software application, it takes experienced developers, familiar with the hardware and software constraints to deliver robust, reliable applications that can help you harness the power of mobile computing.
At Portland Webworks we can help you understand how your requirements shape your technology decisions, and deliver the experienced development skills when a native application is the right solution.