Wednesday, 21 October, 2020

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Choosing the right mobile apps programming language

Mobile apps is crucial to startup with a great business model. If you are thinking which programming language suits you best for your business model, then continue to read on and give us your opinion or you can ask any questions you have.

Native VS Hybrid

Do you need Native apps or is Hybrid apps enough?

Native apps is said to be built specifically for a device but actually there are only 2 major groups of device, which is IOS and Android.

Native apps for IOS is built using programming language Objective C and Swift. Swift is newer than Objective C and some companies that want to use latest tech will somehow rewrite their mobile apps in Swift programming language. 

For Android native apps, it's usually developed using Java. However, Kotlin is introduced and is slowly becoming a better option for Android Programmers. It's because Kotlin had first class support from Android Studio (used to develop android apps)

Hybrid apps is actually a web based application incorporated into apps. People will still need to download the apps but when they use it, it usually is the same as mobile browser of the website. Some companies in my country that is using Hybrid apps is Domino Pizza and KFC.

Introduction is done, now which one to choose?

Native apps provide more functionality that can integrate with your mobile devices such as taking picture or video and uploading it straight to internet (Like Instagram), or accurate live location checking like Waze, Google Map, Grab or even Whatsapp, detecting everything available on your phone that is not private such as time, image, contacts (if you allow the apps to do so) and so on. If your business model requires all these information, then you should use native apps. However, for Native Apps to function, it usually requires a Backend programmer (that's me) to build the database and API. API can be built with PHP, Java, and a lot more programming language.

If you only need an apps as information sharing, so people can go to your apps to see what kind of service you provide, then contact you through email or open Whatsapp when click on your contact number, or do some simple ordering and purchasing, then Hybrid apps is actually quite suffice. In fact, there are more and more plugins and features developed for Hybrid apps to have the functionality like Native apps. This is actually dealing quite a huge blow to Native apps programmer because, if all functionality for Native apps is available in Hybrid apps, then most companies will start to use Hybrid Apps instead because it centralised the whole codebase.

I am not a mobile apps developer myself, but I worked with a lot of mobile apps developer and most of them told me they did their own study and do on job learning. It's because mobile apps development is quite new (less than 10 years) and even after it came out, a lot of college or university still doesn't teach them immediately due to lack of resources. However, I really salute them because it's not easy to do own study and on job training with the company expecting a good and bug-less job from them.

Lastly, I think you might want to know something about PWA, Progressive Web Apps. It's a web application, that can be downloaded to your computer or mobile devices. It's not too hard to setup if you have a group of web developers already working on your website, but the main headache is the usability as mobile apps. As long as your website is usable in mobile browser, you can consider using PWA instead of hiring mobile apps developer. Web application that has PWA will have an "Install" button at the most right side of the url. Clicking it will install it on your computer. As for mobile devices, you can easily find the "Add To Home Page" through browser setting. Then your mobile device will have the icon, looks just like mobile apps but it's actually loading the website like a mobile browser without URL bar.

Example of PWA website added to Home from setting.

My personal opinion is that, Native apps will still be around for the next 5-10 years, but it will be hard to say after that, because Hybrid and PWA is getting more and more convenient. As a fellow mobile apps developer, do let me know what do you think of, at the section below.