How is a mobile app different from a desktop app on any website?
The web application is basically an internet based system that can be accessed through the web browser of the mobile device. In this case, you do not need to download the program to your smartphone to use it. In contrast, mobile apps are designed specifically for smart devices. There are basically two types to distinguish, which are presented below.
The native application is developed for a specific mobile device and installed directly on the appliance. These are usually downloaded by users from online app stores. A native application is fully compatible with the device’s hardware and native features such as an accelerometer or camera. On the other hand, web apps have limited access to the gadget's native features.
Before starting the development, it is necessary to decide whether the application needs to be available to the target audience via the web, mobile application, desktop, or possibly all three platforms. If a complex implementation is required, the cross-platform application provides the solution. In the case of a code base, it is enough for multi-interface development. In such a programming process, the source code of the application is already uploaded to the end-user devices as the native code of the corresponding platform, thus jumping the quality and limitations of the already mentioned hybrid apps.
Arguments in favor of different forms
Obviously, every environment has its positives and negatives. Based on the target group of the given application and the personality of the ordering company, it is worth making a decision, in any case we have made a few arguments to help you make the choice.
Benefits of web development
- Directness: A website provides instant access to users, no matter which web browser they use.
- Compatibility: A site works universally regardless of the device in use, while a native application often requires separate development for each device type.
- Extensibility: Updating, editing, or providing additional features to a mobile-friendly website is a simpler and faster task.
- Sharing: Sharing a website URL is a common user habit that is now an easy fingerprint for anyone.
- Requires less financial costs: Building a website, either with a contractor or running it on its own, has a lower cost and can be done in less time.
Benefits of mobile app development
- Unique user experience: A virtually endless number of options are available to create a user-friendly interface that is easy to use and rich in useful features.
- Also available offline: We don’t even need a mobile app when we’re sitting on a plane, away from civilization, or simply don’t have internet access.
- The user stays on: Globally, only 14% of mobile phone use is done in an Internet browser, while 86% run within a variety of applications.
- Automated customer service: The mobile application simplifies the purchasing process and automates the answering of the most frequently asked questions, so you can gain free capacity for customer service tasks.
- Helps us gain a competitive edge: A mobile app can set us apart from our competitors, helping us deliver higher values to our brand.
Benefits of cross-platform development
- Lower costs and shorter development time: Significantly reduce complexity by using a common code base and development tools, so you don't need more experts in different programming languages, but a smaller team is enough. This not only reduces developer pay and management costs, but also eliminates the need to develop the same features multiple times on different devices.
- Larger user base from the start: Due to the replacement of coding for multiple devices, the budget is not tied to our hands, as the cross-platform solution allows you to be present on many interfaces from the start, thus reaching more users.
- Uniformity: Not only can users create the same, understandable UX and UI, but easy interoperability and synchronization across different platforms can be supported. This puts less burden on the user, strengthening commitment.
Arguments against different forms
We don’t just need to consider the positives to make a final decision. In addition to the benefits described above, let’s look at a few disadvantages as well.
Disadvantages of web development
- Lack of use of sensors built into a mobile device: In modern browsers it is already possible to request authorization for some sensors (location, camera, microphone), but their service is contingent and the data they provide is poorer.
- Excessive generality: Because web development can display content on many platforms, interface-specific functionality remains untapped.
Disadvantages of native mobile application development
- High resource requirements: as in this case we develop the application separately for each mobile platform, so it is necessary to maintain several development teams, as well as to perform testing per interface.
- Long development time: For the reasons mentioned above, the development time can take much longer.
- Long arming process: native mobile apps need to be uploaded to official app stores where multiple requirements must be met. Arming can only take place after the surface review processes.
Disadvantages of cross-platform development
- What's new for the platform later: In general, manufacturers don't currently support these solutions first-hand, so you may have to wait a few weeks to support what's new on a particular platform. Most recently, iOS dark mode support arrived several days later than native iOS apps.
- Ignoring platform-specific solutions: This unit is closely related to the third point of benefits, as it is more difficult to adapt to the unique direction of each operating system in a cross-platform, as development tools provide less help.
- Non-Swiss Army Knife: Although most business and B2C applications can be covered with such a solution, there may be unique aspects to our product that require native code written in multiple ways. While modern cross-platform solutions are increasingly addressing augmented reality, for example, it remains to be seen whether this will be the best alternative.
Based on the above, it can be seen that when the need arises to develop an application that can be used on mobile devices, it is possible to start in several ways. Before selecting the technological background needed for development, it is necessary to consider the most important criteria we want to apply to our application.
Let's take a few examples of criteria groups:
- Fast-to-develop / Mobile hardware-free devices: In this case, responsive web technologies are the ones that will help us reach our goal as soon as possible. Here we are actually developing a website that is optimized for mobile view.
- Medium development time / Offline operation / Use of sensors / More general tasks: then the development of cross-platform solutions may be appropriate, as the mobile phone can be used much better here. Although on a more limited level, all kinds of sensor data are available, even completely offline operation is possible, but the unique functions and innovations of the platforms are less supported.
- Robust / High Availability / Maintainable / Highly Sensitive Usage Tasks: It is best suited for applications with large user base, sensitive business processes and deep use of mobile hardware.