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Transformation of Web Technologies to mobile app- Web vs Native vs Hybrid


How The Web Surfing behaviour of Humans have changed

From the onset of the year 2015, marketers and business people around the world saw a huge change in the way people use the internet generally.. Most notably, in May 2015, we saw that more people were using their mobile devices to search for things online than on their desktop computers as compared to the previous years.

But these changes aren’t really happening at the same rate everywhere in the world. In Iceland, Monaco, and Ukraine for example, the majority of internet users present make use of desktop devices and browsers to surf the web. On the other end of the globe, most internet users in many Western and Southeast Asian countries are relying more on their mobile devices for internet.

Over the later years, Web Interaction shifted rapidly from Desktop enabled devices/browsers to mobile devices.

The shift in reduction in desktop usage which brought about the resultant increase in mobile devices as a means of accessing the web meant one thing:

An increase in the need of websites to be more interactive.
Because of the need for increased interactivity of websites, the development of more interactive websites began to take place. These interactive websites were known as Web Apps.

What Is The Difference Between a Website and a Web App?

Quite often, people ask the for the difference(s) between a website and a web app. A website is a compilation of a set of web pages viewed with a browser. It is a static set of pages that provides viewers with details about a service or product. It does not allow viewers to carry out effective communication. A website can as well be likened to a conference where the attendees do not involve in interaction.

Web applications or web apps on the other hand are interactive websites like Facebook. User engagement is an integral part of web applications. They bear resemblance to a networking event where it is necessary for audiences to engage for value enhancement.

Websites are static, which means they are not updated very often. They are built using HTML, CSS, and maybe a little bit of a web scripting language such as JavaScript. A website doesn’t need a backend programming language and a database. Web apps on the other hand are dynamic and ever changing. They rely on an audience for interaction, contribution of content (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook), gathering of data from other sources and presenting it to Google Analytics for statistics measurement.

Web applications are developed with HTML, CSS & JavaScript (on the Front end), wit the use of programming languages like– PHP, Ruby, Python, apart from using frameworks – Rails, Django, and CakePHP. Since web applications are dynamic and ever updating in nature, databases are made use of when and where needed.

If you are confused as to whether you should opt for a native app or a mobile website, the ‘end target’ should be the deciding factor for your choice. If you are looking to build an interactive game, an app should be selected but when looking to offer simple content, a mobile website is the best choice. There will be instances when you need both a mobile website and an app, building an app without a mobile website would not be of any help.

A mobile website is designed specifically for the smaller screens and touch-screen capabilities of smartphones and tablets. It can be accessed using any mobile device’s Web browser, like Safari on iOS and Chrome on Android. Users simply type in the URL or click on a link to your website, and the website automatically detects the mobile device and redirects the viewer to the mobile version of your website.
A Native application doesnt require URLs to be able to function. A Mobile Application (mobile app) once installed, can be accessed anytime and anywhere.

What is a mobile app?

A mobile app is a smartphone or tablet application installed with the use of packages. Unlike a mobile website, a mobile app must be downloaded and installed, typically from an applications marketplace, such as the Apple App Store (for IOS users) or Android’s Google Play store.
Mobile applications are a move away from the integrated software systems generally found on PCs. Instead, each app provides limited and isolated functionality such as a game, calculator, note taker, photo editor or mobile web browsing capabilities. Although applications may have avoided multitasking because of the limited hardware resources of the early mobile devices, their specificity is now part of their desirability because they allow consumers to hand-pick what their devices are able to do.

The simplest mobile apps take PC-based applications and port them to a mobile device. As mobile apps become more and more robust, this technique is somewhat lacking. A moe sophisticated approach involves developing specifically for the mobile environment, taking advantage of both its limitations and advantages. For example, apps that use location-based features are inherently built from the ground up with an eye to mobile given that the user does not have the same concept of location on a PC.

Although mobile websites and mobile apps aren’t the same thing, they generally offer the same features that can help grow your business by making it easier for customers to find and reach you. These features include the following:

Features Of Mobile Apps

One-click calling: Users can call your business simply by tapping on your phone number from your website or app.

Click-to-map: Users can use their devices’ GPS to locate your business and instantly get directions, without having to manually input your address.

Social sharing: This feature integrates social media apps and websites to enable users to easily share content with friends and followers.

Mobile commerce: Take your online store mobile with e-commerce-capable mobile websites and apps, such as with Buy Now buttons and mobile carts.

Mobile marketing: This lets users sign up for marketing lists and loyalty programs while enabling businesses to easily launch location-based text-message marketing and email marketing campaigns.

Why Web Technologies Require Transformation to Mobile Apps

With the explanations and statistics above, you should be wondering about the importance of transforming your website to a mobile application.
Here are some reasons why websites should be transformed (or refactored) to mobile apps.

Ease of Sending Notifications:

For the last couple of decades, email has been the most widely-used business communication tool. Businesses have extensively used email (some almost abused it) to reach out to their users. As a result, email has lost the effectiveness it once had; its open rates and click rates have constantly dropped.

Well, there’s no more reason to worry.

Enter mobile app notifications.

The notifications are of two types: push and in-app notifications. They both are exciting alternatives for communicating with app users in a less intrusive manner.
The ability to send instant, non-intrusive notifications to users is so desired that it is one of the major reasons why many businesses want to have a mobile app in the first place.

In-app notifications are the notifications which users can only receive when they have opened an app.

Push notifications, on the other hand, are those notifications which users can receive regardless of any activity they are doing on their mobile device. There have been instances where the push medium of notifications has delivered click-through rates of 40%.

It goes without saying that you have to plan your notification campaigns judiciously. Here is a list of best practices to help you get started.

Add-on: There are third party services that provide push notifications services to mobile websites, too. However, these services are in a nascent stage and still have some limitations (some only work on specific browsers, and are not available for all website types). Still, businesses, unaffected with the limitations, can consider using these services on their mobile websites.

PushCrew, for example, is one of the new service providers that let websites send push notifications to desktops and mobiles.

Ability to Work Offline:

This is probably the most fundamental difference between a mobile website and an app.

Although apps too might require internet connectivity to perform most of their tasks, they can still offer basic content and functionality to users in offline mode.

The beauty of mobile apps lies in their ability to work even in offline mode.
Let’s take the example of banking app again.

The app can provide features like tax calculation, installment calculation, and determination of loan limit. These features can work even without the help of an internet connection.

Add-on: Even though mobile websites can use caching to load web pages without an internet connection (i.e with the use of PWA features), they can only offer limited functions.

Apps Can Work Faster Than Websites

A well-designed mobile app can perform actions much quicker than a mobile website.

Apps usually store their data locally on mobile devices, in contrast to websites that generally use web servers. For this reason, data retrieval happens swiftly in mobile apps.

Apps can further save users’ time by storing their preferences, and using them to take proactive actions on users’ behalf.

How to retain your mobile users

The three main ways to retain and engage your mobile users as highlighted above are:
1.Web application Development
2.Native Application development
3.Hybrid Application Development

The tough question arises here:
Which should you go for as a mobile solution for your business?
Saying one is better than the other would be a bi bias and would definitely defeat the purpose of this article.

For a breakthrough, we would carefully analyse the Pros and Cons of each of them for a clearer understanding and a better decision making process.

Web Application Development Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Cost effective development:
A major advantage of developing & using web apps is due to their availability with less expense. A normal app is usually developed with consideration for a single operating system. Software testers for example, accomplish their tasks and ensure that it performs smoothly on all possible platforms. With web apps, It is okay if you do not wish to test it on all possible versions of operating systems. Users can access the application through a uniform environment known as the Browser. This is considered as a huge advantage for any businesses.
Increased Size of Applications:
It is noticed that, in comparison to  native and desktop applications, Web based applications work and function slowly. Webpage size matters because it correlates with how fast users get to your content. People today have grown to expect good performance from the web. In fact, Google published data revealing that over 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if a page takes longer than three seconds to load. And the more data your web page needs to download, the longer it will take, particularly on slow or near epileptic mobile connections.
Constant Access:
Web apps are so flexible that they can be operated or accessed anytime & anywhere. A PC or mobile device with an internet connection is enough to access the website’s functionalities without worry.
Client Side Restrictions:
Using a web application ordinarily, clients and users find it difficult to read files, print them nor email them. This is so because these functions are often considered as  security loopholes for web applications. Hence, there is little support for them.
Supports Various Devices:
A range of devices and their versions are available in the market. Web apps easily support all the devices given the requirement that they are connected to the internet.  With the advent of web applications development services, it has become a stress free process to send and receive information with extended performance.
 
Security is a Priority:
The security risks involved with web applications is often a great concern especially when there is a transfer of highly sensitive Data. Web applications are more secure than simple websites because they are generally deployed on special dedicated servers. This makes sure there is an added layer of security. Experienced server administrators monitor the web apps and maintain them to provide excellent user experience and security.
 
Customization:
Web application developers share that it is easier to customize web-based applications than in comparison to other desktop and mobile applications. Altering the look and feel of the web app is facile with web apps. Smart developers can formulate highly customized products with fewer efforts through web app development.
 

Native App Development Pros and Cons

As much as Native Applications are Very Beneficial, application development with a native framework doesn’t come without its own risks though.

Pros Cons
Since native apps work with the device’s built-in features — like the camera, microphone, location services, etc. — they’re easier to work with and perform faster on the device compared to web based applicaions. Native apps tend to be a more expensive proposition to the developer. This is especially the case for developers who would like their app to be compatible with multiple mobile devices and platforms.
Native apps get full support from app stores and marketplaces. Users can easily find and download apps of their choice from these stores. The overall cost of app maintenance and app updating is higher for native apps, especially if the app supports more than one mobile platform in terms of compatibility.
Because of the fact that native apps have to get the approval of the app store or marketplace they are intended for, the user can be assured that the app is secure and fully compatible with their device specifications. Users of different mobile devices might be making use of different versions of the app, which makes it difficult not only for the developer to maintain and offer support but for the users to effectively communicate, play games, etc. with other users of the application.
Native apps tend to work out better for developers, who are provided with the SDK and all other tools to create the app with much more ease. The process of getting a native app approved on an app store can prove to be long and tedious for the developer and doesn’t always result in success as there are strict guidlines for application approval

Pros and Cons Of Developing Hybrid Applications

Pros Cons
Hybrid apps are typically considered much faster to build and deploy provided you’re not trying to build a lot of custom features.

If you stick to the basics, it is a matter of translating your web code for iOS/Android using a hybrid app framework.

But, trying to add many additional, custom features could make a hybrid app more time-consuming to build than a native app.

Because a hybrid app relies on plugins and external code, you might not be able to incorporate all of the built-in features a user’s device offers.

Since you’re relying on someone else’s code, plugins may not always be available or may be unreliable or out of date. You may even find you have to write your own, which can defeat the purpose of opting for a hybrid app in the first place.

The most popular hybrid mobile app development platforms offer a range of plugins that enable you to access features on the device, including gestures, camera, and contacts. This means you can offer a more native-feeling app experience. Because a hybrid application is essentially a website packaged in a native container when someone uses your app, it may feel like a unique app, but they’re actually accessing your website using a mini-browser known as a Webview.
Native apps must be developed entirely separate for each platform. A hybrid app can be built just once and released on both Android and iOS. While a benefit of a hybrid app is only developing one codebase for both platforms, you will likely find that certain features or designs aren’t supported on both devices, which requires you to make modifications.
It’s generally considered simpler to maintain and update web technology than native app technology. User experience should always be of utmost importance when designing and developing mobile applications, regardless of whether you choose hybrid or native. Nothing is more important to your app’s success.

A frustrated user will most likely stop using your app or switch to a competitor, and they may even leave a bad review.

So, if being flawless, fast performance is essential to your app’s core functionality, a native app is the way to go.

Mobile games and music applications, for instance, are almost universally native because speed and graphical performance are so vital to the over all app experience.

Why react Native is the future

React Native is considered by many as the future of Software development because of several advantages it possesses over its alternatives.

There are so many reasons why React Native is the future with some of them being explained comprehensively in this article on why react native is the future.

Conclusion:
Now that you understand why it’s very beneficial to transform your web based app to a mobile app along with the knowledge that react native is the future of mobile app development.

One obstacle you probably would face is finding the right team of developers to help build or convert your web technology based solution into a react native application.

Bitcanny is a software development and talent outsourcing firm based in Kolkata india that provides React native Developement services as well as React Native Hiring support.

Bitcanny does two things to ensure high quality software development :- Have solid development practices and hire good talent.We really work hard to hire and retain high quality talent.We have stringent recruitment processes which include an online coding test and strict interviews.

The Software Development Process at Bitcanny

The team at Bitcanny Produces Highly scalable and Efficient software of the highest quality by taking making use of three strict procedures:
1.CI/CD Practices
2.Agile/Scrum
3.Strategic Design

CI/ CD Practices

The adoption of CI/CD has changed how developers and testers ship software applications. At Bitcanny the use of latest DevOps practices has ensured minimal bugs and negligible downtime for our client websites.

Agile / Scrum Development

Agile and Scrum are based on an incremental and iterative product development process that ensures that the product to be delivered is built with constant feedback. At BitCanny collaboration between cross-functional and self-organizing teams fuels solutions that helps us meet tight deadlines as well as develop solutions that meet the requirements of every client.

Strategic Design Principles

What instructions should an app give in order to guide a human open a Bluetooth lock? What sort of alarm is appropriate when a security breach is detected in an apartment? How should a Voice Interface be designed for Alexa smart homes? Designing strategic user interfaces requires a lot of deep thinking.

At Bitcanny, we infuse these concepts and more into our developers and software development processes to ensure you get the results you desire and more.






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