George Georghiou, global lead for Microsoft Mobile Solutions, Sogeti Group looks at native apps
Setting a Mobile-First Strategy
Back in 2014, Gartner predicted that by 2017, there would be 268 billion mobile downloads generating a revenue of $77 billion. Sure enough, mobile usage has overtaken desktop, with nearly 2 million apps in the Apple store and 200,000 more on Google Play. It’s clear that businesses need a mobile-first strategy, where the priority shifts from desktop web design to mobile apps – and getting them to market ahead of the competition.
This opens the Native v Hybrid debate, which can lead to differing opinions between IT and the business. So let’s take a look at the benefits and challenges of each and then examine how you can bridge the gap to create 5-star apps that users genuinely love.
Native or Hybrid Apps?
Native applications developed specifically for iOS, Android or Windows, can certainly take up more time and resources than creating hybrid apps, where code is wrapped inside a thin native container. But native apps look and perform the best. They also win hands down at security and user experience.
However, if your biggest concern is cost-effectiveness and a fast time to market, you may be leaning towards hybrid. While users won’t know the difference between a native and a hybrid app, code wise, they will certainly see and feel the difference
Bearing in mind that 60% of users will abandon your app if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds, businesses can’t afford to compromise on user experience just to get to market ahead of their competitors.
Native apps have a wealth of benefits including:
- Code that runs faster and offers better performance
- Easy integration with the device’s functionalities like camera and microphone
- Fast and simple addition of new features
- Enablement of push-notifications to promote buy-in and engagement
- Access to Android and iOS tools to solve coding issues
The ideal scenario is the best of both worlds – a cost-effective, cross-platform, high-performance native app delivered to market quickly. To this end, Microsoft’s Xamarin platform is an excellent tool that allows developers to write 100% native apps and reuse a huge percentage of code across different platforms through a single programming language: C#. It enables a single mobile team to be more productive than siloed teams building multiple apps on different technology stacks.
Testing for the Best User Experience
Xamarin Test Cloud provide an automatable way to do UI Acceptance Testing of mobile applications across thousands of different devices in the cloud, which means you can be certain that you are delivering a high quality experience on all the latest platforms and operating systems.
You can also interact with your app as your users do, performing taps; double taps; swipes; rotations; long presses and pinches. And you can build custom gestures for advanced user interaction.
- Complete test coverage
- Comprehensive testing on thousands of different devices and operating systems
- Automation to accelerate your journey to continuous integration
- Total support for all native and hybrid apps built in C#, Objective-C, Swift, Java, React Native and Apache Cordova.
Want 5-Star Apps?
A 2016 “Total Economic Impact™ commissioned study of Visual Studio Tools for Xamarin conducted by Forrester Consulting provides some interesting figures of the potential ROI over three year period, for an organisation building multiple apps with Xamarin:
- Reduction in development costs of £1,000,000
- Maintenance and upgrade efficiency gains of £640,000
- Cost avoidance of £5,050,000 by mitigating the need for platform-specific talent
If you’re just beginning your mobile app journey, Visual Studio Tools for Xamarin and Xamarin Test Cloud provide an excellent foundation for embedding quality and usability into your apps, while more mature organisations will reap the benefits of significant cost savings and an impressive ROI.
If you would like to learn more about Xamarin and how going native will enable you to build quality into your apps from the outset, then join Sogeti’s webinar Build High Performing, High Quality Apps – with Xamarin on 6 September at 11-11.30 BST. Register here: https://www.uk.sogeti.com/xamarin-webinar http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2654115 Gartner PR 22 January 2014  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/11/01/mobile-web-usage-overtakes-desktop-for-first-time/  Introduction to Mobile Development with Xamarin  https://www.uk.sogeti.com/globalassets/uk/reports/the-total-economic-impact-of-xamarin-for-visual-studio.pdf