If you regularly follow tech media outlets, you’ve likely heard of the metaverse. But even if you haven’t, recent announcements by the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, turned heads. He launched an ambitious initiative that will transform the social media giant into an all-encompassing metaverse company. Now that’s big news that no developer can ignore!
But will the metaverse live up to expectations, or is it only hype? While we don’t have a crystal ball to predict its future, many big players want to make the metaverse a part of our lives. We’ve seen how the internet, smartphones, and cryptocurrencies gained support early on and now enjoy wide adoption. Thus, the metaverse may enjoy a similar fate and open up many exciting opportunities for developers.
What Exactly Is The Metaverse?
If you’ve played an immersive 3D game or tried out virtual reality (VR), you’ve experienced something akin to the metaverse. A better example is Second Life, an online virtual world dating back to 2003. It combined gameplay aspects from massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and social space for users to interact with each other.
Yet what made Second Life so compelling is how users could craft clothes and other goods for their 3D avatars and sell these to others. Many savvy content creators took advantage of this and started selling their virtual goods within Second Life’s marketplace. Thus, giving birth to an early model of a digital economy that functioned independently from exterior influences.
And you could also say that Second Life is the granddaddy of the modern metaverse. But there are a few differences, as the metaverse doesn’t rely on an MMORPG as its core component and doesn’t have the limited appeal of Second Life. After all, not everyone is a gamer, and many users would prefer to trade virtual goods or provide other services instead.
What Can Users Do In The Metaverse?
We’ve already established the metaverse is like a giant virtual sandbox that allows for many forms of user interaction. And a key reason why Facebook is moving in this direction is that it’s a natural evolutionary process for the company. It already engages over 2.9 billion active users that interact with each other and conduct business directly on Facebook.
So every social media outlet and any business that engages with these outlets will give users the necessary tools to interact within the metaverse. In a way, they will democratize the creation process of virtual goods and services for the masses.
Architects can create and sell virtual real estate, while artists and designers can turn their creations into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and sell them at auctions. Furthermore, advertisers and fashion brands can use the floor space and shops within the metaverse’s virtual malls. And due to the easy integration of blockchain technologies, expect crypto transactions to become commonplace.
What Opportunities Should Developers Pursue?
Developers should focus on blockchain technology and crypto APIs. These must work flawlessly with any virtual stores found in the metaverse. And make it easy for users to conduct transactions via any device, whether a smartphone or virtual headset.
But there are also many opportunities for creating the tools that will empower users. Easy-to-use 3D modeling apps, NFT minting tools, and secure crypto exchanges will be essential. On top of that, create apps that allow users to trade virtual goods, hire virtual laborers, and host virtual events.
The metaverse is still in its infancy but promises big things thanks to the support coming from Epic Games, Facebook, and Microsoft. And it may very well become the next big thing that opens doors for creative and savvy developers. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you create stunning apps for smartphones and the metaverse.
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The app development space is growing at an exponential pace, thanks in part to a growing number of phone ownership and rising internet penetration. Today, the app development market is one of the largest globally with an average release of 5092 apps on the Google App Store and 6140 apps on the Google Play Store.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things IoT are some of the technologies that are being incorporated in most apps. A virtual assistant is one such improvement in mobile applications. Looking closely, you realize that WhatsApp, TikTok, and Instagram apps are topping the chart of leading apps with the most downloads. Amazon Prime and Netflix lead the entertainment app market, and Candy Crush is at the apex of the gaming app development market.
It’s with no doubt that mobile applications have schematically modified human life. Quick navigation and exceptional UI through mobile applications have become a trademark. The projected number of mobile phone users is expected to cross the 7 billion mark by 2025. This growth will automatically bring a shift in app downloads. So, in this context, it becomes important and valuable to understand the best app development solutions prevailing in the market, with the current and future app development trends.
In this post, we delve into the top free mobile app development tools.
Allows you to view and manage any changes in the app using PhoneGap
Easily integrates with various library integrations for easy app development
Operates on multiple platforms: iPhone, Windows, and Android
Rapid code testing and faster code deployment
A single codebase for multiple platforms
It lacks a user interface widget
Outsystems is a comprehensive full-stack app development platform. By using connected, high-productivity, and AI-supported tools, developers can create and deploy a wide range of applications – from consumer applications to mission-critical business applications – faster, better, and for the future.
It has a remarkable acceleration because no code or minimum code is required.
Easy integrations with other platforms
Easy to learn as it contains free training and learning material for everyone
The responsiveness of the member community allows for faster and efficient learning experiences
All members are open to sharing ideas, and these ideas are taken into consideration in further improving the platform
More explanation needed for some tools or widgets
No synchronization between consumer and producer modules, so users have to manage dependency frequently.
Better training material or documentation in forging components
Flutter is an open-source app development software that is best suited for hybrid apps. It’s one of the newest members in the mobile development market, and it’s written in C, C++, and Skia Graphics Engine. Flutter is a Google UI toolkit that allows users to create applications for web, mobile, and desktop from a single codebase. In addition, you don’t have to restart your application when testing your project. The application offers the Hot Reload functionality which makes the entire development exercise optimized and stress-free.
Offers fully customizable widgets to render faster development of native apps
Incorporates critical platform differences like scrolling, navigation, fonts, and icons
Creates plugins using channels that can easily be used by every developer
Builds native apps in just minutes
Expressive and flexible user interface
Contains not-so-rich library collections
Ionic is one of the best free, open-source mobile applications for developing hybrid apps. It allows developers and users to build apps for various platforms including web, iOS, and Android using a single codebase. What’s more, Ionic offers intuitive UI components, thus accelerating the app development process. This app can be deployed almost everywhere. Ionic boasts of over 120 predefined elements, native device features, and a large community of members.
Includes mobile components, interactive paradigms, typography, and an extensive base theme
Allows Cordova based app building
Ease of learning and contains popular technologies
Wide range of library integrations
There’s no hot reloading capability
Buddy is an open-source mobile app development application that allows for seamless, change-set-based code deployment. Thanks to a plethora of dedicated, pre-configured services and actions, app automation has never been easier than now. Therefore, if you’re looking for a tool that will build, sign, test, and publish your android or web app effortlessly and in a single click, then Buddy is the ideal choice.
Intuitive and clean UX/UI
Over 100 actions
A wide integration including Azure, Google, Amazon Web Services, and WordPress integrations.
It contains dedicated android actions: Ionic, Reacts Native, and Flutter
It supports all popular languages and task managers
Kobiton mobile app development software makes the continuous testing, IOS, and mobile app development exercise a reality. This app also prevents bugs before pushing codes to test, thus perfecting your website or mobile app with functional, performance, and visual test automation. It also helps developers to resolve issues before the production release, and rapidly deploy tests with seamless CD/CI integrations.
Allows you to test on real devices in the cloud
Cloudify all your local devices for remote access
It integrates with Jenkins, CircleCI, Travis CI, and so on.
Scriptless or scripted automated functional, performance, and visual testing
Commercial scalability with unlimited user policy
Access to real devices in your integrated development environment for rapid debugging.
Xamarin is an open-source mobile app development application founded by Microsoft in 2011. It’s a set of tools that enable developers to build apps for various OS like Windows, Android, and IOS, all in one programming language. One of the reasons that Xamarin is quite reputable is because it uses the C# programming language. Besides using the Xamarin Test Cloud, you can automatically test applications on around 200 real mobile devices.
Easy integration with modern back-end services, native APIs, and components
Enables you to build stunning cross-platform user interfaces
Extends a real-time testing module to monitor and catch app errors when they occur
Full technical support by Microsoft
Flexible with .NET and C#
Not build for game development
Another best in this category of best open-source mobile app development software is Buildfire. Buildfire offers a robust set of tools to build applications for web, android, or IOS. This software is well-known for its high-end custom app development capabilities, as well as its easy, intuitive DIY platform. In addition, Buildfire supports more than 10,000 applications and it’s flexible enough to scale as your enterprise grows. Users and developers cannot ignore the simple and functional drag-and-drop user interface, as it makes it easier to build the app faster.
Offers an interactive and intuitive app builder where no coding is needed.
Allows users to build custom functionality with their developer SDK
Can be integrated with any third-party API or pre-built integrations
Has an excellent social networking feature
Includes advanced development features
Does not have a reliable customer support service
NS804 – Your Partner in Mobile App Development
Every app development software has its uniqueness and demerits. To understand a software better and to pick the one that perfectly fits your needs, consider the following elements:
Privacy and security.
Customer discounts and loyalty programs
Social media integration
Analytics and reporting
Now that you know the best open-source app development software, it is time to kick-start your app development journey. We always encourage you to contact or consult the experts anytime you’re stuck in your app development exercise. You can also contact NS804 for questions concerning mobile app development.
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It’s easy to get hold of professional iOS app design templates online. Also, these templates tend to be affordable, which only makes them more tempting. But we’ll advise against taking this route since it’s all too easy to make mistakes when developing mobile apps. Here’s a quick rundown of why iOS design templates aren’t necessarily a good solution.
1. Professional iOS App Design Templates Offer Little Customization
You’ve briefed your team on how the user interface (UI) should look on your latest project. And since you’re in a hurry, a team member suggests using professional iOS app design templates to save time. Thus, you allow them to go ahead, hoping that this will help get your app out the door quickly.
As the project progresses, you reach a point where it’s necessary to make changes to the UI. But you soon find that these templates are difficult to customize to suit your needs. Your UI doesn’t look cohesive and doesn’t fit the design language of your brand. That’s why it’s better to create custom iOS design templates to avoid such a scenario.
2. iOS Design Templates Make Your App Cookie Cutter
The visual elements of your apps shouldn’t only look professional; they need to stand out. Many iOS design templates tend to look generic, which will give your app a cookie-cutter appearance. Moreover, plenty of low-effort apps in the App Store use such templates that only exacerbate the problem.
3. A Mobile App Design Template Might Not Offer Any Support
It’s easy to be tempted by the low upfront costs of a mobile app design template. And it might seem like a sound investment when starting a project. As any seasoned developer already knows, there comes a time when you need support. If you require making any changes to these templates, you’ll need to track down the designer. But they may no longer be around or not willing to fulfill your requests for changes.
It’s vital to view all app development endeavors seriously. Therefore, consider working with professional developers that can provide the support you need. If you’re willing to spend more on a tailor-made design template, this will result in a professional app that’s bound for success. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can create a custom solution that exemplifies your brand.
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As a business leader, you could be deliberating whether to hire developers for several upcoming Android freelance projects. And you’ve taken notice of the many online job marketplaces where you can find freelance developers. But is freelance app development more budget-friendly than working with an agency? We answer that question in more detail below.
1. App Developer: Freelance Or Company
If you’re planning on developing an app, then you’ll need to answer an important question. Will you hire a freelancer or a company to make your app? You may think that this is an easy question to answer, but this isn’t the case. We recommend that you consider the following differences between freelancers and agencies before forging ahead.
Now, it’s never been easier to find freelance developers online to work on your project at competitive rates. But many freelancers have set skill sets, meaning that they specialize in certain types of apps. If you’re developing a broad range of apps or have specific requirements for an app, then you may run into roadblocks with freelancers. However, if you work with an agency that employs developers with varied skill sets, you’re more likely to complete your projects successfully.
Also, consider how you’ll scale your projects in the future. For example, you hire a developer or two for your Android freelance projects, and they do good work. Then, you decide to port these projects to iOS but discover that these developers lack the necessary expertise. But if you were working with an agency, cross-platform development wouldn’t be a problem.
2. A Look Inside Freelance Costs
According to Freelancer, hiring a freelancer is the most cost-effective solution. The median cost of hiring such a developer is $ 543. But do keep in mind that these developers are based in different parts of the world. And many are from third-world countries where salaries are lower, and English isn’t their first language. Thus, the quality of work may vary, and communication may prove difficult, depending on who you hire.
3. Pros And Cons of Android Freelance Projects
You’ve decided to launch several Android freelance projects and have started perusing online job marketplaces. Sites such as Gun.io, Hired, Toptal, Fiverr Pro, and X-Team all vet their freelance developers to ensure their competence. But you’ll want to hire the top-rated freelancers that have already proven themselves. However, these freelancers are in high demand and may not respond to your job posts.
Therefore, it’s easy to find freelance developers on these sites, but you’re not guaranteed to hire your preferred candidates. And given the popularity of Android, you’ll find more freelancers specializing in this platform than iOS. So, when you decide to port and scale your app, you’ll find yourself in a disadvantageous position.
4. Why It’s Easier To Count On An Agency
An agency has far more experience developing a wide variety of complex apps and respecting intellectual property rights and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). Furthermore, an agency is more likely to implement best practices in developing, testing, and deploying apps. Freelancers may ignore these steps, which can jeopardize the quality and security of your projects.
While freelance app development may seem more budget-friendly at first, you’re likely to have more satisfactory results working with an agency. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can turn your ideas into engaging apps that amaze users.
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While the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t completely behind us, we’re certainly close to coming out the other side. It definitely hasn’t been easy, as the road forward hardly ever is, and the last year will absolutely have a lasting impact. One way in which the pandemic impacted the world was through a swift acceleration into digitalization. With stay-at-home mandates, and health risks everywhere, much of society embraced a virtual expansion. Despite the sudden onset of the pandemic, a lot of the world was already prepared for a digital age. During the last few decades, society made giant technological strides. From the birth of the internet, smartphones, mobile apps, VR, AR, and so much more. Correspondingly, this technology already prepared many businesses to allow for remote staff and a work from home environment.
As the world reopens, though, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic won’t simply just disappear. In fact, the pandemic may have changed the world forever.
Impact on the Application Market
One of the few markets that saw a boom during the majority of the pandemic was the application market. This boom resulted from the intersection of a few key variables. The first; timing. This isn’t the first pandemic that’s swept the world. However, it’s the first pandemic to sweep the world since the birth of smart-tech, loaded with capabilities. This presented opportunity. The second variable; accessibility. In recent years specifically, there has been a push of creating accessible technology. In this same push is the shift to a more technological basis for education that includes coding, script writing, and programming. Finally; free time and isolation.
With smart technology an integrated aspect of everyday life, and the push for more accessible technology all around, the last pair of variables that led to the app market boom were free time, and isolation. With the surge in unemployment, more and more people were looking for a way to spend their days. Not to mention, social interactions were kept to a bare minimum, and stay at home mandates were implemented all over the country. Enter smart, accessible technology, paired with the college of YouTube, and other free avenues through which to learn programming, and suddenly a whole new pool of programmers and developers hit the scene.
That’s only half of the coin though. On the other side of this same perfect storm is the influx of user-base, for all the same reasons the app market saw an increase in developers. New users flocked to applications all across the market, from enterprise, to gaming, to meditation. It was truly a gold-rush.
Spreading The Word
While the surge in app developers, programmers, and users isn’t going anywhere in the post-pandemic wake; applications certainly helped to encourage users to get the vaccine. Organizations in today’s economy have higher expectations to participate in the social atmosphere than they have in previous decades. Corporate America isn’t perfect, by any means, but some of the players are at least trying. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, applications specifically, helped to encourage users to get the vaccine. Many applications used advertisement slots on their own dime to inform users on where to get the vaccine for free. Even large name applications like Tinder, and others, offered vaccinated users an incentive, like a free premium trial, date-night specials, or other in-app incentives.
Beyond Spreading The Word
Applications and technology helped us through the pandemic in more than one way, though. Applications also saw a boom in usership as they worked to bring people together in dire times, unlike any technology has before. Video conference applications like Zoom saw unprecedented growth as families relied on it to commune with one another, long distance relationships only survived because of it, and businesses got by with it. Gaming applications became a way for communities to develop even while individuals dealth with physical or mental isolation.
Enterprise applications were another market segment to see an influx during the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses and organizations of all industries had to adapt to the virtual economy; many sought the help of enterprise applications. Business oriented applications designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between remote employees.
Beyond spreading the word, and bringing communities together, the technology available even helped in the actual creation and distribution of the vaccine itself. Discovering optimal distribution channels, running algorithms, and elevating scientific processes, the technology of today is, at least partially, responsible for the availability of the vaccine across the globe.
Moving forward, there is some question as to what the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be. However, there are some trends that certainly seem stickier than others. For instance, it’s quite possible that the majority of the workforce remains remote, as there seems to be little-to-no evidence that professionals were less effective working remotely. On the contrary, many studies found that the individual professional was more proficient working from home than they were in the office for a variety of reasons, and largely attributed to quality of work-life balance. Additionally, the lack of a commute to and from work, proved significantly beneficial to workers mental and emotional health, which ultimately led to stronger overall performance.
The application market as a whole, is also likely to remain in a ‘boom’ period. While a large percentage of amateur programmers and developers might begin to drop off from the scene, there are bound to be a few who fell in love and stick around. Not to mention, the influx in the userbase is likely going to see a much softer dropoff. Therefore, there will ultimately be a higher user-to-developer ratio in the application markets than we even saw during the height of the pandemic.
The Virtual Economy
In addition to the trends that are likely to stick around, the virtual economy is likely here to stay. Permanently. Businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes faced a sobering reality during the pandemic. Supply chains all over the globe disintegrated into thin air, as a tragic number of smaller businesses closed their doors. The organizations that successfully pivoted from in-person operations to remote or virtual operations are the survivors. Larger organizations that took a financial hit also had to make the pivot from brick and mortar to remote operations. This is a lesson that won’t be soon forgotten. In fact, current and future businesses are more likely to offer remote services and virtual operations now, and moving forward, than any type of in-person services. If it’s possible to be digitized, it will be.
Of course, the entire world won’t stay virtual forever, with live-performances opening back up, and bars and restaurants inviting customers back indoors, a portion of society will always be personable.
A Brighter Future Beyond COVID-19
The last year+ of the COVID-19 pandemic really flipped the script in more way than one. Between the massive influx into the application market, and the push for a more digital economy; some of these soceital changes and trends are going to remain long after the last case of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information on the application market as it stands, or help planning out your next mobile app venture, keep browsing NS804. NS804 is the proud developer of the everyday appreneur.
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As a forward-looking business leader, you likely have several app ideas that seem promising. And the right kind of ideas could boost your business in 2021. We delve deeper into this subject and reveal the mobile app development trends that will shape the year and beyond.
1. Why Mobile App Development Still Makes Sense In 2021
While the App Store and Google Play are inundated with apps, this doesn’t mean that mobile app development will go away. Quite the opposite, the app market is maturing and evolving and opening up new opportunities. There’s a growing demand for innovative apps that offer augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences.
As a post-COVID world gradually emerges, enterprises and users will be looking for the most sustainable solutions. Enterprises will want to offer AR & VR-based training simulations since many of their employees now work remotely. And users will want more virtual concerts and tours, knowing that this is a far more convenient and safer way to enjoy their favorite pastimes.
2. App Ideas That Enhance Business Processes
With almost 80% of the global population owning a smartphone, enterprises need to take advantage of this phenomenon. As a business leader, it’s no use standing on the sidelines if you want to add value and grow your enterprise.
Enhance and restructure your existing business processes by utilizing emerging digital ecosystems. Furthermore, create apps that enhance customer loyalty, improve external and internal processes, and streamline communication between employees and clients.
3. Break Down The Barriers Between Your Staff And Clients
Take the time to assess how your staff and clients interact with each other. Are you happy with the results, or is the room for improvement? In a competitive market, you’ll likely need to tweak and improve your communication channels.
You may need to develop a business app that makes it easy for staff and clients to contact each other while keeping track of all communications. Furthermore, you’ll want to collect data and receive feedback from both staff and users to ascertain how well they’re engaging with each other and the app.
4. An Effective Business App Improves Productivity
Focus your mobile app development endeavors on creating apps that increase employee productivity and communications. And ensure that every business app you develop integrates with all your existing systems. Moreover, implement analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) in your apps so that you can assess all data points effectively.
Similarly to many companies, you’re probably sitting on a ton of unstructured data that’s making your business processes inefficient. But if you organize and analyze this data, you’ll discover ways to improve productivity in your enterprise.
5. Work With A Partner That Will Bring Your App Ideas To Life
Mobile app development is a lot harder than it seems, especially if you’re new to this field. And there are many vital aspects that you could overlook, such as eschewing the latest design trends, ignoring compatibility across devices, not integrating with existing solutions, or offering an offline mode.
However, if you work with an experienced development partner, you’ll be able to bring your app ideas to fruition. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you create innovative enterprise mobile apps that will engage users in 2021 and beyond!
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Custom app development seems challenging, but it’s the best way to create amazing applications. While templates promise an easy and quick turnaround for mobile app developers, these seldom deliver optimal results. Businesses and professional developers don’t want to release apps that look and feel second-rate. Instead, they prefer to release apps that improve their reputation and enhance user engagement. We provide several reasons why you should custom develop your next app below.
1. Completely Custom Look Unlike Any Free Templates
When developing an app, it’s often a good idea to consider the options available to you. Do you build it entirely from scratch by taking the custom app development road? Or do you use free templates that will radically reduce initial cost and time factors? The latter may seem more enticing, but it’s not the wisest choice if you want your app to stand out.
Ideally, you want your app to be a showcase for your unique brand. You want your User Interface (UI) & User Experience (UX) to comply with the Visual Brand Language (VBL) that defines your company. Free cookie-cutter templates won’t do your brand justice, as the colors, shapes, and typography won’t match with your VBL. Thus, you’ll ultimately cheapen your brand and cause users to either question your design choices or disengage altogether.
But if you choose the custom development option, then you can make your app shine. Your application will fit your company’s existing product range, which reassures existing customers and makes it appealing to new users. Moreover, the development team won’t need to modify and shoehorn the boilerplate code and free templates. That gets messy, quickly! Instead, they’ll build the app from scratch and enjoy the benefits of a cleaner and more maintainable project.
2. Extend Specific Business Functions
Another benefit of developing a custom mobile app is that it’s easy to add or extend functionality. In particular, you’ll want to extend specific business functions that facilitate more efficient customer interactions.
At first, you may decide to release a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to test the waters. Then, once your app gains traction, you’ll want to add functionality that will bring users closer. These could include in-app purchases that allow users to buy products and services, a point system to build customer loyalty, and social media integration to allow users to share your company’s content in a fun way.
3. Give Users Something New
We can’t stress enough how important it’s to keep users engaged. Even after a successful launch, your app can quickly lose traction if users become bored. After all, they have tons of other cool and innovative apps to choose from in the App Store and Google Play.
Make sure to keep your app fresh with regular updates and by adding new features that excite users. Always listen to feedback since users often request features that will enhance their experience. However, only add new functionality that fits your custom mobile app and business goals. For example, some users may request the addition of Augmented Reality (AR) functionality. But this won’t work well with your e-commerce app and unnecessarily drive up development costs.
4. Increased Compatibility
Mobile devices and systems continuously evolve, which means that appreneurs should keep up with the latest developments. If we take a quick look at the global mobile operating system market, Android’s leading with a 72.48% market share while iOS comes second at 26.91%. This bit of information may entice you to support the Android platform for your upcoming custom mobile app.
But which Android OS should you support since there are so many versions?
According to AppBrain, Android 10 leads with a 34.2% market share, Android 9.0 (Pie) at 23.1%, and Android 8.0-8.1 (Oreo) at 17.1%. By supporting these versions, you’ll inevitably increase compatibility with the most current devices and systems. It’s also worthwhile updating your older apps to run well on recent generations of operating systems.
5. Improved Security Features
In recent years, a plethora of high profile hacking cases has made the news. And with the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, more people are working from home than ever before, which has only increased the rate of hacking attacks. Thus, businesses and individuals have become increasingly sensitive to these types of incursions.
There’s nothing worse for your reputation if hackers use your app as an attack vector to illegally access users’ mobile phones. That’s why the custom app development process should always encompass the most effective security features. Include two-factor authentication that users can enable, giving them extra protection and peace of mind.
6. The Latest Custom Mobile App Features
Take the time to simplify your UI & UX to make your app more accessible to a wider demographic. Furthermore, include customization features whereby users can easily change background images, colors, and fonts. Don’t forget to add a night mode to protect users that suffer from light sensitivity. And include an offline mode so they will continue using your app during Internet outages.
7. Make Changes When You Want
Your app won’t remain static. It’s a dynamic product that will undergo change during the development process and after its launch. However, templates and platforms often hinder these changes since they come with existing assets and code. Therefore, development teams have to waste valuable time modifying code and templates to suit their needs.
But this isn’t a problem with a custom solution that’s more cohesive. Developers know how every piece of their application operates and to implement changes without introducing new bugs or breaking it altogether.
8. Match Your App And Business Goals
Always consider your business goals when embarking on the development process. And ask yourself what you want to achieve with your upcoming app. Very likely, there’ll be an overlap between the direction of your app and your business goals. But you’ll only be able to achieve great results with a custom solution since it’s hard to find templates that will match your business goals down to a tee. Keep your vision focussed, and build your app in a way that makes it entirely your own.
9. Professional App Developers
It’s easy finding freelancers on various job boards and freelancing platforms to develop your app. But is that a good idea? Well, if you’re working on a hobby project and just want to test the waters, hiring a competent freelancer could be feasible. But if you’re developing an app for your business and expect professional results, then you’ll need to work with an agency.
Freelancers will often play up their list of credentials to attain work. And while some freelancers do good work, they seldom stick around to offer support after the project ends. This leads to problems, especially when you need to fix bugs after you’ve launched your app. You’ll find that the freelancer has moved on to the next project and isn’t available for fixing bugs.
Agencies, on the other hand, are far more accountable to their clients. They have a reputation to uphold and must comply with various laws and regulatory bodies to stay in business. Any reputable agency won’t leave clients high and dry if they experience issues with a finished app upon or after release. They’ll offer their advice, expertise, and support during and after development. And if you’re seeking mobile app development in Virginia, then don’t hesitate to contact NS804 to assist you with your custom app development endeavors.
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The Time Has Come: Every Restaurant Needs A Mobile App
COVID-19 changed a lot. Importantly, however, it also illuminated a lot. In other words, COVID-19 uncovered some truths. One of those truths is that restaurants need their own mobile app. While many industries struggled through the COVID-19 lockdowns, restaurants have been hit especially hard. With limitations on sit-down meals many restaurants aren’t even allowing sit-down customers. On the flip side of that, the mobile app industry is one of the very few that have thrived through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keep in mind that it’s far from over for the restaurant industry. A small hiccup in supply chains, and limitations on sit-down customers are merely roadblocks. While the restaurant and service industries might be in a small period of downturn, there’s always a path forward for the innovative, the brave, and the inventive. The restaurant industry is not dying. Rather, it’s shifting. Restaurants are now catering to curb-side-pick-up orders and delivery orders like they have never had to before. However, the environment dictates, to a certain degree, our operations, and the times have called for stronger remote service; even from restaurants. The way to provide this is through a custom app.
Developing A Mobile App For Your Restaurant
As a restaurant there are plenty of options outside of developing your own mobile app. For instance there are services like Ubereats and GrubHub. However, these 3rd party services cut into your profits from delivery and pick-up orders. Not only that, but with their umbrella-service business model, customers can become frustrated as they attempt to get updates about their order. The problems only get worse if something with the order is wrong. On top of that, with these services you don’t have dedicated drivers; meaning food can show up late and cold – reflecting poorly on your restaurant.
Those are just some of the reasons looking into developing your own mobile app for your restaurant is a wise business move. However, that doesn’t even begin to cover the major benefits that developing an app for your restaurant provides. Profit was mentioned briefly in the context that 3rd party delivery services cut into your profits from curb-side and delivery-services. The boost in profit is influenced by more than this factor alone though. By developing your own mobile app for the restaurant you’ve now created a tool to service all of your loyal customers directly.
This is beneficial not only to the restaurant, but for the customers as well. The custom app also provides your marketing team with a whole new platform they can leverage in marketing opportunities to encourage customer downloads. Additionally, this is great for struggling restaurants used to serving a full-house every weekend night. As we all work to maintain our own safety and the safety of others; it’s the simple truth that it is safer for some people to stay inside as much as possible. Developing a custom mobile app for your restaurant allows you to service this community without putting them at risk.
Even More Benefits
Improving the customer experience is the main focal point of nearly every business operating. The customer experience has become one of the vital elements to running a successful business, and therefore it makes sense that companies are emphasizing it so strongly. Developing a custom mobile app for your restaurant provides your company a platform capable of elevating your customer experience.
There is a myriad of ways that an app is capable of boosting your customer experience. For example, communication. Communication is integral to developing any relationship – especially the one with your customer. Having a mobile app specific for your restaurant provides you and your customers a direct channel to communicate. Beyond that, using a mobile app specific for your company means having a dedicated fleet of delivery drivers as well; ensuring that food arrives timely and piping hot. While it may sound expensive, the costs related to mobile app development are actually relatively low. The costs are far outgained by profits reaped in the first months after developing a custom mobile app.
Centralizing Management Through a Mobile App
There are other ways to make use of a mobile app in the restaurant industry as well. In addition to boosting profits, a mobile app can help you centralize your management of the restaurant. This includes making it easier to manage a limited amount of reservations and cancellations. Not only that, but it provides easier and more convenient ordering options for all of your customers.
Not only that, but you can even use a mobile app to launch a loyalty program for the customers who can’t get enough of your scrumptious food. All-in-all, developing an app for your restaurant makes you a more competitive restaurant amongst your peers. In a market place as fierce as it is today, any advantage helps.
A Recap on Restaurant Apps
There is a whole myriad of reasons to develop a custom mobile app as a restaurant. Rather than just listing your menu on a 3rd party service company like Ubereats or GrubHub, take control of your customer base by investing in a custom mobile app dedicated to your restaurant alone.
Eliminating 3rd party service-fees that eat into your profits, and replacing an undedicated fleet of drivers with a fleet that specifically services your restaurant will immediately boost profits. As well as the customer experience. On top of that, developing a custom mobile app makes ordering much more convenient for your customers. It also helps you manage pick-up, and delivery orders. All while making it easier to manage reservations.
Finally, beyond an increase in profits, and an uptick in the customer experience, developing a custom app is a strategic move for the future. As 2020 and the COVID-19 virus have shown us, the shift to a virtual age is already underway. Developing a mobile app for your restaurant doesn’t only help today. But it helps prepare you for success in the future as well. Providing a centralized place for your customers to reach you. To order from you, to cash in their loyalty points, and to even leave reviews.
There is really no reason to wait on developing an app for your restaurant. As more and more orders become curbside pickup and delivery, customers are looking for ways to support local restaurants while staying safe and staying inside.
Some Final Thoughts
Developing a mobile app for your restaurant helps centralize your activities, communicate with customers, and operate in a more virtual-world. It will give your customers a place to order and communicate with you, while also acting as a management tool for you and your staff. It’s a process, however, developing a mobile app that’s going to be just right for your restaurant, and your customers. For more information on development services, or how to build a mobile app, visit NS804 today.
NS804 is dedicated to delivering top-shelf knowledge and information on app development, mobile app development and trends in app design. Making mobile app development services more accessible to the everyday inventor with a great idea. Visit NS804 today to take the first step on the path toward developing your first app and turning your idea into a reality.
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When developing mobile apps, we need to consider various project management approaches, such as the Waterfall UX process. After all, we retain users by utilizing methodologies and strategies for UI/UX that work. And we want to reduce the associated risks of creating apps via a well-thought-out Waterfall software development process.
But you may be wondering if this is the right methodology for your upcoming project or considering alternatives such as Agile. Well, we’ll shed some light on these matters and compare both methodologies below.
1. What Is The Waterfall Methodology
The Waterfall methodology is a project management paradigm initially used in construction and manufacturing but later adopted by software developers. All project tasks are split into phases that follow a linear sequence that flows downwards, similarly to a waterfall, hence the naming convention. It’s a fairly straightforward process but far more rigid than alternative models such as agile.
2. Does The Waterfall UX Process Work
Users expect modern apps to have intuitive and responsive UX. And a few ways to keep these users satisfied is by simplifying the user journey, organizing content, personalizing apps, adding biometric authentication features, and minimizing data input. But how does a development team hash out their UX process to create engaging apps? The good news is that the Waterfall methodology works incredibly well for UX, which many developers utilize.
A well-trodden Waterfall UX process works as follows:
Initiate research and determine all core problems
Categorize all these problems
Generate journey maps and personas
Hold brainstorming sessions to come up with new ideas
Create a prototype and test it
Begin developing the product based on the prototype
Release the product
Gather user feedback and return to the first phase
Overall, this process brings about satisfactory results as long as the UX isn’t updated regularly. However, many design-led mobile app developers prefer to update their UX in shorter cadences. In such a scenario, a Waterfall process isn’t the most suitable methodology. Thus, a growing number of developers utilize Lean and Agile methodologies instead.
3. The Main Parts Of The Waterfall Software Development Process
A typical Waterfall software development process consists of either five or seven phases following a stringent linear sequence. The naming of phases may vary, but these are the commonly used descriptors:
Requirements – Project managers gather all necessary customer requirements during this initial phase. Then, without further customer input, the remaining phases in the waterfall sequence are planned out.
Design – Design consists of a logical design and a physical design phase. Logical design involves the brainstorming and theorization of solutions, while physical design necessitates the establishment of specifications based on these theories.
Implementation – The development team’s programmers start writing code based on the requirements and specifications from the above phases.
Verification – During the verification phase, the customer receives the finished product to review. The customer will then ascertain whether or not the product meets their requirements.
Maintenance – The customer regularly uses the product and gradually discovers bugs and other faults. Then, the maintenance team makes the necessary fixes based on customer feedback.
4. Pros And Cons Of Waterfall
The Waterfall software development process has several pros and cons that you should consider before commencing any upcoming projects. Unfortunately, the Waterfall model has gained an undeserved reputation among many developers nowadays. They often claim that it’s inefficient and outdated due to its rigid structure. However, it’s still widely used in enterprise, game, and mobile app development.
Waterfall’s clear structure makes it easy for developers to understand and complete tasks. And since tasks must be completed in sequence, this diminishes the possibility of unfinished and unpolished apps. Furthermore, if the developer can commit to a set release date, then it’s easy to predict the end goal and production costs.
On the flipside, Waterfall’s rigid structure makes it difficult to implement changes. Any sudden change or revision will likely derail the project and extend the time to market (TTM). Another negative is that the customer or end-user doesn’t have a say during the development process and provides valuable feedback that benefits the project. Finally, testing takes place near the end of the process, which may lead to costly and time-consuming revisions.
5. Waterfall Methodology Vs Agile
Whether in the canteen or around the water cooler, it’s common for developers to engage in Waterfall methodology vs Agile debates. Since neither methodology is better than the other, it’s difficult to settle on a clear winner. However, they both have several notable differences that are worth discussing.
We’ve already gone over Waterfall’s rigid structure, which makes it difficult to implement changes. Well, Agile is the complete opposite and allows for a more iterative approach at shorter time scales. However, do keep changes to a minimum to avoid a budget overrun. After all, Agile lacks the predictability of Waterfall, making it less suitable for determining cost and time factors.
While Waterfall’s ideal for projects with clearly defined end goals, this isn’t the case for Agile. Customers are often uncertain about how a project should turn out and prefer to determine the result through trial and error. Agile’s flexible approach facilitates user feedback throughout the development process and fine-tuning the project accordingly.
6. What Projects Work Best With Waterfall
Waterfall works best for smaller projects and those that have a fixed budget, release date, and scope. It’s also a good choice for any application that doesn’t require frequent updates. And the team structure of the developer may determine if Waterfall is the way to go. For example, if contractors and remote workers will also be contributing to the project, then Waterfall’s clean and straightforward structure makes it suitable. Moreover, the customer may not have the time or inclination to follow the entire development process and only wishes to see the finished product.
7. Should You Use Waterfall And Agile Together?
It usually makes sense to deliberate over Waterfall Methodology Vs Agile, especially when embarking on mobile app development. But sometimes, depending on the project, it may be necessary to embrace both methodologies. Ideally, you’ll want to form a hybrid methodology that combines the positive aspects of both models but without any of the negative.
By implementing the Water-Scrum-Fall paradigm, it’s possible to have a hybrid methodology that works effectively. Project leaders operate within the Waterfall paradigm, but the development team functions in an Agile environment and only integrates with the Waterfall structure via the Scrum team. However, it’s challenging to run Agile and Waterfall processes concurrently. But worthwhile if you’re employing Continuous Delivery in your DevOps pipeline for your app development endeavors.
The Bottom Line
The Waterfall methodology has played a significant role in software development for many decades. It may seem outdated, especially for newer developers accustomed to an Agile environment. However, Waterfall still has its place and can be made to work with Agile if necessary. Contact us now, and find out how NS804 can help bring your mobile app ideas to life.
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Every business and entrepreneur wants to push their product to market with the smallest investment of time and capital as possible, and for good reason. It makes sense as an appreneur to seek out the method of mobile development with the lowest cost, which is usually hybrid app development.
In our second installment of How to Build a Mobile App: The Ultimate Guide, we’ll look into the pros and cons of both hybrid and native app development, and shed light on why when examining the entire lifecycle of an app, we believe native is the more cost effective choice.
It is important to note that this is a topic of debate with a wide and varied array of opinions and conclusions. Throughout my research on the native vs. hybrid debate, the overwhelming consensus is that “it depends on the developer.”
Developers and blogs are quick to espouse the pros and cons of native and hybrid apps that the tech industry has agreed upon, but there seems to be little supporting evidence as to where these findings originated, other than from their own personal experience. Articles, thought-pieces, and blogs have all come to contradicting conclusions based upon the same sets of data, and these conclusions seem to arise from the opinions and skillsets of the developers or authors themselves.
Regardless of any opinion about native and hybrid development, the most important step you can take as an appreneur or business is to work with a developer you trust – but it is important to know how each method of development can influence your app’s future.
This is a debate that seems to be mainly fueled by opinions rather than stats – but we will provide as much insight as possible by using what case studies and supporting data are out there.
There are many different lenses from which to view this debate, but we will mainly focus on answering these questions:
What is hybrid development?
What is native development?
What do they mean for your users?
What do they mean for your business?
What is hybrid development?
A hybrid app’s code is passed through a “wrapper” that the OS can understand – like an English speaker using a phone to translate a conversation with a Spanish speaker. Hybrid apps rely on plugins to access your device’s functionality – such as the device’s native hardware, camera, mapping, messaging, and email functionalities. Plugins are built and supported by third parties, and a hybrid developer doesn’t have control over how a plugin functions – only when and where it is implemented.
In a similar vein, a progressive web app (a hot topic right now) uses the device’s native browser to access a website specifically designed to display information on a mobile device. It’s akin to clicking a hyperlink, but instead of taking you to a link, it takes you to the site where the app is hosted. The app isn’t visually displaying the browser layer, but uses the device’s browser as a way to connect the device to the app.
What is native development?
Just like hybrid, native development’s name describes its exact method of app creation; apps are coded using languages native to a specific platform, such as using Swift to write for iOS, or JAVA for Android.
Native apps can seamlessly integrate with the native functionality on your device – this gives native developers the opportunity to focus on designing the main aspects of your app, rather than spending time working with third party plugins to achieve the same functionalities already included on your users’ device. Native apps are also more secure than hybrid.
What do they mean for your users?
Your users honestly don’t care if your app is built using hybrid, native, progressive, or React Native development. They care about solving their pain point – and how well your app solves that problem. Whether it’s Snapchat (a natively-developed app with a focus on iOS) solving the dearth of filtered selfies, or an HVAC engineer using an augmented reality (AR) app to run diagnostics on a broken system, your users care about how responsive your app is to their inputs, the intuitiveness of its UI, and the quality of the solution it provides.
Users want your app to feel like it belongs on their device; they don’t want to be forced to learn how to use your app. They want your app to work for them, and the easiest way to ensure your users are provided with an intuitive UX (user experience) is to natively develop your app.
When it comes to UX/UI, natively-developed apps will almost invariably perform better than hybrid. Native apps are not only coded for a specific platform; they provide a UI that is designed to the standards and conventions of that platform. To put it simply; using an iPhone feels completely different than using a Samsung. They both display interactive information across a touchscreen; and for a user, that’s just about where their similarities come to an end.
Over time, Android and iOS users have come to expect certain commands to perform specific functions, and both platforms rely on their users to interact with apps using different sets of intuition. Both platforms have released style guides for developers to follow, which can vary significantly in their principles of design and function.
Take, for example, the difference between the home screens of Android Pie and an iPhone X:
Above (left to right): Android Pie, and an iPhone X running iOS 12.1.2
Have you ever borrowed a friend or colleague’s phone, only to be presented with an unfamiliar UI? It’s a jarring experience, and it’s an excellent example of the personal connection we share with our phones and other mobile devices.
Android users will intuitively search for the “hamburger” (three horizontal lines stacked on top of each other) style menu to access information, while iPhone users will expect bottom menu bar navigation. It seems pretty straight-forward to adapt to either system, but users quickly form strong opinions based on their first interactions with an app, and users are more likely to uninstall your app than keep it. Within the first 3 days of an app being downloaded, 77% of the users who downloaded it have already uninstalled.
An important thing to keep in mind is that your app is not the only one on a user’s device. There are most likely apps competing for your users’ attention, and those users are liable to switch to another app at any time – especially if it doesn’t provide the best experience possible. According to Dynatrace, a software intelligence company, 48% of users are less likely to continue using your app after a negative experience, 31% are less likely to purchase another app made by your company – and will spread negative word-of-mouth marketing to their friends – and 26% will give your app a negative rating.
This is why your development method matters to your users. An app with a hybrid design will run on both platforms – but it won’t run as well as a native app. A hybrid app will always be forced to sacrifice the aspects of the user experience that make each platform unique; and because of this, your app will feel less personal – and mobile’s strongest attractor is the personal experience it provides.
If your app isn’t responsive, and doesn’t flow seamlessly with the rest of the UI/UX a platform offers, users will grow frustrated – which can lead to them switching to a competitor, or giving your app a bad rating or review.
What do they mean for your business?
Simply put, hybrid development will almost invariably have a lower initial cost and faster development time when compared to native. This is for two main reasons: There is no extra cost to write code that runs on multiple platforms, and they are written using languages web developers already know.
This means that when developing for multiple platforms, hybrid development takes roughly half the time of native, and opens access to two markets for the cost of one. This method of development usually comes with a lower billable rate, as web developers make about 20% less than mobile developers and spend less time coding and testing (initially), as the app runs on every platform using the same code.
These factors indicate hybrid development has both a lower initial investment and opportunity cost when compared to native, and are extremely compelling reasons to choose hybrid over native; but the lower up-front cost and doubled market size are traps that can lead to issues down the line that can severely hamper your app’s growth and sustainability.
It was in 2012 when Facebook CEO and tech giant Mark Zuckerberg was quoted saying “the biggest mistake that we made as a company is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native,” in an interview with TechCrunch. “[I]t just wasn’t there,” he continued. “[S]ince we’ve done the iOS app we’ve seen double the amount of feeds people consume.”
The social media company had many reasons for switching to native development, which were presented in a post detailing the performance issues and limitations Facebook encountered with HTML5. Some of these performance issues include:
Lagging scrolling speeds
The overload of data in the feed would sometimes cause the app to crash
These were issues Facebook deemed important enough to spend the time and money on developing their app natively, and is a perfect example that no matter how large your market presence is, your UX is crucial to your app’s continued growth and success.
A hybrid app may have a lower initial cost than a natively-developed one – but a native app will provide a better experience, and only the best apps perform well on the App Store and Google Play. In 2016, the top 200 apps on the App Store had an average of $82,500 in daily revenue, while the top 8,000 apps had an average daily revenue of just $3,500, a stark decline that demonstrates the need to be the absolute best at providing the solution to whatever pain point your app aims to solve.
As another example, in 2016, AirBnB took a leap of faith and began development using React Native, a switch from their native development roots (a five-part, in-depth study into their experiences with React Native can be found here). Ultimately, AirBnB decided to switch back to native development for many reasons, including:
There were technical and organizational issues with React Native that hampered development, causing unexpected delays on projects that could easily have been completed using native code.
It turned out that while their app was created using React Native, only a small portion of the app was truly coded using React. In order to work effectively, bridging infrastructure was required, and the engineers were forced to add to their work load by supporting code on three platforms instead of two.
While build time iterations were an order of magnitude faster than native, debugging could take days.
When comparing the cost of developing an app for both iOS and Android, native development will always be more expensive than hybrid, as code must be written separately for each platform, leading to more billable hours – but keep in mind that companies like Facebook and AirBnB have deemed that investment to be worth it.
Web developer for Mozilla, James Long, even released a thought-piece in 2015 detailing why hybrid apps will never compete with native when it comes to performance and UX.
Your users decide whether or not your app is successful, and their decision is based on their experiences using your app. Your UX is largely determined by your app’s method of development, and native development almost invariably provides a better UI/UX.
In an interesting study, Alex Sullivan (a developer and writer for thoughtbot) created a simple stopwatch app for Android using three development methods: native, React Native, and Flutter (a hybrid development kit). When testing on a Nexus 5, the natively-developed app beat out both the React Native and Flutter apps by a “non trivial margin when it comes to performance,” and both CPU and memory usage were lower on the native app than the React Native and Flutter apps.
If your app does the same thing as a competing app, but the competing app does it one second faster, users will switch to your competitor. If there is a marked difference in performance for an app that only functions as a stop watch like Sullivan’s, its easy to extrapolate why companies like Facebook decided to switch to the more expensive option of native development; they were worried someone would do it better and faster.
One of the most important factors in determining how successful your app will be is your app’s App Store optimization, which is colloquially abbreviated to ASO. ASO is used to boost your app’s ranking in the App Store and Google Play by utilizing trending keywords to catch users searching for a solution to their particular pain point.
In the future, we’ll take an intricate look at all the strategies you can utilize to perfect your app’s ASO.
Other than keywords, your app’s user ratings, reviews, and retention are the key variables used to determine your app’s ranking on the app store. Each of these factors has a direct correlation with your app’s UX/UI, and this is where the trap hybrid development sets becomes twofold; with a cheaper and more direct path to a multi-platform release, you set yourself up to fail twice as fast, and twice as hard. Beating another appreneur or business to market is all well and good, but as soon as a competing app comes into the picture, it only has to provide a slightly better UX/UI than yours to begin siphoning from your user base.
This is where the longevity of native and hybrid development really starts to split. All apps require updates throughout their lifecycle – sometimes due to the platform itself updating, security issues, implementing additional functionality, or improving UI to follow current design trends.
If your app is hybrid, when an update for a platform is released (no matter how small of an update), you must check every plugin to make sure it’s still functional. If a plugin isn’t functioning properly, the developer must wait for the third-party provider to update the plugin itself – this can lead to downtime that is both out of your control, and your developer’s.
Hybrid apps must constantly be re-worked and tweaked to function properly on different platforms, and you’ll often attempt to solve one issue on one platform, only to begin working on a different problem for the other.
The trap set by the initial low cost of hybrid development becomes exponential by this point; a hybrid app’s UX/UI will under-perform natively-developed apps on both Android and iOS, which in turn leads to lower user ratings, reviews, and retention on Google Play and the App Store. Even if your hybrid app provides the best user experience it possibly can, there’s most likely a native app out there that’s doing it better. If a competing app’s average user rating is a four, and your’s is a three, those ratings add up, and can lead to a significant disparity between the two apps’ ASO and overall ranking.
A hybrid app, by this point, is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It may have been on the market for a longer period of time than a native app, but time on the App Store or Google Play isn’t the key factor in determining your app’s success: it’s ASO. The hybrid app will constantly be battling the low or mediocre user ratings it receives, which is a huge handicap to your overall ASO score. You must now weigh the options before you: constantly provide users with updates to keep up with competition and the standards of multiple platforms, or walk away before your sunken costs get out of hand.
A native app also has the added benefit that a large chunk of your app’s ASO comes from a passive source – those being user retention, ratings and reviews – and since those factors are already robust, it gives you the ability to focus purely on keywords (the lifeblood of successful ASO) and trending topics.
It’s like building a house; it doesn’t matter how pretty the paint is if the foundation isn’t sound. A house with good bones might have a higher initial cost and take longer to build, but throughout the years it requires much less maintenance, and updates to the home can add additional rooms rather than fixing extant issues.
Interestingly enough, while hybrid apps require more updates and usually have a higher rate of bugs and crashes when compared to native apps, 44% of hybrid developers don’t track errors and crashes (this stat comes from an article arguing hybrid is a better option than native).
The pros and cons of hybrid and native development
Quick development cycle
Low initial cost
Low initial billable rate
High maintenance costs
Slower development cycle
Higher billable rate
Higher initial cost
If you’re considering building an app, and are worried about the up-front costs of native development, remember that you can always start with a natively-developed MVP, and build from there. Taking the extra initial time and cost to produce a native app will inevitably save you money if you plan on your app being around for more than a year, and it’s better to start with a solid foundation than trying to go back in and fill cracks later.
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