The Evolution of Mobile App Development
In 2008, the first 500 mobile applications were released. Apple has introduced them through the introduction of the Apple app store. It was still a fledgling program with only 500 applications that users can download. But despite the measly list of apps available to the public, it has been widely and positively received.
Fast forward to today, there are over 2.3 billion apps available on the wild and there are still some that are not accounted for simply because they are not in the app stores!
What does this tell us? Well, mobile app development has come a long way. What started out as a measly 500 applications now reach more than 2 billion in number.
That being said, the stakes have never been higher. How has app development changed over the years?
A Brief History
In 2009, Apple has launched an ad campaign with the infamous slogan “there is an app for that”. At that time, we deemed it as something that is funny, but that very slogan has actually become prophetic.
Remember, there are over 2.3 billion apps today, but app development is getting stronger than ever. Analysts estimate that applications will be downloaded more than 352 billion times by the year 2021.
The Emergence of Web Apps
A web app is basically a highly optimized mobile website that acts as a mobile application. The data can be retrieved from a dedicated service and you can access it with the use of a mobile internet browser.
Aside from the fact that you can create them easily, web apps also have innate cross-platform support which means that it can be run using any mobile browser and any operating system.
Hybrid Apps Mashup
Hybrid apps are basically native applications that are encased in a web development container. They enjoy the benefits of both native and web applications in that they are very easy to create, has cross-platform support, and you can implement features as well.
These apps paved the way to blur the lines between developing a web app and a native app. To a considerable degree, that is actually true.
And Then, There Are Progressive Apps
Also known as PWAs or “Progressive Web Apps”, it is essentially just a better and faster version of hybrid apps.
The One True King: Native Apps
Native apps offer the best possible performance. These are apps that are coded to work for only one particular platform as it uses different development frameworks and programming languages for its creation. The main benefit of native apps is its performance. Nothing can trump the experience of using a truly native application and it has been the go-to standard when it comes to mobile app development, until such time that is.
A New Challenger: Cross-Platform Apps
If native apps only work for one operating system, cross-platform apps work on all. Although it is not as good as native apps, performance-wise, the beauty of such apps is that you can pretty much broaden your coverage. This is especially useful for businesses who want to ensure that they get a much bigger audience to improve their operations.
There are more and more cross-platform frameworks introduced that will help developers create applications with native app-like performance. It still remains to be seen, but the prospect of having that fully realized is appealing.