Mobile applications are a convenient and accessible way to interact with your audience. In the last 15 years since the creation of modern mobile platforms, more and more services are interacting with their users through mobile applications.
The main scenarios in which it makes sense for users to switch to mobile applications, and businesses to invest in their development are:
- A large number of user interactions with the business functionality of the platform;
- Added value due to the capabilities of the platform - AR / VR, high requirements for platform computing performance;
- The need for constant communication and informing the user about updates on the platform.
For business, this approach allows you to get the following opportunities:
- Getting an additional cheap channel of communication with the audience;
- Collection of advanced statistics;
- And as a result, in case of correct use of the previous advantages - increase in conversion.
Options for developing mobile applications
There are several basic approaches to developing mobile applications, each with its own pros and cons. We will briefly talk about each one of them.
In the case of developing "native" applications, the code for each of the platforms - both iOS and Android is developed independently. This approach allows you to optimize the application and use all (even the most specific) features of the platform.
It makes sense to use native applications if:
- You need full access to phone services and resources;
- You expect maximum adaptability from the application;
- You want to make the most of your device's computing performance.
The main disadvantage of native development is that it is necessary to develop independent code for each of the platforms. So you need development teams for both iOS and Android, which increases the cost of developing and maintaining the application.
Cross-platform solutions are an evolution in the process of developing mobile applications. In this case, the developers create a single code, which is then compiled for different platforms - iOS / Android / web, etc.
The most popular frameworks for hybrid development are React Native, Xamarin and Flutter.
Advantages of hybrid development:
- Budget optimization - due to the fact that the code is developed for several platforms at once, the cost of such development is reduced;
- Reduced development time - only a single development cycle is required to publish an application on multiple platforms;
- Single code base - this simplifies the development, testing and maintenance of the application;
- Single points of integration with 3rd party applications - given a single code base, all integrations with third-party applications (payment systems, cloud storage, authorization systems) must be performed only once for one application;
- Lower probability of errors - single code base simplifies testing and bug fixing on the project.
Disadvantages of hybrid development:
- Certain restrictions on access to phone resources - in contrast to native applications, there are restrictions on access to specific features of phones, especially after the release of new functionality by vendors;
- Less performance compared to native applications - having another level of abstraction makes hybrid applications a bit slower compared to native applications (However, in many cases this difference is not noticeable).
It makes sense to use hybrid development if:
- Your application does not include the use of any specific features of the phone. For example, if you plan to develop a business process automation system that does not use the phone's lidar sensor (although you can already work with it in Flutter), do not plan to work actively with AR (augmented reality) - hybrid development is the best option;
- You want to optimize your development budget;
- You want to reduce the development time of the application, you want to test the hypothesis.
At FreshTech, we have chosen Flutter technology (supported by Google) as the basis for all our mobile applications, as we believe that the benefits and future capabilities of this framework are very promising.
Future of hybrid development
It is important to note that the current version of flutter is 2.10 and it has many new features that allow you to further optimize the development process. Applications created with flutter can be compiled for:
Thus, after you’ve created your application, you can later publish it to all of the most popular platforms today, having the ability to optimize the interface for each of them.
Examples of hybrid applications
To show you examples of the performance and usability of projects created using flutter, we suggest you check out some of our developments on this framework.
Zoomies Social Pet app
The Zoomies platform is a social network for anyone who is a fan of pets. Users create a personal profile (both their own and for each of their animals) and can share photos / videos of their pet, find information about events nearby. And, if necessary, even report the found or lost pet to others.
The application actively uses the work with media materials, and the quality and speed of processing and displaying all of the data is a very important point in the level of customer satisfaction, and flutter fully copes with this task.
Mapus is a platform for finding specialists or clients near you. You can easily find plumbers, electricians, tutors and hundreds of other types of professionals on the map. The project actively uses geolocation functionality, address search and with the use of flutter all the possibilities of geocoding are implemented on 100%.
restyleme is an online shopping service for branded clothing. A user-friendly interface, high project speed and integration with payment systems are very important for the project. As well as a large number of analytics to increase conversions and improve the user experience. Thanks to the speed of the flutter, we were able to fully achieve all of these goals.
As in many cases, the choice of a technology depends primarily on the application you are developing.
At the same time, we believe that cross-platform applications are the best option for many cases when it comes to developing business process automation systems, e-commerce applications, marketplaces and social platforms. Due to the much faster development cycle, such applications can be published in less time and allow you to move to collecting feedback from users and work on improving the process.