June 30, 2022
Smartphone Apps

Smartphone Apps : Mobile websites and smartphone apps have been rising in both popularity and accessibility in recent months. One of the most significant reasons for this is the ease of creation for the developer and even the business-owner. Creating apps via ‘mashup’, an aggregation of technologies, allows for shorter development times and easier to support apps.

Many development studios use native-only platforms for their code and app development. By no means is this a bad thing. In fact, in my development work, there are many apps that I’ve directed through the cycle with completely native Java/Android/iOS code. For many of our apps, however, mashup was the best solution.

Wikipedia defines mashup as: “In web development, a mashup is a web page or application that uses and combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services. The term implies easy, fast integration, frequently using open APIs and data sources to produce enriched results that were not necessarily the original reason for producing the raw source data.” For the purposes of this article, we’ll define mashup as a combination of HTML services (such as Javascript) with native Android or iOS (Apple) code.

Since there are services available for creating your own app via mashup, the technology (or combination technology) makes it easier for a business owner to implement their own app in just a few days or even hours for those who are adept at many technologies. There are some caveats here with ‘do it yourself’ mashup apps:

  • You have to support your own coding (no help desk here)
  • You have to be sure you write the mashup app in a method which supports usability (many people really have no clue what is needed to make an app look and feel usable)
  • You have to market your own app
  • You have to control your own updates and bug fixes (this can be time-consuming – especially for a business owner)

There are other considerations, but these listed give you a general idea of what kind of burden you may have if you ‘do it yourself’. Of these considerations, I believe the biggest would be the last. If you’re a restaurant owner, your principal work is running a restaurant. It’s not creating and supporting apps. Consider this, if you have your own company, do you use a service like ADP to run your payroll? Or, do you calculate the gross to net and print all the paychecks for employees yourself?

If you’re in the market for a new app for your business, you can specify that the app be created completely using native code. An app developer would tell you that this is a solid method which contributes both to speed of the app and reliability. The cost for this app would be considerably higher than an app developed with mashup. However, you will be able to rest easier knowing that the app would be solid.

If you have an app created by a developer using mashup tools, the cost will be typically half or less than that of pure native code development. For those enterprises that need to save money while having wonderful functionality, mashup may be the way to go.

Should you decide to go the mashup route, you can end up with a fantastic app. Your big decision here is to pay a developer or build it yourself using a web-app service company. Either of these allows for significant cost-savings (for the development portion only) over native coding. However, you really must keep in mind the ongoing support cost of the app.

Smartphone Apps, As a business owner, you really should keep in mind that mobile technology cannot be ignored. Marketing, branding, ease of access and other considerations have to be made. The mobile trend is moving upward and it’s becoming a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’. How are you going to work with it? For most small to medium sized businesses, mashup may be the way to go.