Today, every product owner or anyone out there can agree that there is a humongous number of apps that were futuristic or just ideas of fantasy some time ago. Alongside, the growth of technical feasibility, superior programming languages, and modern development tools have helped us to achieve super mobile apps.
As a result of more technical feasibility, product owners need to know how the tech stacks present today have enabled applications to become maintainable, scalable, and committed to all the functional requirements or the business value they were created for. Thus, it will allow them to apply this knowledge in their respective projects.
What Is Mobile Development Stack?
Before jumping to the core section of the article, let’s briefly capture the idea of what mobile development stack is so further navigation would be smooth and effortless.
Like building a car requires special equipment, creating an app involves specific instruments as well. Mobile application development software refers to a combination of programming languages, frameworks, integrated development environments, and other tools catered to deliver a mobile solution.
Generally, mobile development technologies can be divided into the following categories:
- Analysis and design development — here, tech tools are used for requirements discovery and UI/UX design
- Client-side development — where communications and core logic are implemented
- Server-side development — related to data, server logic, and entire app architecture
There is an important pointer for the choice of any tech stack as it is highly dependent on the choice of the development approach. Likewise, the choice of an approach is also based on requirements, the needs of target users, team expertise, and capacity.
The main mobile development approaches are as follows:
- Native App Development
- Cross-Platform App Development
- Hybrid App Development
- Rapid Mobile App Development
- Progressive Web App Development
The most preferable approach is Native app development. However, for some apps, other approaches are more reasonable. Let’s take a closer look at the non-native approaches and the most popular cross-platform technologies and tools.
There are several options of frameworks that can be used for cross-platform app development. We will take a look at the most relative ones such as Titanium, React Native, Flutter, and Xamarin.
As a plus, React Native has various tools for debugging and packaging that conserves app development time. It also has a highly functional approach as regards user interfaces with the ability for developers to see how the functions of source code work in real-time on their screens. As a result, this simplifies making a user interface and achieving a flawless user experience.
Advantages of React Native include:
- High performance and speed like native apps
- Compatible with 3rd-party plugins
- Live reloading feature
- Fluid and well responsive UI
- Good development environment
- Not prone to bugs
- Speedy debugging of code
Created by Google, Flutter is another powerful open-source UI SDK. Using a single codebase, developers can build in minutes cross-platform mobile apps that deliver native interface and performance.
Flutter relies on the Dart programming language, layered architecture, and a rich set of customizable widgets to ensure fast rendering of components and create expressive designs.
Compared to other mobile development technologies, Flutter is relatively new, but it keeps gaining popularity. Its Stateful Hot Reload helps developers easily experiment, add features, and fix bugs while the framework rebuilds the widget to display the changes.
As a result, it provides fast development, which is one of the reasons why this platform is so loved.
Advantages of Flutter:
- Performance similar to native apps
- Custom built-in widgets
- Own rendering engine
- Reduced time for code development
- Expressive and felxible UI
- Possible to go beyond mobile
Similarly, according to Wikipedia an estimated 10% of all mobile phones globally use an app developed with Titanium. Its community of developers contributes frequently to make this tool more enhanced to serve cross-platform development.
Advantageously, independent developers, software vendors, and other partners can create modules for extending the Titanium SDK with mobile interface controls, leverage native platform APIs, and access 3rd party services.
Advantages of Titanium:
- It works across all platforms
- Availability of over 5,000 APIs
- Live reloading feature
- Available client-side marketplace modules and cloud-based services
- It has very large community support
Xamarin can be considered as one of the main and highly-rated tech used to build cross-platform apps. Notably, developers have the alternative of writing or rewriting the code in other languages such as C, C#, and .Net frameworks, making it a match and fit for products and solutions made by Microsoft.
Lastly, Xamarin also enhances a UI toolkit for cross-platforming that compiles codes, irrespective of the native interface.
Other Xamarin’s advantages include:
- Fewer bugs
- High performance
- Support for MVC and MVVM patterns of design
- The same user interface as native
- Automatic test by TestCloud
- Common app logic
- Self component store
- Large community support
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Technology Stacks for Hybrid App Development
Alternative cross-platform development tools for hybrid apps include Apache Cordova, Ionic, Sencha Touch. Our highlight will be on these technologies as they are the most prominent.
This technology was rebranded as PhoneGap after being owned by Adobe Systems in 2011. It is now known as an open-source software called Apache Cordova. Practically, it is a hybrid development framework for mobile applications, but it also works as a web-based framework.
Apache Cordova is compatible with IDEs that support any of the toolsets of iOS and Android like Xcode or Android Studio. Unfortunately, the resulting apps are slower when processing large data sets, and not a good fit for using third-party libraries for access to graphic, compared to native apps. Also, there are some native device APIs that are not yet supported by Apache Cordova.
Advantages of Apache Cordova:
- Effective for backend
- Works on all platforms
Sencha Touch 2
Many developers recommend Sencha Touch 2 for very complex hybrid apps, especially with the need for an interactive UI. Additionally, it is compatible with many other popular IDEs directly or sometimes with the use of a plugin.
Advantages of Sencha Touch 2:
- Fast and responsive hardware acceleration
- Lots of widgets and easy to use APIs
- Effective data management
- Reliable security
- Works on multi-platforms
Based on AngularJS and Cordova, Ionic, like the others, is an open-source and 100% free framework. It is characterized by the ability to enable hybrid apps to not only look but work like a native app. It is simple to learn and write, and it is well supported by a large developer community.
Advantages of Ionic are:
- Fast development and reusable code
- Supports robust development
- Availability of numerous plugins
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Technology Stack for Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD)
The next focus is on the Rapid Mobile App Development approach. It can be applied with several development platforms, examples are Alpha Software, MobileFrame, and MobileSmith. They all possess no-code and low-code options.
Alpha software enables the development and deployment of different mobile enterprise applications. Comparatively, it is one of the RMAD platforms that involve the use of low-code. Cross-platform apps built on Alpha work even when the user is not connected to the internet.
Advantages of Alpha Software:
- Works online and offline
- Good backend data integration
- Modern and responsive user interface
- Works on various platforms
MobileFrame can be handy for developing, testing, and deploying cross-platform apps without coding. This RMAD platform allows the developer to make an enterprise mobile app and create the accompanying UI. Lastly, it can be used to develop both web and mobile applications.
Advantages of MobileFrame:
- Works on all platforms including web
- Code-free development
- Scalable server options
- Works online and offline
MobileSmith enables the employment of coded modules known as AppBlocks. The AppBlocks are customizable and reusable for other new projects. Likewise, MobileSmith works well with iOS and Android OS.
Advantages of MobileSmith:
- Little experience as a developer is need
- Reusable components
- Works cross-platform
- Low cost of production
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How to Choose the Right Mobile Technology Stack
Now that we’ve covered a variety of technologies that help deliver robust applications, it’s time to decide which one better fits your project.
Choosing the right mobile app technology stack might be puzzling, but an experienced team of developers will always provide you with guidance on this tricky path.
However, before approaching your in-house team or outsourcing your app development, you should define the key aspects that impact the potential choice. No matter what resources you will draw to implement your project, the following details will help you make an informed decision together with your team.
Carefully consider the factors listed below and related to your future mobile app:
- Project goals
- App requirements
Cross-Platform Mobile Development Stack at Velvetech
Having gone a long way in both native and cross-platform mobile app development, we apply tried and tested tools to accelerate the adoption of mobile solutions and help companies boost their growth.
Depending on the preferences and requirements explored during the discovery sessions, our team recommends the optimal mobile application technology to use.
From our experience, going for native app development would ensure the best app performance and efficiency. However, we majorly support the projects requiring a cross-platform approach with React Native and Xamarin SDKs, as well as Flutter and Titanium frameworks when necessary.
The Way Forward
There is always a need to improve user engagement and satisfaction as the mobile app market constantly expands, and as it further provides smart mobile solutions. It is a good insight for product owners to take advantage of the current mobile app development stacks and the rewards they offer.
The headway into creating a top-notch mobile app is to select the most complementing tech stack. It is equally important that an intelligent choice will influence the stability and usability of any app. After all said and done, from all the trending technologies you should pick a development stack that suits the aim and purpose of your project perfectly. As a result, this will give you dominance and a good market share.
Are you in the need of a worthy mobile development vendor to make you an ideal app for your business? Our team of business analysts and developers at Velvetech are always up to the task. We have a highly competent team that covers a full product development cycle from research and planning to delivery and maintenance. Contact us today to discuss your app.