A look at the key trends in application development

On the downside, for each device to be supported, you'll need to build a specific version of your app. This approach tends to carry with it specific teams dedicated to each platform because of the uniqueness of each language and device or outsourcing to companies that specialise in this.

Mobile Web Applications: For enterprises whose aim is to rapidly build apps that increase staff and business productivity, utilising a web-based (HTML5) development approach helps. HTML5 is not device specific and you can develop once and deploy across multiple platforms – so it is great for mobile. HTML5 is also good for developing enterprise applications where changes need to be made often and immediately.

Rapid advances in HTML5 mean that web apps can now do most of the things that native apps can do with much less overhead in terms of development and maintenance resources. The web app approach enables IT teams to use what they already have, as opposed to the native approach, which requires new skills to be learnt.

Hybrid Applications: The main goal of a hybrid application is to leverage the power of native and the simplicity of mobile web. This is achieved by building a thin native shell around a mobile web application or applications. Companies frequently use this technique to get the mobile app listed on a variety of app stores or do device-level integrations. Hybrid is becoming very popular when you need to combine elements from the native approach but you want all the benefits of web.

It is quite likely that the approach you ultimately take in mobile won't be native, mobile web, OR hybrid - it will be native, mobile web, AND hybrid. We have customers using our application platform to develop and deliver all three application types as different situations always call for different approaches.

A recent Forrester report addresses the growing need for new low-code development platforms that accelerate app delivery and help enterprise organisations deliver mobile and multi-channel apps. There is no doubt that mobile app development is a key priority for organisations going forward and the faster IT teams can accommodate new mobile projects into their workload, the more responsive IT will be to meeting business needs.

  • Andrew Burgess is a solutions engineer at OutSystems UK.