Wednesday, March 12, 2014

So you want to develop Mobile Apps with Magic xpa? Which app mode is best?

One of the great advantages of developing with Magic is the easy portability of your business logic to any client and server device supported by Magic’s future proof platform. When you decide to deploy on a mobile device, there are three primary options for developing your application so that it may be deployed on a mobile device. They are not all equal and careful consideration should be given, especially if you are considering an approach other than native. While these considerations have little to do with Magic, they do have a whole lot to do with the deployment mode itself. Since you may have to live with your decision for a long time. I suggest you think it through carefully and consult with Magic Professional Services for the best personal guidance. But in general, here are some key considerations:

Browser Apps. – A Browser app uses the mobile internet browser of the device. There are advantages to this method in that if you already have a browser application, it can be deployed readily. On the other hand, your application will not look like a native mobile application. You will also have limited, if any, access to the mobile device’s functionality, such as the camera. HTML5 browser apps use merge functionality and therefore the user interface development is not as automated with this approach. Main advantage: maximum portability. Primary disadvantages: Security, Cumbersome Development, limited third-party access to device features, unsettled protocol standards, non-native look and feel may seem strange to users.

Hybrid Apps. – The interface is a mixture of a native application, JavaScript and HTML5. As an example, you may be using a browser control to display a PDF or SharePoint Web Part but using routine Magic programming techniques to design the native UI features. In this case, you have also have full access to the local device features within the native portion of the app mashup but the browser control based portion is subject to the same limitations as browser apps. Advantage: Flexibility to use web features and extensibility of those features across devices. Disadvantages: Requires multiple skillsets, user interface may appear inconsistent, greater effort and planning required for building screens that mashup well. Advantages: Leverages the best of both worlds. With the right mix, an app can still have a native look and feel while using some non-native features. Best for apps that are mainly native but may need to leverage just one HTML5 frame or for apps that are fully HTML5 but need to meet the requirement of being deployed in a native container other than a browser.

Native Apps. – This is an app with a native mobile interface and full access to supported  device features such as camera, address book, GPS, etc. Native apps are generally regarded as more highly adopted by users. With Magic xpa, native apps are also the easiest to create and have the great advantage of being portable to all supported clients: BlackBerry, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Advantage: Greater user satisfaction with true native look and feel, speed of development, multiple device and OS support. Disadvantages: For best results, a UI designer may recommend the additional effort of device specific designs. 

While your circumstances may dictate the choice of any of these mobile app types as being best for your situation, in general and when making the choice of mobile app deployment modes for Magic xpa mobile apps without pre-conditions it is recommended to develop native apps. 

Ready to learn more? Join us at the Magic Users Conference, June 2-4, 2014, in Huntington Beach, California, also known as Surf City USA

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