WaveMaker, a company that provides technologies for rapid application development, has added hybrid mobile app development for iOS and Android to its platform, which is largely aimed at helping enterprises add mobile interfaces to their existing apps.
Basically, there are three approaches to mobile apps: native apps that are developed specifically for iOS or Android; responsive web apps that render nicely on a mobile browser; and hybrid apps that are a lot like writing responsive apps but can access device features like the address book, the device GPS or the camera and may work for various devices.
“What Wavemaker does is actually generates high-quality mobile apps out of the gate for hybrid applications, which is pretty much the best way to write enterprise mobile apps,” WaveMaker CEO Vijay Pullur told the WHIR.
According to Gartner, more than half of apps built in 2016 will be hybrid mobile apps.
Since it’s becoming increasingly expected that corporate apps are accessible through mobile devices, mobile app development is becoming a major source of stress for organizations. According to another Gartner report, the market demand for mobile app development services will outpace internal IT organizations’ capacity to deliver them by more than five times.
WaveMaker’s mobile development platform uses Apache Cordova plugins to expose all the device functions into HTML-based apps. While wearable devices like smartwatches are an area of interest for Pullur and could be included in future rollouts, he notes that it’s currently for developing phone and tablet apps. He said, “Most of the enterprise applications today are generated for phones and tablets, so that’s the primary market we want to address first.”
Hybrid Apps that Look Like they Belong on Android and iOS
Pullur noted that most of the currently available frameworks for generating rapid applications don’t necessarily create an application that looks native to Android and iOS because they don’t take measures to conform to the Android and iOS UI guidelines. For instance, Android apps are supposed to place menu items on the top, and iOS stipulates that menu items go on the bottom.
Apps generated by WaveMaker are designed to look and behave as though they’re native to Android or iOS out of the box.
He notes, “We are probably the only guys out there to generate absolutely compliant with UI guidelines.”
Different Deployment Options
WaveMaker apps can be deployed three ways: a one-click deployment onto the Wavemaker cloud platform for a subscription fee (around $10,000 per year); deployment on a public cloud like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure; or deployment on a private cloud. He said this provides options for different business sizes and privacy levels.
“Public cloud is good for the small, individual devleopers and small businesses,” he said. “For many large enterprises, they really have to run in a private cloud.”
Simplifying the Application Lifecycle
What many people don’t realize is the initial app development costs are just one aspect of the true cost of an application. Even if application functionality doesn’t change, there are significant upkeep costs just to update the application so that it continues to work. “Apple and Android keep upgrading their operating systems, and deprecate many of the old stuff [like APIs] very rapidly,” Pullur said. “The application developers have to constantly redo their applications and use the newer APIs and keep on updating these apps.”
He continued, “By providing a hybrid way of abstracting those native functionality, the application maintainability becomes very simple.”