Types of App Development Platforms

Michelle Lawrence Picture

by Michelle Lawrence | Last Updated: Jun 16, 2020

I scream, you scream, we all scream for mobile. We’ve said it a million times but we’ll say it again, having a mobile-first mindset is key for your business. We spend almost four hours on our smartphones, with 90 percent of that time spent in apps. Because mobile has intersected nearly every aspect of a consumer’s life, businesses have started embracing mobile apps as a way to engage with their customers on the device they love the most. But before you invest in any app building software, you’ll need to know the different types of app development platforms out there. You’ve to Go To Pay To Play First and foremost, you’ve got to decide whether you’re going to invest in app building software. The pro to choosing free mobile app development software is you won’t have to pull out your wallet. The con? A low price tag = low functionality. Save yourself the headache of building an app only for it to have a poor user experience by investing in mobile. After all, 25 percent of consumers abandon an app after one use.  Native Mobile Apps OK, everyone should know what native mobile apps are. My guess is you’ve probably got somewhere close to 60 of these guys on your phone right now. And we all know what the drill is when you want to download a new native mobile app: you head to the app store to download it to your phone’s home screen. The reason why we love them is they integrate with device hardware (think camera, push notifications, and geolocation.) But they also require a large amount of storage on your phone and separate development for Android and iOS. Web Apps Web apps are kind of what they sound like...they’re applications that are accessed through a web browser. They were big back in the day when all we had were complicated web pages. Web apps can act like a mobile app (for the most part) and can have one section of content on the web page to change without having to go through the trouble of reloading the entire page. Hybrid Apps Hybrid mobile apps work as a cross between web apps and native mobile apps. These apps are websites that are built as normal web pages but run in the shell of a mobile web browser. They’ve got the functionality we love, but since hybrid mobile apps are simply websites with a native app “wrapper”, the user experience leaves a few things to be desired. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)  We’ve saved the best for last. PWAs are everything you love about native mobile apps, minus the things you’re not so crazy about. But before I get into the nuts and bolts of PWAs...no, PWAs are not hybrid apps. PWAs have the same native functionality as native mobile apps (push notifications, camera, geolocation), but you don’t have to go to the app store to download them. In fact, there are a few different ways you can download PWAs. Got Any More Tips? You know your business best, so shouldn’t you be the one creating your mobile app? Becoming a mobile app builder isn’t so far fetched even if you don’t know a single line of code. Thanks to low code platforms, you can learn how to create an app without coding. Low code platforms usually have a feature called a drag and drop builder, which is basically a marketer’s dream. It’s so easy, you could build an app even in the back of your car.  And with many of us going completely digital in the past few months, businesses have started to rely on low code platforms to connect with their customers and employees. Our advice? Narrow your search for app development platforms to companies that are low code. Who’s The Cream of the Crop?  I may have alluded to the best app development platform earlier, but in case you missed it, PWAs take home the gold. Numerous brands have seen staggering amounts of success with their developments of PWAs (see for yourself). Even Google’s on board with PWAs. They’re got crazy-fast load times and they take up a fraction of the storage space compared to native mobile apps. Still can’t decide on what type of app development platform you should choose? Take a few minutes to check out our Choosing Your Mobile Champion infographic.

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