Web & Mobile Development JLW288


Mobile Applications


Native Applications

Native Applications

  • App runs directly on the OS
  • Interacts with the mobile operating system
    • Through API
      • Low-level: hardware-access services
      • High-level: "software"-access services (messages, calls, agenda, …)
    • Unique for each OS
  • User interface components
  • Can use all functionality that the mobile devices offer
    • Hardware
    • Performance
  • Code written for one mobile platform cannot be used on another

Apple / iOS

  • Language: Objective C, C, C++
  • SDK / tools: Xcode / iOS SDK
  • Packaging format: *.app
  • Has to be developed on MacOS


  • Language: Java
  • SDK / tools: Android SDK
  • Packaging format: *.apk
  • Can be developed on each platform (it's Java!)

Windows phone

  • Language: C#, VB.net, …
  • SDK / tools: Visual Studio, Windows phone dev-tools
  • Packaging format: *.xap
  • Has to be developed on Windows (or Mono)


  • Language: Java / C/C++
  • SDK / tools: BlackBerry plugin
  • Packaging format: *.cod
  • Can be developed on each platform (it's Java!)

Mobile web applications

Mobile web applications

  • Web application that is optimized for mobile
  • Written in HTML5, CCS3 & JavaScript
  • Most of these looks like an application
    • Designed for a perfect touch/mobile experience
      • jQuery mobile
      • Sencha Touch
  • Advantages:
    • Less code (Responsive Web application)
    • Easier (costs)
    • Multiplatform
    • Up to date
  • Disadvantages:
    • Works not or partly offline
    • Performance
    • Can't use all the features of the device

Hybrid mobile applications

Hybrid mobile applications (1)

  • Combination of Native and Web
  • Native part
    • HTML, JavaScript, … rendering engine
    • Communicates with OS API's
    • Offers a new API
    • Possible to add your native part
    • Different for each OS
  • Web part
    • Online or embedded HTML & JavaScript application
    • Communicates with the "native part" API

Hybrid mobile applications (2)

  • Advantages:
    • Easier (costs)
    • Multiplatform
    • Better performance than web apps
  • Disadvantages:
    • Use of the hardware can be a problem
    • Poorer performance than native apps



When to choose a native

  • Existing native skills: You have experience with the native development languages
  • Single platform: You have only one target OS
  • Native functionality: Is a key actor of your application (Example: making calls)
  • Rich UI requirements: Fast & rich interface (Example: complex games)

When to choose a web

  • Existing web skills: You have experience with HTML, JavaScript, …
  • Online goals: Application is only useful with an internet connection
  • Wide distribution: multiplatform and also useful at a desktop, TV, … (Responsive web app)
  • Update frequency: Application needs to be updated more than usual
  • Performance doesn't matter & no need for native hardware features

When to choose a hybrid

  • Existing web skills: You have experience with HTML, JavaScript, …
  • Offline usage: Your app needs to be available without an internet connection
  • Multiplatform: You are targetting multiple platforms
  • Performance isn't a high priority