Mobile Application Development

The beauty of cloud computing is the ability to get to your systems anywhere, anytime. So as technology moves to a far more portable world, software developers also have to move. We embrace mobile application development as another way to deliver you to your systems and data.

Native applications or HTML5 Web applications

Mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets can run a browser. But if you have ever tried to use a web site or web application that wasn’t developed for mobile, you’ll know just how difficult it can be. The applications don’t fit on the screen, they don’t have easy to click buttons, or links you can get to without expanding the page all the time, and frankly they are not a pleasant experience.

If a client comes to Edgeneering with a need for a mobile application, there are two ways we can approach this - Native application development or HTML5 Web application development.

Native application development

A “native” application is a program developed specifically for a mobile device and written in a binary compatible language with the device it is to run on. This is what most people refer to as an “app” for a mobile device. The benefits of native applications are that they can closely integrate with the physical device and all of its accessories. They can talk to the camera, the microphone, the speakers, they can take advantage of the local processing power of the device and they reside and run natively on the device. The downside of gaining those benefits are that native code is tied specifically to a device platform (ie. Android or iOS only) and sometimes even to a specific version of a platform. And native applications stay resident on the local device, so if the device is stolen so too is the native application and its local data. These negatives may not be overriding factors, however. If you specifically need native support, we can handle that.

HTML5 Web Application development

We can also build a web hosted application that you can link to on your mobile device, but an application that is ‘elastic’ to the various screen sizes of the devices, whether you are using it landscape or portrait orientation, and make sure the buttons are big and work for those devices correctly. We call this “responsive design”. This way the web application resides on our servers and not on the local application, and can work with the power of our servers to do all the hard work away from the mobile device just give you the results. This also means that the web application isn’t tied to a particular technology platform. Web applications don’t care if you are running Android or iOS. They don’t care if you are running on a smartphone or a tablet or a PC desktop. But you do sacrifice some ability to integrate with local peripherals on the device to some extent.

Optimized server support

No matter what you are running a mobile device on, you probably want it to get its data from the server. We have pre-built frameworks of code that can handle industry standard protocols to securely get and put data from mobile to device to server. Using web services technologies such as REST and SOAP, we can support a well organized API between the mobile device and the server, so you can change out the mobile device at any stage in the future, but never lose your investment in the server technology that feeds the devices.

And since we build our systems with web services enabled by default, you can have a hybrid application where part of its functionality is 100% web based (e.g. your staff using your systems for transaction processing) and another part is mobile (where you offer your customers the ability to see a subset of data in real time on their phones or tablets). Its all flexible and you make the choice of how you want to deploy your solutions.

And the future…

Who knows what the next platform is going to be in the mobile space. Whether it be biometric devices like glasses, or watches, or embedded devices for vehicles, TV sets, etc. it shouldn’t matter. We have the technologies and skills to adapt quickly. We try and build our solutions without locking you down to a specific mobile technology because we know that this is a very dynamic and changing world and you probably wouldn’t get a great return on your investment if locked down to a specific mobile technology. We keep a watch on emerging standards, technologies and devices all the time so we can help protect your investment for the future.