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"It isn't exactly rocket science"

How many times has this phrase been thrown on your face when something absolutely cutting edge has passed over your head?

At least once in your lifetime surely. Hey no need to go all red faced there, you aren't a scientific dunce head!

This is exactly the dilemma most mobile app development firms face. Their work actually amounts to rocket science; minus the scientists strutting with thick rimmed nerdy glasses and tottering with test scrolls. Well its easy to take a sarcastic dig but to create something innovative is a hard task.

Once in a while its good to don that appreciation hat folks!

Mobile app developers are the pseudo scientists of the techno world per say. Day in and day out, these elite pool (P.S. - well there is a breed in the techno world who simply choose to 'GET INSPIRED' rather than create) of developers have it difficult to make choices before creating an app that endears users in an all-out fashion.

Going by the industry trends, with the explosion of smartphones and tablets, businesses are joining the rat race to be the 'first and the best' in the business. While the big guns usually absorb the cream of developers, small businesses have some nail biting moments.

The differential is vast not to forget the six-figure investment to develop a grade scale app. Highly unaffordable! When one already has a stock pile of marketing backlogs hanging like an albatross round the neck how do small businesses take that great leap forward? Or if at all they can manage to?

A Connecticut based research and advisory company Gartner have some mind-boggling stats as regards mobile apps for us. To cut the story short, mobile app downloads are likely to cross 45.6 million in 2012. With Christmas and New Year in tow, the revelation is not so difficult to digest.

A developer works around three kinds of apps: Mobile Web, Native and Hybrid apps.

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Each has its own pros and cons but the real time question is how to make the right choice. It's not easy picking!

Mobile application development implies a process through which a developer works to create a optimized application software for low-power hand held devices such as mobile phones. These apps come as in-built services in a phone; can be downloaded from specific software platforms or are delivered as web applications using scripting language such as JavaScript on browsers (processing can be either server-side or client-side).

Rather than fighting the dilemma of  'what is the ultimate right choice', it's better to have a more accommodating view.

To put it in simple words, Native apps are created for particular platforms using coding languages for specific vendors. xCode and Objective-C for iOS, Eclipse or Java for Android and Visual Studio or C# (pronounced as C-Sharp).

Mobile Web apps are typically developed using server-side scripting languages such as ASP.NET or PHP that are delivered to client-side processors in HTML or JS codes; that comfortably run on mobile browsers.

A third variant that's fast gaining repute is the Hybrid app. They borrow the HTML mobile app that run in a native container easily. The collateral advantage here is that it combines the positives of the other two apps into one. It can be easily downloaded or installed, discovered in app stores, has access to common device APIs (application programming interface), broad device coverage that necessarily does not require specialized skills to develop. Moreover, from the business point of view, it is easier to market thereby allowing even small businesses to optimize their costs.

Implicit in the narrative are the problems that tag along.

Skills : To develop native and mobile apps becomes easy if the coding base, especially HTML, is strong. However, the availability of developers with specialized skill sets is the heart of the problem.

Platform: Native apps are compatible on multiple device platforms, most commonly the iOS, Android and Windows 8. On the other hand, mobile  web apps work on any device or browser that support HTML5 features.

Functionality: Going  by the past precedents, native apps are faster, most suitable for games. The mobile web apps have limited access to device features despite the changing dynamics of API adaptability. However, unlike the native and hybrid apps,it doesn't have to be published in an app store, due to its URL based access. In such a case, hybrid and mobile web apps are a cost effective choice to use.

Coming back to soul searching questions we posited at the start. Well to say the least there is ample business available in the market. To capture it is the difficult move. What makes the difference is the quality of service and long term sustainability of the product being introduced. The customers have it easy. They enjoy the privileged to move on simply to another brand if the company service is unsatisfactory. Strictly no strings attached!

Sadly, the entrepreneurs cannot function with this as their leitmotif. Business is a gamble. Agreed but throwing all caution to the winds won't help you certainly. Not only is it against the set business paradigm but a death bell well before time! Despite the evident difficulties involved- development and marketing costs, defining the purpose of the app, hiring skilled talent and so on, the businesses will have to constantly pump in those shining dollars and cents to keep afloat. It all once again comes down to individual business acumen and quality product. It's a vicious circle.

PURPOSE + SKILLS + REQUISITE INVESTMENT = QUALITY APP

Although most of us can't differentiate between the three varieties of the apps per say but to understand the complexity of the task at hand for developers, is the least one can do. Remember this the next time your browser is giving you some blues and you have the urge to launch a diatribe.

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