Hybrid V/s Native Mobile Applications… The Dummies Guide

Hola !!!

The first question to ask is, what are hybrid apps and native apps? Hybrid mobile apps are like any other apps you’ll find on your phone. They install on your device. You can find them in app stores. Like websites on the internet, hybrid apps are also built with a combination of web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript,  wrapped in a native container which supply most of the information on the page as the user navigates through the application.

Now what is a native app?

Hybrid V/s Native

Hybrid V/s Native

A native app is an application program that has been developed for use on a particular platform or device eg: Android or iOS or windows for that matter. Because a native app is written for a specific platform, they can interact well with and take advantage of operating system’s features. Because a native app is built for a particular device and its operating system, it is well optimised and has the ability to use device-specific hardware and software capabilities, meaning that native apps can take advantage of the latest technology available for that mobile platform, availability of new features and updates and transition onto it is very fast such as a global positioning system (GPS) and camera, fingerprint and iris scanning support. This can be considered an advantage for native apps over Web apps or mobile cloud apps.

So now that we have answered the first and foremost question of what are the two variants of apps now I think it is time for us consider when each of these technologies can be used. There are merits and demerits in a way if you look into both the technologies, as user experience is the key to the success of all the mobile applications be it an iOs app or an android app. 

What are the motivations to go hybrid?

Hybrid mobile applications provide a way for developers to reuse their existing skills in web development. Developers don’t like the prospect of getting locked into proprietary platforms. This includes the programming languages and SDKs provided by platform vendors. Hybrid mobile application development looks appealing to an organisation’s bottom line. Why hire a developer for each platform when you can hire one developer and target all of them through HTML, CSS, and JavaScript? Well, the reality is a bit more complicated. it’s true that hybrid mobile application development enables developers to target more than one platform. However, each platform comes with a set of shortcomings when it comes to its web runtime or WebView. This is especially true with Android, which is inconsistent between OS versions. Hybrid apps are developed using HTML, CSS and Javascript, and then wrapped in a native application using platforms like Cordova. This allows you to use any web-native framework you want, and there are plenty of these.

What are the  different frameworks for Hybrid App Development?

There are a lots of different platforms on which we can develop a Hybrid app. The most used among these platforms are.

PhoneGap

One of the most popular in the minds of new Developers coming into hybrid app development. Though there are more optimised frameworks for hybrid development. PhoneGap is the odd one out in this list as it’s not a framework for creating an app, but for packaging and releasing an app. PhoneGap is based on the open source Cordova and is the commercial version owned by Adobe. With a dedicated support team, PhoneGap is popular amongst many mobile developers. You can use any choice of JavaScript or UI frameworks to get started with PhoneGap. jQuery Mobile alongside KnockOut.js or AngularJS is a nice combination.

IONIC

It is one of the most promising HTML5 mobile application frameworks. Built using SASS, it provides many UI components to help develop rich and interactive apps. It uses the JavaScript MVVM framework, AngularJS to power apps. Two-way data binding, interaction with backend services and APIs makes AngularJS a mobile developer’s common choice.

MOBILE ANGULAR UI

Mobile Angular UI is an HTML5 framework which uses bootstrap 3 and AngularJS to create interactive mobile apps.

The main features of Mobile Angular UI include:

  • Bootstrap 3
  • AngularJS
  • Bootstrap 3 mobile components such as switches, overlays and sidebars which are missing in normal bootstrap.
  • AngularJS modules such as angular-route, angular-touch and angular-animate.

Responsive media queries are stripped out of bootstrap as separate files, you only need to include what you need. Mobile Angular UI doesn’t have any jQuery dependencies, all you need are some AngularJS directives to create awesome mobile user experiences.

APPCELERATOR TITANIUM

An open source mobile application framework that provides an environment to create native apps for several mobile platforms.It is a complete solution for creating hybrid mobile apps with all the things you might need under one roof. The Titanium SDK is equipped with a number of mobile platform APIs and Cloud service to use as an app backend. It comes with platform independent APIs which makes it easier to access phone hardware. Titanium uses Alloy, an MVC framework to enables rapid development of mobile application. Modules created using Alloy are easy to reuse across different apps, hence it significantly reduces the development time and the lines of code. To get started with Titanium download Titanium studio.

METEOR

Meteor is a platform that allows developers to use the same Javascript code base to build apps for iOS, Android and the web. Once you learn to develop with Meteor, you can quickly translate your JavaScript web apps into native mobile apps, without needing to learn new programming languages. Meteor relies on a technology known as Cordova. This clever technology allows HTML and JavaScript to run on a mobile phone without using a browser. It also allows developers to write JavaScript code that controls the basic functions of mobile devices. For example, a developer who uses Cordova can write JavaScript code that can access the camera function of an iOS or Android mobile device, just as it would access the webcam on a laptop or desktop computer.

Why Use Meteor?

Meteor takes the powerful functionality of Cordova and simplifies it. The Meteor interface is easy to use and allows you to quickly compile, test and deploy apps, cutting down the time spent trying to figure out how to get apps working on different iOS and Android devices.

FACEBOOK’S REACT NATIVE

Native V/s Hybrid Mobile AppsGone are the WebView components of other hybrid mobile apps. This is possible because React Native’s building blocks are reusable “native components” that compile directly to native. Components you’d use in iOS or Android have counterparts right in React, so you’ll get a consistent look and feel.This component-based structure also allows you to build apps with a more agile, web-style approach to development than typical hybrid frameworks, but without any web at all. The app will have the speed, look, and functionality of a native mobile application. Facebook also made React Native open-source, with the idea that compatibility with other platforms like Windows or tvOS could be worked on by the development community. Some well known apps that use Facebook’s React Native are Facebook app, Instagram, Walmart, Tesla.  

Now that you have a clear idea about what a native app  and a Hybrid app is? How both try to solve the same problem in different ways. Though hybrid apps are faster and easier to develop because it does not require two different set of developers and also a web developer is not required to learn a new language or platform specific features, the hybrid app still has some shortcomings  over native apps which is going to stay.

For example Native apps provide the best usability, the best features, and the best overall mobile experience. There are some things you only get with native apps:

  • Multi touch – double taps, pinch-spread, and other compound UI gestures
  • Fast graphics API – the native platform gives you the fastest graphics, which may not be a big deal if you’re showing a static screen with only a few elements, or a very big deal if you’re using a lot of data and require a fast refresh.
  • Fluid animation – related to the fast graphics API is the ability to have fluid animation. This is especially important in gaming, highly interactive reporting, or intensely computational algorithms for transforming photos and sounds.
  • Built-in components – The camera, address book, geolocation, and other features native to the device can be seamlessly integrated into mobile apps. Another important built-in components is encrypted storage, but more about that later.
  • Ease of use – The native platform is what people are accustomed to, and so when you add that familiarity with all of the native features they expect, you have an app that’s just plain easier to use.
  • Documentation – There are over 2500 books alone for iOS and Android development, with many more articles, blog posts, and detailed technical threads on sites like StackOverflow.

Native apps are usually developed using an integrated development environment (IDE). IDEs provide tools for building debugging, project management, version control, and other tools professional developers need. While we’ve touched on native apps from a development perspective, there’s also the more important perspective: the end user. When you’re looking for an app, you’ll find it in the store. When you start the app, it fires up immediately. When you use the app, you get fast performance, consistent platform look and feel. When your app needs an update, it tells you so. Native apps give you everything you’d expect from the company that built your device, as if it were simply meant to be.

Difference between the two platforms.

The key difference between native and hybrid apps is that hybrid apps are hosted inside a native application that utilizes a mobile platform’s WebView.

Time to choose.

One of the most difficult business decisions a company management has to take is to choose one over the other. Simply put if you are thinking of building an app that has to handle a lot of data from location and other sensors or a high volume of data in the form of high graphics the native app is the no brainer option. For any other less intensive task which only user a client server architecture and only needs internet permission then hybrid app is the way to go

“It’s not the idea that is unique but the way you implement it”

In many ways the dream of every wannabe entrepreneur is the same. They all think that their idea is a million dollar one and will top the list of NASDAQ in a short span of time. But the question is how many really survive in this battle?

Let’s take Orkut for instance. Orkut started a few months before Facebook. Even though Google and Mark Zuckerberg had the same idea, how did Facebook excel in the game? Is it really the survival of the fittest theory or was it Mark’s strategy which made him a millionaire? The answer is, Facebook launched with very basic/core features and was able to promote better user adoption.

I recall the words of my mentor “It’s not the idea that is unique but the way you implement it”.For e.g. you’ve been working out at the gym for quite some time but haven’t been able to get the expected physique. Hmm!!! Now that’s a pain, isn’t it?…maybe you didn’t follow a proper diet plan or might have been cheating on your workouts. Anyways the end result is that you wasted your time, energy and money hoping for something which went wrong.

The fact is, people spend way lot of time and money on their product and the launch without getting proper guidance from experts. I mean, what’s the use of having a Ferrari, if you don’t know how to drive or create an impression? In my opinion following are the points which every startup should keep in mind:

1. Market Research

2. Identify your competitors

3. Who will be the end user?

4. Launch timings

5. What makes you different from your competitors?

6. Proper marketing

Eventually, everyone wants to be inspired by the success stories of entrepreneurs who have overcome the obstacles and built a successful business. Recently, I came across an article by Ben Fox Rubin on the Wall Street journal. He mentions the story of Dan Cheung, founder of Spork, who couldn’t match up with its rival app Foodspotting (acquired by Open Table Inc for $10 million). Now here’s an interesting aftermath by Ben Yoskovitz on his company Standout Jobs. He emphasizes on the value of Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Having a feature rich product takes much more time and money to build. However, MVP allows the idea to get into the market as rapidly as possible and maximize the value of finances.

After all every fortune 500 company was once a startup 😉

Xminds Infotech Pvt. Ltd. | www.xminds.com |Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin

RISE 2015 – Hong Kong

RISE 2015

RISE 2015

The 2015 RISE event kick started on July 31st, 2015 in Hong Kong. The event was for two days and it was amazing to be around some cool startups and some great speakers too. Hats off to the CEO of RISE, Paddy & team for organising such a great event and it will be SURGE in Bangalore in India by early next year and more to follow from the awesome team. Check out some of the cool startups that exhibited in RISE 2015.

  1. Chatrify – A live chat software helps you to create meaningful, real time customer engagement that helps businesses increase conversions and provide effective customer support. Each visitor comes with a unique problem and Chatrify give you the opportunity to be there to address his or her concerns instantly in the most effective way.
  2. Player.me  –  is the social discovery platform for the gaming community. Discover, Share and Collaborate with other Players, Groups and Companies. Created by Players, for Players.
  3. Upbeatz –  Is an initiative which aims to give Indians the opportunity to break some rules and create new trends by giving them access to style from across the globe. Upbeatz gives Indian access to global brands at affordable prices with just a click of a button.
  4. Gone Adventurin – Connects corporate organisations with local communities and/or consumers to create social and/or environmental impact. Through an epic adventure or a meaningful immersion experience, we then execute the strategies and collaborations to create systemic impact on the ground.
  5. Wanderlust – The worlds biggest travel tribe. Welcome to a world where technology brings us together, even when kilometers might put us apart. Where the wanderers aren’t lost, but in constant search of the next great adventure. And great adventures begin with meeting great people.
  6. Makanluar –  A leading, reliable Free Online Restaurant Bookings service in Indonesia. Earn Points each time you book to get cash-back, write reviews to double up on those points! You will most likely get free dishes/drinks or discounts at the restaurant too ONLY when you book with MakanLuar.com. Snap & Share your food & restaurant photos to let others know how the restaurants are. Currently available for restaurants in Jakarta, Bali & Bandung.
Makanluar Team

Makanluar Team

Upbeatz

Upbeatz

 

Post Penguin SEO – Don’t hunt for links, instead plant and grow them naturally!

It has been a while since we are dealing with the Google panda and penguin update and the minor refresh after that. The Internet is abuzz with news that this is probably the end of SEO marketing. To all those doomsday predictors… this one’s for you!

I agree that Google hates unnatural link building to the same degree as it hates spammy links. But if you were to implement strategies that get natural links, I think you’re in safe zone. I know what you are thinking right now “everyone says natural links, but how to obtain them?” Here’s how to:

The days when you hunted for links are over! Now you have to plant them, water them and grow them “Naturally!”

Before the Google penguin update was made on 24th April,  SEO mainly focused on getting the maximum number oflinks as quick as possible to gain the love of the search engines. It didn’t matter where you get the links or how you get them. All it mattered was if the links were from anchor text keywords. After the penguin update, all these still matter but with on rule: The number of links should be increasing naturally and the nature of the links should not be overly anchor texts. Here are few tips to do that:

Planting the links in the right spots

In order to grow the links naturally, you have to plant them in the right spots. This is where diversification of content comes into play. Diversification of content helps in expanding the spots where you can obtain links. For example, if you are just producing quality articles and including links in them, your reach is limited to a bunch of article directories. On the other hand, produce well written articles, blogs, press releases, great infographics, video content etc and you have an opportunity to spread your links across various platforms. The main advantage of spreading links across various platforms is that your link profile would be organic. Your website would never get penalized for over optimization of anchor text links.

Just publishing different types of content in various spots doesn’t grow the number of links by itself. You need to provide a little support to these published contents to grow naturally. For example, social bookmarking is one popular SEO strategy that can be used to gain extra exposure to any type of published content. You could also share them in the social media sites such as facebook, twitter and Google plus to grab the attention of the social media crowd. Here is a short clip from a video QnA session by Matt Cutts (The distinguished Google Engineer) on this extra promotion Once the extra SEO done to these published content takes its effect, all you have to do is to sit back and watch the links grow naturally.

Natural growth of the links

Now you have great content which is presented to a huge audience. Depending on the quality and catchiness, the content would spread virally into the social media and gets syndicated naturally by other surfers. Each and every share or syndication of your content is equal to a natural link that is generated to your website.

So here is the key to grow links naturally:

Seed = Great, diversified content

Plantation spots = SEO spots where you publish different types of content

Watering the plants = SEO and social media marketing for the published content

Natural growth = Viral social shares and natural syndication

“Facebook Like” brought to life

When Xminds participated in Demo Asia 2012, we wanted to show-case the company in the start-up world in a creative manner. Our idea was to create something simple letting the world know our area of expertise which prompted the team to think SOCIAL and what better than FB in that space.

Our idea was to create something which should standout from other participants at the same time giving the startup world clear idea as to what we do.

This prompted the team to think ‘SOCIAL” and what better than FB in that space. But how could we bring FB to the physical word?

A facebook wall was built and ‘Like’ cards were made which carried the number of people ‘Liked’ us during demoasia and behind the card had a brief of what we do and our contact address.

Please watch the video below which would give you better idea.

And yes we received plenty Likes

Startup success: Forget the recipe, focus on the ingredients.

Build it and they will come. Ever wondered the truth of that statement? Read on.

You’re sat in a swanky coffeehouse with your mates on Sunday afternoon. Three espressos later and all present reach the conclusion that the idea is going to work. You’ve even worked out the reasons why it will work, just in case the question comes up at the next family gathering on why you quit your corner office corporate job to work in a startup.

The stark reality is that the rate of failure is high. Here’s why: startups can’t exist by themselves. The ecosystem for their success requires other ingredients. It involves mixing that initial idea with mentors who’ve had the experience to ease that painful but necessary learning curve, a healthy financial reserve to weather that incubation period of any idea coming to life as well as the all important ability to test that idea as a product with the target audience.

The importance of testing and getting feedback with a minimum viable product (MVP) has proven vital in successful start-ups. Remember the early days of Dropbox? They moved quickly to launch the minimum viable product with the key features for testing with their target audience. Dropbox certainly built it and people came but they allowed their customers to build it with them and success came knocking. For more information on Dropbox’s minimum viable product days read TechCrunch’s post.

To build your own minimum viable product and success story contact us @ Xminds.

Productivity tools for the Entrepreneur

Today, I would like to talk regarding the Productivity tools available for Entrepreneurs. Most of them are free. However, some of them are paid ones.

Please find below different Productivity tools as per classification:

1. Office Tools:

The following Office tools will definitely increase productivity & save time of the Entrepreneur:

• Password Manager: KeePass, RoboForm, KeyWallet
• Time Tracking: LazyMeter, Focus booster
• Accounting: Expensify, TradeShift
• Human Resources: Odesk, Freelancer
• CRM : Sales Force, Zoho

2. Web Tools:

Now, check various Web tools available:

• Survey Builder: Survey Monkey, Kwiksurveys
• Bug Tracking Tool: 16 Bugs
• Enquiry Form Builder: Wufoo, Formsite
• Data Storage: Dropbox, Box
• Create Landing Pages: InstaPage, Unbounce
• Spell Checker for Websites: CheckDog, TextTrust
• Live Chat: Chatango, BoldChat
• Webinars : GoToMeeting, Webex
• Video Conferencing: Skype, Freeconference, GoToMeeting
• Social Book Marking Button: Add This, ShareThis
• Resize Images: PicResize, ResizeYourImage
• Customer Support Tool: ZenDesk, UserVoice
• Project Management Tool: Basecamp, Jira
• Web Analytics: Google Analytics, Clicky
• Online Reputation Management: Radian6, Simplify360
• Language Translation Tools: Google Translation, Yahoo ! Babel Fish
• Share Images and videos: Jing
• URL Shortener: goo.gl , bit.ly

3. Document Management:

Read some tools available for managing your documents:

• PDF to Word Converter: PDFtoWord, PDFonline
• Word to PDF Converter: Doc2PDF, WordtoPDF
• Online Document Collaboration : Live Documents , Google Docs, Confluence, SlideShare
• Plagiarism Checker : Plagium

4. Social Networking:

Please find some tools for Social Networking below:

• Build your Social Network: Ning, Grouply
• Enterprise Social Community: Yammer
• Tweet Scheduler: Social Oomph, Future Tweets

5. Email Manager: Manage your Emails

• Mass Mailer : Mail Chimp, Constant Contact
• Send Future mail: Fumes.me
Google Apps for Business

6. SEO: Useful tools for SEO
SEOCentro
SEOMoz
Tynt

7. Hardware:
• Smart Phones
• IP Phone

Startups, Incubation, Acceleration. Are you Lost too ?

Facebook, Zynga, Foursquare have become house hold names today. There’s a certain excitement in running one’s own business, the charm of being an entrepreneur, the thrill of managing a team; but with every startup comes a set of hurdles and challenges.

Before getting all thrilled about running a startup, it’s essential to understand the naked truth and prepare yourself to avoid the unforeseen. The graph below clearly shows the proportion of new businesses founded in 1992 still alive by 2002.



A study by Brian Headd and Bruce Kirchhoff found that only 28 percent of businesses with employees have any employment growth from one year to the next.

If you start a business, odds are that your company will fail. Data from the U.S. Small Business Administration shows that regardless of the year when they are founded, the majority of start-ups go out of business within five years, and two-thirds are no longer operating ten years after being formed.

So why do most startups fail?

To cut the chase, failure rates are high because a large number of inexperienced entrepreneurs start businesses that shouldn’t be founded in industries that are unfavorable to new companies. Most entrepreneurs pick unfavorable industries because low entry barriers attract them. Census data show that the rate at which entrepreneurs start businesses in different industries correlates 0.77 with the rate at which businesses fail in those industries. That is, entrepreneurs favor the very industries in which businesses are most likely to go under.

Interestingly, most entrepreneurs start companies that don’t even have a competitive edge. Data from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics reveals that this figure is nearly 40%.

Most entrepreneurs don’t have sufficient experience or exposure in the industries they are diving into. Research shows that working in an industry for several years before starting a business enhances the survival prospects of a start-up.

Other failure factors include lack of careful financial controls, marketing plans or even a basic business plan.

True, some start-ups fail because of factors beyond their founders’ control. But responsibility for much of the high failure rate of new businesses lies with the entrepreneurs themselves.

How does one overcome these challenges and how can one seek help?

Startup incubators are a brilliant way to stride through these challenges as the support that you get during the initial phases can make the difference between success and failure. These incubators provide office space, office furniture, phone systems, and clerical staffing as well as mentoring, access to capital, and other assistance to those companies who are accepted.  They also play a large role in assisting a business with getting funding. Incubators are responsible for assisting in the start of thousands of companies each year. Their objective is to accelerate the time it takes to get a company’s products or services to market, many times in less than 6 months, and often in no more than 90 days. And of course, make the incubator a tidy profit. Venture capital companies, entrepreneurs, and corporations have founded private Incubators.

Incubators will charge a fee or more likely take some kind of equity in the business for their services. The great thing though is incubators are very selective. As you would imagine they receive way more applications then they can take, but if you get accepted you are in an elite group. That selection process is what puts you in an environment with many great companies and ideas.

An advantage of the incubator is that often member companies can take advantage of professionals, such as attorneys, accounting firms, marketing firms and others who are willing to either provide their services at a discount rate or, more likely, for an equity share.

Every incubator has an application process and usually deadlines for how many they will take in a given period. So you need to be on top of your game to get in and meet all the deadlines.

Should one join an incubator or a startup accelerator?

The main difference between an incubator and accelerator is that an accelerator is usually more time-sensitive, sort of like a “startup boot camp” for a few months to help you figure out whether your company has legs or if you should “fail fast” and move onto the next opportunity.

What you get from an incubator are:

  • An ecosystem of entrepreneurs
  • Mentorship
  • Experienced leaders to guide your business
  • A head start to fundraising

The decision?

It’s personal. If you’ve sold a few companies, you may feel that an incubator/ accelerator is not for you. At the same time, the constant mentorship, connection making across industries, and co-working with like-minded entrepreneurs who are willing to stop and give you a hand, make it hard not to want it.

If you are new to entrepreneurship, there’s definitely no looking back. Quoting the words of Steve Jobs, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”, there’s never a better time than now to start your business; just do it smart.