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

 

62697100 Facebook Users in India! But Does That Translate into Business?

Yes, you heard that right!

When it comes to numbers, India comes 3rd in the ranking of all Facebook statistics by country. Although that’s just around 5% (and a little more)  of the Indian population the numbers are still huge. Not surprising to me because almost everyone I know (and I don’t live in a metro) knows about Facebook, about 75% of them have an account, and yet another 60% actively use Facebook to discuss their ideas and views. But what does this mean for Facebook in terms of revenue?

As we all know, Facebook earns its bread and butter largely through advertising. As of April 2012, the social media bellwether has recorded $1.058 billion as revenue for Q1. The third quarter advertising revenue was around $1.09 billion – that’s about 86% of their total revenue! But the Company hasn’t given us a country-wise split of its revenue, which makes us difficult to analyse Facebook trends in India.

These statistics are indeed encouraging, but how do they translate into revenue for Indian advertisers? Active Facebook users in India were once largely made up of the yuppie crowd. But over the last two years, Facebook usage has grown enormously in India. And that’s largely through mobile phones. In fact, almost 30% of its new registrations in India on Facebook were through mobile phones. And we all know the mobile phone platform is one area where Facebook hasn’t managed to monetize successfully.

In India, the focus of a majority of users is to stay updated with friends and family, rather than products. It’s the yuppie crowd that looks beyond this circle. Will this crowd choose to buy through Facebook?

Gaming is another aspect where Facebook earns its profits. But income from this source pales in comparison to income from advertising. In fact, Zynga, Facebook’s largest contributor in terms of gaming apps, had registered only 7% of overall profits in Q3 2012, as compared to 12% in Q3 2011.

Will Companies pay for Fans and Likes?

Take the case of Tata Docomo. This mobile operator has around 10 million fans on Facebook.  While other mobile operators can claim a ‘fan’ base of around 2%, Tata Docomo has a fan-base of around 10%! But the company does not advertise on Facebook, and thus doesn’t contribute to its revenue. All activities happen through the fan base- through comments, likes, etc.  Facebook did try to monetize this segment with its Reach Generator program, but failed miserably

In conclusion:

Mark has rubbished notions that Facebook cannot make money through mobile users. In fact, even as the Company recorded a loss in its Q3 2012 when compared to Q3 figures of 2011, stocks rose around 9.7% as reports indicated that revenue from mobiles contributed 14% of its earnings. Thus, there’s definitely some work going on there in this area, and lets wait for its Q4 2012 reports to see where the trend’s going.

As for social gaming , India definitely has a large percentage of users who’re using Facebook for social gaming. In fact, a recent Neilson India study revealed that almost 84% of Android users had played games on Facebook . It remains to be seen if India can reverse the trend when it comes to increasing revenue through gaming.


Apple Lists Top Apps Of 2012

As the year gets closer to its end, we have the list of top apps for iPhone and iPad announced by Apple. With more than 7,00,000 apps listed on iTunes store, it must have been a tough task for editors to name the best among all. Back in the year 2011, Apple had announced Instagram to be the top iPhone application of the year, and it was Snapseed that received the honour of being the best iPad app. This year, however, Apple has managed to stun users to an extent. While some of the names on their list are obvious, others are pleasant surprises.

This year the editors have chosen Action Movie FX as the iPhone App of the Year, which is a bit of a surprise. This is an app that allows users to add Hollywood style video effects to their videos. From adding cracking missiles to car crashes, this app from Bada Robot Interactive is free to use with a host of addable special effects, even some with HD.

The top app for iPad has been given to Fifty Three’s Paper. This is a notebook app that had also received a design award as well at the Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year. Again, this is a paid app that comes with varied kinds of purchases that will enhance its use. The second spot was bagged by Action Movie FX.

Among the free apps for iPhone, YouTube managed to get the top spot, pushing Instagram to the second slot. Draw Something Free, Flashlight, Facebook, and Pandora Radio bagged third, fourth, fifth and sixth spot respectively. Others who made to the top-ten list included Twitter, Skype and Temple Run. As for iPad free apps, Skype retained the top slot with Temple run remaining a runner up, and Facebook finished on the third spot.

Angry Birds Space managed to remain on the top of the list of paid applications, while the second paid app that garnered positive reviews was WhatsApp Messenger. Draw Something managed to retain the third spot. Other apps on the paid list of app include Camera+, Where’s My Water?,Angry Birds Star Wars, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds and Bejeweled. Game of the year was given to Rayman Jungle Run, which the editors felt was a game worth the excitement. Among the paid iPad apps, Angry Birds Space HD again topped the list, while Where’s My Water? And Pages finished at second and third spot respectively.

For many the list was surprising because Apple giving the top app for iPhone to a special effect app was certainly unexpected. Among the others, Instagram that is with Facebook now remains at the second slot, to be expectedly topped by YouTube. The popularity of Angry Birds is probably the most unprecedented ones among all apps, and in spite of being a paid app, it continues to rule the chart. With the new list, some of the much unexpected apps are expected to see a boost in downloads in coming days.

Xminds Infotech Pvt. Ltd | www.xminds.com | Join Us on Facebook | Connect with us on Linkedin

Visual.ly makes everyone a designer – The infographic creation tool

Infographics are becoming popular each day because of their ability to make the readers get interested to read even the most boring statistics. Though the concept of infographics is around us for a long time, the idea was not widely used because of the main reason that creation of the infographics needed the work of a professional designer who is expert in image editing tools such as the photoshop or illustrator. If you are hiring a professional company or a professional designer to create the infographics, you would drain your wallet. Wouldn’t that be awesome if there was some tool that anyone can use to create cool infographics.

What would you say if such a tool came completely free? Now I can see the smile on your face and you think I am just joking! But I am pretty serious about this and the free tool is called Visual.ly . When I say there’s a free tool, don’t get your expectation high because Visual.ly has just started adding infographic templates that you can customize with your own data.

Visual.ly was actually an infographic based social network initially where you can share the infographics that you had created. The infographic creation page part was newly added to this social network. The creation part is a web based tool with a drag and drop interface. There are a few preloaded themes available, which you can load up in the application, fire up your creativity and customize it by dragging and dropping theme elements.

The most interesting part of this web app is that, you do not need any graphic design knowledge to create cool infographics. I tried the tool myself by customizing the “twitterize” theme available in their collection. I just entered credentials of my twitter profile and the app did rest of the job. It analyzed the profile and presented a well detailed infographic. You can also create twitter infographics where you compare yourselves with celebrities or anyone. Trust me, the infographic creation part is real fun and I can see that Visual.ly I working hard in adding new themes as well.

Though for now Visual.ly cannot help you create commercial infographics as “pictochart” does, work is in progress to make this web based application to become a full-fledged infographic creation tool. With the power of social awareness that Visual.ly has, when the tool is in place, this would be the talk of the Silicon Valley

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

Citizen based Disaster Management Platform by Xminds – CDMP

cOcOn 2012 is an annual event hosted by Kerala Police. cOcOn is aimed at providing a platform to discuss, showcase, educate, understand and spread awareness on the latest trends in information, cyber and hi-tech crimes. This year held at Taj Vivanta Hotel in Trivandrum from 2nd – 4th August, it attracted delegates and presenters from across the nation and from overseas. Xminds was especially impressed to see the number of senior police in attendance: the Chief of Police of Kerala, Rajasthan and Jharkhand and a wealth of other really impressive individuals from the Indian Police Service.

The quality of the presentations was universally high. If we were to single out anybody it would be Federal MP for Trivandrum Dr. Shashi Tharoor. His opening address was noteworthy for its insight but also for the depth of knowledge the MP showed on the subject. Many speaking live and breathe the business of technology everyday. Dr Tharoor evidently has more than tech on his plate but showed a mastery of his brief and for this we commend him for special mention.

Xminds was invited by Kerala Police to present and showcase our Citizen-based Disaster Management Platform – an integrated solution for citizens and emergency services when faced with a distress situation.You can read what The Hindu said about our platform in the paper on 6th August 2012.

Much effort and innovation has going into this turnkey solution and it was gratifying to see the response to the presentation made by  Jagadeesh Vijayakumar and Alexander von Kotze. Xminds now has to wade through a deluge of enquiries from state police forces across the country.

We think this is a nice problem to have!

And if you are reading this as a representative of a Police or other Emergency service and would like more information about this turnkey solution, please do not hesitate to email alex@xminds.com

“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