Mobile for B2B: Cross-compiled Apps


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Thinking of developing a mobile app for your business? Should you go for a native, device-based application or a web-based application? This white paper discusses whether you can have the best of both worlds using a 'cross-compiler'...

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Mobile for B2B: Cross-compiled Apps

  1. 1. Mobile for B2B: Cross-Compiled Apps Page1Mobile for B2BCross-Compiled AppsAugust 2011Adam Hartwig & Rob Hurst
  2. 2. Mobile for B2B: Cross-Compiled Apps Page2IntroMobile for B2B SeriesThis paper is one of a series we’ve 1. Native or Web?written to help answer some of the 2. Design considerationsquestions we often hear from clients 3. Security considerationsnow that mobile content is firmly on 4. Cross compiled appsthe B2B marketing agenda.Web apps or native apps? How tooptimise content? What should anapp look like? Why might I need anapp and how can it benefit mymarketing activities?This series aims to give some usefulcontext for anyone considering howto make the most of mobile as amarketing channel.
  3. 3. Mobile for B2B: Cross-Compiled Apps Page 3Introduction With cross compiled applications, the development uses third party software, which is able to compile your application intoWhilst there are a lot of factors to consider in multiple formats for distribution. Althoughdeciding on a native or web app approach, this process can save time when comparedunderstandably one of the largest factors is with the time needed to develop uniquecost, especially when the intent is to target the versions for different platforms, the use oflargest possible audience natively on the broad cross compilation carries with it its own set ofspectrum of devices available. positives and negatives.Native apps fundamentally require that an app The prosis redeveloped for each platform it needs to beaccessed on, which essentially multiplies the The major positive for cross-compiledbuild time and maintenance for every platform applications is the reach that can be achievedversion that it exists on. It means that a native from one single build. The ability to quicklyapp can be a much more costly option than the publish the same application to multipleweb app route, which – despite its limitations – platforms means a much lower productioncan extend the reach of your app to the much time than developing natively for eachlarger audience at a much lower cost. There is, platform.however, a third option available that can sit inthe middle ground between native and web Additionally, maintenance and updates toapps - cross compilers. cross-compiled applications require editing just one primary build, which can then beHaving your cake republished across platforms, in contrast to having to update and maintain different versions of the same application, as would be- and eating it the case if building each app separately. Many cross compilers carry the ability totoo… ‘wrap’ web-apps into a native application, meaning you can develop an app with web app functionality that can then be turned into andThere are now several delivered as a native application in addition tosolutions, using cross the web version. By developing multiple native apps and a web app from one central build youcompilation, that allow the can increase reach and reduce costs.publication of native apps to The consmultiple platforms from only There are, as you might expect, a fewone round of development. downsides to cross-compiling apps. PrincipallyThis process enables a developer to create a that the application itself is reliant on thesingle app that can be published to multiple functionality provided by the cross compilerplatforms as a native app and, in many cases software and that is common across devicethey present a better solution for anyone platforms.wanting to develop a native app whether for Some functions that may be provided on oneone or several platforms. platform, say Android, may not be available to
  4. 4. Mobile for B2B: Cross-Compiled Apps Page 4 Conclusionyou through the cross compiler software asthey may not be present on iPhone. Inaddition, there are many features missing inthe cross compilers available today, especially Compiled applications can be the bestas smartphones continue to appear and solution in many cases, particularly if thedevelop. app functionality required is quite basic.This means that cross compilers are mostly They enable the creation of the native ‘applimited to simpler applications—anything experience’ on multiple platforms, but at arequiring more complex functionality or the fraction of the cost.use of specific platform API’s may requiredeveloping a specific native app. However, the use of a cross compiler to create a native application needs to be weighed upFinally, by using a third party to compile your with its cons as well; determining what theapplication, you become reliant on the application needs to do to ensure it is feasiblesoftware owners to update and fix any bugs for the cross compiler to handle. For moreand issues that crop up on the various mobile complex applications or those that requireplatforms they compile to. This can often extensive device-based functionality,happen when a mobile operating system developing for each platform independently isundergoes an update, which carries with it the most likely the best option.potential to introduce errors into yourapplication. While not necessarily a deal Read the rest of the Mobilebreaker, especially as operating systemupgrades are relatively infrequent, it does for B2B series.mean putting your application into their handsin being able to quickly fix the issue-causing 1. Native or Web?bugs, rather than taking ownership of the 2. Design considerationsproblem yourself. 3. Security considerations 4. Cross compiled apps
  5. 5. Mobile for B2B: Cross-Compiled Apps Page5Omobono is an award winningdigital agency specialising in branddevelopment and engagement forlarge corporates and government.We believe no one has a betterunderstanding of businessaudiences and how to reach them.For more information, please contactRob Hurst on or+44 (0) 1223 307000.© 2011 Omobono Ltd.All ideas, concepts, brand-related names, strap lines, phrases, copy/text andcreative concepts developed and contained within this document remain theintellectual property of Omobono Ltd until such time as they are procured by athird party.Anyone viewing this document may not use, adapt of modify the contents withoutour prior consent.