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Mobile application development is the process of creating software applications that run on a mobile device, and a typical mobile application utilizes a network connection to work with remote computing resources. Hence, the mobile development process involves creating installable software bundles (code, binaries, assets, etc.) , implementing backend services such as data access with an API, and testing the application on target devices.
There are two dominant platforms in the modern smartphone market. One is the iOS platform from Apple Inc. The iOS platform is the operating system that powers Apple’s popular line of iPhone smartphones. The second is Android from Google. The Android operating system is used not only by Google devices but also by many other OEMs to built their own smartphones and other smart devices.
Although there are some similarities between these two platforms when building applications, developing for iOS vs. developing for Android involves using different software development kits (SDKs) and different development toolchain. While Apple uses iOS exclusively for its own devices, Google makes Android available to other companies provided they meet specific requirements such as including certain Google applications on the devices they ship. Developers can build apps for hundreds of millions of devices by targeting both of these platforms.
There are four major development approaches when building mobile applications
Each of these approaches for developing mobile applications has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. When choosing the right development approach for their projects, developers consider the desired user experience, the computing resources and native features required by the app, the development budget, time targets, and resources available to maintain the app.
Native mobile applications are written in the programming language and frameworks provided by the platform owner and running directly on the operating system of the device such as iOS and Android.
Cross-platform native mobile applications can be written in variety of different programming languages and frameworks, but they are compiled into a native application running directly on the operating system of the device.
PWAs offer an alternative approach to traditional mobile app development by skipping app store delivery and app installations. PWAs are web applications that utilize a set of browser capabilities – such as working offline, running a background process, and adding a link to the device home screen – to provide an ‘app like’ user experience.