Mobile applications are all the rage these days. There are currently three major mobile platforms: Apple’s iOS (iPhone and iPad), Google’s Android , and Microsoft’s Windows Phone , and countless variations within these platforms for the developer to consider. Focusing on any one of these platforms leaves 50% or more of the market unable to use your application, but the cost of building and maintaining the same application on each of the platforms quickly becomes problematic. A web application is another option, but one that leaves the experience diluted and leaves the developer without access to many of the native hardware capabilities.
In one of my recent projects at EffectiveUI, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to solve this conundrum in a way that provides the best possible user experience while still being cost effective and maintainable. My solution was an application that is a hybrid of a native application and a mobile web application. I had the opportunity to share this solution, and provide a tutorial for building it, in an article for MSDN Magazine, “Develop Hybrid Native and Mobile Web Apps.” I truly believe that this approach is a “best of both worlds” solution that leaves the developer and end user in a better place.
I’m interested to hear what other app developers think about this hybrid approach, and what other solutions have been devised to broaden an application’s audience.