Take a look at an article over on ZDNET by Spandas Lui: IBM: Bright future for hybrid mobile apps. This article, via an interview of IBM’s marketing manager for mobile Jon Baxter, projects how application development will be affected by mobile user’s needs. It makes a case that in only a few years half of applications developed will be built as hybrid apps — applications run from a server, but with the UI delivered as HTML wrapped in native code.
I personally think this is a great approach and would like to see this pan out. The article also captures a few of the drivers that make hybrid apps compelling:
- Native code wrappers let the applications take advantage of device specific features.
- Making spare use of native code, the wrapper approach, makes apps easier to maintain and build.
- This more server centric approach allows better centralized management and change control.
App stores are nice, but to the enterprise, efficient and strong central control over applications and users is paramount. Combine this with the device specific control and rich experience native code provides and you end up with the best of the best. I can state that in the product group I spend my time with, we have been moving in this direction in building mobile support for existing legacy applications and these benefits are real as well as easily obtained. This approach is applicable all across the enterprise.
What development and integration approaches have you been considering to handling the needs of your mobile users?