Mobile applications development tech stacks are a tricky subject. The range of available programming languages solutions, tools as well as the structural complexity of the development process will make your head spin. Talking about design patterns, SDKs, frameworks, libraries and layers would put you to sleep in a matter of minutes. Rather diving too deep into technologies to develop apps, instead, I will talk about the 2020 trends in application development.
Table of contents
- Top 4 technologies to develop your app in 2020 – Plenty of options
- React Native
– Who is it for?
- Quality and speed
– Bang for your buck
– Why is Flutter a top choice for 2020?
– Widgets and own language
– Official support
- Native development
- iOS native development
– Blockchain in iOS apps
– Mobile wallet
– What else does native iOS offer?
- AI smarts
- Android native app development
– Sweet OS
– Endless possibilities
- Beacons technology
– No technological debt
- Top mobile app development trends to follow in 2020 – conclusions
Top 4 technologies to develop your app in 2020 – Plenty of options
If your 2020 growth plans include creating a mobile app (as they should, if you don’t have one yet), as soon as you start looking for someone to make it for you, it will turn out there are about as many ways of going about it as the people you talk to. Freelancers will (most likely) offer quick and simple solutions like PWAs, hybrid or other browser based apps, software houses big and small will present you with options ranging native iOS and Android, cross-platform Flutter, React Native and a huge variety of others.
If we’re talking serious mobile app development – quality, performance, top-of-the-line User Experience, then the real choice narrows down (IMHO) to 4 options. I’m sure there are plenty more possibilities, and I’m not saying they won’t do the job, but this piece is about this year’s trends, so let’s get straight to it.
Praising native development is the easy bit, so we’ll leave that for later, and start with what everyone is talking about – cross-platform development. If an explanation is at all required (in the unlikely event you missed millions of publications about it) cross-platform app development is using one tech stack to produce mobile apps for (two) different mobile platforms. In 2020 iOS and Android are the only 2 left. Don’t think anyone remembers Blackberry any more, and Windows Phone is dead.
The framework has been around for a while now and keeps drawing a lot of interest from all kinds of businesses. Startups, established brands, and anyone looking to cut app development costs will find something good in picking the framework. Facebook created it, so obviously they would be the first to start using it. Although it doesn’t quite cut it to support the whole platform, the social media giant is successfully using React Native for Instagram and Ads Manager.
Who is it for?
We’ve been seeing a huge growth in demand for React Native development in the last 2-3 years. So much so, that developers with experience in the field are becoming increasingly harder to find and most medium and large software houses have set up and are growing their React Native teams, training programmers in-house.
So why would you go with this framework for your application? Why is it so trendy? Does it deliver on the promises?
In terms of market interest, inquiries regarding React Native are currently on top of the list. Noone with a modest budget, which in mobile app development is anything under 100K, will pass on a chance to get more bang for their buck. Bigger projects don’t shy away from cross-platform either. Ubereats, Pinterest, Walmart, Bloomberg and quite a few other big brands utilize React Native and it’s proving to be more than enough for their needs.
Application development trends set for 2020 continue on 2019 tendencies and companies big and small, regardless of industry are including chatbots in their customer service offer. If you’re strapped for cash and in need of a quality custom automatic chat feature, React Native offers its own react-native-chatbot library – a highly configurable, feature-full solution to enrich User interaction with your brand.
Quality and speed
With React Native, you can build very good quality apps. Not that you can just come up to a developer and tell them you want your app in React Native and hear them say “sure bud, whatever you like, let’s get straight to it”. Surprisingly, not at all an uncommon thing expected from developers.
Bang for your buck
The real advantage here is the fact that you only need one React Native team to build both an Android and an iOS app. This translates into: savings in project management, faster implementation, less maintenance work and much quicker path from zero to e.g. your React Native MVP app . All in all, going with React Native will get the apps’ price tag down by around 20%, or let you fit in more features within budget. The latter, IMO being a better choice. After all, you do want to give your Users the best possible product. The craze around the framework gave rise to a lot of misconceptions about it, so to make it easier to work out how you can actually save money with React native, we wrote about 7 React Native myths circling out there.
Now this is one heck of a newcomer. Google released a stable version
(v1.12.13+hotfix.5) only on December 11, 2019 (v1.12.13+hotfix.7) only on January 27, 2020 and the UI SDK has been in existence since 2017. In less than 2 years, the framework made a lot of noise on the web, and is going head to head with React Native in online search popularity.
Young age and some imperfections don’t stop Flutter developers from delivering, as per its makers’ words “beautiful native apps in record time”. In its short history, Flutter managed to appeal to some big names. Ebay, Alibaba Group, BMW and none other than Tencent – China’s tech giant, to name a few.
Why is Flutter a top choice for 2020?
Mainly it’s delivering on the promises. Its C++ written engine in combination with Google’s Skia library, supports low-level rendering. This is where “beautiful” happens.According to the makers, apps developed with Flutter are able to consistently render at 120 frames per second. More than enough for buttery smooth interaction with the UI.
Widgets and own language
Flutter, works with its own, extensive libraries and a proprietary programming language -Dart. Flutter uses Widgets as base UI building blocks, making the programmers work fairly straightforward. “Everything is a Widget” in this cross-platform app development framework. When creating a mobile app, coders can either utilize available elements from a huge library of Widgets or create custom ones with Dart. Introducing a new programming language in the application development landscape is always seen as risky, but for Flutter it proved the right right move. Dart is fairly easy to learn, and is fully compatible with the framework. Complete app implementation can be done with just Widgets and Dart.
The flutter.dev site is nothing short of amazing. Google’s official support goes above and beyond to deliver thorough information on the latest developments and news, gives thorough and complete introduction to the framework, provides all the necessary tools and solutions for mobile app development.
The final two top technology trends I want to bring up are iOS and Android development. Why split them into two? There are several reasons. Android and iOS hold the duopoly in the mobile systems landscape. Worldwide, Android tops the market with over 2.5 billion active devices in use. Conversely, Apple boasts around 1.3 billion base. While Apple “rights reserved” policy and support for proprietary devices, you will find Android technology in anything from phones, through tvs, to gym equipment and much, much more. While iOS offers the best, Android gives you the most. Read on.
If you’re after cutting edge mobile technology, no compromise innovation and superb quality and performance, iOS has it all. If on top of that, your target market is the U.S., Canada, Australia then you just can’t miss the opportunities native iOS mobile development provides. Customer satisfaction, top-of-the-line equipment, support and most importantly – Users happy to pay for all that. These are your reasons for going with native iOS applications.
Blockchain in iOS apps
If you’re into blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the latest version of Apple’s system – iOS 13 includes a brand new CryptoKit to enable building crypto wallets for mobile apps. A definite must have if you want to get an edge over competition providing a all purpose crypto payment feature in your app.
Another cool feature Apple keeps on improving is their wallet and ID capability. iOS 13 introduced the Core NFC framework which is a significant improvement from NDEF technology, allowing reading of far more complex NFC tags, thus providing app developers with a tool for creating more feature rich e-wallet applications.
What else does native iOS offer?
Choosing native technology gives you access to the latest, and the latest in iOS is no small thing. Super Retina XDR display, A13 Bionic chip, Triple 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras, 4K video recording, all kinds of sensors – latest iPhone is packed with latest technology and features just asking to be utilized in app development. If you want access to all that, and I mean full-on use of native modules, no shortcuts, no compromise, then you won’t think twice. Native app development it is.
Since iPhone X, Apple introduced a new AI chip in their top of the range mobile hardware, opening the pathway for developers to develop apps utilizing Machine Learning. This makes native iOS mobile apps the only ones able to “understand” the world around them, recognize contents of photos or videos, and use ML algorithms for augmented reality and a multitude of other features.
In the last 5 years tradidional Objective-C development has been replaced with Swift, new iOS’ programming language. The technologies, tools and solutions supporting it, paved the path for developing state-of-the-art mobile apps for the most demanding Users. The possibilities when choosing native iOS implementation with Swift are limited only by your mobile device’s capabilities.
If you’re in the business of delivering innovation wrapped in beauty, quality, and best-achievable performance, then native iOS is the way to go. If your app is to be the next must-have, most downloaded app – you’re hiring native iOS developers for sure.
Native development is more than just delivering the latest. If you’re playing the long game, going for a big, complex mobile service with a bunch of features for starters and a plan to build a long lasting, top notch experience for your Users, native is the name of the game.
Why leave the best for last? Personal preference I guess. Why call Android the best, if I just said iOS delivers the latest? Mainly it’s about the variety. With iOS native things are relatively simple. Few lines of products, streamlined sizes, fairly similar capabilities, same hardware manufacturer etc… Now Android is basically a mess when it comes to devices. You get dozens of manufacturers, a variety of devices, all sorts of onboard hardware – everything supported by one system and basically interoperable.
The variety is exactly what makes Android mobile application development so attractive. If you’re thinking Internet Of Things, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, cross-device communication, you can’t pick better than Android. Google has been developing its sweet (Cupcake, Donut, Oreo, Pie…) OS since 2008 and it’s been getting better and better each year. In 2019 things seemed to get a bit more serious with the search giant giving up on sugary names in favor of simple and classic Android 10.
Development of your Android app natively provides app developers with the widest palette of possibilities. With Android SDK you get complete, low-level access to the device modules – phone’s camera, bluetooth, microphone and all kinds of other hardware features. This allows implementing complex app functionalities without issues, and with a guarantee that your app will be able to utilize all the latest developments in mobile hardware.
The wide variety of Android peripheral devices will come especially useful for applications in beacons based location systems. If you are looking to develop an indoor positioning or mapping infrastructure integrating Bluetooth beacons and mobile devices, native Android development will quickly transpire as the most cost-effective and issue free technology.
No technological debt
Apart from latest innovations, in terms of quality, speed and performance, truly native Android apps beat hybrid, cross-platform or PWA software hands down. With Kotlin – Android’s preferred programming language you can create applications of the highest achievable standard. Fully working across all types of hardware, regardless of manufacturer, screen resolution, Android version, Kotlin-made mobile applications provide the best-in-class User Experience comparing to other programming languages. Google provides an ongoing and full official support of the Android platform and gives you unlimited possibilities in terms of building the coolest and most feature-rich UIs. Both official and community support, and Android being an open source technology, all add to making the platform one of top choices for 2020.
Top mobile app development trends to follow in 2020
Mobile application market is teeming with new solutions, technologies and frameworks for app developers. Your development company will tell you that PWA, HTML5 and other hybrid solutions still hold strong positions in the mobile apps landscape and will be more than applicable for (probably) years to come. We are seeing the emergence of DIY app solutions, codeless app making tools and other interesting, more or less valuable options. All worth looking at IMO and applicable in certain circumstances. If your aim for 2020 is to deliver high (or highest) quality, top performance, beauty, style and top notch User Experience in your app, then you need look no further than Flutter, React Native, Swift for iOS, and my personal favorite – Kotlin for Android. Satisfaction, yours and that of the Users of your mobile app, absolutely guaranteed.