This blog is about the 'Establishing Your Mobile Architecture Strategy' video, presented by David Brault, Product Marketing Manager, Mendix.. You can watch the video here.If you are considering building a mobile app with Mendix, this session is a must watch. David masterfully explains the range of available architectures, then provides an in-depth, point-by-point comparison of each option.
A lot of the session is based on a Gartner post about Key Considerations when building Web, Native, or Hybrid Mobile apps, so make sure to check that out for deeper insights.
There are currently several different mobile architectures available for Mendix developers:
- Native – React Native-powered native app
- Hybrid – a largely outdated concept that uses web languages inside an app container
- PWA – a core browser language that provides native-like experience
- Responsive – website that looks good on mobile screens but has no device integration
The look and feel of PWAs and Hybrid is very different compared to native apps. At the same time, native apps allow you to leverage more of the device capabilities like camera, location, notifications, etc.
In terms of offline capability, in the past, developers were forced to use a hybrid app. With PWAs, that has changed, and it is now possible to have offline-capable web apps.
To briefly summarize the main points for any prospective mobile app developers:
- Native apps when consumer UX is paramount and device integration is key
- Progressive web apps for a native-like browser experience and offline capability
- Responsive web apps to maximize the reach of your application and keep costs low
However, David stresses that most web apps will need to leverage all variants to support the widest possible audience. Thanks to the power of the Mendix platform, logic and UI can be shared and reused between the different architectures, making it the best mobile platform to date.
More and more web traffic is happening on mobile devices, and that percentage will only grow in the future. So it is crucial that developers make sure their apps provide a great mobile experience. To see an example, check out the showcase of the Retourplaza app, built by some very talented developers at Mansystems.
In my opinion, these are the steps that you should be taking with your next mobile Mendix app:
If your app does not require device integration/offline, then I recommend starting with responsive web design and making sure your website looks great on a small mobile screen. As a next logical step would be to consider enabling online-PWA for your app.
On the other hand, if you already expect that your mobile app will need to be offline-capable or need device integration, then check the points above so that you can choose the right option between an offline-capable PWA or a native app powered by React Native. To learn more about building offline-capable mobile apps, check out the showcase for Nutricia, also built by experienced Mendix devs at Mansystems.