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The Future of Website and Mobile App Development: Trends to Watch

HomeTechnologyThe Future of Website and Mobile App Development: Trends to Watch

The world of website development and mobile applications is changing rapidly. The line between building websites and applications for mobile is beginning to blur. As more and more people and businesses leverage digital technologies, the need for faster application development is driving change in the way we conceive, prototype, develop and make applications.

The other force driving change is the need for cross-platform development. By that we mean our applications need to run on all the major platforms and not just Android or iOS. The advantage of cross-platform development is the ability to write the code once and share it across multiple platforms and operating systems.

Mobile App Development

The mobile app market has grown significantly over the past few years. Developers and companies alike have realized there’s money to be made if you can develop an application that is popular and works across multiple platforms. Designing and building mobile apps is not an easy task. If you targeted a single platform, the development would be easier, but it would also limit your income and exposure.

To build apps that can be distributed across multiple app stores developers need to use programming tools that provide a code base that works across the mobile landscape. For example, Objective-C and Swift are the programming languages used to build iOS applications, whereas Android apps are built using Java and Kotlin. The other consideration is having access to native functions and features of the device in order to accomplish the tasks your app requires. Without having access to the underlying functions of the phone, such as location, messaging, notifications, and other features, your application will be further limited in what it is able to do.

Hybrid Applications

One of the fast-developing trends for cross-platform development is hybrid mobile apps. Hybrid apps are applications that use existing web technologies to develop web and mobile apps. These apps use HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS code to run on an internal browser (WebView) that is wrapped by a native app, allowing access to platform-specific functions and features with a native API (application programming interface). Hybrid apps can run on most existing platforms when using platform-specific tools.

One of the most popular open-source libraries for cross-platform development is Apache Cordova. Apache Cordova got its start with PhoneGap app development. PhoneGap was Adobe’s commercial version of Cordova, which ultimately became open source. There are several tools that allow for cross-platform development that include, Ionic, React Native, Flutter, and Node JavaScript, among others.


Cross-Platform Development

Cross-platform development has also been applied to web development. Web applications are generally cross-platform because they can be viewed and used across different browsers and operating systems. Modern websites need to be more than just static pages in order to be successful. Many of today’s websites are web applications that provide functionality and allow transactions. Many of these websites are interactive and offer a host of features from gameplay to business and organizational management. There are countless tools and features that are being used and developed for building web apps. Having a single code base for a site or web application results in fewer costs and faster development cycles.  


One of the biggest challenges of cross-platform development is having the ability to test applications across different platforms. There are often subtle differences that can only be found through rigorous testing and debugging across different devices and browsers. Another common problem is finding a complete feature set across various platforms that works fully. While a feature may work on one device, it may not work on another. Different platforms may also have naming conventions that don’t match with a target platform causing confusion for the end user. While problems still exist, there doesn’t seem to be an end to cross-platform development and frameworks that continue to grow and improve.

What’s next?

The future of cross-development frameworks looks bright. Having the ability to write code once and use it across multiple platforms allows for faster development cycles and significant cost savings. It also takes less effort to start with a prototype and end with a fully functional production mobile application or web app.

We’re beginning to move away from native application development, which means applications that are written for a specific platform using the native programming language for that device. While native app development has some advantages, such as access to the underlying functions and interface, it limits you to that individual device and operating system. 

Another interesting development is what’s called Progressive Web Applications. Progressive web apps are websites that can be used on devices that allow native functionality. Using wrappers and tools, these apps can mimic native apps and can access device functions like notifications, offline work and lots of other features.


While more and more people are using their phones for everything from banking to playing games, the need for bigger, better, more useful apps will only increase. Part of this increase is having the ability to envision and create an app that is both useful and practical. Having the ability to build a mobile app or web app using a single code base is extremely important for small development teams and startups.

The coming trends for website and Mobile app development are going to provide simpler design and development of applications and greater functionality. Being able to use all the underlying feature set of devices in order to have an app that is both useful and practical. Programmers are finding ways to build apps quickly using cross-platform development and native wrappers and tooling. 

The goal of any mobile app developer is to create a tool that can be used by as many people as possible. With the ability to use a single code base across multiple platforms, the software development process becomes easier and code changes and improvements are not difficult.

Workloads are simpler to manage and outsourcing development may no longer be necessary.

While problems do exist, the overall result is worth the effort when it comes to cross-platform development.  

You may want to read more,

pearls of wisdom
Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.


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