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Consider three emerging mobile app development trends

These three emerging mobile app development strategies could change the way apps are developed in the future. Discover which of these methods is right for your organization.

Mobile app development is constantly changing as user needs shift and new technologies crop up, so IT should be...

aware of each mobile app development trend.

Here, we'll delve into three emerging methods for mobile app development that could quickly become common practice.

Progressive web apps introduce a new method

Organizations that want the capabilities of a web app and the look and feel of a native app should consider progressive web apps (PWAs), an Android app development method that is threatening the traditional structure of app development.

Because users open the PWA in a web browser, they likely won't notice the difference between a PWA and a web app. However, with PWAs, developers can take advantage of native-like features such as push notifications, offline support and fast loading times.

One obstacle stands in the way of widespread adoption for PWAs, however.

There are a few factors that make this mobile app development trend likely to succeed. For one, PWAs are relatively easy to develop because they don't require specialized skills or a separate code for each OS. Mobile development companies offer more lightweight tools, such as Ionic and Mobify to help with the development. And, as demand for increased performance and better user experience grows, PWAs will remain an appealing option.

One obstacle stands in the way of widespread adoption for PWAs, however. Apple still doesn't offer support for PWAs on Safari, but the company has indicated that this is in the works. Until then, Android developers can take advantage of this mobile app development trend to drive innovation forward.

Instant apps allow users to taste test

Instant apps -- another Android-specific mobile app development trend -- are making waves in the e-commerce industry.

Instant apps are native containers with access to the device's hardware, but users don't need to install the app and developers don't need to create separate code. Android users can access instant apps by searching for the app via Google and clicking a link that automatically runs a portion of the app.

E-commerce organizations are especially drawn to instant apps because they are a simple way to increase discoverability and encourage users to download the comparable native app.

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To build an instant app, however, developers must break down the native app code into smaller modules -- a process called modularization. Not all organizations are ready for this step, however; it involves decreasing app dependencies.

Like PWAs, instant apps face the issue of being specific to Android. Also, instant app must be in a URL-addressable module that is under 4 MB in size -- a limitation that is difficult for many organizations. Because instant apps rely mainly on Google searches to draw users in, they only work for specific use cases.

Apps will become more modular

Instant apps aren't the only reason developers should consider modularization. Breaking an app into smaller components promotes more defined code ownership among developers, reduces time wasted and enables developers to more easily track bugs. For organizations that need to scale, modularization offers the development team an organized strategy.

Apple's Swift programming language for iOS encourages modularization because it offers well-defined access controls that limit specific developers to work on specific portions of the code. A few other updates have also made modularization more approachable.

With iOS 8, Apple offered support for dynamic frameworks and for static libraries in Swift. Soon, developers will be able to port iOS apps to macOS with a universal framework, according to an announcement at Apple's 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference. This will enable developers to more easily share code between different targets.

Some developers still need more advancements to make the modularization process truly attainable, however. The addition of cleaner, access-controlled interfaces with shared libraries, for example, is a step in the right direction.

This was last published in July 2018

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