At this month’s Mobile Monday Nigeria Event, we had several speakers that enlightened us about the benefits of using cross platform tools for mobile application development. They also gave some of the problems they encountered when they were developing apps with these tools. Here are some of the highlights of the event
Pledge51 Session: Zubair Abubakar and Bayo (both of pledge51) came up and spoke about their experience with cross platform mobile app development. After that, they answered questions from various people in the audience.
They gave some tips also to those who would want to follow a similar path
Develop for all platforms
Choose a tool that allows you to port to all platforms not just some specific platforms. For example using HTML5 does not mean that your app will work on all phones, it would only work on phones that support HTML5 (Phones with webkit browsers like the iPhone, Android Phones and BlackBerry Phones with OS 7 upwards.). Tools you can use include QT, Phonegap, Appcelerator, Applause etc.
Don’t leave out the Feature Phone
A lot of Nigerians still use feature phones, so it’s best to develop a J2ME version of your app that doesn’t need to access hardware features of the phone. This allows you to target a wider audience and enables you to get more downloads/purchases of your app.
Always value performance over features
Make sure your app loads quickly. When developing it, you have to make the choice between using a database / web service to pull data or embedding your app data within the package itself. If your application needs frequent updates (chat program, job application apps), then using a database / web service would be the best way to go. But if you update it only few times a year, then embedding the app data will be the best way.
Provide a solution to a need
The Nigerian Constitution App solved a need. It gave Nigerians access to the Nigerian Constitution in an easy to read manner. This ease of use showed when the app went viral during the #occupyNigeria protest.
Think about the user
This is the most essential part of developing an app. You have to take your user into consideration. For example, if your app connects to the internet, you have to consider the amount of bandwidth that your app uses. If you’re developing an app that consumes a lot of bandwidth, know that your audience will be smartphone users.
You can check them out on Pledge51
Wale of Loungescape (http://www.loungesca.pe) came up after and also shared his views about the various tools already covered in the first session
Finally, Shina Oyetosho of Microsoft gave an overview of the benefits of developing for Windows 8 , including the sharing formula for paid apps and how easy it is to get your app into the Windows Store. He also showed a demo of how Windows 8 works.