IDAP BLOG Mobile Application Development

Four Easy Ways to Turn a Website into a Mobile App

A few years ago having your own website could be a major competitive advantage. Nowadays having no website is a total redflag and surprise. It seems that the same story is happening to mobile apps as well. Some entrepreneurs still believe that “old-school websites” are much better and more convenient than mobile apps.

The statistics reveal the opposite:

  • Near 86% percent of Internet users prefer using mobile devices to access the Web. If you have one of those “evil to mobile” website, at least make them mobile-friendly.
  • B2B marketers acknowledge that mobile apps have become an indispensable part of marketing according to the research by e-Strategy Trends.
  • Did you know that people make more purchases via mobile apps than on the websites? According to PR Newswire, retail apps’ conversion rates are approximately 120% higher.

Dozens of successful companies and startups that initially entered the market with only a website (Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, etc.) have quickly developed mobile apps to stay ahead of the tech curve. Don’t wanna stay behind? Keep on reading our entry and find out how to transform your website into a mobile app.

You may also be interested in How much does it cost to build a custom app.

Four Ways to Step Into a Mobile World

If you’re running a tech company and your business has nothing to do with smartphone features (camera, microphone, etc.), it might take more sense to develop a web-based app to spare your budget a pretty penny. A web-based app is an app hosted in a web browser like Safari or Chrome. Believe it or know, these can help you get more users that mobile apps as browsers are getting smarter and more functional.

You may also be interested in How to find and hire app developers.

Nowadays the tech possibilities for mobile app development available to entrepreneurs are plentiful. The core differences between them center around cost, final product quality, and implementation speed. Understanding the differences between them as well as implementation approaches is a tricky thing. We’ve researched a little to help you spot the differences and find out how to turn a website into a mobile app.

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps (or simply PWAs) are a new word in the mobile world. This technology was brought up by Google. It allows mobile devices to add websites or web apps to home screens and access them even without the Internet.

Need more information on PWAs? Check out our entry dedicated to PWAs.

Turning a website into a PWA doesn’t take too long. You just need to add a home screen icon for your website to become a PWA. Then service workers along with web app manifest will allow your website to become smarter, send push notifications, work offline, and load faster.

Pros

  • Push notifications
  • Offline mode
  • Better rankings on search engines

Cons

  • Not a fully-functioning app
  • Non-native app experience
  • Poor compatibility (iOS doesn’t fully support PWAs)

Apache Cordova or Hybrid Mobile Apps

Apache Cordova is a framework that allows developers to create mobile apps using CSS, Javascript, and HTML. These apps are often called Hybrid Apps. They can work in a WebView environment on multiple mobile platforms including Android and iOS. Besides Cordova, developers also use PhoneGap and Ionic to build hybrid apps.

Like PWAs, hybrid apps can be opened just off the home screen and use some of the device’s features such as geolocation or camera. Though hybrid apps resemble native apps, the user experience built with Cordova cannot be as smooth as it could be with native apps. The feel and look of those apps are similar to that of a website. Despite modules and frameworks that offer UI components similar to native, they fall short to native experience.

That’s a great way to step into the mobile world if you have a web app built with Javascript, HTML or CSS. Hybrid apps are useful when you need to build a low-cost and decent app with standard functionality.

Pros

  • Short time to market
  • Written in HTML, CSS, Javascript and cross-compatible with Android and iOS as well as web software
  • Access to smartphone’s hardware and functionality

Cons

  • Poor user experience
  • Slow work because of various libraries and wrappers employed
  • Works only online
  • Difficult to implement UI animations

React Native Apps

React is right up your street if you have a web app built with React.js. It’s one of the most recent technologies for building hybrid apps. With React, you get a mobile app that takes advantage of OS native components. Since source code converts to a native mobile app, app performance is smooth and stable.

Did you know that Instagram, Facebook, Skype, and Airbnb are React Native Apps? Surprising, isn’t it? While using those apps, you cannot even notice that they have nothing to do with native mobile apps.

Pros

  • High development speed
  • Native look and feel
  • Low development cost

Cons

  • New technology
  • Limited open-source solutions
  • Not ideal for complex apps that require a high load

Native Apps

Native apps are still the best choice when it comes to performance and product quality but it’s also the most expensive approach. If you have a web app, you have to build mobile apps for Android and iOS that will be connected to the same backend.

To develop native apps for both mobile operating platform, you’ll need at least two developers but it’s better to have two development teams. While working with IDAP, you’ll get two extended development teams with a project manager to get your apps faster. iOS app developers will build an app for iPhones taking advantage of Swift or Objective-C. And Android developers will take care of an Android app using Kotlin or Java.

Pros

  • Wide range of open-source libraries and modules
  • Flawless performance
  • Great user experience on all mobile platforms
  • Offline mode

Cons

  • High cost
  • Different developers for different mobile operating systems

Summary

If you need an app that will be able to perform complex tasks, hold a real-time connection with a server, or offer unique functionality, a native app is what you need to go with. There’s also a chance to create React Native app that supports all common features and create modules for iOS and Android. This will let you reduce development costs.

When it comes to migrating from the web to mobile, there are four options that work well – develop a hybrid app (Cordova or React Native), a PWA or a native app. If the functionality of your product is simple and you just want to offer users a better experience, try out React Native to develop a hybrid app. Hybrid apps work well if your budget is tight but you need to support both Android as well as iOS users.

Need more information on mobile app development? Contact us and we’ll help cure your pains with a top-notch hybrid or native app.

(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

IDAP’s Newsletter

Upgrade your inbox and get our editor picks twice a month.