Nashville IT Services

Archive for the ‘Mobile Apps’ Category

Deciding if a Hybrid Mobile App is For You

hybrid mobile app use

While all apps may seem the same from the outside, different types of apps are designed differently depending on the operating system, target audience, and overall function. There are hybrid apps, native mobile apps, web apps, and more.

Today, we’re going to be focusing on just one of those: the hybrid app.

Hybrid apps have slowly become the more popular option amongst developers and businesses alike, according to a 2017 survey. Their flexibility and ease have catapulted them to the top, slightly above native apps.

Even with the growing popularity, are they a good choice for your business? Should you take a journey down the hybrid app road?

We want to cover what a hybrid mobile app is, why it’s becoming so popular, and what benefits they have over other apps.

What is a Hybrid Mobile App?

One of the easiest ways to start is simply going through the definition of a hybrid mobile app.  Here at Atiba, we pride ourselves on being the half geek, half human tech company. It’s important to look at any tech term from both the human and geek point of view.

And to preface these definitions, native apps are apps developed in the code of the device it will be used on. For example, if you want an app that will work on iOS and Android you need two source codes, one developed for iOS and one for Android. Web apps are accessed through the web browser and not found in the app store. That means you only need to write the code once since it’s based on browser language and not device language.

The Geek Definition

Let’s get all nerdy first.

A hybrid mobile app is an application written using a standard web programming format like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. However, the web elements (also called the WebView) have a native shell specific for either iOS or Android.

What does the shell do? Essentially, it allows the app to access certain mobile phone functions like GPS, camera, sensors, and even provide notifications. We’ve all seen those “allow this app to make changes” pop-up messages.

Hybrid apps are similar to native apps in the sense that they must be installed and updated from the respective app store. They can run offline and cannot update data but can use previously stored data in order to run correctly.

The Human Definition

Putting it in plain language for the rest of us…

A hybrid mobile app is an app that uses one source of code and can be downloaded to multiple devices, like iPhones and Android phones. They are the one-size-fits-all option for many app developers. They need to be downloaded and updated from the respective app store.

Hybrid apps can vary depending on the device they’re being used on and usually lag a bit behind other apps in terms of speed and functionality.

How Does Hybrid App Development Work?

The steps to creating a hybrid app are few but that doesn’t mean creating a hybrid app is simple.

First, the app itself must be designed. Depending on the OS you’re using, this means choosing between various scripting languages as well as different tools.

Once the design is complete, you have to go through the mobile framework process. Once again, this will vary greatly on your app’s goals and the OS you’re going to be using.chrome devtools for hyrbid mobile apps

Next, however, is a pretty standing part of the application work: testing. You can test many of the apps through your local server browser, cutting down development time. If you want, you can also test through a local webserver. Chrome DevTools is also quite handy for testing, allowing you to view everything in your browser.

You’ll have to package your application in a native wrapper. This will act as a connector between any APIs and the app itself.

Now, we’re ready to go ahead and test on a device. The weatherman has to make sure it’s not raining before forecasting a sunny day, right? While you can test the app on your browser, in order to test the app’s functionality with APIs, you’re going to have to use a device.

One of the hardest parts about testing on a device is debugging on the device itself. Fortunately, we’ve got a number of handy tools for that.

Once testing is finished and everything is given the thumbs up, it’s time to take it to the store. Approval can vary widely, but generally, apps are approved in under a week. That part is completely out of our and your hands and the waiting must begin.

Hybrid Apps vs. Native Apps vs. Web Apps

hybrid vs native vs web app

Source: Pexels

There are three major different types of apps that you will find for your phone: hybrid, native, and web. What are the major differences between all three?

Web Apps

Responsive web design is the process of designing a website to fit the device it’s being used on. For example, web designers want their sites to look great and functional on an iPad, Samsung Galaxy, and a 34-inch desktop. The website will switch its size depending on the device.

Web apps operate with the same principle. These apps will adjust their size depending on the mobile device they’re being used. These are built using popular programming languages such as Java, PHP, and HTML5. They cannot, however, be sold on any app stores or use mobile device hardware.

Native Apps

As their name suggests, native apps can only be used on one device. If the app developer wants to make an app for iOS, then the app will only be available for iOS devices. Native apps do have a few advantages, as they are often more robust than hybrid apps.

Since the app was designed for one platform and one platform only, it can run quicker and operate at a higher level.

Believe it or not, many popular apps are actually native apps. Facebook, Pokemon Go, and Spotify, for example, are all native apps as they had to be developed for different operating systems.

Hybrid Apps

As discussed above, hybrid apps are for multiple systems. Many businesses go the hybrid app route as they are ways to save on resources, time, and money while casting the widest net.

Hybrid App Pros

Let’s talk about why people choose hybrid apps when developing their solutions.

Code that Works Everywhere

That’s a huge advantage. From cost savings to the simplicity of maintenance, there are lots of reasons why having only one code developed is a huge advantage. Since you don’t have to write multiple forms of code, it costs less and takes much less time to write. And when you need to update, you see the same kinds of cost and time savings.

Lower Costs

Generally speaking, hybrid apps are much less expensive than their native app counterparts. Some estimates claim that companies could save up to $100,000 over the development lifecycle of the app.

Plus, the time to create a hybrid app is less than that of a native or web app. If you’re looking to push something onto the app store sooner rather than later, then you’ll definitely want to consider hybrid apps.

Easier Development Languages

What I mean by that is that because hybrid apps are written to run in a web browser they’re written in common code languages like HTML and CSS. That means that you’ll find more developers who can help you create and maintain your app.

Native apps, by comparison, are written in OS-specific language that is less common and therefore less offered by development teams. This means that once you find a developer, you may have to wait in line for their help and you’ll likely pay more for their expertise.

Expanded Reach

Your business may be choosing between publishing your app on Android or iOS. Why not both?

If you’re going after a hybrid app, then you’re able to increase your reach by getting your app on more devices and in front of more eyeballs.

Hybrid App Cons

You get a little, you give a little. There are some things hybrid apps don’t do as well as web and native apps.

Data Collection

As any good marketing team will tell you, you need data and information to know how to better reach your customers. Hybrid apps make this step a bit more difficult than native apps. With a native app, a user already has their information stored and ready on the device.

With a hybrid app, you’re going to have to ask people to create an account if you want accurate data collection. That might turn some users off but it’s a necessary step for usage and performance metrics.

Uneven Performance

It makes sense that the more layers (or steps) you need to go through to perform a task, the longer it’ll take. For some kinds of apps, like gaming apps, that loss of performance may be noticeable. While the performance issue may only affect high-resource apps, it can still come into play with smaller apps.

Many users will note that the app doesn’t have a seamless feel as compared to a native app. User experience is a huge part of any client-facing app and sometimes hybrid apps can diminish performance and experience.

Update Delays

hybrid app delays

Source: Pexels

Your app store and apps need updates. When Apple or Google releases a new update to their respective platform, hybrid app developers often need more time to add the necessary support. This could affect app performance or make it unusable until a proper update comes through.

Deciding You Need a Hybrid Mobile App

Now that you have a basic understanding of hybrid apps, let’s talk about how you decide if it’s the right choice for you. Answering these questions will help you in determining if a hybrid mobile app is a right choice for your business. 

Where will your app be used?

If you know that the only place your app will be used is on one device, then maybe a native app makes more sense. But, if your app is for customers who might use your app on numerous devices, you might not have the bandwidth or budget to create code for all those platforms and devices. In that case, a hybrid app might be the best option for you.

What are your performance requirements?

If the value pull of your app is super fast rendering graphics and gameplay features, you need to seriously consider a web or native app. High-performance and demanding apps tend to be native but that doesn’t mean that you should instantly discount hybrid apps.

Hybrid apps can still work offline, which is a big plus in the eyes of many users.

What’s your budget?

Development is just part of the equation here. If you choose to develop a native app, you’ll spend more time and money just to develop multiple source codes. But you’ll likely also spend more time finding a qualified developer and that developer may charge more for that expertise. And when the time comes to update your app, you’re in the same boat. So think critically about how much time and money is really in your budget for the app.

Hybrid App Frameworks

Here at Atiba, we’ve used plenty of the frameworks necessary to build the ideal hybrid app. Below are some of the main ones that we use.

  • PhoneGap-this web-based framework platform allows your app to access features on your phone like the camera and vibration sensor.
  • Appcelerator Titanium-a mainstay on the market, Titanium is JavaScript-based and roughly 10% of apps run on it.
  • Xamarin-one of the most popular options out there, Xamarin used C# for its hybrid framework.

We also use React Native, Ionic, QT, and more.

Conclusion

If you’re considering a hybrid mobile app, then you’ve come to the right place. Not only are we mobile app development experts, but we’ve been helping businesses making hybrid apps for years. You can read more at our mobile apps page or if you’re looking for more detailed info, reach out and get in touch with us today about your upcoming project.

Overwhelmed by Software Development

Software Development – Where to Start?

One would not generally associate custom software development and healthcare but stay with me here …

Having previously spent 15 years in healthcare it’s been my observation that many people don’t know what to expect before (or after) they, or a loved one, experience a health event.  They may become overwhelmed, frustrated, and even apathetic when a health professional talks to them regarding a change.

Apprehension and/or decision paralysis seems to set in and they put off taking that next step even though it might really improve their quality of life.

It is easy to be in that same boat when it comes to understanding technology and moving forward with custom software or website that could significantly improve your business.

It is a goal of the fantastic Half Geek Half Human folks at Atiba to help demystify technology and be customer-centric.  If you are thinking about custom software development or design, but are inundated by the information out there … hopefully, this article can offer a new perspective.

An Illustration

Using a general healthcare example, let’s say a person is thinking about getting a knee replacement.  This process is not as simple as walking into the hospital and requesting the surgery, is it?  <Insert Laugh Here>

There is the progression of doctor visits beforehand – likely the general practitioner examines and recommends some exercises and maybe an anti-inflammatory medication.  Then, typically, comes a prescription for physical therapy or stronger pain medication.

Eventually, there is a referral for surgical intervention.  A couple of orthopedist visits are likely next to determine candidacy for a knee replacement and what type of procedure needs to be performed, etc.  Consulting with insurance to see what will be covered and which providers are in-network is also part of the process.

As the journey continues, the surgery is scheduled (hopefully there has been a case manager involved by this point).  A list of best practice recommendations is often provided for maximum results.  Some of these directions may include a list of exercises, medication instructions, pre-registration information, pre-op bathing instructions, etc.

Decisions such as transportation to and from the surgery, time off work, and aftercare plans for therapy must also be made.  The surgery hasn’t even happened yet and there has been so much “front-end” preparation already.

It’s the day of surgery and the “back-end” work begins…no one can really see what’s going on inside the knee except for the surgeon & the team doing the operation.  The possible risks were explained and signed off on beforehand; such as the risk of undergoing anesthesia, risk of infection, risk of defective replacement appliances, etc.

Then the procedure begins and there may or may not be complications along the way.  For example, what may have been planned to take 2 hours, maybe takes 5 hours because of an unforeseen complication.

After the operation, the incision is inspected, ice packs applied, and precautions are put in place to minimize the risk of infection.  Immediate and continuous physical therapy must ensure to get an adequate range of motion back in the knee.  Perpetual monitoring and modifications to treatment are essential, including adequate nutrition, constant quality assurance, medication adjustments, reapplying bandages, etc.  All these little tweaks can be time-consuming and seem exhausting, yet, are vital to the overall success of the operation.

How again does this tie into software development?

Most custom software development requires a lot of planning and follow-up that many people may not incorporate into the initial cost or time expectations.  As with medical procedures, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the process and frustrated with unexpected complications.  Good communication, like in healthcare, is essential on both sides of the equation.  Expectations need to be made clear, however, maintaining flexibility is also important.

As a Case Manager in healthcare, a Project Manager can be helpful in navigating the unknown territory.  Project managers can aid in establishing the timeline, being a single point of contact, and keeping the project on target.  However, just like with the above-mentioned surgery, unforeseen complications, or “bugs” can surface and delay even the best-planned project.

The Process

Think back to the knee replacement example given above…custom software development/web design can loosely be broken down into two parts … front-end and back-end development.

Front-end work usually includes design content and coding skills that affect what the user sees and interacts with on a web application, it also includes developing what is known as UX/UI experience.  It is the work done that makes the interactable part of software development user friendly & efficient.

User interface know-how is combined with languages like CSS, HTML, JavaScript, XML based languages, Java, Objective C, and iQuery to name a few. Deciding a CMS (Content Management System) platform (examples: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Squarespace, or Magento to note a few) can be important if the data entered on the website needs to be pulled to a database.  Other programs like Photoshop and Adobe can also be utilized as well for front end work and design.

Back-end development involves making sure the web application can communicate with the server so that changes can be made in the desired database.  This involves making sure the code on the front end is supported and using additional programming languages (like PHP, Ruby, Python, ASP.net, C#, ColdFusion, Haskell, etc) on the back-end so information can be relayed to the servers and Database Management Systems.  Then when someone clicks on the website or is using the custom software program the information can be generated immediately when summoned for the user.

This construction takes time.

Continuous quality assurance and testing must be performed, either by the customer or the provider, but it must happen.  And just as the incision needs constant monitoring & cleaning so no infection sets in… the code will need frequent testing as “bugs” pop up and patching needs to occur for the program to be continually functional.  It will be an ongoing process that needs to occur over the lifespan of the code… (Which is why apps, programs, and operating systems need ongoing updates).

Software Development … The Take-Away

Yes, there are a lot of moving parts to technology, just as in healthcare.  As patients must trust doctors, hospitals, and healthcare teams, be assured that a project manager/software development team uses the best tools to create websites and custom software based on individual situations.

It can seem overwhelming, but just remember how to eat an elephant – one bite at a time.

Fortunately, the great folks here at Atiba can help get you started on the journey and walk you through every step of the way when it comes to custom software development and web applications!

Don’t put off improving and growing your business any longer!  Give us a call (615) 353-1921 or send an email to info@atiba.com

 

 

 

5 Key Attributes For a Nashville Custom Software Development Company

nashville custom software

What Should You Be Looking for in a Custom Software Development Company?

There are a variety of reasons people seek out a custom software solution for their business, and it is sometimes the biggest decision a business might make. The most common reason is that there is no software solution that solves the problem(s) they are trying to solve.

It could be that there are software solutions, but they have poor functionality or just don’t fit exactly what they’re trying to do. It could be that there is a solution out there that is prohibitively expensive with many features the company would never use. If you find yourself starting on the journey to find a custom software development company, here are five thoughts to keep in mind as you get started.

Communication Is Key

It’s the key to any healthy relationship and it’s also the key to developing successful custom software.

Rare is a software development project that doesn’t require consultation and advice along the way. Look for a software development company that has been around a while and has the battle scars to prove it. And make sure they are good communicators so that if you request something they have tried in the past and found doesn’t work, they will not hesitate to communicate that experience to you.

At Atiba, we’re often lauded for our quick response time. We’ve always offered 24/7 support and we don’t want any questions laying there unanswered.

They should also be able to recommend ways to solve your specific requirements. If you lay out your vision and come away thinking, “I have no idea what they are talking about, I guess I’ll just have to trust them,” you’re setting yourself up for possible trouble down the road.

Experience Counts

custom software development companyIf you’re looking for a custom software solution, you’ve probably reached your last nerve trying to deal with all the available products that don’t quite solve your problem. That means you need software that will do exactly what it is you want it to do.

This is where experience is an advantage for a software development firm. A company with leaders who have solved a variety of problems over the years brings institutional knowledge and wisdom to the table that greatly increases the chances that your new software will be successful.

They don’t necessarily have to have already built exactly what you want for someone else, but they may have experience with some of the components and processes you are requesting. Plus, if they’ve been around, it shows that they’ve encountered plenty of problems and been able to come up with solutions.

Look For A Strong User Experience Development History

A user-friendly interface is vital to your new software’s success. The backend can function beautifully, but if users can’t figure out how to use it, the software is useless. Many developers fall into a trap thinking that the users will figure it out. Unfortunately, users are impatient and fickle. If they can’t make sense of what they have in front of them, they’re just going to go to the next piece of software.

One thing we love to do at Atiba is to set up regular progress meetings with our clients. That way, you can see for yourself how the project is coming along and make sure it makes sense to you. Even though we’ll be along for the post-launch period and ongoing support, we believe it’s important that you have a solid focus on your software as well.

Make sure the custom software development company you choose places an emphasis on user experience (UX), which includes rigorous quality assurance (QA) all along the development cycle.

Speaking of support and the development cycle…

They Have A Clear Support Policy

Support is a big part of any software release. If a software development company isn’t going to stick with you through the release and foreseeable future, it doesn’t sound like they really care about what happens to you or the outcome.

You’re getting a software solution that is being built from scratch, so you need to expect some bugs and quirks upon deployment. Bugs, although unpleasant, are often just a natural part of the development process. Make sure the company you choose gives you a clear picture of what support is included, and how much support that is not included is going to cost.

Check Their Work

A good indicator of future success is a rich history of past success. Take time to have them show you custom software development projects they’ve done in the past, explain the process and problems they went through, and, if possible, show you the end result. Not only is this an important step in your due diligence, but it will also give you peace of mind moving forward that your project is in the right hands.

Sometimes, it can be hard to find specific examples but it’s necessary to ask a few questions about their past work. If you’re not sure where to start, you should think about asking:

  • Have you ever done any similar projects?
  • What issues have you run into with projects?
  • Have you worked with clients of our business size before?

Although there are plenty of other questions that will naturally come up the rest of the way, it’s a good idea to start out with these basic ones.

Atiba is Nashville’s Leading Custom Software Development Company

We know that your business needs more than an out-of-the-box solution and we offer more than out-of-the-box ideas and strategies. With nearly 30 years of experience in the custom software industry, we’re ready to build you a solution that’s just for you.

We’ll break down the process into three distinct parts:

  • Consulting and Strategy
  • Development
  • Launch and Support

We’ve worked with plenty of businesses, both large and small, against tight deadlines. No matter what custom software project you have, we’re here and ready to help. Reach out to us today for a free quote or if you just want to know more. We can’t wait to hear from you!

To selfie or not to selfie? Question sparks spirited family debate

Check out Atiba founder JJ Rosen’s latest column for The Tennessean:

To selfie or not to selfie? Question sparks spirited family debate

“Leveraging a trend, the inventor of the selfie stick saw an opportunity in the convergence of smart-phones and social media to make millions of dollars with a relatively simple idea.   This concept of “trend-based businesses” depends on identifying a need around a social fad and then finding a way to heavily market it — fast.”

Rosen’s column appears twice a month. You can view an archive here.

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Atiba serves as a one-stop shop for strategic web design, web development, CIO consulting services and business intelligence, custom software development, mobile app development, IT support, network services and security. Atiba’s service divisions include Atiba Network, Atiba Software and Wheelhouse Marketing.

New Mobile App Developers

As Nashville’s top full-service technology consulting firm, we are proud to recruit the best and brightest in the industry to lead our network infrastructure, custom software development, web design, digital marketing and mobile app development projects.

JJ Rosen, President and CEO, has kept the team focused on the core philosophy of Atiba, “Our mission is to deliver the most customer-centric technology solutions in the marketplace. To effectively execute our mission and connect with our clients we’ve continued to hire the best programmers, engineers, designers and project managers in the business.”

Mobile App Developer PHP C+

Justin Gregory – Software Developer

Justin Gregory, PhD, is a new addition to our software development team.  Since joining Atiba, Justin has developed and deployed the GoVoteTN mobile app on behalf of the Tennessee Secretary of State – a mobile app for the people, by the people. With years of software development experience using C/C++, OOD, Unix, Erlang, Haskell, Labview, Python and more, Justin exemplifies the intelligence and self-motivated nature of Atiba team members. Justin earned a PhD in Interdisciplinary Materials Science from Vanderbilt University and a B.S. in Physics and minor in Computer Science from Lipscomb University.

Mobile App AGILE Project Manager

Mike Presley – Project Manager

Mike Presley, Atiba’s newest Project Manager, is passionate about mobility, apps, interactive design, and improving the overall look and effectiveness of the web.  Mike is dedicated to creating the next generation of web and mobile apps through better user experiences. Mike currently leads projects for  Dollar General, Worship Together, Patient Focus, Hamilton-Ryker and The Pasta Shoppe, to name a few. Mike received a Bachelor of Science from Vanderbilt University.

Mobile App Develpment PHP C+

Bryan Bodkin – Software Developer

Bryan Bodkin is an innovative computer engineer with a unique blend of software programming, project management, and hardware design skills. He recently completed work on www.WorshipTogether.com and Pan Oston projects.  Bryan holds a Masters in Computer Engineering from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and a Bachelor of Science Dual Major in Computer Science and Electro Mechanical Engineering Technology from MTSU.

JJ Rosen, Founder and Chairman says, “I am excited for the next decade with our new team members to support the ongoing growth and positioning of Atiba.  We will continue to keep our offerings innovative by hiring team members that are “half geek, half human”, enabling Atiba to demystify technology for clients and help their businesses thrive.”

Introducing: Atiba Version 3.0

Atiba Nashville Technology and Web Design

We are enjoying a new year, new offices, and a fresh, new look for Atiba.  Our inspiration?  The principal of Kaizen.  Kaizen is the philosophy that you must have continuous improvement and break the mold every once in a while to make a transformative improvement.  That is exactly what we have done with the Atiba brand in the past 6 months.  Under that guiding principle, the Atiba Team is proud to introduce Atiba Version 3.0.

This latest ‘revolution’ was inspired by the incredible range of needs and innovative thinking of our clients and their customers.  Just as our hometown, Nashville, has transformed, so too have our client’s needs and service offerings.  We have grown along with them – expanding our services by supporting local tech startups and hiring the best programmers, designers and digital marketers in the area.

This re-brand maintains the essence of Atiba which remains our core “half geek and half human” composition while also showcasing the large range of services we now offer.  We have some team members that are highly technical (the best in the business, in fact) and some that understand business and excel at client communications.  While our developers create best-in-class software and network architecture, our client relations and project management teams understand business challenges and can help demystify the available technology and provide practical and successful solutions.

New features on the Atiba.com website:

1) We present more client sample work and service overviews to allow you to get a feel for our work and the range of businesses we serve.

2) Buzz Atiba – our direct line to the 24/7 Help Desk and Emergency Support – is now just a click away for clients. As an IT Managed Services client or Website client, you can ‘buzz’ us any time to request changes or if you need help.

3) Just click here if you need help with a service or provide us your email (on the bottom of the home page) if you’d like to sign up for our newsletter.

4) Join the team!  There is now a way to contact us about job opportunities and become a part of the Atiba Team.

5) And, if you’re interested in seeing what the Atiba Team can do for you, just click the orange “Request a Proposal” button at the top of the home page and complete the quick form.  Our client services team will get back to you right away.

We hope you enjoy the new site and find it helpful.  We understand all this ‘techie stuff’ can be intimidating, so we are doing our best to show each of our services in both a technical and a human light.

Now Available: GoVoteTN App

Responding to Requests for a Proposal (RFP) is a normal part of the job when you’re on a sales team.   Here at Atiba and Cabedge, we receive a lot of them each month. Sometimes we are one of hundreds of companies spending time explaining the process, doing the research to match up your offerings with the needs of the client and finding examples of past work to showcase. So when the Tennessee Secretary of State sent out their RFP last year about building a mobile application to help with the voting process, we were super excited to learn we were one of three companies who got to come in to pitch our idea.  We were even more thrilled when our team was chosen to complete the project.

Building Loyal Sports Fans

Using mobile device technologies is “the” new performance-enhancing strategy in the sports world.  Many are finding that it’s a great way to drive fan loyalty.  See how the sports industry embraces the latest technology trends while maintaining a sense of old-school tradition. Check out Atiba’s own JJ Rosen’s latest insights in the Tennessean.

Whitney Blessington is a member of the Atiba family, focusing on Marketing. She specializes in translating geek technology into human terminology.   In addition to leading the Atiba Marketing efforts, Whitney helps clients and partners accomplish their goals using digital marketing communications.

The Relevance and Importance of Gamification

Games and gamification-related promotions are no strangers to best-selling and most-downloaded smartphone app lists. Our JJ Rosen takes a deeper look at the relevance and importance of gamification heading into 2014 in his weekly Tennessean guest blog.

New Smartphone Mobile Blogs on Tennessean.com

Our main man JJ Rosen continues to contribute solid blog posts to Tennessean.com, and in the middle of the holiday season, there’s plenty of mobile trends and news to talk about.