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Want To Develop Mobile Apps Fast? Use HTML5

The demand in enterprises to build mobile apps fast has never been greater - and neither has the demand for mobile developers. There simply aren't enough qualified application developers to go around to meet the growing need to mobilize enterprises. With no mobile developers at hand, how do you make mobile apps for your business?

A Gartner report, "Build Great Mobile Apps With HTML5," says that a solution is close at hand: turn to Web developers already inside your company. If they use HTML5, and follow best practices for mobile app development, they can build great mobile experiences. The reports says, "Modern Web technologies - HTML5, CSS3, new browser APIs, and a deluge of JavaScript libraries and frameworks - give developers all the tools they need to deliver a great mobile UX." Additionally, by using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, web developers can easily build custom apps that support multiple mobile platforms.

Want to Build Mobile Apps Fast? Rules for Developers to Follow

Web developers need to keep a few things in mind when building mobile apps with HTML5. Most important, Gartner says, is that "Web developers to stop thinking in terms of 'mobile Web' and to start thinking in terms of 'mobile apps installed via the Web.' Apps must 'feel' at home - resident - on a device. Web developers also need to gain a deep knowledge of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

With that in mind, developers must make sure to keep designs as simple as possible. That means not mimicking native UI controls, using a flat design for a clean interface, using a clean an minimal CSS, and using vector images, CSS, and Web fonts, because they will provide the app with a much crisper look.

Although the design shouldn't try to emulate native device controls, they should mimick interface behaviors that make the app seem as if it's native to the device -- for example, making sure that buttons respond to touches in the same way they do on native apps, or that the device responds to a drag across the screen in the same way.

Web designers should also provide constant visual feedback to users -- make it clear when action needs to be taken, and when a previous action is complete. CSS3 can be useful to do this by designing smooth transitions. Web designers should also create app icons and splash screens for devices, because users expect them to be there.

Finally, Web designers should use an agile client architecture. One of HTML5's great benefits over native app development is how much more quickly and easily it can be changed. Apps are never static and frequently need to be updated. An architecture should be chosen with that in mind.

Ready to get started with a rapid development platform? Download Alpha Anywhere Community Edition app maker and build apps for freeView a tutorial on how to create mobile apps.
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About Author

Dion McCormick
Dion McCormick

Dion McCormick, Lead Solutions Engineer at Alpha Software, is a recognized expert on agile application development. He helps enterprise development teams around the world transition from slow legacy approaches to high-performance mobile, web, and desktop development using the Alpha Anywhere platform.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.