HTML 5 Opens the Door to Efficient and Functional Enterprise App Development

Enterprise

Designing mobile apps for your business can bring a load of benefits. But what platform should you use for development? How can you maximize your investment and minimize the time and resources required? Let’s tackle these questions and look at a few examples.

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Today, any company that is creating mobile apps faces an important decision – should you develop in native or HTML5? Both have advantages and disadvantages, so the choice really depends on your requirements and available resources. Certainly, native apps can provide a better user experience, but developing for native usually takes longer and can be more costly. HTML5, on the other hand, allows you to reach a wider market sooner without the restrictions imposed by walled storefronts. So wouldn’t it be great if we could have the best of both worlds? Well, we can with hybrid apps like those built by BlackBerry WebWorks or PhoneGap. A hybrid app is actually a native app that runs on the device, but it is written using web technologies (i.e., HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Canvas, and others) Since hybrid apps run inside a native container, it can access native device capabilities and leverage native security features. This makes it ideal for most enterprise apps.

In fact, we worked with partners like SAP to help them develop WebWorks apps. The Customer Financial Fact Sheet and RealSpend apps are two examples that were developed in just a matter of weeks. By leveraging Responsive Web Design principles, these apps work on the latest BlackBerry 10 smartphones, BlackBerry PlayBook tablets, BlackBerry 6 and 7 smartphones, and even in a desktop browser. With some minor tweaking, these apps can also run on other platforms. This cross-device and cross-generation support is important because it allows companies to upgrade their inventory in a more cost-effective way, it allows their apps to reach a wider audience sooner rather than later, and it simplifies training and support.

For app developers, using HTML5 allows them to leverage and re-use their existing skillsets, workflow, and infrastructure. With dozens of solid frameworks (e.g., Sencha Touch and jQuery Mobile) and hundreds of libraries to choose from (see jsdb.io and microjs.com), developers can quickly prototype and focus on their business logic without reinventing libraries. Even companies that leverage enterprise solutions like SAP’s NetWeaver Gateway, which uses OData, can use the following libraries to get up and running quickly:

With datajs, for example, developers can read and display data, read paginated data, add data, and add data in batches. This API supports both JSON and ATOM-based formats, and it provides a mechanism for combining remote services with local storage.

As you can see, HTML5 and hybrid apps offer a compelling solution for enterprises. If you’d like to discuss web development for BlackBerry in person, we’ll be available at the BlackBerry booth at SAP Sapphire Now from May 14-16.

Also, don’t forget to go by the Enterprise Development pods at BlackBerry Live & BlackBerry Jam from May 14-16 and be sure to check out these sessions:

  • JAM44 – Building for the Multi-Device Enterprise using Sencha
  • JAM19 – Calling and Consuming Enterprise Web Services

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