Localytics hosted the latest MassMobile Mobile Developers Meetup on November 28th, inviting Boston-area developers and marketers to our new office for an evening of discussion and education on any and all mobile platforms. The discussion delved into new developer tools for Android 4.0 and iOS 6, detailed with best practices on backwards compatibility, some holiday app marketing best practices, the future of HTML5 and Windows 8 development, and an introduction to in-app messaging. Here’s a quick roundup of the discussion.
Since the release of Android 3.0, Google has had a consistent set of APIs on which they’ve been improving. The struggle is to write apps that support the majority of users without resorting to legacy and deprecated APIs that will force you to throw away your code in the future. Here are some compatibility libraries that function on 2.3 but allow developers to take advantage of Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean functionality:
Check out Jernigan and Samlan’s company LevelUp and also Jernigan’s early Android app Locale, which won the first-ever Android Challenge and remains one of the most successful apps available on the platform.
iOS developers tend to jump on the latest version of the OS faster than Android developers, according to Localytics’ CTO Henry Cipolla, thanks in part to the backwards compatibility and the new OS version’s quick availability across all preceding iOS devices. With that in mind, here’s some of the new elements of developing for iOS 6:
Members of the meetup were significantly less interested in HTML5 hybrid frameworks like Phonegap compared with meetups from earlier in 2012. One attendee used Phonegap to add Blackberry support to his app strategy without having to code natively for the OS.
HTML5 seems to have lost some of its lustre with the developers who attended the meetup as well. We called it a “few years out” at one of the earliest Mobile Developer Meetups several years ago, and while it has improved greatly on its earlier fragmentation issues, it still suffers from speed issues vs. native apps. It should be noted as well that Apple and Google both have it in their best interest to ensure that native apps remain a better experience to keep their respective app marketplaces dominant.
Windows 8, however, may be changing the view of HTML5, as Microsoft aims to make it a native-class citizen by giving HTML5 apps the same access to Windows APIs as a native C# app. We had a Microsoft evangelist attend the meetup who posed one burning question to the developers: “What is it that needs to be different?” He noted that with Windows 8’s convergence between mobile and desktop, that critical mass should come quickly. Some responses from the crowd:
The good news for Microsoft is that, as Android developers in the audience noted, a few years ago Android was a distant afterthought in mobile development after iOS. Although it took some time, Android is now thought of by developers as an equivalently necessary OS to develop for. Windows may take the same amount of time to generate that much interest, but the path has been laid out by Android to some degree.
The discussion turned to how monetization is shifting from pay-per-download to in-app purchasing, subscription and ad-supported models. Several reasons were cited, including:
At the end of the night, we took a minute and introduced the attendees to Localytics’ App Marketing Platform, which allows you to create automated, data-driven marketing messaging within your app. The developers were very interested, referring at one point to it as “predictive” messaging designed to maximize the ROI of app users.
If you’re interested in checking out our App Marketing Platform, contact us today.
Also make sure to sign up for MassMobile if you’re interested in joining us at our next meetup.