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Titanium vs. Native Mobile Apps – 14 Points to Keep in Mind


It is true that without entering into the controversy of native vs cross platform mobile applications development, one may not find any interest in creating mobile apps? Today, there are various companies that offer applications that can run on a wide range of devices and at the same time connect to an exploding set of backend data. Mobile apps have to a great extent replaced web applications as the way we share, search and collaborate. As far as enterprise is concerned, this means that every software project is a mobile project.

Lets proceed further and understand in detail both Titanium and native application development

Tablets and smartphones of today have really changed the technological landscape in the past 4 to 5 years. Much like the internet did in the past decade, these powerful tools have also changed the means people communicate with each other or access information from anywhere. This wide market of mobile application development has created huge opportunities for the developers having skills in developing mobile applications.

Appcelerator’s Titanium is an OS platform that enables developers to create applications for mobile as well as desktop by using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  Cross platform apps are used today with over 250,000 developers and in 35,000 applications.

Some advantages of using Titanium for creating mobile apps:

Web oriented: Titanium offers developers to create applications that interact with the web services as it is basically developed by using web technologies. This in fact reduces the overhead that is required to elaborate any information that is exchanged through remote communications.

Java Script: This language enables the developers to get started with mobile app development easily and Titanium has a prime characteristic of prototype based scripting languages and is a perfect combination of structure as well as flexibility.

Rapid prototyping: Titanium accelerates the application development as it enables one to create few lines of codes in a very short period of time in a flexible manner and even creates a prototype to evaluate the user’s interaction with the UI.

Cross platform: With titanium one can easily develop applications that can run on various platforms without having to learn two different languages for each of them. This helps in attaining a high level of code reusability and saves both money and time.

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Huge community: Since Appcelerator has a community consisting of more than 200,000+ developers using it to create more than 35,000 cross platform apps, it has launched an open mobile marketplace for selling, buying and sharing of different templates, modules and design elements and extension for web services. This has in fact attracted important investments and has created a great platform for the growing community to share their creations.

Several disadvantages of using Titanium

Increased complexity: The development complexities increases as the developers had to put great efforts for code reorganization, multi device support, multi-platform support and code readability. Complex applications also have to deal with technical issues.

Not responsive and laggy: One can obviously experience a fast, smooth and comfortable user experience with a native development environment and this is obvious with animations which are laggy when return from the background.

HTML or CSS: Using CSS or HTML is not possible as it doesn’t use the web view and usage of external Java Script libraries and working with DOM is also restricted.

Understanding the native mobile apps

Native applications are basically live on a device and can be accessed through various icons on the screen of the device. They can be easily installed through Google Play or Apple’s Apps Store and is specifically developed for a single platform. Developers can take full advantage of that particular device like the accelerometer, the GPS, camera, the compass and so on. Such apps can easily use the device’s notification system and even functions offline.

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The term native app is mostly related to the context of mobile computing because mobile applications are specifically created and designed to work on a specific platform. These applications are installed in the mobile device or it can be downloaded from a private or public app store. The data that is associated with the native applications are stored on the device though the data may be stored remotely and even accessed by the application. Based on the nature of the app, the user needs internet connectivity.

Creating native applications means writing in a platform’s native programming language and there are different platforms that are based in various languages. Some of them are iOS –C/ Objective-C, Android – Java, Blackberry –Java and Windows –C/ C#.

Some pros of using native applications

User experience: The users can experience the platform and enjoy its specific features that include UI elements, transitions and many more.

Tools: Besides the frameworks, Apple/ Google and Windows also provide out of the box tools and there is a huge variety of open source libraries for the mobile developers.

High performance: The codes written in native applications are faster than JavaScript and offer a high performance of the application that is developed.

The cons:

Expertise: A developer having expertise in Android development many not be an expert in iOS development. A company has to hire developers according to the platforms for creating apps.

Testing: HTML5 apps run in the browser and so the bug fixes can be easily deployed to the server and everyone can have a look. But with native applications rebuilding, packaging and deploying is needed.

Maintenance: Since there are several codes, it requires developing, testing and maintenance for high performance.

Taking a decision

Just like everything else, both the applications have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, the pros and cons should be thoroughly evaluated as per the requirements as their weight totally depends on the specific project that is considered. Some of the key aspects that should be considered while deciding whether to select native or titanium applications are development complexity, necessity of a multi-platform support budget, benefits and the importance of performance.

Now that you have a clear idea of the pros and cons of both titanium and native apps development, it will be easy for you to take a decision before starting a project. Taking the time to define the project requirements and then understand it thoroughly is what is needed for the best outcome. Appcelerator’s Titanium is the best option when you are starting a new project but for certain mobile application the native application development is the best.

With mobile apps development becoming popular day by day, it is time to consider various factors like the features needed in the app, need of a cross platform, performance, budget and etc. before selecting Titanium or native application development.

You can also share your thoughts on the topic native vs. cross platform in comments below.