Opportunities and pitfalls when using cross-platform tools for mobile app development

Michiel Willocx (MSEC, iMinds-DistriNet, KU Leuven) and Ruben Smeets (ES&S, KU Leuven)

Presentation slides available here.

Smartphones play a very important role in people’s everyday life. For many companies, offering support and services through mobile applications is (becoming) an important part of their business model. It is therefore important for these companies to reach as many users as possible with their mobile services. However, due to the fragmentation of the smartphone market (Android, iOS, Windows Phone), native development is often very costly and time consuming. While native applications can fully exploit the features of a particular mobile platform, limited or no code can be shared between the different implementations. Each platform requires dedicated tools and different programming languages (e.g. ObjectiveC, C# and Java). Also, maintenance (e.g. updates or bug fixes) can be very costly. Hence, application developers are confronted with huge challenges. A promising alternative are mobile cross-platform tools (CPTs). A significant part of the code base is shared between the implementations for the multiple platforms. This workshop provides interesting insights in the world of cross-platform development for both people with no previous knowledge about cross-platform tools as well as more experienced developers.
The format for this tutorial is a presentation on cross-platform mobile app development. The goal of the presentation is to provide useful insights in the world of cross-platform tools for novice as well as more experienced participants. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with the participants.

Web-based Hybrid Mobile Apps: State of the Practice and Research Opportunities

Ivano Malavolta (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)


Presentation slides available here.

Nowadays millions of mobile apps are downloaded and used all over the world. Mobile apps are distributed via different app stores like Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, the Windows Phone Store. One of the most intriguing challenges in mobile apps development is its fragmentation with respect to mobile platforms (e.g., Android, Apple iOS, Windows Phone). Recently, companies like IBM and Adobe and a growing community of developers advocate web-based hybrid mobile apps development as a possible solution to mobile platforms fragmentation. Web- based hybrid mobile apps are consistent across platforms and built on web standards like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript.
This tutorial provides a state of the art overview of the solutions, technologies, and research opportunities related to the development of web-based hybrid mobile apps. Apache Cordova is presented as one of the possible technologies for hybrid apps development. The results of two empirical studies performed on real hybrid mobile apps are presented as an up-to-date snapshot of the state of the practice in the field. Research opportunities and an open discussion close the tutorial.