Can Web Developers Make Apps

Can Web Developers make apps?

Yes, web developers can make mobile apps and desktop apps using web technologies.

A web developer is concerned with the development and maintenance of websites and web applications. In recent times, web developers can use their web development skills and technologies to develop mobile apps and desktop apps.

Any web developer who has a good understanding of HTML, CSS, and Javascript can develop a mobile app or desktop app using a number of frameworks. Developing mobile and desktop apps using web technologies is faster and inexpensive.

In today’s insight, we are going to look at how web developers can make mobile applications for android and IOS and desktop applications for Windows, Mac, and Linux using web technologies and skills.

HOW CAN WEB DEVELOPERS MAKE MOBILE APPS?

Web developers can use their existing knowledge of web development to make mobile apps. This is made possible by the use of mobile app development frameworks such as React Native, Ionic Framework, Xamarin, Cordova, etc.

These frameworks are used to make mobile apps for Android and IOS from one codebase. Let us learn more about these frameworks.

REACT NATIVE

React Native is a mobile app development framework created by Facebook to make Android and IOS apps. It is supported by Facebook and driven by the community. React Native allows you to create truly native apps without compromising the users’ experience.

React Native uses React and JSX (a Javascript syntax extension) to describe what the UI should look like. It is easy to learn and implement.

There are a lot of mobile applications that have been made using React Native. Some of them include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Shopify
  • Flipkart
  • Tesla
  • Wix
  • NerdWallet
  • Uber Eats
  • Bloomberg
  • Coinbase

React Native is surely a great framework for building mobile apps. It comes with ready-to-use components and APIs. You can also use third-party packages to extend the functionality of your app and access the device’s native features.

IONIC FRAMEWORK

Ionic is an open-source Software Development Kit (SDK) for developing hybrid mobile applications for Android and IOS. It was created by Max Lynch, Ben Sperry, and Adam Bradley of Drifty Co.

The Ionic framework uses HTML, CSS, and Javascript for describing the UI. You can also use Frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue inside Ionic. Ionic provides access to device native features like camera, file system using Cordova or Capacitor plugins.

Some of the mobile apps made with Ionic include:

  • Sanvello
  • NHS
  • EA
  • Amtrak
  • Etc.

Making mobile apps with Ionic is quick and easy.

CORDOVA

Apache Cordova is an open-source mobile app development framework. It uses web technologies (HTML, CSS & Javascript) to build mobile apps for Android and IOS. You can also use frameworks like Bootstrap or Materialize to style your app.

Cordova wraps your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript app into a native container which can access the device functions of several platforms. Cordova powers a lot of mobile app development frameworks such as Framework7, Ionic, Onsen UI, etc.

XAMARIN

Xamarin is an open-source platform for building modern and performant mobile applications for iOS, Android, and Windows with .NET. Xamarin was created by Microsoft, it uses the C# (C-sharp) programming language.

Xamarin does not use web technologies (HTML, CSS, and Javascript) but any web developer who has worked with the .NET Framework will have no problems working with Xamarin.

According to Microsoft, “Xamarin provides facilities for directly invoking Objective-C, Java, C, and C++ libraries, giving you the power to use a wide array of third-party code. This functionality lets you use existing iOS and Android libraries written in Objective-C, Java, or C/C++.”

Some of the apps made with Xamarin include:

  • JustGiving: JustGiving’s Android and iOS apps make it easy to ensure every great cause gets funded by connecting fundraisers and donors across 164 countries.
  • Ups: The UPS Mobile app allows you to easily manage shipments on the go
  • Olo: Olo creates custom-branded Android and iOS ordering apps for over 150 restaurant brands
  • Storyo
  • Evolve
  • PictureX

There are many other mobile app development frameworks to consider such as Onsen UI, Native Script, Framework7, etc. all these use web development technologies. Web developers have a variety of options for cross-platform mobile app development.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF CROSS PLATFORM FRAMEWORKS?

Mobile applications are often developed using Native platforms like Android Studio for Android and XCode for IOS. Mobile apps developed with these tools are secure, performant, seamless, and reliable. But native app development can be very expensive and take a lot of time.

Cross-platform mobile app development on the other hand is inexpensive and development time is must quicker. There are some trade-offs as well that you must take note of.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of developing mobile apps using cross-platform frameworks that use web technologies.

ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Inexpensive
Easy Maintenance
Only one codebase
Open-source
Faster Development
Slow
Rely on third-party packages
Performance issues
Advantages & Disadvantages of apps made with web technologies

It can be seen that web developers can make mobile applications using the skills they already possess and the technologies they are already familiar with. This is a huge advantage and widens the window of opportunity for many web developers.

You can also check out our article DO MOBILE APPS USE HTML AND CSS.

HOW CAN A WEB DEVELOPER MAKE DESKTOP APPS?

Web developers can make desktop apps using their web development skills and web technologies with a framework such as Electron.js, Tauri, or NW.js.

Electron.js is a free open-source framework maintained by GitHub. It is used for building desktop applications for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It uses web technologies to achieve this; Electron uses Chromium and Node.js so you can build your app with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

If you are a web developer, then you can make a desktop application without much difficulty. Electron.js makes the process of developing desktop apps easy. You can also use frameworks like React, Angular, Vue, Ionic, etc. with Electron.js.

When I first heard of Electron.js, I thought I could not make any useful app with it, then when I saw the apps that have been developed using this framework, I was utterly mesmerized, Electron.js is a powerful framework, it’s no surprise that a lot of companies are using it.

Here are some of the apps made with Electron.js:

  • VS Code
  • Whatsapp
  • Figma
  • Skype
  • Discord
  • Slack
  • Drawtify Designer
  • Codex
  • Mongomix
  • Devbook
  • TwitterTron
  • QuickRedis
  • Dynobase
  • Bootstrap Studio
  • Android Messages
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Laravel Kit
  • Panda 2
  • GrapgQL Playground
  • Twitch
  • Github Desktop
  • VK Messenger
  • WordPress.com
  • Atom
  • Nuclide
  • Etc.

There is so much you can build using Electron.js, evident from the apps that have been built by many companies. Give Electron a try and you will be amazed how easy it is to develop desktop apps.

NW.JS

NW.js is another option that you can use to develop desktop apps. NW.js allows you to call all Node.js modules directly from DOM and enables a new way of writing applications with all Web technologies (HTML5, CSS3, and WebGL).

CONCLUSION

It can be seen that web developers can make mobile apps and desktop apps using web technologies with Frameworks such as React Native, Ionic, Cordova, Native Script for mobile apps, and Electron.js, NW.js for Desktop apps.

As long as you have applicable knowledge and understanding of HTML, CSS, and Javascript, you will be able to make mobile apps and desktop apps.

If you would like to learn more about making mobile apps, check out our article PRACTICAL GUIDE TO MOBILE APP DEVELOPMENT. Thank you so much, happy coding.