The CodeMash Consensus? Best. Conference. Ever.

One of the best developer conferences in the country is great for a few reasons. First, there’s a giant indoor water park (America’s largest, in fact). Second, there’s an amazing congregation of developer minds in one place at one time; that makes for amazing conversation. Third, the conference itself is truly heterogeneous. There’s tech of every type all over the place. You can discuss appdev, mobility and more in a refreshingly agnostic context.

For me, this was the best CodeMash to date. I was able to present on one of my favorite topics — the big move to go native with mobile app dev. It’s not like I’ve always been a diehard champion of native to the exclusion of other options. A little more than a year ago I was all about solutions like PhoneGap, for example. My endorsement of native dev has evolved out of a real-world view of industry trends. It’s what’s working. It’s giving enterprise users the consumer-oriented experiences they demand.

If you have about 15 minutes, you can catch my last presentation on PhoneGap and HTML 5 at last September’s MoDevTablet conference here.

Are options like HTML5 making headway? Sure. Are they ready for prime time? Not yet. I’d say keep an eye on HTML5 but my takeaway from CodeMash is that if you want to build a mobile app, build in native or in another strong framework. The bar is so high thanks to consumer-centric user expectations. Think Flipboard and, of course, Angry Birds.

The native languages are hard to grasp, yes. And there can be a seemingly confusing variety of hybrid approaches, but you can build in another language and produce some sweet apps. Ones I’m liking lately? Check out Xamarian, Corona, Unity (for game dev), and Appcelerator. What all these frameworks have in common is the ability to build apps that provide interesting, engaging visuals — again, back to user experience! You just won’t get that in HTML5. My advice: Go native or pick a framework that offers different language and an appropriately powerful platform.

I really started to formulate this question relatively early when I was in Ohio. I started my session, HTML5 and the Great Mobile Debate, by asking how many people used Objective-C. Out of 100, maybe four people raised their hands. I then asked how many knew Java. Ten, maybe 15 hands went up. When I asked how many knew JavaScript and HTML5, everyone raised their hands.

That popularity didn’t tell me, however, that HTML5 was the best strategy for enterprise mobile app dev. It told me that it’s a “lowest common denominator” language. And when I suggested as much, I didn’t get any disagreement. Again, might work great in certain circumstances, but there are several better options if you want to build an app that is appealing to consumers. And that matters because consumer conditioning is what’s informing today’s enterprise app performance expectations — plain and simple.

About Andy Glover

Andrew Glover is an established expert in software development processes, techniques, and tools. He has spent his career working with companies large and small in various vertical markets such as Healthcare, Financial Services, Telecommunications, and ISVs; what’s more, he is the founder of multiple open source projects including 2009‘s Jolt Award winner easyb. He is the co-author of Addison-Wesley’s 2008 Jolt Award winner “Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk”, Wiley’s “Java Testing Patterns”, and Manning’s “Groovy in Action”, as well as a frequent author for multiple online publications. Andrew is also a regular speaker at worldwide conferences on topics such as collaborative development, Continuous Integration, Behavior Driven Development, software assurance, and Agile engineering practices.

One Response to The CodeMash Consensus? Best. Conference. Ever.

  1. Dianne Marsh says:

    I’m so glad that you love CodeMash. We love having you speak there too.

    Your poll results may have been skewed a bit. I wonder if the iOS and Android folks may have been in other talks at the time. Would be a fun followup discussion, so I’m going to post it to the CodeMash google group!!forum/codemash

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