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14 Nov

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Which One Should I Use?

November 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

There are many approaches you can take to develop a mobile app. Which one is right for you really depends on your specific app requirements. The main approaches are: either native code, cross-platform toolkits, or mobile/responsive website design. Each of them can have further variations but for the purpose of this discussion, we will focus on those three.

Native code is where an app is implemented using the toolkits provided by the operating system vendor; for example Objective-C (or now Swift) and Cocoa Touch libraries for iOS or Java and the Android SDK for Android. Because they are specifically created for their operating system, they offer the best performance, best memory footprint, and also provide the best user experience. Moreover, they also provide better access to device specific resources such as the GPS, camera, accelerometer and so on. Unfortunately these languages/toolkits only work on their respective platforms, so if you implement an app for iOS using Objective-C, it will not work on Android. This restriction means you have to redo the work for Android resulting in extra work and higher development costs. This additional work may not necessarily be double the original cost (depending on the approach taken); however, increased development costs are inevitable with this approach.

Cross platform toolkits, as the name suggests, allow a single toolkit to be used across multiple operating systems. Basically you employ one common programming language and the toolkit handles the variations between the operating systems. There are many different flavours of cross platform toolkits. Some use web technologies (HTML5, CSS) with an embedded browser in the app, some use a cross-compiler which converts code from a common language into the specific platform language, and some use a virtual machine to abstract the operating system from the app. The advantage of this approach is that you can reuse the same code on all platforms greatly reducing your development costs. The disadvantages can be more subtle but can be pretty serious in some cases. Firstly, since the code is typically interpreted, the performance can be a little slower than the native equivalent. Secondly, since the hardware and operating system specifics are abstracted, some features are simply not available. In the same manner, when cross platform toolkits are created, the designers must typically take a lowest common denominator approach. For example, if a UI feature works one way on one operating system and another way on the other, they must make a choice on how to present the same UI feature. Finally, because the operating systems introduce new features on a frequent basis, the cross platform toolkit vendors need to play a game of catchup to offer the new features and doing so requires development time and incurs delays. Therefore even when a new feature is available on the operating system, the feature may not available on the toolkit for a period of time after the release of the operating system.

Mobile or responsive websites could also be considered a cross platform toolkit; however, the typical use is where the code resides on a server and is downloaded by the mobile device at runtime as opposed to having an app installed on the device with code running locally. A mobile site is where there is a specific version of the entire site that you get redirected to when viewing the site from a mobile device, for example http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/. Usually the site detects the type of browser used when you hit the main site and redirects you to the mobile site. A responsive website is a single instance of a website where the pages refactor themselves based on the form factor and resolution of the device. A good example of that is our own website www.14oranges.com. The best way to see how it works is to visit the site using your desktop browser and then resize your browser window to a very small size and see how the elements (menu, images, text) adjust on the fly.

Now that we have described all three approaches, the one which is right for your project depends on several factors: user experience & frequency of use of the app, presence on the various app stores, app functionality, and of course budget.

Ask yourself how often do you expect your users to use the app? The more often they will use it the more likely they are going to expect a rich user experience, and the more likely they will need the performance and user experience of a native app. Typically if you reach more than once a day, native is best. The key question is: would your users be annoyed if they had a less than ideal user experience and had to deal with that over and over again? If the answer is yes, then native is likely what you want. If the answer is no, then an app built with a cross platform toolkit might be suitable.. If you expect users to interact with your app very rarely, then a responsive or mobile website would likely be a more cost effective choice.

App Store / Google Play presence is not as important as it used to be but can still be a good primary go to market channel. Receiving favourable reviews of your app on one of these stores is a great way to get traction into your app and ensure future success. Both native apps and cross-platform apps are normally distributed via those channels. Responsive and mobile sites are distributed via the web; however, it is possible to add a native wrapper (with some tweaks) to such sites to make them available on the app store. So if app store presence is what you are after, all options can work for you.

What functionality does your app require? As already mentioned, any functionality which makes use of onboard hardware services will usually be better accessed via a native app. Also if you plan to deliver your app as a suite of apps, native will provide better collaboration. If your app requires push notifications then native is likely the easiest option although it is also possible with cross platform toolkits (with some limitations). You cannot have push notifications from a mobile or responsive website unless you add a native wrapper. In general, the more complex the required functionality, the more the solution points toward a native app; however, cross platform toolkits can provide quite a bit of functionality if you are willing to accept compromises on some features.

It goes without saying that budget is always a factor when developing an app. The more features, the more platforms, and the more user expectations will typically lead to a higher price; however, don’t be discouraged as there are sometimes ways to migrate over time from one solution to another. Rome wasn’t built in one day and neither were Instagram and Facebook. Sometimes looking at your app and figuring out the desired feature set to make it an “MVP” might open up some opportunities to start with a simpler and cheaper option which can then be improved upon over time.

If you still are not sure, feel free to contact us so we can review your requirements and make a recommendation about which solution would be right for you.

31 Oct

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14 Oranges Finalist for Business of the Year 1-25 Employees Award

October 31, 2014 | By |

We are proud to announce that 14 Oranges is a finalist for the Business of the Year 1-25 Employees Award from the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. The nomination is a great recognition for the excellent work the 14 Oranges team has been putting together not only this past year but since 2009. You can read more about it here
@richmondchamber

30 Oct

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Hiring – Senior Web Developer

October 30, 2014 | By |

We are looking for a senior web developer to join our team. You will be working on some of our new customer projects.

Responsibilities May Include:
– Development of web sites and back end systems
– Interface with customers throughout life of projects
– Fix bugs in existing code base

Desired Qualifications:
– At least 2 years of PHP/mySQL development
– 2 years working with Javascript and/or jQuery
– MVC Framework Experience (codeigniter or similar)
– Experience working with WordPress
– Experience with JSON and/or REST API development
– Experience with twitter bootstrap would be a plus
– Good communication skills
– Good attitude
– Good aptitude
– Self starter and can work independently

Please send your resume and cover letter in PDF format to hr@14oranges.com with REF 14O-WD14-W

18 Sep

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Questogo Mention

September 18, 2014 | By |

Our very own Questogo was mentioned in the scientific journal CSA News.

CSA News

07 Aug

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Android Switch Pulp Fiction Style

August 7, 2014 | By |

I recently switched from an iPhone 5 to a Nexus 5 mostly because I had technical issues with my iPhone 5 and didn’t feel like having my phone replaced once again. There were a few things that were bugging me with iOS 7 but nothing much different from any previous upgrades. Anyway since I have switched, I have a few people asking me which is “better”. In general, I respond with “6 one way, half a dozen the other”. I thought I would do a humorous post about the differences in Pulp Fiction style:

JULES
– Okay now, tell me about the Play Store?

VINCENT
What so you want to know?

JULES
Well, all apps legal there, right?

VINCENT
Yeah, it’s legal, but is ain’t a
hundred percent legal. I mean you
can’t browse onto a website, jailbreak your phone,
and start downloadin’ away. You’re
only supposed to download from certain designated places.

JULES
That’s the Play Store?

VINCENT
Yeah, it breaks down like this: it’s
legal to buy it, it’s legal to own
it and, if you’re the proprietor of
a Play Store, it’s legal to sell it.
It’s legal to carry it, which doesn’t
really matter ’cause – get a load of
this – if Google stops you, it’s
illegal for them to search you.
Searching you is a right that the
Google on Android doesn’t have.

JULES
That did it, man – I’m phone switchin’,
that’s all there is to it.

VINCENT
You’ll dig it the most. But you know
what the funniest thing about Android
is?

JULES
What?

VINCENT
It’s the little differences. A lotta
the same stuff we got here, they got
there, but there they’re a little
different.

JULES
Examples?

VINCENT
Well, on Android, you can buy a keyboard
in a play store. And I don’t mean
in a little split up keyboard either. They give you
a full keyboard, like on a dekstop. On
Android, you can get a swipe keyboard on the play store
Also, you know what
they call a their latest Android operating system?

JULES
They don’t call it Android 5.0?

VINCENT
No, they got the candy bar system there,
they wouldn’t know what the phone a
version number is.

JULES
What’d they call it?

VINCENT
Android System L.

JULES
(repeating)
Android System L. What’d they call
4.4?

VINCENT
4.4 is 4.4, but they call
it Le Kit Kat.

JULES
Le Kit Kat. What do they call
it on Amazon?

VINCENT
I dunno, I didn’t get a Kindle Fire.  But you know what they put on
home screen on Android beside
app shortcuts?

JULES
What?

VINCENT
Widgets.

JULES
Goddamn!

VINCENT
I seen ‘em do it. And I don’t mean a
little bit on the lock screen,
they really drown it in it.

JULES
Uuccch!

16 Jun

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14 Oranges Acquires Delta Business Services Inc.

June 16, 2014 | By |

16 June, 2014 – Vancouver BC – 14 Oranges Software Inc., a mobile application development leader based in Vancouver B.C., has completed the acquisition of website development and hosting company Delta Business Services Inc. (“Delta”).

Delta brings over fifteen years of varied experience to 14 Oranges, including full service web development, modern website design, and tiered hosting services. The acquisition of Delta allows 14 Oranges to offer true end to end development, suitable for any size organization, which will complement the functionality of its existing capabilities.

“In the last few years, we have seen mobile app development moving towards web or hybrid applications compared to pure native apps. The acquisition of Delta allows 14 Oranges to not only strengthen its portfolio to serve that trend better but also offer full end to end solutions (web site, back end, app) to our customers” said Sylvain Marcotte CEO and President of 14 Oranges.

“We are excited about the opportunity for growth and to be able to offer new and existing clients complete solutions. Adding seasoned web development expertise to the 14 Oranges team was a must with the convergence of web and mobile platforms.” added Shane Todhunter, CEO and President of Delta.

About 14 Oranges Software Inc.

14 Oranges is an expanding company, founded by a team of former colleagues with a long-standing working relationship and years of industry experience. Its mix of managers, developers, designers, and graphic artists based in Vancouver BC make its qualifications second to none. 14 Oranges deliver top-level mobile and web user experiences for a wide range of clients.

03 Apr

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Hiring – Senior Web Developer

April 3, 2014 | By |

POSITION FILLED.

We are looking for a senior web developer to join our team. You will be working on some of our new customer projects.

Responsibilities May Include:
– Development of web sites and back end systems
– Interface with customers throughout life of projects
– Fix bugs in existing code base

Desired Qualifications:
– At least 2 years of PHP/mySQL development
– 2 years working with Javascript and/or jQuery
– MVC Framework Experience (codeigniter or similar)
– Experience working with WordPress
– Experience with JSON and/or REST API development
– Experience with twitter bootstrap would be a plus
– Good communication skills
– Good attitude
– Good aptitude
– Self starter and can work independently

Please send your resume and cover letter in PDF format to hr@14oranges.com with REF 14O-WD14-W

03 Apr

By

Hiring – Senior Android Developer

April 3, 2014 | By |

POSITION FILLED

We are looking for a senior Android developer to join our team. You will be working on some of our new customer projects.

Responsibilities May Include:
– Design and development of mobile apps for Android
– Port of iOS App to Android
– Interface with customers throughout life of projects
– Fix bugs in existing code base

Desired Qualifications:
– At least 2 years of indepth Android experience
– 5 to 10 years of software development experience
– Good communication skills
– Good attitude
– Good aptitude
– Self starter and can work independently

The position will actually be based from your home but with the occasional meeting in and around Vancouver. We will provide the necessary equipment as required.

Please send your resume and cover letter in PDF format to hr@14oranges.com with REF 14O-AD14-W

03 Apr

By

Hiring – Senior iOS Developer

April 3, 2014 | By |

POSITION FILLED

We are looking for a senior iOS developer to join our team. You will be working on a state-of-the-art multimedia app used by cable operators.

Responsibilities May Include:
– Design and development of new features for the mobile app for iOS
– Interface with customers throughout life of projects
– Fix bugs in existing code base

Desired Qualifications:
– At least 2 years of iOS experience
– 5 to 10 years of software development experience
– Good communication skills
– Good attitude
– Good aptitude
– Intimately familiar with Cocoa Touch libraries
– Love making beautiful pixel perfect user interfaces
– Self starter and can work independently

The position will actually be based from your home but with the occasional meeting in and around Vancouver so you should be located in the lower mainland with occasional site visits in Seattle Washington. We will provide the necessary equipment as required.

Please send your resume and cover letter in PDF format to hr@14oranges.com with REF 14O-ID14-W

19 Mar

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102.7 The PEAK and 93.7 JRfm Now Live on the App Store and Google Play

March 19, 2014 | By |

Adding to our great lineup of state of the art radio station apps, we are proud to announce that apps for 102.7 The PEAK and 93.7 JRfm are now live on the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Listen to the stations on the go, find out what songs recently played, follow your favourite artist on their facebook page, wake up or fall asleep while listening to the stations and many more features. Learn more about them here or here.