New Ionic App Launch: Zefyr

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Today we're pleased to see the launch of our latest mobile app on the Apple App Store, an expenses management app for French accounting software firm Zefyr.

The app has been developed to provide an easier and quicker way for users of Zefyr's online accounting software to manage their expenses and provides similar functionality to their existing web app.

The Process

One thing many people forget to consider when looking to develop a mobile app is there is a whole other application that has to be built to make it work if the app is to save data online in any way. This means building an API to handle all communication with the app as well as authentication.

In Zefyr's case they already had a functioning web app and database but still needed an API. During development we built a simple API prototype with which to test the app and determine the functionality the API would need. Once the app was complete we passed a detailed specification for the API on to their in-house development team to build on to their existing online systems.

During development the app can be shared with clients via the TestFlight process built into Apple's developer accounts or by sharing an installable Android APK file. Once ready to launch the app goes through the Google Play and Apple App Store submission processes and once approved is available for anyone to download on their phone.

Why Hybrid?

Developing the mobile app with the Ionic framework allowed our team to create releases for both the iOS and Android ecosystems from a single code base and also meant we could make use of modern web technologies rather than needing to use native code making the development process much quicker while the resulting app feels just as snappy as any you'll find! This process is often called 'Hybrid'.

Native App Hybrid App Web App
Performance Excellent Good Variable
Cross Platform? No Yes Yes
Development Costs High Medium Low
Maintenance Costs High Low Low

The benefits of taking a hybrid approach to building mobile apps are numerous, while the performance and UI trade-offs are now so small that hybrid is often the default route to take for all but the very largest of companies (think Facebook, Twitter...) where the added costs aren't a concern. Last year alone 1.4m new apps were created with Ionic!

Zefyr are now looking to expand the app to perform more of the functionality from their web application within the mobile app and we are looking forward to working with them again soon.