The answer is that there’s more than one answer! That’s the message John and I were delivering in this morning’s session on building multi-platform applications around ArcGIS technology.
During the session we emphasised the importance of having a clear purpose for your application and an understanding of your target audience and their expectations ahead of any decisions on technology. We also explored the challenge of balancing functionality vs. reach in your applications, and where different development approaches fit in to that continuum.
Amongst those approaches, we looked at the “inertia busting” intelligent web maps option, using pure web apps, responsive design and finally, using hybrid options that preserve your investment in existing development skills, but get you closer to a native application.
Building an application that does all things for all people on all devices with no compromise is theoretically possible, but at what cost? Do you need to deliver to all devices really? Do you need to have all of that functionality on all platforms? Do you have the skills within the organisation, the budget and the time to build to your vision?
John and I are very technology focused in our day jobs, but what we learned from preparing this session is some pragmatic thinking up front is the key to success when it comes to building multi-platform apps. The technology is obviously important, and there’s plenty of choice, but being clear on what you’re aiming for early on will ensure you don’t end up over time, over budget and chasing a continually moving target.