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Mendix & Native Mobile Apps

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Native Mobile apps built on the Mendix platform differ from Hybrid Apps in that they are not rendered inside a web view. PhoneGap, which was earlier used by Mendix to build Hybrid Apps internally, was earlier used by Mendix to build Hybrid Apps internally used Apache Cordova to render UI elements inside a web view. But with native Mobile apps, Mendix utilizes React Native framework in which all the UI elements are rendered natively on Android and iOS platforms, and this translates to fast performance, smoother animations such as swipe gestures, and enhanced access to low-level devices capabilities.

Mendix Native Mobile Apps render the same Native components such as Text View, Scroll View, Image View which is available on Android and iOS Platforms. The React Native Bridge takes care of translating the components into platform-specific native components and generates different artifacts.

Native components are made the same way in Mendix Native Mobile Apps.

Medix Native Apps

Native Mobile Apps offer greater security and low-level device integrations that are not possible in all web-based applications. Besides, web-based applications need to be modified with an added effort to make them responsive to fit them aesthetically into all form factors like Desktop, Tablet, and Smartphone. With Mendix Native Mobile components and Native Mobile profile, the UX automatically fits into the smartphone form factor without any additional work. A wonderful use case on this is, IKEA noticed the customers were hesitant to buy furniture online in their Mobile App and to increase the customer engagement, IKEA redesigned the Mobile app to support Augmented Reality (AR).

Native components are made the same way in Mendix Native Mobile Apps.

So the customers can scan their room layout and virtually place different furniture to see how it fits and matches with the surroundings in real-time. This is not directly possible on a Web-based application and very simple to accomplish on a native mobile app by tapping into the Camera and AR sensors of the smartphone.

Benefits of Native Mobile Apps

  • Unified Development platform: With Mendix Native Mobile apps, it is possible to develop both iOS and Android Applications using Studio Pro Modeler. Due to this, there is no need to learn any specific programming languages (Java / Kotlin for Android OR Objective-C for iOS Apps). There are readily available Mendix Native Components that are built out of React Native which can be utilized to design Applications. These are converted to platform-specific native components when generating artifacts.
  • Performance & Code Reuse: The Mendix Native Mobile components which are internally based on React Native are widgets that will be translated to iOS and Android platform native components like Text View, Image View, Grid View, etc…, The React native Bridge takes care of executing the commands from the JS Thread of the frontend components to the device level APIs or the Native OS Thread. The Bridge acts as an interface by converting the React Wrapper components into platform-specific native components without any loss in performance. Mendix Native Text View is represented as <Text /> in React which in turn invokes new TextView(getContext()) which is a native component and any interaction with this component is automatically managed by the Bridge. This also enables the reuse of components. All custom-built Mendix components can be reused in various parts of the application reducing the overall effort and memory footprint and increasing the performance overall.
  • Cost Efficiency and Easy Maintenance: Since the code base is unified, all developers will have to maintain a single IDE / Modeler and single Development Platform. Licensing software or hardware costs are reduced. There is no need for separate teams for iOS and Android development. Additionally, since Mendix already handles Code Tracking and merging using Team Server, it becomes easy to manage a large and complex Native Mobile Applications codebase with a substantial number of Team members.
  • Extensible: If the readily available Mendix native Mobile components are not feasible, then we can build our own Custom Pluggable widgets as Mendix internally uses React Native. There is no requirement for any special programming languages such as Java, Objective-C as React Native is simply JavaScript on Steroids (JSX). Any JavaScript developer should be able to easily build and extend inbuilt Mendix native mobile widgets and components, making the Application development extremely flexible.
  • Community Support & Future Proof: Considering when the React Native framework was released and its public adoption popularity, we can easily conclude that React Native is here to stay (unlike Adobe PhoneGap which has been deprecated) and as time goes by increased people are jumping to this framework. Mendix has taken the right decision to migrate to React Native for Mobile Apps considering the shortfalls of Vanilla React native components can always be enhanced by utilizing community-built components or by building our own custom Widget to suit our needs.

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