Creating Mobile Apps

I have a couple of web services that I want to create mobile apps for.  The web versions are done using the technology listed above.  I am fine building from limited functionality initially.  What is the best way to do this?  I would like to use an approach that would minimize the learning curve if possible.  I would like something out there as soon as is reasonable.

Thanks for your help!
Bob SchneiderCo-OwnerAsked:
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
> I would like to use an approach that would minimize the learning curve

The thing you wrap your head around is when you make a website, the user is on a client.  For security, you are simply taking measures to make sure it is not easy to break in, any query strings used are filtered and you generally have some control.

When you develop for mobile and I think that term should really just be "multiple devices" you have to keep in mind  you are building for potentially both server and client.  It is as if each person is carrying around your web server and has access to everything.  So there is a different set of security measures among other things.  But that also means you will use the language of that server.   For Android that is java https://developer.android.com/training/basics/firstapp/index.html and for ios it is now swift https://developer.apple.com/swift/

Personally, I think it is worth the learning curve for the long run.  I don't think traditional hosting is going to be a viable option and these PaaS like parse, azure, amazon and the rest really make sense.    

Back to your question, the easiest route will be a webview.  You can look up how to do this but essentially you are creating a native app that frames in your website.  So if you make your website responsive, you stick it in the webview and you have an app.    While this is easy for the developer, the user experience is not as good as we native app but it gets you in the game.

The next step is to use Cordova https://cordova.apache.org/ and if you talk to anybody that has used this, they will tell you it was an easy way for them to start, but still not the best user experience and their next app will be pure native.  Again, gets you in the game faster.

Back to the  platforms as service.  We both have a decent size dedicated server and spend good money. The reason is for the database because the www does not need the same horsepower.   What if you moved your db to https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/.  You would spend about $5 per month for sql server.  And Facebook is behind Parse https://www.parse.com/ and I really like where this is going.  Amazon has hosting but they also have a platform service as well.  But coming from our background, I like azure.

As far as learning a new language, the logic is all similar and it is a matter of making the time.  In the past 15 years I started with shared hosting, went to vps, then dedicated.  Used windows server 2000 through 2012 and I think the next upgrade I make will be moving clients to one of these services.  I see the future as being device agnostic and that is why we need to get away from the comfort of asp in order to take advantage of this.
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Big MontySenior Web Developer / CEO of ExchangeTree.org Commented:
there are several platforms out there that you could use to get something up and running quickly:

http://mashable.com/2013/12/03/build-mobile-apps/

as far as using classic asp, you could do that if you were creating a mobile web site (pair it with Bootstrap and you're half way there), but as far as a mobile site, classic asp would not be an option.

you could use Visual Basic, using Portable Class Libraries

if you want to create just for the windows phone, then this article may be worth having a read
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
Edit to above, the reason to push on the platforms like Parse ( Forgot to mention app engine, but I am tired of google changing all the time. Who knows what they will drop after you spent a lot of time learning) is because they have mobile/device features built in like push and allow you to easily scale when your product takes off!  Scaling can be a bit tricky with traditional hosting.
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Bob SchneiderCo-OwnerAuthor Commented:
Thanks to you, my gurus.  You might be hearing from me on another JSON question today.
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Bob SchneiderCo-OwnerAuthor Commented:
What is everyone's feeling on AppStudio?  I started using that a couple of years ago, got sidetracked, and now I want to ensure that it meets my above-state goals.
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
Are you talking about for android? https://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html

If you are going to build a native app and expect to charge for it, I think you will find you get better results from iOS as that group pays for apps.  Android users go the free route.  

Check your google analytics and you can see what your current visitors use for mobile.  I would take into consideration the platform you want to support for the first go around.
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Bob SchneiderCo-OwnerAuthor Commented:
Maybe a $5 fee per user...and I will definitely look at analytics.  I don't suppose there is a platform-independent utility out there?
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
I would target ios. Everything I have seen and read points to people with ios pay.  I have a friend that developed an app and after putting a lot of effort into android found the hard way that group does not pay premium.
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Bob SchneiderCo-OwnerAuthor Commented:
Thanks!!!
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