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Author's profile photo Tamas Szirtes

Mobile app development: comparison of native, metadata-driven (SEAM), hybrid and web-based approaches

Why and when should customers use the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS? How to develop mobile apps once and deploy them to multiple mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Windows). With web technologies developing very fast, are there still limitations of the web-based approach? How does the new SAP Enterprise App Modeler fit into the picture? – These are some of the topics we discussed in the focus group meeting organized together by the VNSG User Experience and the VNSG Custom Development focus groups.


It was our honor to get a very interesting and detailed overview from Gerhard Henig (Vice President of Product Management, Mobile Platform at SAP), then I presented the hybrid approach, covering Cordova, Kapsel, SAP Cloud Platform mobile service, Fiori Mobile, etc. and then we got an excellent explanation of the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS from Robin van het Hof.


I personally enjoyed the last part of the meeting a lot, where we took an old, partially out-dated slide from me (From my 2015 Teched presentation EXP27358 Tips and tricks for building cross-platform [iOS, Android, etc.] mobile apps in SAPUI5) and together, in a very interactive session, we modified it and extended it.


Here is the result. Already in the meeting we noticed some strong opinions, so I wouldn’t be surprised to get interesting comments on this blog. Please join the conversation and add your comment. We are always open for improvements of this matrix.


Native Native (metadata-driven SEAM) Hybrid Web
  • Ultimate performance
  • Ultimate UX
  • Direct access to peripherals
  • Strong security
  • Less expensive
  • Only one technology to learn as a developer
  • Updates of the apps are possible
  • Design once deploy many
  • Massive development community
  • Large device support
  • Updates can be pushed into the app
  • Updates are immediate
  • Very large device compatibility
  • Massive development community
  • Low cost
  • Expensive to support multiple platforms
  • Specialized skills
  • Rewrite for each device type (not iOS)
  • Updates require redeploy
  • Managing multiple versions of the app
  • Innovations can’t be used immediately
  • Suboptimal UX
  • Updates of plugins have to be managed
  • Limited offline app caching capabilities
  • No built-in quality assurance
  • Limited access to some peripherals
  • No app store access
  • Security
Good use case
  • UX very important
  • Device specific design
  • Process intensive apps
  • Complex offline apps
  • Complex apps with multiple screens
  • Lightweight workflow apps
  • Fiori-based apps
  • B2C business apps
  • Mobile version of existing web content
  • Lightweight apps
Bad use case
  • B2C oriented (cost)
  • Heavy process driven apps with offline requirements
  • Apps heavy on CPU
  • Apps requiring access to peripherals
  • Apps heavy on CPU
  • Apps starting offline


The speakers:

Gerhard Henig:

Robin van het Hof:

Tamas Szirtes:


Thanks to Henny Claessens, Marcel Hesen and Jan-Willem Kaagman, my partners in crime to get this meeting organized.

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      Author's profile photo Murali Shanmugham
      Murali Shanmugham

      Thanks for compiling this table.  I would like to know why it is stated that Innovations cant be used Immediately for Metadata driven approach of SEAM ?



      Author's profile photo Mark Pe
      Mark Pe

      My guess: Limited release – only select few friendly customers or internal SAP only customers or you may need to brand your SEAM client to add the business logic/application in it.

      Author's profile photo Tamas Szirtes
      Tamas Szirtes
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Murali,


      Our understanding is that if e.g. Apple adds something new to a device (and releases APIs), a native app can use it immediately, but in a meta-data approach, it can be used only once the player allows it, which wont be immediate.





      Author's profile photo Vibeosys Software
      Vibeosys Software

      Thanks for this valuable information. keep up the good work.

      Author's profile photo Softwareistic Company
      Softwareistic Company

      A well-written piece on mobile app development, it will definitely help us in improving our mobile app development services and eventually our mobile app development company. Thanks alot!

      Author's profile photo Andy Globe
      Andy Globe

      The information is very authentic and useful. Keep sharing such an informative comparison.