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Like this article? We recommend Design of Native Mobile Apps with Mapping Features

Design of Native Mobile Apps with Mapping Features

To implement geolocation and mapping features, mobile application developers could use native mapping APIs such as the MapView library and Map Kit framework on Android and iPhone, respectively. As well as learning how to use these native mapping APIs, developers would need to keep up with future updates of these native APIs and maintain separate code bases to support both Android and iPhone after release of their apps. This requirement invariably incurs a lot of maintenance effort, taking away precious time from developers who mostly want to focus on developing application features and delivering benefits to end users.

Fortunately, both the Android and iPhone SDKs support embedded HTML5 web browsers that can showcase mapping and geospatial features within native apps. Developers can take advantage of this fact, using the embedded browser as a middle layer to segregate application features from geospatial features. In other words, geospatial features such as reverse-geocoding the user's current location, displaying locations on a map, or even persisting geospatial data such as user check-ins can instead be implemented uniformly by using the Google Maps JavaScript API once for both Android and iPhone apps.

This design doctrine of using embedded browsers inside native apps not only decreases implementation work for app developers, thus freeing time for application enhancement, but gives end users the benefit of continuously updated mapping features. Developers can happily iterate mapping features; for example, by taking advantage of the best and latest bug fixes or new feature enhancements in the Google Maps API. Meanwhile, users instantly benefit from updates of mapping features within the app[md]without having to reinstall the native app.

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