Thursday, October 6, 2016

What's an App?

You may have heard the saying, 'there's an app for that' and it's true, there are millions of 'apps' created for all kinds of reasons.  So, before we go any further, what's an 'app'?

Before I could explain to my customers how valuable it might be to have an app, I knew it would necessary to answer this basic question. So, I asked a couple of web savvy folks I knew and here's what their responses were to this elusive question;

  • Sean Brandt, owner of a website design firm in Lincoln, Nebraska wrote, "Custom software developed and branded to meet the needs and wants of an organization's audience. A mobile site utilizes a browser on your mobile phone and it usually functions like your main website in design and content usually built by a web designer. A mobile app is a stand alone application on a mobile phone that has it's own graphical user interface fulfilling a specific niche pertaining to your organization that is built by an app developer.
  • Adam Bauer, Marketing Director for Zips Trucks in Iowa replied, "A mobile website is an optimized version of a main website (streamlined, simplified and sized appropriately for smaller screens).  Advantages: easier to find (search engines) and share; less expensive; easier to update; compatible across many devices..
I would say that both are correct. A native mobile app is an application that is downloaded and installed on a mobile device and a web app is an application, usually identical to the native app, that is accessed via a browser or by automatic redirect.

Advantages: can work offline; can utilize native functionality (camera, SMS, GPS,...); higher performance (good for interactivity or gaming); personalization to name a few.

I enjoyed the simplicity of Jeremiah Eli Schweitzer's answer when he wrote, "Something that makes something else easier."

In fact, it was this definition that helped me to realize that I have been building 'apps' or as we call them, 'modules' or 'snippets of code' that have been helping make things easier on the web since 1998 and conventional computers as far back as 1978.  

By this definition, 'apps' are nothing new.  It's the delivery of information that has been under constant evolution - from the invention of the printing press hundreds of years ago to Radio to TV to the amazing tool we all know as the 'Internet'.  The Internet has placed the world's largest library at our fingertips, but without an actual vehicle to deliver the information, it's virtually useless.  

The first vehicle to deliver information over the internet came in the form of large main frame computers.  Eventually PC's, or personal computers found their way into homes and the public began getting news and other information delivered directly to their desktop, as Dr. John Naisbitt predicted in his book Megatrends, nearly 30 years ago.  Websites carried the load to our PC's for many years, and will continue to do so while apps can be thought of as the driving force behind mobile content delivery.

Now, literally thousands of different mobile devices can be easily purchased and eventually nearly everyone will have a mobile device of some sort.  Since Apps are the programs (software) that run these devices, they can easily be seen as the engine that is driving mobile content delivery to new heights.  

In summary, here are a few of the benefits of having an app designed for your business or organization;
  • Apps deliver content to mobile devices more efficiently than a web browser.
  • Apps generally load quicker than websites, or even mobile websites.
  • Apps can be easily custom designed and updated quickly, even more easily than a website.
  • Apps are highly interactive and can pull from other native apps (GPS, Camera, etc)
  • Apps make it possible to connect via all social media sites in one place.
  • Apps are downloaded to your device, enabling access to content when a connection is not available.
  • App developers must pay a fee and abide by strict developer guidelines, therefore creating a natural filtering process of designers.

There are several other specific benefits unique to various industries that are too numerous to mention here, but we would be happy to visit with anyone interested in exploring the possibilities.  My goal for this article was to provide enough information for small business owner's to determine whether or not an app would be a profitable investment in their business.

Brian Hale has been programming computers since 1978 and is a pioneer in web based management.  He's developed over a thousand websites and applications over the past 3+ decades and has a passion for helping others.  He can be contacted at Hale Multimedia; (940) 224-6315 or

Friday, March 18, 2016

2016 Update

It's been an exciting three years since we dove into the world of mobile app development. We've been building and promoting websites since 1996 and knew it was time to take the leap.  We also believed it was time to move away from our home area of the Panhandle of Western Nebraska to a slightly bigger market area, one that was closer to a tech hub, but not too close to the 'big city'.  We are, and always will be more acclimated to the rural lifestyle than the city.

We selected Wichita Falls, Texas since it met that criteria plus more.

AgMarketOnline, our ag search engine, is an annual exhibitor at the Wichita Falls Ranch & Farm Expo that Darren and Tana Dale of Star Expos host each year in March so we had a chance to get to know this big town/small city that people commonly confuse with Wichita, Kansas.  Wichita Falls is the approximate geographical center of OKC, Dallas and Amarillo.

Star Expos is a 700 Club sponsor on and we've been advertising their trade show on the radio for several years now.  Recently (the last 3 years) we have developed a mobile app for all of their expos; Wichita Falls, TX - Great Bend, KS - McCook, NE.

Here's a look at the Mobile App for Star Expos

We arrived in Texas in late August of 2013 and were pleasantly surprised to get an email within the first week from the County Health Department seeking a mobile app for the local walking/biking trail that circles the town.  When asked how they found us, the answer was 'a simple google search for app development in wichita falls'.

Here is a look at the Wichita Falls Trail System Mobile App.

Here's our main company mobile app for Hale Multimedia.
From a mobile device, simply visit

If you have an idea for a mobile app, or if your business has a website but it does not really work right on mobile, then give me a call.  I'll see if I can help you figure out your best solution.

Brian Hale
Hale Multimedia & Mobile Marketing
940 224-6315