Mobile applications and app development
Apps are the tangible implementation of mobile business solutions and services - they have to inspire users and at the same time increase work efficiency without endangering the security of data and resources. We develop intelligent and highly efficient enterprise apps for your company!
The trend towards more and more browser-based applications is not new. They can be used uniformly via almost any client, are easy to manage, and can be expanded in a modular manner. With the increasing use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in the world of work, web-based applications are of central importance for many business processes. As apps, they are specifically geared towards mobile use and make it easier, for example, to record, compare, or use data at any location and at any time.
The current trend and the demand for mobile business applications are booming these days. Being available on the go is very important for modern businesses. Mobile enterprise applications digitize the workflow and help company employees and customers to access company resources anytime and anywhere. From small everyday planners to corporate social networks and data analysis tools for corporate governance, these applications save billions by keeping businesses mobile. However, developing such applications requires a specific approach.
We start the series of articles devoted to the industrial development of applications for corporate customers with the article on defining the first requirements for a business app.
What the customers ask for
Planning is important. A mobile business app is often provided as a supplement to the web application. The reasons for developing a mobile app can be different, e.g. This is necessary if the adaptive interface of a web application for mobile devices is insufficient or if the planned functionality should vary considerably. In this case, the mobile application must be fully integrated into the company's information environment, which can have a massive impact on the application architecture. All of this should be taken into account in the planning phase.
Continuous support and updates require accuracy and good order. Continuous support and updates require accuracy and strict order. As the web application evolves, the mobile application has to be updated regularly, which is an enormous challenge for any company.
The human factor always plays a big role in the success of your project. In the course of software development , experts can come and go, switch to other projects, get sick, etc. The app architecture and documentation must be perfectly organized so that the new project participants can adapt quickly, even if they work or work for another company to have. If your product's source code turns out to be a random result of a developer's stream of consciousness, your team will have a tough time maintaining it.
Not all apps are the same
Native apps are developed for a special operating system and thus a certain type of device such as iOS , Android or Windows Phone . Your advantage: You are very fast and use the full range of functions of the device, for example camera and sensors. Since they correspond to the rest of the operating system in terms of appearance and structure, they are easy and familiar to use.
Web apps are basically mobile web pages that look like an application. They are not installed on the device, but are downloaded from the Internet. This eliminates the need for installation and no data is stored on the device, making it very easy to use. However, you can only use the device functions to a very limited extent and can only be operated with an active Internet connection. Your big advantage: You can run on virtually all devices and are very secure. They are developed, for example, with frameworks such as Titanium / Appcelerator, Phonegapp / Cordova, Xamarin, Ionic or finished products such as SAP Fiori or Salesforce (SaaS).
Hybrid apps combine the characteristics of native and web apps and represent offline- capable web apps , i.e. they can also be operated without an active internet connection and also make full use of the device functions, for example camera and GPS . Your advantage: They offer the greatest flexibility, because these apps are only developed once and fit on all target platforms. Compared to native apps , the applications are slightly slower and also differ more or less strongly from the familiar device look.
With all types of apps , it is possible to protect the app and the stored data, for example with encrypted storage, locking the app with pins or its own, secure container in which the app works shielded from the remaining data memories and connections of the device .
Depending on the planned area ofapplication as well as the available infrastructure and variety of devices, it must be weighed up in each individual case which types of app are useful. The desired range of functions ultimately also decides whether standard apps that are already available meet the requirements or whether in-house developments are worthwhile.
In addition to the functional requirements that are specified directly by a customer, your application should meet all of the criteria. These criteria are usually described in the architecture documentation and the so-called service level agreement (SLA).
Most of these non-functional requirements meet the following criteria:
Let's look at each criterion one at a time.
The common practice is to have clear requirements for the total load time as well as for each asynchronous request. Of course, an application shouldn't annoy the user with slow response times, let alone with random hangs or crashes.
A small case from Technogrips practice illustrates this. In a load test, we found that one of the requests was processed for 45 seconds - exactly 45 times longer than would be acceptable. Fortunately, this bug could be fixed quickly and easily before the product went into production.
Newer platform versions bring new functionalities with them and at the same time present new challenges for the developers. The backward compatibility with outdated platforms can sometimes cause additional challenges and problems.
The development, testing, and continued support of a product for different platform versions have a huge impact on the tools of choice, as well as the cost, resources, and time required to implement it.
For example, during a compatibility test of an iOS 10 app for our global customer, we discovered that the text on the “Sign In” button was displayed in Chinese or Japanese characters. We only had to change one line of code to fix this bug, but we had to recompile the app, run the full cycle test again, publish the app, and reinstall it for all users. All of this had to be done before the new version was released to end users around the world.
When developing business applications, special attention should be paid to the security aspect due to the confidential nature of the data provided by Mobile application development companies . Customers will be far from happy when valuable company data gets into the hands of hackers or competitors. Therefore, all technologies and outsourced components are always checked for security, while the end product is scanned for weaknesses before release.
Sensitive data such as log-in or password, for example, are either encrypted or not saved at all. User authentication should be protected via the security protocol, while access to data can be controlled via authorization assignment and user roles.
By its nature, a normal mobile app is a set of pages with transitions in between. An app page can contain a form with controls and data visualization, a list, or a combination thereof. As the number of data increases, the application can slow down, lose disk space, lose data, and crash. To avoid such problems, the developers use different techniques, such as dynamic data loading, caching, and repeated use of visual components, which ensure the representation of the app on different screen versions. If these aspects are overlooked, the company can suffer serious damage.
Scalability is very important for your app. If you design your app with scalability from the start, it will require minimal investment throughout development. If you start thinking about scalability during the development phase, the implementation will tend to be more time and resource consuming. In the worst case, scalability planning takes place towards the end of the development cycle, ie during the acceptance or load tests. In this scenario, be prepared for unpredictable consequences and serious problems.
We all have our own vision of creativity and this statement is absolutely true for software development as well. Software developers are very creative people. But your creativity shouldn't be chaotic. When you start a project, you need to agree on a development syntax by creating a Project Syntax Style Guide. In it, you have to set up the development environment, define clear project rules, with statistical code analyzers becoming the best friends of the developers. Otherwise, the application code can quickly become an unusable mess.
Suppose our application should include the option for phone calls. Since each platform (iOS, Android, Windows) has a specific interface for this purpose, developers would only benefit from using universal shared code for call service. To solve this task, some coding patterns can be reused, such as the repository, the control reversal (IoC) etc., which at the same time enables the module tests to be carried out smoothly.
Ease of use is a very important aspect of any application that should never be neglected.
Here is a simple example. The landscape view for Android devices requires separate layouts, additional programming, with all the ensuing consequences. However, the portrait view is a widely accepted standard for any business application. We need to know exactly whether our application should support the landscape view or whether our users only need the portrait view.
Another example is as follows. What's the best way to handle exceptions? Typically the user will see a simple bug report while the details are saved in a log. At the same time, the log should be stored on the server and, in addition to the actual detailed error report, also contain information about the user and his mobile device.
Working spontaneously and creatively can be a nice approach at times, but creativity requires good preparation. You need to carefully study your future target audience and your client's requirements.
While there are many types of tests , they are all there to identify the shortcomings at a particular stage in application development. We list some of them as follows:
Acceptance tests , the defects are discovered by the customer
Manual tests are carried out by the developer
Load tests , in which the capacity is checked to process large amounts of data or a large number of requests
Automated user interface tests
Module test s
For the server side, the module tests are considered mandatory and should cover around 60-80% of the code. For the mobile part, however, module tests and test-driven development (TDD) have not yet become common practice.
We hope the ideas listed above will be helpful to you or your business. If you are looking for mobile application development service or mobile cross platform development contact Technogrips Technologies
In our next article we will write about choosing the right platform for enterprise mobile app development. Stay tuned!