Does Mobile App Development Require New Techniques?

Has the time come for our mobile application developers to start thinking differently from the conventional old practices? According to Gartner (a major research firm) analysis, the traditional practices used by business application developers for defining and developing desktop apps, mostly do not work well for mobile app development. This may be due to wide device diversity, network connectivity, and other considerations specific to mobiles. A good suggestion proposed was therefore proposed to go with using functional, load, performance and UI/UX testing, rather than using agile development practices.

On the other hand, another major research firm, IDC mentioned of the mobile disruptions that the businesses must adjust during their development efforts. Their analysis stated that the principal issue in application development was addressing the multiple devices and their platforms; that employees bring into the business in a productive manner. Business Enterprises negotiate their decisions based on a different set of approaches. However, all have to navigate to another level of application revamping for accommodating the disruptions that this mobile revolution can cause.

According to the experts at IDC, mobile device explosion has compelled the businesses for using a more important approach towards application development, with more in-house efforts. Analysts also believe that enterprises are beginning to handle mobility in a more strategic manner, via following their internal as well as customized development teams. Doing this will skill up their app efforts. In addition, businesses can take up a more systematic approach towards app development suites for improving some internal business division’s operations, especially those of mobile sales and field forces.

It is true that a variety of mobile factors proved to be a perplexing issue for the developers. It was also one of the main reasons for them to modify their approach and renounce upon traditional desktop techniques, like developers discussing with end-users to understand the app requirements.

Reasons why historical efforts do not succeed in mobile application development:

  • Mobile applications are a new approach for all app users
  • Secondly, they are constrained by the screen size, and platform nature, therefore it is not feasible to port a desktop app workflow.
  • Lastly, the mobile device experience is quite different from that of desktops. These variations may comprise of limited presentations, smaller session lengths, and other screen size constraints. These may largely affect the functioning of mobile applications.

The majority of users may complain about the user-interface constraints associated with mobile apps that include poor designs, workflow or responsiveness. Thus, the development focus should lie primarily on an optimal UI design, and a workflow addition that reflects upon the actual working of users.

Providing the users with an application experience will in itself result in a greater chance of a successful development effort. Organizations, moving to a more strategic approach towards application development, should adopt API architecture for their back-end systems and data assets before entering the development of extensive mobile applications.

As with the testing, it should also be carried out separately for mobile applications. The reason since a mobile app can run on a variety of OSs with different behavior depending on their network connection and device. Their application testing should, therefore, be done on distinctive devices and OSs, following a two-tier testing approach. This may include testing on device simulators, and a group of popular real devices in use.

Concluding the discussion, I will just say that mobile apps are significantly distinct. These tend to be frequently revised in order to meet the end-user expectations. This development process requires the operations to be on the top of system and infrastructure, for supporting the frequent updates and deployments.

Due to the fragmented and rapidly changing range of mobile screen sizes, their performance, resolution and hardware API access, the rising number of mobile device types further complicates the efforts of mobile app development and operations. Therefore, the changes in the mobile application development market are like a challenge, particularly to the operations team. This momentum is unlikely to slow down; rather the analysts believe that the developers must strive hard to catch up.

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