Introduction to Mobile Application Development

The process of creating software for mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and personal digital assistants, most typically for the iOS and Android operating systems, is referred to as mobile application development.

The software may be preinstalled on the device, it may be downloaded from an app store designed specifically for mobile devices, or it may be accessible via a mobile web browser. Java, Swift, C# and HTML5 are some examples of the programming and markup languages that are utilized while developing software in this manner.

The creation of mobile apps is experiencing exponential expansion. Organizations in all sectors, including retail, telecommunications, and online commerce, as well as insurance, healthcare, and government, are required to match the expectations of their customers for real-time and convenient methods of conducting transactions and accessing information.

The most common way for individuals and companies to connect to the internet in the modern era is through the use of mobile devices and mobile applications that are designed to maximize the value of these devices. Businesses must provide the mobile applications that their consumers, business partners, and employees demand for them to continue to be successful and relevant.

However, developing mobile applications may appear to be an overwhelming task. Once you’ve decided which operating system platform or platforms to use, the next step is to conquer the constraints imposed by mobile devices and guide your software over the various obstacles that may arise during distribution.

You will be relieved to learn that the process of application development can be streamlined significantly by adhering to a few fundamental rules and best practices.

Pick a platform to use

A large number of independent application development teams have decided to build their apps initially for Android. Why? Android powers the vast majority of mobile devices, which is estimated to be approximately 70 percent, and the Google Play Store places fewer limitations on users than the Apple App Store does. On the other hand, mobile applications built for iOS have a far smaller number of devices that require support, which makes optimization much easier. And research shows that iOS apps retain their users at a higher rate on average.

You can have additional considerations about the mobile application you are developing depending on the desired use case and target audience for the app. For instance, if you are designing an app for the employees of your firm, you will need to support the platforms that they use.

This may require you to produce cross-platform applications that are compatible with both Android and iOS. Developing iOS applications should also be a top priority if you are creating a mobile application for your consumers, and you know that the majority of them use iPhones. In this case, you are designing the application for your customers.

When building your mobile applications, other things to take into account include revenue techniques and predicted user behavior. These aspects, which might be affected by geographical and cultural circumstances, are discussed more below.

Integrating the development platform and the device management tool will both improve operational efficacy and strengthen data protection.

Create apps that are compatible with both Android and iOS: native apps or hybrid apps?

Assume for a moment that you are tasked with developing mobile applications compatible with both the iOS and Android operating systems. What method of developing software is considered to be the most effective?

You have the option of developing two different native applications. You can make a powerful app by taking advantage of native application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-specific programming languages. Native development is beneficial for the vast majority of commercial apps, particularly those that need a significant amount of API traffic.

If you choose to create native applications one at a time, you will most likely want to start with Android. The reasons for this are similar to the reasons why independent app developers frequently concentrate on Android. You will probably have a greater chance of success if you design the whole application as a minimum viable product (MVP) on Android first, and then convert it to iOS and optimize it after it has been released.

Because of the significant functional differences between the two operating systems, it will still be necessary for you to debug and rewrite the code for the native language as well as rebuild the front-end user interface. This is because the cross-platform operation is not possible.

Therefore, why not begin from square one? Even though the code cannot be directly translated into a new programming language, a significant portion of the backend can be reproduced on several platforms.

Frameworks, libraries, and third-party extensions frequently operate in the same manner in both environments, which enables you to save time-consuming and expensive reworking. Managing the online back end may alternatively be accomplished through the utilization of a prebuilt mobile cloud service, such as the IBM Mobile Foundation.

Going the hybrid route and adopting a strategy of “write once, run anywhere” is still another choice. Hybrid applications make use of a single codebase that is capable of operating on any platform. They are often programmed in a language of computer scripting that is well-known and widely used all over the world, such as Java, JavaScript, HTML, or CSS.

Because hybrid mobile application development prevents access to the operating system’s native application programming interfaces (APIs), it is most effective for developing straightforward web applications, such as three- or four-page mobile applications with restricted functionality.

Build with portability and the mobile platform in mind.

Regardless of whether you decide to design native or hybrid mobile applications, one of the first challenges you will encounter is going to be the relatively restricted resources that are available on mobile devices.

Desktop PCs and business servers will have significantly more processing power and memory than the mobile device you’re targeting, which will have substantially less of both. These limitations may look like a huge obstacle to overcome, particularly if you are more accustomed to the relatively limitless resources that are available for conventional software development for online applications.

Because of the limited resources available on mobile platforms, you will need to adapt your goals for the design of your app.

The process of developing a mobile application requires developers to work toward making their final product use fewer resources than a normal desktop program does. This must be done throughout the development process.

It is essential to provide a satisfying experience for the user. This begins with the awareness that the user interface of a mobile application ought to be more straightforward than the interface of a desktop program. You may give a better user experience while using fewer resources if you design the user interface (UX) in a way that is clear and puts emphasis on the most important functions.

The user interface of your mobile app should be built to work with touch. Mobile users need to have an easy time navigating your app and providing input without having to type an excessive amount.

Fortunately, these requirements for speedy and straightforward touch-based applications map quite well to the expectations of users. Mobile users typically want to complete things quickly and easily, preferably with only a few touches. Customers expect applications for their mobile devices that are, above all else, quick, convenient, and simple to operate.

Transfer your workload to a remote server.

What happens if the amount of processing that your mobile application needs is greater than what a normal mobile platform can handle? You might want to think about moving the processing to the cloud.

You may connect your app to cloud-based services and databases to add extra functionality by making strategic use of application programming interfaces (APIs). Doing so will not slow down your application or put a strain on the device it is operating on. You can even outsource data storage and caching to a server that is hosted in the cloud, which will leave very little data on the device.

Extend the capabilities of your app with cutting-edge cloud services.

In addition to the benefits gained through increased performance, the cloud may also provide other benefits. Establish a connection between your mobile application and robust cloud services to enhance its functionality and user-friendliness.

Make use of application programming interfaces (APIs) to incorporate new features, such as powerful cloud-based services that can assist you in improving your mobile apps. A few examples of these are Internet of Things (IoT) smart device integration, push alerts, IBM Watson®-powered artificial intelligence analytics, and more.

Participate in a program for developers.

Neither Android nor iOS offers an open environment for developers. You will have to sign up for the proper developer program to get your application officially released before you can do so.

You can utilize an existing Google account that you already have to set up a developer account for the Android mobile application development program, after which you can pay the $25 fee and submit your application for review.

The official Android app store, Google Play, does have quality criteria that must be followed for an app to be published, however, these standards are more like guidelines than true rules. You can distribute your applications outside of the Google Play store and give consumers the ability to directly download and install them as part of the process of developing your app. This is one of the options available to you.

In contrast, the Apple mobile application development program has a stringent admission requirement for developers to meet. You are required to pay a program fee of $99 each year in addition to adhering to stringent requirements.

As soon as you become a member of the program, you will be granted early access to beta versions of the operating systems as well as proprietary frameworks or APIs. A high-quality app is a symbol to the world that you have created a successful product if it can meet the stringent requirements of the App Store.


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