Mobile applications have become a ubiquitous part of the human experience. Smartphones and apps are a fixture in contemporary lifestyles. To say that there is an app for everything would not even be a slight exaggeration.
With apps being rolled out to satisfy every human desire - ranging from basic contemporary needs to exclusive preferences - new trends emerge and vanish more quickly than ever. Some of the emerging trends have begun to show signs of becoming potentially dominant in the app market in the near future. Therefore, mobile app development platforms need to be programmed with features that enable developers to create apps in alignment with these trends.
Examining a few of these emerging trends will allow mobile app development platforms to be more effective in reducing developers’ burden of excessive coding and other related tasks.
Open-Source and Collaborative Models: Agile development is essentially collaborative, and for good reasons. To demonstrate the same, Apple’s open-source programming language, Swift overtook Objective-C in terms of usage and popularity on the TIOBE index in January 2016. Collaborative models of app development consistently result in applications becoming more effective and aesthetically appealing.
DevOps, a development practice that blends functions performed by an organization’s development and operations teams, deserves a mention in this regard. It promotes better communication between different teams, establishes a cross-disciplinary community which includes developers, users, stakeholders, and business executives.
App development is initiated by seeking input from technical and non-technical business leaders alike. This ensures that the app being developed serves the needs of customers and is aligned with the company’s commercial goals at the same time. Once completed, beta versions of the app are released, allowing users to create their opinions on it. Feedback is actively sought, and the app is modified accordingly. Consequently, the app is always morphing to remain relevant and continues to add tangible value to customers’ lives.
By adhering to a collaborative model, apps are developed in a perpetually evolving, rapidly adaptable and highly resilient manner. Each app is built to address both customer-specific and business-centric demands. Besides, automating application testing and deployment reduces issues arising from human error and accelerates the entire process.
In spirit with open-source practices, citizen development is gaining significant ground. DIY (Do It Yourself) tools such as IBM’s Mobile First and Microsoft PowerApps come with a fundamental WYSIWYG design, custom templates, drag-and-drop features and allow for automated development. These mobile app development platforms allow individuals with little technical training to develop apps. While low-code mobile application development is still in early stages, it is steadily gaining traction.
Mobile app development platforms have to be designed in accordance with the principle of DevOps. The methodology they deploy must be able to create more effective apps within shorter durations.
The Cloud for Backend Operations: Smartphone users tend to go for applications comprising dependable server-side support which enables access to the app and its data regardless of device or location. Apps supported by secure cloud-based offerings also occupy minimal storage space on the device being used to access it.
By linking itself to the cloud, synchronization of an app on multiple devices is easily achieved. Flexibility in coding, testing and deploying apps is achieved with ease. Consequently, the development lifecycle is accelerated significantly.
Using cloud-based mobile-backend-as-a-service (MBaaS), developers can make enterprise applications store an increasingly larger amount of corporate data. By integrating mobile app development platforms with the cloud, collaborative development becomes seamless. It enables software developers working on the front-end, back-end, or the full-stack, to work in tandem with citizen developers and other stakeholders, facilitating seamless coordination of peoples and processes.
IoT and Security Challenges: People expect apps to work not just on their smartphones, but on every smart device they own. The invasion of wearable technology has made it apparent that smart thermostats and smart bulbs can tap into an enormous market. Therefore, the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to have a highly disruptive impact in the app development domain. Mobile app development platforms have to be able to create personalized user experience across a range of IoT enabled devices.
With more devices, security concerns become more emphatic. Apps, especially the most well-known ones are always subject to the attacks of hackers. An IoT breach has far-reaching consequences as it has the potential to infect and damage multiple devices. If these connected devices are being used to accomplish life-saving functions, such as in healthcare or law enforcement, a hack can lead to physical damage, injury or loss of human life.
To address these security concerns, a set of uniform standards must be established in order to outline standard security against breaches. Policies for ethical use, surveillance and encryption must take front-seat in these discussions.
BYOD and BYOA: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has been an integral part of enterprise mobility of late. It entails employees bringing their own devices into the workspace and using them to accomplish their everyday tasks. This helps streamline business operations and make them more effective as they do not have to juggle multiple devices and can do office work using the same device that they are already acquainted with. it allows employees to meet deadlines and finish work from any location. Such a provision is especially helpful when someone is stuck in a traffic jam or has to stay at home due to illness or other reasons.
While BYOD has been around for quite some time and is much talked about, BYOA (Bring Your Own Access) is the relatively less popular but steadily rising trend. It refers to providing wireless remote access to an organization’s network through an independent operator. This reduces the vulnerability of enterprise networks to the threats posed by BYOD approach while enabling employees and executives to work outside the office with fewer restrictions. When combined with BYOD, BYOA will become the inevitable next step in enterprise mobility. Consequently, mobile application development platforms must be equipped to incorporate abilities for BYOD and BYOA for apps they create.
Google searches for “MADP” or “MADP platforms” are now directed towards information about mobile app development platforms that are able to accommodate and evolve in connection with the aforementioned trends. Naturally, any app creation platform must recognize and incorporate abilities to create apps that keep pace with the evolution of user expectations, technology and changing market structures.
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