Mobile app development

Mobile app development is the act or process by which a mobile app is developed for mobile devices, such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or mobile phones. These applications can be pre-installed on phones during manufacturing platforms, or delivered as web applications using server-side or client-side processing (e.g., JavaScript) to provide an “application-like” experience within a  Web browser. Application software developers also must consider a long array of screen sizes, hardware specifications, and configurations because of intense competition in mobile software and changes within each of the platforms. Mobile app development has been steadily growing, in revenues and jobs created. A 2013 analyst report estimates there are 529,000 direct app economy jobs within the EU 28 members, 60% of which are mobile app developers.

Front-end development tools

Front-end development tools are focused on the user interface and user experience (UI-UX) and provide the following abilities:

  • UI design tools
  • SDKs to access device features
  • Cross-platform accommodations/support

Back-end servers

Back-end tools pick up where the front-end tools leave off, and provide a set of reusable services that are centrally managed and controlled and provide the following abilities:

  • Integration with back-end systems
  • User authentication-authorization
  • Data services
  • Reusable business logic

Security add-on layers

With bring your own device (BYOD) becoming the norm within more enterprises, IT departments often need the stop-gap, tactical solutions that layer atop existing apps, phones, and platform component. Features include

  • App wrapping for security
  • Data encryption
  • Client actions
  • Reporting and statistics

Mobile app testing

Mobile applications are first tested within the development environment using emulators and later subjected to field testing. Emulators provide an inexpensive way to test applications on mobile phones to which developers may not have physical access. The following are examples of tools used for testing application across the most popular mobile operating systems.

  • Google Android Emulator –  Android emulator that is patched to run on a Windows PC as a standalone app, without having to download and install the complete and complex Android SDK. It can be installed and Android compatible apps can be tested on it.
  • The official Android SDK Emulator – a mobile device emulator which mimics all of the hardware and software features of a typical mobile device (without the calls).
  • TestiPhone – a web browser-based simulator for quickly testing iPhone web applications. This tool has been tested and works using Internet Explorer 2 and Safari 3.
  • iPhone – gives a pixel-accurate web browsing environment and it is powered by safari. It can be used while developing websites for the iPhone. It is not an iPhone simulator but instead is designed for web developers who want to create 320 by 480 (or 480 by 320) websites for use with iPhone. iPhone will only run on OSX10.4.7 or later.
  • BlackBerry Simulator – There are a variety of official BlackBerry simulators available to emulate the functionality of actual BlackBerry products and test how the device software, screen, keyboard, and trackwheel will work with the application.
  • Windows UI Automation – To test applications that use the Microsoft UI Automation technology, it requires Windows Automation API 3.0. It is pre-installed on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later versions of Windows. On other operating systems, you can install using Windows Update or download it from the Microsoft  Web site.
  • MobiOne Developer – a mobile web integrated development environment(IDE) for windows that helps developers to code, test, debug, package and deploy mobile web applications to devices such as iPhone, Blackberry, Android.MobiOne Developer was officially declared End of Life by the end of 2014.

Mobile application management

Mobile application management (MAM) describes software and services responsible for provisioning and controlling access to internally developed and commercially available mobile apps used in business settings on both company-provided and “bring your own” smartphones and tablet computers

Mobile application management provides granular controls at the application level that enable administrators to manage and secure app data. MAM differs from mobile device management (MDM), which focuses on controlling the entire device and requires that users enroll their device and install a service agent.

While some enterprise mobility management (EMM) suites include a MAM function, their capabilities may be limited in comparison to stand-alone MAM solutions because of EMM suites.

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