The Digitalist Team
March 17, 2022

Mobile Conquered the Internet - Building Applications for Mobile at Scale

Enterprise mobile development is the process of creating mobile apps for businesses. This can be a difficult process, as there are many factors to consider. One major issue is the complexity of the apps themselves. With so many devices and operating systems to consider - the native 2.9 million apps in Google Play Store and 4.4 million in Apple App Store, plus the cross-platforms apps - it can be difficult to create an app that works well on all platforms. Another challenge is the size of development teams. Often, there are hundreds or even thousands of developers working on a single app. This can make it difficult to keep track of all the changes happening in the codebase and to ensure that all changes are properly tested. Finally, enterprise mobile development is constantly changing. New frameworks and tools are constantly being released, and it can be difficult to keep up with them all.

What do we mean by mobile development at scale?

When a problem is simple and the scope is limited, it is easier to come up with a simple solution. When you're working with a small team and a small number of users to create a limited-functionality mobile app, your app shouldn't be complicated. Your backend will most likely be simple to comprehend. Your website will be a no-brainer to implement. To put a working solution in place, you can use existing libraries, templates, and a variety of shortcuts.

As your company grows, everything, including the mobile codebase, becomes more complex, lengthy, and difficult to understand and modify. When your app becomes complex, there are no silver bullets that will magically solve all your problems; instead, you must make difficult trade-offs.

When you create mission-critical mobile applications for hundreds of thousands of users and spend a lot of money on the project, you should think at scale. We define “scale” as having countless users and employing large engineering teams. These teams continuously launch features while ensuring the app operates reliably and efficiently. But one thing is for sure: the way you begin makes a difference.

Why you should care about this

In the last decade, engineers working in the enterprise mobile development industry encountered many unforeseen pitfalls that can not only jeopardise the success of these projects but also exhaust budgets. Here is a list of the five most typical challenges you need to tackle head-on:

  1. Large Development Teams - The larger the mobile team, the more problems with builds arise. Larger teams typically result in more code and longer build times. When working with a large team, the cost of a slow build can mean engineer months — or even years! — of wasted time. Finding a toolkit that supports a large mobile engineering team is difficult, and some teams will build custom solutions if they are unable to find vendors who support the scale of their use cases.
  2. The Nature of Mobile Apps - People who have never worked on a mobile app often believe that most of the challenges are the same as those encountered on the web. This couldn't be further from the truth. Nearly a dozen unique challenges exist in mobile engineering that do not exist on the web or on the backend. The majority of these are related to the binary distribution of mobile apps, the requirement to work in low connectivity environments, and the incorporation of unique capabilities such as push notifications, deep links, or in-app purchases.
  3. App Complexity - As your app grows in popularity, things begin to get interesting. You continuously add new features to the app while also improving the existing ones. Soon, the app that was once only a few screens becomes so complex that if you printed out the screens, it would cover the entire wall. Working with a large and complex app presents additional challenges. How do you deal with the ever-more-complex navigation patterns? What about event combinations that aren't deterministic? How do you scale your automated and manual tests? How do you localise across multiple languages?
  4. Languages and Platforms - The development tools for mobile apps are constantly evolving. New languages, frameworks, and methodologies that promise to relieve the pain points of mobile development continue to emerge. But how do you go about it? Should you design iOS apps in Objective C or Swift? For Android, should you use Java or Kotlin? Should you invest in a cross-platform approach that promises "write once, run anywhere," such as Flutter, React Native, or Cordova? There is no shortage of tools for developing apps. The choice you make will be determined by the limitations and sacrifices you are ready to accept in the approach you choose for development across iOS, Android, and maybe additional platforms.
  5. “Best-in-class” approach - When you want to build not just a good-enough mobile app, but a best-in-class experience, your approach to mobile engineering transforms. This shift in approach could be the result of your app serving millions of customers, or it could be the result of your desire to create a world-class mobile experience as a part of your app from the very start. "World-class" apps must address non-functional issues such as code quality, compliance, and privacy. Experimentation and feature flag approaches, which are “table stakes” for new apps, should also be considered, as well as other areas, such as performance, app size, or a forced upgrading option.

Latest trends in enterprise mobile development

5G

With 5G's improved security and a greater number of possible connections per square kilometre, compatibility for this new networking standard is on the verge of becoming one of the essential mobile trends in 2022.

Biometric authentication

Whether you work in finance, retail, or healthcare, using facial recognition and other biometrics-processing technology will provide your customers with an extra layer of security for their data and money.

IoT

In terms of app trends, IoT is a disruptive force that is already imposing new ground rules for developers. Since more people have begun to see the appeal of IoT, mobile developers must build apps that run smoothly on all kinds of devices.

Machine Learning

Machine learning provides autonomous and deep analysis, which has a myriad of uses in the mobile app development sector. From personalisation via business analytics to security, machine learning can be a decisive factor in customer retention.

AR & VR

Augmented and virtual reality are suitable for various purposes other than game development. VR in education delivers useful hands-on training experience while being safe and relatively inexpensive, which is especially advantageous in the healthcare, aerospace, military, and industrial fields. When used for online shopping (enabling users to "try" an item on through their phone), marketing, and house and property tours, augmented and virtual reality can also engage clients.

Conclusion

When you're creating mobile apps for hundreds of thousands of people and spending a lot of money on the endeavor, it's time to think big. You should focus on particular issues in order to avoid overcomplicated development projects and applications that users are hesitant to use.

Trends in business mobile development represent what users desire from software and what other businesses in your sector have already started utilizing. If you want to create a successful mobile app, you must stay up with evolving trends in the mobile sector and incorporate the most relevant ones into your offering.

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March 17, 2022

Mobile Conquered the Internet - Building Applications for Mobile at Scale

Enterprise mobile development is the process of creating mobile apps for businesses. This can be a difficult process, as there are many factors to consider. One major issue is the complexity of the apps themselves. With so many devices and operating systems to consider - the native 2.9 million apps in Google Play Store and 4.4 million in Apple App Store, plus the cross-platforms apps - it can be difficult to create an app that works well on all platforms. Another challenge is the size of development teams. Often, there are hundreds or even thousands of developers working on a single app. This can make it difficult to keep track of all the changes happening in the codebase and to ensure that all changes are properly tested. Finally, enterprise mobile development is constantly changing. New frameworks and tools are constantly being released, and it can be difficult to keep up with them all.

What do we mean by mobile development at scale?

When a problem is simple and the scope is limited, it is easier to come up with a simple solution. When you're working with a small team and a small number of users to create a limited-functionality mobile app, your app shouldn't be complicated. Your backend will most likely be simple to comprehend. Your website will be a no-brainer to implement. To put a working solution in place, you can use existing libraries, templates, and a variety of shortcuts.

As your company grows, everything, including the mobile codebase, becomes more complex, lengthy, and difficult to understand and modify. When your app becomes complex, there are no silver bullets that will magically solve all your problems; instead, you must make difficult trade-offs.

When you create mission-critical mobile applications for hundreds of thousands of users and spend a lot of money on the project, you should think at scale. We define “scale” as having countless users and employing large engineering teams. These teams continuously launch features while ensuring the app operates reliably and efficiently. But one thing is for sure: the way you begin makes a difference.

Why you should care about this

In the last decade, engineers working in the enterprise mobile development industry encountered many unforeseen pitfalls that can not only jeopardise the success of these projects but also exhaust budgets. Here is a list of the five most typical challenges you need to tackle head-on:

  1. Large Development Teams - The larger the mobile team, the more problems with builds arise. Larger teams typically result in more code and longer build times. When working with a large team, the cost of a slow build can mean engineer months — or even years! — of wasted time. Finding a toolkit that supports a large mobile engineering team is difficult, and some teams will build custom solutions if they are unable to find vendors who support the scale of their use cases.
  2. The Nature of Mobile Apps - People who have never worked on a mobile app often believe that most of the challenges are the same as those encountered on the web. This couldn't be further from the truth. Nearly a dozen unique challenges exist in mobile engineering that do not exist on the web or on the backend. The majority of these are related to the binary distribution of mobile apps, the requirement to work in low connectivity environments, and the incorporation of unique capabilities such as push notifications, deep links, or in-app purchases.
  3. App Complexity - As your app grows in popularity, things begin to get interesting. You continuously add new features to the app while also improving the existing ones. Soon, the app that was once only a few screens becomes so complex that if you printed out the screens, it would cover the entire wall. Working with a large and complex app presents additional challenges. How do you deal with the ever-more-complex navigation patterns? What about event combinations that aren't deterministic? How do you scale your automated and manual tests? How do you localise across multiple languages?
  4. Languages and Platforms - The development tools for mobile apps are constantly evolving. New languages, frameworks, and methodologies that promise to relieve the pain points of mobile development continue to emerge. But how do you go about it? Should you design iOS apps in Objective C or Swift? For Android, should you use Java or Kotlin? Should you invest in a cross-platform approach that promises "write once, run anywhere," such as Flutter, React Native, or Cordova? There is no shortage of tools for developing apps. The choice you make will be determined by the limitations and sacrifices you are ready to accept in the approach you choose for development across iOS, Android, and maybe additional platforms.
  5. “Best-in-class” approach - When you want to build not just a good-enough mobile app, but a best-in-class experience, your approach to mobile engineering transforms. This shift in approach could be the result of your app serving millions of customers, or it could be the result of your desire to create a world-class mobile experience as a part of your app from the very start. "World-class" apps must address non-functional issues such as code quality, compliance, and privacy. Experimentation and feature flag approaches, which are “table stakes” for new apps, should also be considered, as well as other areas, such as performance, app size, or a forced upgrading option.

Latest trends in enterprise mobile development

5G

With 5G's improved security and a greater number of possible connections per square kilometre, compatibility for this new networking standard is on the verge of becoming one of the essential mobile trends in 2022.

Biometric authentication

Whether you work in finance, retail, or healthcare, using facial recognition and other biometrics-processing technology will provide your customers with an extra layer of security for their data and money.

IoT

In terms of app trends, IoT is a disruptive force that is already imposing new ground rules for developers. Since more people have begun to see the appeal of IoT, mobile developers must build apps that run smoothly on all kinds of devices.

Machine Learning

Machine learning provides autonomous and deep analysis, which has a myriad of uses in the mobile app development sector. From personalisation via business analytics to security, machine learning can be a decisive factor in customer retention.

AR & VR

Augmented and virtual reality are suitable for various purposes other than game development. VR in education delivers useful hands-on training experience while being safe and relatively inexpensive, which is especially advantageous in the healthcare, aerospace, military, and industrial fields. When used for online shopping (enabling users to "try" an item on through their phone), marketing, and house and property tours, augmented and virtual reality can also engage clients.

Conclusion

When you're creating mobile apps for hundreds of thousands of people and spending a lot of money on the endeavor, it's time to think big. You should focus on particular issues in order to avoid overcomplicated development projects and applications that users are hesitant to use.

Trends in business mobile development represent what users desire from software and what other businesses in your sector have already started utilizing. If you want to create a successful mobile app, you must stay up with evolving trends in the mobile sector and incorporate the most relevant ones into your offering.

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