9 Mobile Development Trends to Watch in 2019

Originally published January 23, 2018, updated January 29, 2019.

Mobile development is one of the most innovative and fastest growing sectors of the tech industry.

The average American spends over three hours a day on their smartphones (not including calls) and companies are pushing to gain a share of that time.

As mobile continues to work its way into daily life, the technologies rising to the top are ones that make that constant usage easier and more enjoyable.

It should come as no surprise that practicality, good user experiences, and convenience are the keys to winning public support in 2019.

Consumers expect their smartphones to do more than take calls and check email. They want more connectivity with the world around them, and they want that connection to be as safe as it is convenient.

To that end, here are the trends driving mobile developers in 2019:

1. Mobile Application Security

Users share more personal data with apps than ever before.

Mobile wallets have banking information, social media and habit trackers store details about personality and routines, and navigation apps keep records of everywhere a user goes.

At the same time, there’s enormous pressure to put apps out fast enough to keep up with consumer demand. Data breaches can be caused when companies rush development – and the risks are only rising.

The average cost of a breach was $3.62 million in 2017. Last year saw a 6.4% increase to $3.86 million.

In 2018 experts began tracking so-called “mega breaches”. These are cases where between 1-50 million records are breached, and they’re becoming more common as the Internet of Things (IoT) makes more user data available.

Alarmingly, 10 out of 11 of this type of breach are caused by malicious actors as opposed to technical errors. That shifts the focus from passively securing connections to actively preventing criminal intrusions.

In 2019, look for developers to emphasize security from the beginning of projects, with encryption throughout and automated testing at regular intervals. Artificial intelligence will also be on the rise for mobile security applications.

2. 5G Wireless Connectivity

2019 will bring the first major wave of 5G phones and wireless networks to urban areas. AT&T, which switched on their 5G wireless network in 12 cities last year, will add at least 7 more during 2019.

Sprint announced a 9-city 5G presence in the first half of the year with potential for wider coverage depending on how fast they can build out their infrastructure.

There were some test programs and small-scale rollouts from Verizon and AT&T last year, but without the right devices to handle it those haven’t done much more than raise excitement.

Now Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, OnePlus, and LG have all announced 5g-ready smartphones to be released this year.

Why is 5G so exciting? For one thing, it’s fast. 5G is at least 10 times faster than 4G.

Users will be able to download movies and apps in seconds rather than minutes, and streaming mobile video will be as fluid as watching at home.  C

arriers are warning that it’s only a little faster than 4G outside cities, but it’s still a major improvement considering how well it handles high-resolution media.

Latency is another major draw. 5G’s incredibly low latency- under one millisecond- will let multiple devices communicate quickly enough to respond to the real world.

Experts are primarily thinking of self-driving cars and drones, but the technology will also take mobile gaming to a whole new level of user experience.

5G is about more than smartphones, though. The technology is part of an overall shift towards improving the wireless infrastructure to support the growing Internet of Things.

5G could mean major advances for smart cars, self-driving vehicles, smart homes, Augmented Reality devices, wearables, and other mobile connected devices.

3. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

AMP is a set of protocols focused around HTML, JS, and a Google Cache that boosts the performance of mobile pages.

AMP-compliant pages load twice as fast as normal pages and perform well across a variety of devices and signal ranges.

With their higher availability and faster loading times, pages that use AMP have lower bounce rates and longer average session times.

Users also find AMP pages easier since Google places them in a special carousel at the top of search results.

That’s very tempting for companies looking to increase their site traffic (and who isn’t?).

There are some functionality limitations to AMP, but for basic pages those limits are outweighed by the speed and SEO preference.

Look for companies to continuing moving some of their customer-facing content to AMP throughout 2019.

4. Instant Apps

The barrier to adoption for a lot of apps is the download requirement.

People only have so much memory on their smartphones, and they hesitate to download apps that could just sit unused on their phones.

That’s not an unrealistic fear: only 20% of apps are opened again after the first use.

Surveys show that 75% of consumers feel more comfortable using apps with helpful reviews or screenshots, but Instant Apps take that a step farther.

Users can access them directly from the Google Play store without downloading.

Companies don’t need to build separate instant apps to take advantage of the trend, either.

Since they’re effectively features of an existing app (for example, the map section of a store app) which are used independently via a website, they use the same APIs and source code.

Developers only need to update their existing apps for Instant App functionality.

Instant apps offer some enticing benefits:

  • Instant apps open in seconds while the supporting website loads behind, giving the customer-facing impression of instant access.
  • Consumers can use just the feature they need or test-drive apps before downloading them.
  • Businesses can offload more functions (returns, coupons, and the like) to their app since customers can access them without having to go through the download process first.
  • Instant apps can be shared via links, which friends can view without downloading anything.

Early adopters have seen significant increases in full app downloads and engagement.

Updating for Instant App compatibility can take as little as a single day.

Instant Apps have become available on over 500 million devices worldwide since launching.

With satisfied customers including Vimeo, The New York Times, and the Wal-Mart owned shopping service Jet, it’s a sure bet that they will continue to rise in popularity.

5. Mobile Payments

Digital payment options are seeing a slow but steady transition to the real world. 2.1 billion consumers worldwide will use mobile wallets to make payments in 2019, a 30% increase from 2017.

Mobile payment has already become commonplace in China and India, where some stores accept nothing else.

Outside those markets mobile payments have been slower to grow, though they’re still gaining ground. In 2018 20% of Americans were using mobile wallets and payment options.

Experts predict that number to rise nearly 40% over the next year as mobile security improves enough to lend consumers confidence in the technology.

The leading general-purpose mobile payment systems in America are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. At least half of US retailers accept these, which makes it easier for consumers to leave their wallets at home.

Look for more brick and mortar businesses to begin accepting mobile payments. There’s also a trend towards loyalty programs with integrated mobile wallets that bears watching.

The Starbucks app’s mobile payment option saw over a million more users than Apple Pay in 2018, and over twice the number of Google Pay users. It will be interesting to see how this develops in 2019.

6. Mobile AI

Mobile AI is being fueled by edge computing and the rising demand for on-device processing.

A variety of mobile applications which were once unreliable are now maturing into enterprise readiness.

  • Conversational interfaces have improved along with advances in Natural Language Processing. Chatbots are leading the pack. In fact, 80% of businesses plan to release some kind of chatbot by 2020. Expect to see more chatbots and personal assistant AIs this year (especially on social media).
  • Recommendation engines are the power behind upsells at online checklists, but they’re also used in evolving applications like smart travel planners and health care apps.
  • Enterprise AI is a core component of digital transformation. Insights gained through enterprise analytics and predictive marketing will continue driving business in 2019 and beyond.

7. Wearable Devices

Technology has become a constant, reliable presence in daily life, and nowhere is that more obvious than with wearable devices. Users enjoy having increased control and persistent access to their data.

Most wearable devices on the market are smartwatches, with fitness trackers close behind. The category is broad, though.

New applications are constantly under development: wearable cameras, augmented or virtual reality headsets, and even smart clothing.

As a whole, the category is growing faster than predicted last year. It’s expanded from 84 million units in 2015 to an estimated 245 million units this year.

With companies like Apple offering products for a wide range of consumers and Google rumored to be working on a new wearable, this is definitely something to watch in 2019.

8. Augmented Reality apps

Although Augmented Reality has been tossed around for years, it’s coming into its own as a mainstream feature.

Both Google and Apple have released toolkits (Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit) that make it possible for more businesses to take advantage of AR features.

The enterprise applications of AR are as varied as businesses themselves. One exciting use-case is the IKEA Place App.

IKEA has 411 stores in 49 countries, but for many people visiting a showroom still requires a road trip and significant planning. Enter IKEA Place, an Augmented Reality application that displays furniture at scale over a live camera image.

Users can then see how catalogue items will look in their home and whether larger furniture will fit. AR is seeing a rise in usage in fields like healthcare, engineering, and real estate as well.

Industry analysts predict that the AR market will reach $108 billion in revenue by 2020.

9. Beacon Technology

Beacon technology isn’t new. It’s been drifting around for a while in highly niche use cases, but it’s beginning to find its place as mobile technology becomes more advanced.

The idea of beacons is simple. A Bluetooth transmitter emits a signal visible only to compatible devices within a limited range. Smartphones with the right app can pick up that signal to receive timely, location-specific information.

Beacon locations are much more accurate than other locational data, which creates opportunities for more tailored interactions. Some examples:

  • Unlocking a hotel room as the registered guest approaches their door
  • Sending seat directions, game updates, and important alerts to fans within a sports stadium
  • Alerting loyalty club members passing a store of current sales

Since the technology has been around, what will expand in 2019 is the number of beacon-oriented apps for smartphones, wearables, and other connected devices.

Best Mobile App Development Company in Orlando

Concepta maintains their position as one of Orlando’s best mobile development agencies by creating dynamic technology solutions for modern business challenges.

Right now, that means staying on top of mobile trends.

Mobile development is one of the biggest enterprise priorities of 2019.

Companies need to be where customers are, when customers need them, and that means going mobile.

With that in mind, Concepta recommends investing in a right-sized mobile presence.  

It takes some planning, but sound mobile development is a solid path to winning new customers and improving the overall customer experience.

In the long run, that’s a competitive edge that pays off.

Interested in how these trends can help grow your business in 2019? Get a free consultation with Concepta’s experienced developers to explore your options!

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The Best JavaScript Frameworks for Mobile Development

javascript-frameworks

JavaScript frameworks are great tools for building mobile apps. They’re efficient, lower development costs, and tend to have the security benefits that come with large, active communities of developers.

Deciding to use a framework is an easy choice. The harder question is, which framework fits the project at hand?

Here’s Concepta’s take on four of the best JavaScript frameworks for mobile development.

jQuery Mobile

This lightweight mobile framework is based on the popular jQuery library. Developers use jQuery Mobile for mobile website development as well as apps. It’s touch-optimized with a focus on broad compatibility (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry).

Eliminating cross-browser issues is one of jQuery Mobile’s biggest draws. The framework supports a huge variety of platforms, devices, display sizes, and screen resolutions. There’s no need to use a device-specific programming language. Instead, developers can use standards like JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, or AJAX.

Designing is simplified with the ThemeRoller customization toolkit. ThemeRoller offers a lot of tools that make editing themes easy, including drag and drop color and component changes. There are plenty of options for manipulating page layouts, headers and footers, and other design details.

Limitations

While jQuery Mobile makes it possible to perform complex scripting operations with little code, there are drawbacks. Performance varies by device. For example, jQuery Mobile apps lag noticeably on Android but run more smoothly on iOS.

Although the framework can outperform other mobile websites, it doesn’t outperform native apps. jQuery also lacks the full access to device features offered by other mobile app development tools.

NativeScript

NativeScript aims for a “write once, use everywhere” philosophy and comes very close. It’s an open-source framework for building Android, iOS, and Windows apps. With access to native API, it creates applications that behave like native apps on those platforms. Heavy code reuse between platform versions cuts the overall development time, too.

The framework supports the use of Angular, Vue.js, TypeScript, and Javascript. There are hundreds of NativeScript plugins, but developers aren’t limited to that toolset. They can integrate Node Package Manager, CocoaPods for iOS, and Gradle for Android.

Being open-source and free lowers the cost of working with NativeScript. Companies see extra savings through shorter development timelines.

Limitations

NativeScript aims for native performance. In practice, though, users experience some lag when opening apps. Also, critics point out that there are many inefficiencies in the NativeScript core that make debugging unnecessarily complicated.

It’s worth noting that plugins aren’t 100% verified and vary widely in quality. An inexperienced developer could accidentally introduce a vulnerability if they aren’t careful to check every plugin before use.

React Native

Facebook created this cross-platform native app development tool for its own use before releasing it to the public in 2015. Like NativeScript it features heavy code reuse, though the philosophy here is “learn once, write everywhere”. Once the tools are learned they can be applied to any platform.

React Native provides the native performance missing with NativeScript. It renders native UI elements for a “true to platform” feel that appeals to device loyalists while being less expensive to develop than a native app.

Real-time reloading leads to a smoother, more responsive development process where users can get faster feedback on changes as they work. This is one of the developer-friendly aspect of React Native that attract its large, active community of developers.

Limitations

Despite matching native apps in performance, React Native doesn’t fully support all native features yet. Users have to wait for Facebook to add those capabilities. There are generally fewer specialty and custom modules than some frameworks, as well.

The different design styles of Android and iOS will result in unpolished apps if a designer isn’t careful. Navigation is sometimes a little irregular regardless of skill.

Aside from technical considerations, some developers are wary of being totally reliant on Facebook. All signs point to a long future for React Native and Facebook is still putting resources into it, but the platform does still own the license and can theoretically revoke it.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is a hybrid app development framework that is open source version of Apache Cordova. Users can build for multiple platforms with a single codebase, writing in HTML, CSS or JavaScript. Apps built with PhoneGap have decent access to device hardware. There are allowances for offline capabilities as well.

PhoneGap has a healthy library and a robust backend that makes development fast and easy. Developers don’t need specialty skill sets to use it; web development skills will give them access to all the framework’s features. Those qualities combine to make it a great tool for rapid prototyping on a budget.

Limitations

PhoneGap doesn’t offer a lot of UI widgets, but performance is far and away its biggest limitation. It suffers from noticeably lower performance than other frameworks.

Making the call

There’s no single framework that’s best in every case.

  • PhoneGap is great for rapid prototyping, but the performance issues may frustrate end users in the long run.
  • React Native and NativeScript take opposite approaches to cross-platform development which should factor into their choice for a specific project.
  • jQuery provides slightly lower performance but much wider compatibility, making it useful when end users can be expected to access the app through many kinds of devices.

Try not to go into a project with a favorite framework in mind. Look at the specific needs of the app, consider its purpose and who the end users will be, and discuss options with an experienced developer.

The wrong framework can lead to a frustrating, “square peg in a round hole” development process. The right one saves enough time and money to make it worth a little extra forethought.

Mobile Development Company in Orlando

As one of Orlando’s most renowned mobile development agencies, Concepta has a collection of clients who need fast, economical development.

Our developers stay on top of emerging JavaScript frameworks to be sure they have the right tool for any job, whether it’s building a client-facing app for The Learning Company or a sales portal for Anago.

Getting ready to build your next mobile app? Concepta has more than a decade’s experiences building dynamic enterprise apps for everyone from state-wide chains to national celebrities. We can guide you through the JavaScript frameworks that will help you meet- and beat- this year’s business goals. Reserve your free consultation today!

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Does Full Stack Mobile Development Exist?

full-stack-mobile-development

Full stack mobile developers were once the unicorns of the software world. They existed but were so rare and hard to find that they may as well have been mythical.

Companies that outsourced their mobile apps to individual developers had widely mixed experiences (rarely good ones).

That isn’t to say that full stack mobile development is impossible, though. It’s highly functional at a company level. Software development agencies have been expanding their capabilities towards building a cohesive stack instead of simply creating a tool or app.

What It Means to Be “Full Stack”

“Full stack developers” have the knowledge and skills to build an entire mobile app, from back-end to middleware to front-end tools. The list of subject areas includes:

  • Hardware (including device utilities)
  • Operating systems
  • Virtualization
  • Hosting
  • Containers
  • Scaling
  • Package Management
  • Server management
  • Programming
  • Security
  • Frontend development
  • Frontend design
  • Requirements gathering
  • Project management
  • Non-technical communication skills

The developer needs to be intimately familiar with a few options at each level to qualify as “full stack”. They also have to be able to build native, hybrid, and mobile web apps.

The knowledge base doesn’t stop there, either. Full stack developers should keep on top of changing trends in application architecture in order to properly guide clients in their choice of tools.

It’s incredibly difficult for one person to do all these things with any degree of skill. Those few talented developers aren’t going to be found without luck or extensive headhunting.

What’s hard for one person, though, is considerably easier for a software development agency.

Many developers within these comprehensive-minded agencies have the knowledge to build an app top to bottom within a narrow range of requirements.

Where there are gaps in their experience, the agencies have room to employ a mix of specialists to provide full coverage.

Why Full Stack Is Coming Back Into The Conversation

In early days everyone was expected to be a full stack developer.

As computing became more complex and involved multiple languages and toolsets, people began specializing in areas like front end, back end, databases, or mobile development.

What changed is the modern tools and resources that have begun to make it possible for individuals to be capable of building an effective mobile app from the ground up again.

  • Programming languages: Languages like Ruby abstract away complex machine details, letting developers build from scratch with less code.
  • Development frameworks & third party libraries: React, Angular, JQuery, PHP, Node.js, and similar tools speed up development while delivering a better quality app.
  • Cloud databases: With simple, guided setup and management, developers don’t need the same level of database construction skills they once did.
  • Expanded support: Most of these tools have forums where developers can reach out for help. This allows them to use tools they’re less familiar with more effectively.

When a single developer builds an app alone, it can be highly cohesive.

They don’t need to make compromises or balance opinions among a team, so programming is cleaner and more straightforward.

On a more pragmatic note, mobile developers are still expensive and highly in demand.

There’s strong motivation for companies to find someone who can “do it all”.

Stumbling Blocks

Despite the appeal of full stack mobile development, there are inevitably trade-offs.

Aiming for more breadth of skills results in a shallower understanding of each.

Full stack developers generally have limited range within a specific topic, limiting their flexibility.

It’s a “jack of all trades, master of none” situation.

Because of this limited toolkit, apps created by individual full stack developers tend to lack innovation and creativity. Their apps all seem very much alike.

There’s also the risk of lower overall quality. Every developer has their idiosyncrasies and blind spots, and they might not catch their own mistakes.

Some trade-offs seem trivial, but in reality, they can break a project.

The biggest culprit is communication. Successful app development involves next-level communication skills, and that’s something that challenges full stack developers who are busy actually building the app.

Communication takes away from that work, so they may skimp on updates or overlook feedback until they’re past the point where it can be easily integrated into the project.

Full Stack Mobile Development in Orlando

The best use for full stack mobile developers is as a force multiplier on a mobile app development team.

Concepta, one of Orlando’s most renowned mobile development companies, has used this tactic successfully on projects for Anago, The Learning Company, and even Disney.

They employ full stack mobile developers to serve as “architects”, using their wide knowledge base to create a more cohesive final product.

Because these developers know every step, they’re able to spot potential issues and gaps in the team’s skill set.

As a bonus they can fill in for other developers as needed. The team can then be smaller without having to take on new developers mid-project.

Strategies like these give Concepta an edge in creating dynamic technology solutions within a client’s time and budgetary guidelines.  

So, does full stack mobile development exist? Yes, but in practice it’s most effectively done at a company level rather than an individual one.

A fast, high-performance mobile presence is key to staying competitive, even for small and medium businesses. Concepta’s experienced developers have created dynamic apps for everyone from educational companies to country singers. Set up your free consultation to find out what we can do for you!

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From Web Development to Mobile: Stumbling Blocks and Strategies for Success

from-web-development-to-mobile-development

Mobile development is taking off right now. 50 billion more apps were downloaded last year than the one before. The average smartphone user has around a hundred on their phone, and download rates are steadily increasing as technology compensates for mobile limitations (specifically variable signal strength and limited device storage).

With mobile growing in popularity, web developers are starting to explore mobile apps as a way to grow their skill sets and boost their salaries. 

It’s definitely easier to move from general web development to mobile than the other way around. However, there are still some sticking points to consider.

The Value of Going Mobile

Mobile devices today are orders of magnitude more powerful than the desktops most people had growing up.

Screens are larger, processors are faster, and AI-powered talk-to-text software has reduced the need to type on tiny keyboards.

As smartphone technology advances, the amount of time spent on smartphones as opposed to desktop computers or laptops rises alongside it.

The average American adult spends 3.14 hours on mobile devices daily versus 2.08 hours on desktops and laptops.

mobile-app-revenue
Source: Concepta, Inc.

Apps dominate online mobile time. There were 197 Billion app downloads in 2017, a number industry analysts predict will reach 350 billion by 2021.

The global mean number of apps used per day ranges from 8-12 (with 10 being the US average). The largest age group using apps is the coveted 18-24 market.

Young adult users driving the trend suggests that demand is likely to keep rising for the foreseeable future.

Businesses are responding to the mobile trend by pushing for mobile responsive sites and apps meant to provide a seamless cross-platform experience.

User experience directly affects sales; customers who have a poor experience are much less likely to visit, recommend a business, or return to an app or site.

The lack of return customers hurts, especially since customers are increasingly making buying decisions based on a company’s mobile site.

Searches made with local intent often result in a physical visit, and there are more mobile searches than on any other platform for a full 15 hours a day.

That means even small to medium businesses need a mobile presence – and by extension, mobile developers.

A sudden rise in demand combined with the relative newness of mobile development has led to noticeably higher income on the mobile side.

salaries-webdeveloper-mobile-developer
Source: Concepta, Inc.

The average salary for a mobile application developer is hovering around $71,072 per year. Compared to $53,036 annually for web developers, that’s a healthy incentive to shift from web development to mobile.

Stumbling Blocks

Switching to mobile development isn’t a seamless process. Web developers are used to working in a specific way and within a certain range of standards. Those methods aren’t always ideal for mobile development.

Perhaps the biggest difference is that apps have a limited range of functions compared to a website. A website might do dozens of different things with specialized permutations of each function.

An Amazon user, for example, has over thirty task menus they can access from their homepage alone.

Apps are a different story. They’re by nature toolkits rather than full workshops. Incoming web developers often create designs that are much too broad in scope.

Trying to do too much drags down the app’s performance and increases the crash rate.

That leads into the second culture shift: performance. Apps may have fewer features, but they come with a significantly higher expectation of performance.

Optimizing mobile app performance is a delicate balancing act with a long list of influential factors. Developers must consider memory usage, processor limitations, network coverage – in short, they have to plan for situations they have little to no control over.

americans-use-apps
Source: Concepta, Inc.

Users don’t make allowances for developer hurdles, either. They want apps to work well whenever and wherever they happen to use them.Mobile users who want to check out a menu aren’t going to sit in their car waiting for the restaurant’s page to load.

They give it 3-6 seconds and try another restaurant. Developers need to make sure their app loads before the customer loses patience.

Today’s apps are mostly device-specific. Hybrid technology is getting better all the time, but as of now native apps outperform hybrid apps by enough that native isn’t going anywhere for awhile.

Mobile developers can have a specialty (iOS, Android, or Windows) but if they aren’t at least familiar with other devices they risk limiting their employability.

Learning mobile involves learning new languages or utilizing device-agnostic tools that bridge the gap between devices.

Balancing their OS skills doesn’t get developers out of learning hybrid methods; those are considered part of the essential basic mobile toolkit.

Web design is widely accepted as a different field from web development, but mobile developers usually have to create their own user interface.

Even when a designer does sketch out the app, the mobile developer adapts it for implementation. This puts a heavier burden on them as far as user experience.

There’s not a lot of room to learn – literally. Smartphones screens are small and fingers are less precise than a mouse click.

Mobile developers need to provide an easy-to-navigate app or customers will abandon the app. They must understand design conventions for multiple devices and weave them together into an attractive, intuitive UI.

When an app does crash, it can be harder to troubleshoot than a website. Websites only need to account for their own services plus the user’s browser type and version.

Apps have more moving parts, leading to more potential points of failure. For example:

  • Operating System
  • Signal availability
  • Device Hardware

Mobile developers have to cast a wide net to shake out the cause of problems.

They even have to look at “symbiotic apps” commonly used together that might affect their own app’s performance.

Once they find an issue, they’re faced with the problem of getting it to the customer. Fixes can’t be pushed to live apps.

There has to be an OS or app version update which users must download to implement the fix. App users are highly fickle.

Many get frustrated by frequent updates, so developers have to cram as many fixes into an update as possible while still getting the app back online in a timely fashion.

Web developers who are considering switching to mobile may think it looks easy. Mobile can quickly get complicated, though.

Source: Concepta, Inc.

It’s simple enough to build a basic mobile app but much harder to profitably build one worth deploying and maintain it.

Developers will work with device features that were never a concern with web development. For instance:

  • Mobile apps provide much more immediate data about the user and what they’re doing than websites. Mobile developers need to account for this to provide the best service.
  • Offline usage has to be prioritized for apps, which raises questions about when and how data will sync with central databases.

Developers trying to make things easier on themselves by building apps with one language top to bottom often wind up creating unnecessarily cumbersome code.

Clients won’t be happy paying extra to maintain those needlessly complex apps.

Security for apps is trickier but also more important. On the business side, internal resources can be put at risk by vulnerabilities introduced by apps.

Users are in a similarly vulnerable position. An insecure app could be used to access anything stored on their device: mobile wallets, account details, and other personal data.

Mobile developers have to mitigate this double threat by maintaining high testing and quality control throughout the development process.

Discovery generally takes more time than with websites. App development and updating tends to be more expensive, so there’s more interest in “getting it right the first time”.

There are also extra questions to answer while making decisions about format and feature priority.

  • How often will customers be using the device in low signal areas?
  • Is the app mainly mainly intended to operate on Wi-Fi?
  • What internal resources does it need to touch? What security concerns does this add?

Finally, apps meant for the app store must go through a submission process. Developers need to conform to store-specific standards, which adds a layer of complexity.

The app has to be resubmitted after version updates, too. Publishing apps through a company site avoids this hassle, but that’s usually only an option for internal apps.

Public apps do better in the app store, so developers have to be mindful of the relevant guidelines.

What’s Easier in Mobile

Despite these warning, some things are easier for mobile app developers. Those interested in becoming a full stack developer will have more success with mobile than general web development.

There’s less database skill required, and backward compatibility isn’t usually an issue. Plus, programming newbies often feel more comfortable building mobile apps since the skillset is more limited.

For web developers the transition can be even simpler. A healthy percentage (around 60%) of web development skills carry over to mobile.

All the core programming concepts form a solid foundation for understanding mobile apps. Hybrid apps, which are generally web apps in native wrappers, will be noticeably easy for web developers to create.

Mobile frameworks take some time to learn, but web developers shouldn’t have much trouble. The languages used in mobile apps are generally the same used in web development.

Once developers get the hang of app-specific tools and conventions they should be ready to take on the title of mobile developer.

Strategies for Success

Use tools like PhoneGap to experiment with app building

PhoneGap can be used with HTML5 mobile frameworks to create apps that run on Android and iOS without buying a Mac.

It’s very intuitive for web developers. While there are some hard to manage limitations for complex apps, tools like PhoneGap are a good way to decide if mobile is a skill developers really want to pursue.

Focus on Android first

Unless there’s a compelling argument otherwise, learn Android apps first. Android overtook iOS in terms of marketshare in 2014 and now accounts for around 85% of smartphone sales in the US.

It’s broadly applicable and meets iOS performance in most categories. As a note, artists tend to prefer iOS by a small margin.

Those looking to serve that market might consider studying iOS apps first.

Take some online courses first

Getting an overview before diving in keeps developers from forming bad habits. It also informs decision as to the types of apps to build and suggests tools that are currently in demand. Avoid very basic courses.

Peer-to-peer style training will serve experienced developers better than those meant for programming beginners.

Start building apps

Make mistakes where it doesn’t matter before hanging a shingle as a professional mobile developer.

Never stop learning

Build a few small, simple projects on GitHub. Seek out criticism from community and learn from it.

Mobile technology moves a little faster than web developers might expect, and there’s always something new to try. Stay on top of current trends. Know what technologies are ready to use and which to steer clients away from until they mature.

Finally, when learning mobile seems overwhelming remember this: the leap from web developer to mobile developer may be daunting, but it’s much easier than the other way around.

Orlando Mobile App Development Company

Concepta is one of Orlando’s most renowned mobile developers.

We’ve built award-winning mobile apps that reached the top of the App Store charts, and their client list includes Anago, The Learning Company, and even FEMA.

Not interested in learning mobile for your next app? Set up your free consultation to find out what they can do for you!

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Best Open Source Mobile Development Tools

Time spent on mobile devices passed desktop computer usage recently. Today, adults spend just over 50 percent of their computing time on a mobile device, compared to 42 percent on the desktop. Likewise, open-source mobile development tools have gained a higher profile among programmers. Here is a closer look at some of the most popular.

Ionic

Ionic is a front-end Software Development Kit (SDK) for creating mobile apps. It uses AngularJS to build fast apps with hardware accelerated transitions and uses Phonegap or Cordova to deploy natively. Alternatively, you can run it as a Progressive Web App in your browser. Clean and simple, it offers ready-made mobile components, base themes and typography. Use Ionic when you want to use a hybrid approach to expand your iOS apps to include the Android market.

PhoneGap

PhoneGap is a popular way to build native mobile apps with JavaScript, CSS and HTML. There are two versions: an open source version and a paid enterprise version. When you build an app using PhoneGap, you can use a single code base to create apps for multiple platforms. In addition, the cloud-based compiler PhoneGap Build lets you create apps without worrying about maintaining the native SDKs.

Rhodes

Rhodes is a mobile application development platform for creating native apps for devices like barcode readers, GPS, cameras and Bluetooth. Rhodes is part of the RhoMobile Suite. RhoMobile is now under the umbrella of Zebra Technologies.

Vim

Vim is a popular code editor that is available on your iPad or iPhone. It includes automatic indentation, macro recording and playback, visual mode, multiple clipboards, language-aware syntax highlighting and more. You can use the full Vim syntax and finger gestures. There is now a port for Android called VimTouch.

LoopBack

LoopBack is an extensible Node.JS framework. You can rapidly build dynamic REST APIs, create apps using iOS, AngularJS and Android SDKs, deploy the StrongLoop Arc to edit and monitor LoopBack apps and run in the cloud or on-site. Useful add-on components are available for OAuth2, file management and third-party logins.

Kurogo

Kurogo is middleware that is optimized for mobile. Ideal for creating content-rich sites, it is popular among higher education users including Georgetown University, Harvard University, Brown University and others. Named after Japanese theater stagehands, it chugs along silently in the background while your mobile app works in the user layer.

Hammer.js

Hammer.js helps you add mouse and touch gestures to your app. Hammer.js is used to support gestures, while Hammer Time, a partial polyfill for CSS property touch action, is used to eliminate the delay from focus and clicks. Out of the box, it includes recognition support for press, pan, swipe, tap, double tap and pinch and rotate.

Phaser

Phaser was created for rapid mobile game development in HTML5. It is a framework for WebGL and Canvas powered browser games. It features a preloader, physics, animation, particles, tile maps, plug-in system, device scaling and developer support. Phaser is well-known for its large and supportive developer community.

Sencha Touch

Sencha Touch lets you use JavaScript to build native-looking HTML5 apps. An MVC-based framework, it is ideal for creating cross-platform products. It taps the power of hardware acceleration to give you ultra-high-performance components for the user interface. There are more than 50 built-in components and themes for most mobile platforms including Windows Phone, Android, BlackBerry and iOS. It has an adaptive layout engine, smooth scrolling and fluid animations. Out of the box, you get themes for every significant platform so you can match the graphical look of target platforms easily.

Clearly, the world has gone mobile in a big way, and statistical trends indicate that mobile use will continue to grow. Open source mobile development tools like those listed here will continue to play a major role in meeting the escalating demand.

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