10 things you need to know about writing mobile applications

June 11, 2009 by Admin
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Rebecca Lawrence, software developer, at Jade Communications, discusses her company's latest White Paper, which examines 10 key considerations before writing a mobile application.

You’ve made the decision to invest in mobile devices to improve the speed, agility and efficiency of your business, to eliminate paperwork, give your workforce access to all the data they need, wherever they are, and to allow you to collect and report data in real-time. Great, this is a decision that will help to transform your business’s operations, gain competitive advantage and ultimately be more profitable.

However, you maybe on a tight budget this year and be looking to make savings, where prudent, in the overall cost of the project. Perhaps your own IT team has successfully developed applications for your desktop and server environment.

Because they were developed in-house, they give you the functionality you need and all the development costs go into internal budgets. The team is keen to develop the mobile application too, and although none of them has actually built a mobile app before, they are confident they can do it quickly and effectively. This could be a mistake that will cost you far more than you thought you were going to save, could delay successful implementation of the new mobile devices by up to two years, or could even mean it never makes it to implementation.

As an experienced developer of mobile applications, Jade is regularly called in to analyse and help fix a problem with in-house applications that have stalled. Often these problems can be fixed in hours or days, while months have already been wasted. Programming for a mobile environment is completely different from a desktop environment and problems nearly always arise when one or more of ten key considerations outlined in this paper have been overlooked. Know and understand them from the start and you will could save countless hours and valuable IT budget trying to fix problems later.

While an experienced developer will always follow a systems development life cycle (SDLC) approach, in an in-house environment there may be a temptation to rush to development and implementation of the application with insufficient planning and testing. After setting out the initial concept for the mobile application and a plan of the project, special care needs to be taken in producing a requirements analysis before beginning the application design process. At this stage bringing in a technical services specialist with a thorough knowledge of mobile application development, mobile operating systems and the detailed differences between different types and models of mobile devices will save valuable time and resources.

The mobile environment poses a number of constraints on application design. Knowing and understanding them in the context of your system requirements will ensure these constraints do not become obstacles to a successful implementation. Having access to an expert who is familiar with the mobile device you are planning to use, that knows how the device works and how communications need to be configured on it, is key to writing a successful software application.

Click on the link below to read the White Paper (opens pdf file - Acrobat Reader required).

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