What is mobile development?

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Definition: what is mobile development?

In the era of digital technology, the development of mobile applications has grown in recent years, supported by the explosion of new technological platforms (tablet, connected watch, smartphone …). Mobile development is defined by the creation and distribution of portable applications, intended for companies or individuals, in compliance with a strict reliability and security charter.

What is the role of mobile developers?

Mobile applications have invaded all our screens, for various purposes. Thus, their use covers multiple functions, such as entertainment, or personalized tools. From the expansion of this new technology has emerged a new job: mobile developer.

The mobile developer is responsible for designing a mobile application, from its theoretical conception to its technical realization. Therefore, it must take into account the specificities of the display rendering according to the different types of devices hosting the program.

The responsibility of a mobile developer is not limited to coding. The missions are numerous to carry out its project:

  • After careful analysis of the specifications provided by the mobile web project manager, it must meet all the requirements issued by the customers.
  • It determines a technical axis that will support and highlight the specificities of the project.
  • During development, he maintains constant contact with the web design team to stay connected to the spirit of the project and maintain consistency throughout the production
  • He is the first beta tester of his own application to verify that the program meets the reliability criteria
  • It remains alert to maintenance or update problems in order to rectify any technical faults.

What are the different approaches to mobile application development?

Today, applications allow companies to equip their employees with various tools that allow them to work more efficiently, more effectively and more efficiently. The development of mobile applications can be done via 3 distinct methods.

  • Native Apps

This is literally the most common and classic way to program an application. The native apps offer the possibility to access the functions of the devices, such as GPS and camera, contact list or photo gallery. Their performance is still very competitive but their development cost is much higher. Indeed, the implementation of this type of apps requires the intervention of experts in programming.

  • Web Apps

The approach of web apps via tools such as Javascript or CSS allow to generate web pages relatively close to desktop applications. Easily optimized for tablets and smartphones, these apps are used directly by the device’s browser. Unlike native apps, they are not available on the manufacturer’s stores but the production cost is much lower because a simple web developer can do it.

  • Aps Hybrid

Hybrid apps, as their name suggests, combine the best elements of the two previous approaches. Like web apps, they adapt to all platforms without having to be reprogrammed for each support. Like the native apps, they can be downloaded via the manufacturers’ stores and have a very good graphic and ergonomic quality. In this respect, they are close to the general Native rendering. These apps are a very good alternative both technically and economically for users and developers.

Security focus: how to ensure the security of mobile applications?

For a developer, one of the biggest issues in programming is security. There are many direct and indirect consequences if you are negligent. Theft of users’ personal data, loss of brand image for the company, costly legal outcomes… It is good to apply some basic principles to prevent this:

  • Data encryption is a first barrier to malicious acts. These can be stolen and then resold at exorbitant prices. This new gold mine is the object of all covetousness. Operating systems already offer a first barrier of protection, but it is advisable to use a second encryption to protect sensitive data.
  • The idea seems obvious, but the password is still a safe bet, no matter how hard you try. In addition to a tangle of complex letters and symbols, consider other authentication methods, such as biometrics.
  • Even if it remains a common sense principle, it is good to remember that it is necessary to limit as much as possible the access to the different files and components of an application, otherwise there will be bad surprises. No privileges should be allowed. Of course, regular testing of one’s own program to check for possible security flaws remains an essential part of maintaining a constant level of security.

Key concepts of mobile development

The storyboard

The storyboard is the backbone of a mobile application development. Implemented by a project manager, the storyboard accurately describes each functionality of a mobile application. It is presented in parallel with the specifications, supported by a graphic aspect to facilitate understanding.

Native development

Native development is the ability to have two different codes to realize a project, each in a dedicated language natively for the corresponding OS. Remember that two operating systems exist. IOS and Android, each with its own development language. Swift for IOS, and Kotlin for Android.

Cross-platform development

Opposite definition of native development, cross-platform development consists in developing an application by providing a single source code, which will then be automatically translated by the second OS. This method is a financial gain for its development but strongly limits the functionality of the application.

The IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

The IDE defines the development environment. Each OS has its own environment and mobile developers recognize the advantages and disadvantages of each according to their sensibilities. They are called Android Studio and Xcode.

An SDK (Software Development Kit)

The SDK includes all the tools for programming. The codes are listed in the form of a library. This is an essential element in the development of a mobile application.

A guideline

The guideline is a charter of good practice that developers must scrupulously respect in order to carry out their project correctly. The respect of the rules applied to the graphic interfaces and the applications is an obligatory passage to be validated by the OS

The blind

The store is the final step for a mobile application. This is literally the digital store where the program will be sold. Regarding the Android applications, they are available on Google Play Store. As for IOS, it is the Apple Store that takes care of it.

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Updated 2 January 2024