How to choose a mobile application development platform (MADP)?
In the market for MADP (Mobile Application Development Platforms), there is a multitude of offers that are not always comparable, and, for a company, it is sometimes difficult to navigate.
This article aims to help you differentiate existing offerings and to identify the relevant selection criteria.
What is a mobile application development platform?
Develop a mobile application can be time consuming and costly, especially if the application needs to run on different types of mobile OS (iOS, Android, Windows) and equipment (tablet, smartphone …). Moreover, developers have the necessary skills to design mobile applications are not so many as you might think.
The MADP platform addresses these two issues because it gives developers the ability to design, develop, test, deploy and maintain an entire portfolio of mobile applications, hybrid or native, cross-platform, multi-environments, all without changing their habits development and relying on standards.
Some platforms offer MADP indeed reusable technological modules from one application to another, allowing to optimize the time and cost of mobile application development, and speed up their production.
These bricks ready- take for example on the aspects “back-end” (Server side), allowing developers to focus on the development aspects of the application of art.
They may also offer features ready to be integrated such as Push Notification, strong authentication or offline synchronization …. Finally, they provide connectors enabling the application to communicate with the SI of the company.
What selection criteria?
Among the existing offer, how to choose? A number of criteria are taken into account:
# 1. Ease of use
What are the skills of people who will use the platform? The answer to this question can influence the choice of the platform. It is important to put the MADP platform in the hands of developers so they can assess before setting a final choice. Depending on the case, they will favor solutions offering loans code libraries to use, or, conversely, solutions offering great freedom of customization.
# 2. The cost
There are solutions open source platforms available in the cloud, platforms accessible via a license, etc. In all cases, it is assessing the cost of the platform over the long term, including hidden costs.
For the cost of a mobile application development platform is not limited to its acquisition cost (or rental). It also includes the maintenance, support, etc. For example, an Open Source solution can offer some short-term benefit, but be very costly in the long run if it requires a major effort of integration and support.
It may be interesting to a company can separately acquire over time certain elements of the platform, according to the evolution of its mobile strategy.
It is also important to understand how the price is divided between several platforms for maintenance costs, updates and developments may vary significantly.
# 3. Lifecycle Management application
Remember to make sure the MADP platform provides features for managing the application life cycle: according to business needs, this includes in particular the management of the coexistence of a heterogeneous set of applications and versions, client side as side Server (versioning), application deployment, and monitoring of their behavior on all mobile devices (including analytics).
# 4. Security
One of the major problems caused by the deployment of mobile applications is that of security. It is essential that the mobile application development platform includes an integrated module to ensure a high level of access and security of transactions. Check in particular what type of encryption method used, where the keys are stored and how communication between applications and existing systems is ensured.
# 5. Integration / connectivity
The platform should allow MADP build applications that integrate with different systems and services required, and this throughout their life cycle. It must also offer loans connectors to employment or be compatible with standard connectors.
# 6. The support of the expected features
According to the target mobile applications, different applications can be developed : native applications (which provide better performance and user experience but generally cost more, especially if they are cross-platform), the WebApp that are developed in HTML5 (more quick to develop but may be less robust) or hybrid applications (which can be a good compromise between the two).
Before choosing a MADP platform, it is important to ensure that it is able to provide all the features you need to meet your application needs (present and future) and its functional scope is not limiting.
Does the platform is based on standards development (allowing to easily integrate Third party products and minimize dependence on proprietary technology)? Is it provides back-end services necessary? Is it provides APIs for libraries? Is it supports different mobile OS used by mobile users? etc. It is essential to get the answer to all these questions before making a decision.
# 7. Related services (Service Level Agreement)
Finally, developers naturally expect the mobile application development platform they will choose, whether it is reliable, scalable and high-performance …. And that the rest to evolve versions of operating systems and mobile devices.
This is why it is important to clarify upstream of choice, which covers the SLA guarantee offered by the provider of the platform. Similarly, maintenance and updating are important issues to be raised when evaluating platforms, as these transactions may impact the availability of the platform and require resources.
Today, setting up a development platform for mobile applications is strategic for any company that wishes to drive its mobile strategy: Choosing the right product is a mission that IT services should not be treated lightly. After answering the various questions raised above, they may also be interested in the degree of expertise in mobility of the chosen provider and measure what is the maturity of the proposed MADP platform.
Originally published at Mab Tech Blog.