New App Development Tools


Altova releases new versions of its app development framework multiple times a year to introduce new features added in response to customer requests and feedback, as well as to add support for newer OS and database versions as they become available.

The latest release of MobileTogether and RecordsManager introduces important new functionality for building low-code and no-code apps.

Introducing the latest MobileTogether release
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A Great App for Cataloging Collections


If you’re a collector – and let’s face it, we all are – of anything from books to stamps to video games, you’ve got to check out the Altova MyCollections app.

This is a free app available for Android, iOS, and Windows, and you can actually install it on all three concurrently. I love using this to, for example, enter collection info on my Windows laptop and access it on the go on my phone. It’s easy to share your collections with friends or make them public, and you can even list your items for sale or rent.

Check out this quick demo video to see how it works.

The best way to see how MyCollections works is to try it out yourself. Download it from your favorite app store using the links below.

Download on the App Store
Download on Google Play
Download from the Microsoft Store

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Software Design Templates in Mobile Development Projects


Software design templates streamline mobile app development by eliminating implementation of repetitive components. Creating a design template also simplifies revisions and upgrades when a change to the template can roll through an entire project.

MobileTogether supports software design templates for user controls in cross-platform mobile apps to facilitate design reuse and make it easy to build efficient, flexible options for various app requirements.

A Control Template in MobileTogether is a design component that allows developers to specify and group user controls in a way that makes them easily reusable. Control Templates support parameters, and each template can be customized based on parameter values at runtime.

Let’s look at an example.

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CbC Reporting Made Easy


A recent mandate from the OECD called on large, multinational companies to report financials annually for each country in which they do business to their local tax authority. The OECD specified that this detailed Country by Country (CbC) Report be filed in an XML document according to their reporting schema. But for tax departments that work largely in Excel or other accounting software, this presented a significant stumbling block – and companies found themselves scrambling to meet the requirements by the deadline.

What was needed is a way to automatically generate valid, properly formatted CbC XML reports based on existing data. Altova created the Country by Country Reporting Solution to do just that, either based on manually entered data or figures imported directly from Excel. Let’s take a look at how it works.

 

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Accelerate Low Code App Development with MobileTogether 6.0


With the right tools, a low code approach to development doesn’t mean a sacrifice of functionality or sophistication of the end result. On the contrary, low code app development frameworks like MobileTogether make advanced programming functionality more accessible and faster to implement.

Whether you’re building apps for iOS, Android, Windows, the web – or all of the above – the latest release of MobileTogether adds a mix of features that elevate programming on the platform to the next level and give developers easy access to the latest mobile device trends.

Announcing MobileTogether 6.0
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Build Custom Maps in Mobile Apps


In an earlier post we described how to integrate maps into cross-platform mobile apps with each end-user device’s native map application. Our example app generated a map with pins locating major airports in the United States. Illustrations showed maps generated by the same app on an Android phone, an iPhone, and Windows desktop.

What if a list of locations to be mapped is not known in advance, but generated based on user activity at run-time? MobileTogether, the low-code cross-platform mobile development tool from Altova, also empowers developers to build custom maps in mobile apps on the fly based on a list of geolocations generated at run time.

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Top 5 Requirements for RMAD Tools


Originally coined by analyst firm Gartner, RMAD (rapid mobile application development) isn’t just a hot acronym in app development for 2024 –  it’s an absolute necessity.  Waiting six to eight months for an app ensures that it will be completely obsolete once it’s finally ready for prime time: requirements will change, another app will fill the niche, or end users will already be entrenched with another solution.

In addition, a traditional, non-RMAD approach assumes you have a team of mobile developers ready to tackle the project, and for many businesses, hiring experienced app developers is a lengthy, expensive process. Outsourcing your app development work that well, either. Many have tried, but few have succeeded in getting third-parties to realize the original vision of the app, on time, and while ensuring the integrity of their intellectual property rights.

Luckily, with the increasing prevalence of RMAD tools, developing a sophisticated, full-featured app in a week or two – and with your existing tech team – is suddenly a reality. Of course, not all RMAD tools are created equal. Let’s take a look at the five top requirements you should demand in an RMAD solution.

Mobile app end users

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Integrate Maps into Mobile Apps


Developers can create highly-customized location-based apps by leveraging geolocation functionality in mobile devices. Now MobileTogether, the cross-platform, low-code mobile development tool from Altova, supports deep integration of maps into applications for all popular mobile platforms.

Developers can integrate maps into mobile apps, add dedicated markers, and define custom actions based on user clicks on the map. For instance, an enterprise might want an app to include a map of all branch office locations, then display the current inventory when an office is clicked.

In a previous post we described a mobile app designed to let users check the status of major US airports by selecting an airport code from a combo box. An alternate technique would be to replace the 47 combo-box entries with pins on a map.

Let’s look at this example.

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Automatic Link Detection for Mobile Apps


Integration between a mobile app and the vast information resources of world wide web makes the user experience more convenient and responsive, especially when targeted web content may be frequently updated.

The latest release of MobileTogether, Altova’s low-code, cross-platform mobile development framework, includes support for automatic link detection of URLs and email addresses in labels. Clicking or tapping the link opens the targeted website page in a browser window or as a new draft message in the device’s email app in a new window without quitting the mobile app. No further special coding required by the developer.

User interacting with app

Let’s see how it works.

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Flexible Collection Curation with MyCollections 4.0


MyCollections, the easy-to-use app for cataloging and sharing your collections, has been updated with flexible new tools for customizing the way your published collections are displayed.

Whether you’re using the MyCollections app for iOS, Android, Windows, or the web, the new options in MyCollections 4.0 make it even easier to show off your collections exactly as you’d like to.

MyCollections app for cataloging and sharing your collections
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How Low-Code Can Solve the Developer Shortage


The shortage of software developers in recent years is hardly news – and it’s not getting any better. A recent study arrived at a stunning revelation: software developers are now more valuable to companies than money.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors contributing to the problem – as well as how the emergence of low code tools is helping to solve it in a few surprising ways.

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Early Software Testing Validates Design


“Test early and often,” is a strategy from agile software engineering that has evolved to become a mandate for software developers in every field. Early software testing is especially important for developers working on cross-platform apps, who must support mobile devices with varying physical characteristics and operating system functionalities.

MobileTogether includes features to incorporate early software testing into the development process without time-consuming compile, deploy, and debug cycles for each mobile platform. The Altova Web site describes the MobileTogether Simulator early software testing feature, and we have blogged about the ability to record and re-run specific sets of actions in test cases.

This post describes Trial Run on Client. It’s built into the MobileTogether Designer to let developers instantly examine app designs and validate logic and functionality across any supported mobile device or platform – Android, iOS, and Windows Desktop or Windows Phone.

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Steps and Tips to Migrate a Windows MobileTogether Server to Linux


The MobileTogether app development framework includes MobileTogether Server, the back-end hub that powers your mobile and desktop apps.  Available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS, MobileTogether Server acts as a gateway between end-users and back-end data sources such as databases.

Migrating an existing Windows MobileTogether Server to an Ubuntu box is easy when no database connections are required.  But, if you have database connections, MobileTogether Designer can do all the heavy lifting for you.

As an IT administrator who works with physical and virtual hardware as well as desktop and server software, it has made life easier to create many scripts to help manage repetitive tasks.  Though I’m more of a ‘citizen developer’ with no formal developer training, using MobileTogether Designer to migrate a server with database connections was fast and easy.   Below is a look at how I was able to save my company the cost of a Windows server license by moving solutions to an Ubuntu platform.

computer room

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Inform Users with Sound Effects in Mobile Apps


Sound effects in mobile apps can reinforce functionality and make an app more fun to use. MobileTogether makes it easy and convenient for mobile developers to add a standard set of sounds to user interface actions across all mobile platforms. For instance, developers might want to add sound effects to signify the success or failure of a file transfer or database transaction. Or simply add a keyclick sound to a button as feedback for a user tap.

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Mobile App Calendar Integration with MobileTogether


MobileTogether gives developers holistic access to the rich feature sets of mobile devices for cross-platform deployment of native apps for Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad), Windows 8 & 10, Windows Phone 10, and HTML5  browsers for other users. MobileTogether apps created from a single design can seamlessly access mobile device camera, messaging, GPS, audio, email features, and even feature mobile app calendar integration.

Since MobileTogether uses a combination of visual drag-and-drop UI design and easy-to-understand functional programming for data selection, it’s easy for any programmer or web developer to build highly sophisticated apps to read and write calendar events for all platforms. For instance, a mobile scheduling app for a large, distributed user base could help everyone easily sync their calendars.

e-reader

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Efficient MobileTogether Services on Backend Servers for Mobile Apps


MobileTogether Server Advanced Edition services on backend servers for mobile apps execute independently of any app running on a mobile device, based on a variety of triggers. MobileTogether services can provide background functionality to mobile apps or perform automated standalone actions without requiring any end user to interact with a mobile app. For instance, a MobileTogether service could generate a report and email it to the server administrator at a specified time. Or, a service could query a database based on some external criteria and perform an action such as sending a notification or an email.

A MobileTogether Server service is a set of MobileTogether Designer actions deployed to the server as a specialized solution file.

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How to Make a Pop-up Window in an App


During mobile app development there’s often a quick action the developer wishes to let the user to complete or a message that can be delivered on top of the current app view – otherwise known as a pop-up window. These are useful for letting the end user complete a process or view a message payload without interrupting his or her progress in the app.

MobileTogether makes it easy to configure pop-up windows of any size. Let’s take a look at how it works.

User interacting with app

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Mark Your Calendar for this MobileTogether Release


The newest version of Altova’s cross-platform framework for mobile app development includes comprehensive calendar integration for building apps with scheduling functionality. You’ll also find support for building and triggering services, easy to configure pop-up windows, and much more.

Whether you’re building enterprise apps or native apps for the major platforms, this release has the tools you need to add even more great functionality — without increasing development time.

Let’s take a look at what’s new.

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Multi-Language Localization for Mobile Apps


MobileTogether includes support to seamlessly localize mobile apps in multiple languages. This empowers developers to build one version of a mobile app that works across many languages as well as across multiple platforms.

Developers can include translations in a single MobileTogether app design for all text phrases required, and when any end-user runs the app, whether on an Android phone, an iPhone, Windows desktop, or any other supported platform, the language for the app is selected to match the language for the device operating system.

With multi-language localization, even text-to-speech functionality is localized to the user’s native language.

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How To Build Your First App


MobileTogether Designer provides a powerful drag and drop interface that allows for incredibly quick cross platform app development. To help developers get started I have produced this video tutorial, which covers the interface and the steps needed to build your first app.

By the end of the video developers should be able to navigate the Designer’s interface and create a basic app that takes user input and performs an action with it at the press of a button. This is the first in a series of tutorials aimed at familiarizing developers with the ins and outs of app development in MobileTogether.

 

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Push Notifications Headline Latest MobileTogether Release


The latest release of MobileTogether, Altova’s framework for cross platform mobile app development, adds easy-to-use tools for defining push notifications, the ability to embed apps inside web applications, and more.

Let’s take a look at these new features, which only add to the long list of functionality available for building today’s sophisticated, data-centric mobile apps.

MobileTogether 4.0 Adds Push Notifications

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Text-to-Speech for Mobile Apps


Altova MobileTogether supports text-to-speech functionality for cross-platform mobile apps, empowering developers to add speech and build a rich multi-media user experience.

Speech can be fully integrated with text anywhere it appears in an app. For instance, an app like the Parcel Delivery MobileTogether example can be enhanced by speaking the next delivery address aloud – especially if the driver is in traffic! Or, text in message boxes of other information blocks can also be spoken by the mobile device.

We created a simple demo to experiment with the functionality of text-to-speech for mobile apps then added text-to-speech features to the Parcel Delivery app.

Text-to-speech for mobile apps

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Show Off Your Collections with MyCollections 2


The MyCollections app from Altova has become a popular tool for Android, iPhone, iPad, and Windows users to catalog and keep track of their collections of books, watches, recipes, vacation destinations – you name it.

It’s easy to share portions of or entire collections with your friends who have the MyCollections app, and now you can even publish your carefully curated creations to the web – and then share them via email or on your social media accounts.

Publishing collections is just one of the new features in MyCollections 2 – let’s check out the full list of improvements.

MyCollections App

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Mobile Apps for Enterprise Operations Management


Combining rapid mobile app development (RMAD) with a single development environment for building cross-platform apps makes Altova MobileTogether an ideal tool to create specialized mobile apps for enterprise operations management at all levels.

The development schedule using MobileTogether can be as short as a few days vs. weeks or months for traditional native platform coding. That kind of productivity makes it practical to build specialized apps that might only be used by a small number of operations managers, but greatly improve enterprise efficiency.

For instance, an app for the inventory manager for a manufacturing operation with just-in-time supply chain management can link to back-end systems to monitor inventory levels using any mobile device from anywhere in the plant or even offsite.

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New Features for Mobile App Development in MobileTogether 3.2


The latest release of Altova’s mobile app development framework introduces over 18 features with highlights including support for NFC messages, text-to-speech, the ability to read device contacts, flexible options for dynamic tables, and more.

Read more below or check out our quick MobileTogether 3.2 video.

 

New in MobileTogether

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Converting a StyleVision Design to MobileTogether


StyleVision, Altova’s visual XSLT stylesheet designer and report designer, is also a powerful enterprise form designer popular with customers who need to get their XML or database data into e-forms for use with Altova Authentic.

Authentic is a WYSIWYG editor for non-technical users and is available in desktop and browser plug-in versions. However, due to increasing security issues, support for native plug-ins is being phased out in most modern web browsers. If you are an Authentic Browser Edition customer, fear not – you can now convert any existing StyleVision design to a MobileTogether design to deploy it via MobileTogether Server as a simple URL that can be accessed by web browsers, or even as a native app on a mobile device.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of that approach.

Enterprise Form to Mobile App
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Build a Mobile Dashboard to Wow Any Executive


In an earlier post on Creating Elegant Mobile Apps, we showed examples of a simple app and a complete mobile dashboard running on multiple mobile devices. Mobile developers can also delight end users by empowering them to customize the app experience. MobileTogether lets developers tailor cross-platform apps to each mobile platform and empower users through a simple and intuitive custom text size control.

Allowing each end user to set the preferred text size for viewing conditions and the device is both courteous to users and relieves developers of the task of determining the appropriate text size to work across all devices.

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Build an Elegant Mobile App that Delights End-Users


Smartphones and tablets are everywhere, and superior apps have created a population of demanding users with high standards for mobile performance. This can be challenge for enterprises that want to build mobile apps to support internal business goals.

Complicating development tasks, many companies have adopted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that give users choice and flexibility while off-loading mobile device procurement issues. However, BYOD scenarios present significant hurdles for developers, who now must build apps for multiple mobile operating systems and screen sizes.

Enterprise developers in this environment need a tool that lets them quickly deliver a new mobile app or an updated version. Altova MobileTogether is that tool. MobileTogether lets developers design, test, and release one version of an app to run on all mobile devices, with interface features that will delight users across platforms.

Further, MobileTogether makes it simple to build sophisticated apps that connect to your existing backend systems and all popular relational databases. The MobileTogether framework includes the backend server for the mobile app, so developers create the front-end app and the back-end server logic at the same time and in one environment!

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Opening URLs and Documents within a Mobile App


MobileTogether apps for enterprises can connect to existing backend databases and generate richly-formatted documents and forms. MobileTogether can also create gateways to existing resources by opening URLs and documents within a mobile app.

Opening URLs and Documents within a Mobile App

The Open URL/File action lets MobileTogether developers give end users the ability to open Web pages or files such as PDFs, image files, text files, etc., that are stored on the client device.

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Patient Mobile Form – New Sample App


It’s time for your yearly checkup. However, first, you must update your paperwork. You can practically feel the hand cramp coming on as soon as the receptionist hands over the clipboard.

What if you could update all your info ahead of time – or even in the waiting room – on your mobile device? You could definitely build an app for that.

We’ve created the New Patient sample app to demonstrate a few key features, including how MobileTogether lets you develop cross-platform apps that include rich, mobile form based solutions for capturing data. Let’s take a look at how it works.

Patient form mobile app

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Generate PDF, Word, or RTF Documents from a Mobile App


Need to empower mobile users to capture information and generate a document or report from any remote location? MobileTogether lets you build a cross-platform mobile app to do that. You can tailor the app with all the device-specific mobile controls users expect, like check boxes, date pickers, switches and buttons, yet generate output files identical to an existing document, form, or report already familiar throughout the enterprise.

The Actions Dialog in the MobileTogether Designer lets developers define a Print To action to generate PDF, Word, or RTF documents from a mobile app. Once a document is rendered, it is saved on the mobile client for further processing. For instance, a PDF file could be emailed as a file attachment.

Generate PDF, Word, or RTF Documents from a Mobile App

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Flexible App UI Design with Multi-level Style Sheets


Using a cross-platform mobile development framework like MobileTogether is a great choice for building native apps, because the design environment takes care of rendering the app UI properly using the native look and feel of each operating system. You just have to build one design.

This gives app developers the ability to build sophisticated, data-centric apps for all users very quickly. To help this work, MobileTogether employs an RMAD approach along with flexible options for designing a beautiful UX. To help specifically with this last point are multi-level style sheets that let you customize and apply styles – either statically or dynamically – at various levels of the app UI design with just a few clicks.

Viewing a mobile app

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Automated Testing for Mobile App Development


Robust and repeatable testing improves any software development project. If you’re creating a mobile app, testing is especially critical given the unpredictable range of end user devices and location variables. Altova MobileTogether includes sophisticated Automated Testing features that let developers:

  • Record a series of user actions as a test case
  • Replay the test case in the MobileTogether Designer Simulator environment
  • Deploy test cases to the MobileTogether Server for replay on a variety of client devices
  • Retrieve Test Run results from the server and compare differences

Automated Testing for Mobile Apps

You can even modify the app to fix a bug and run the test case again to validate the results of changes, which makes this an indispensable QA tool for your mobile app development process.

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Scan Now: Barcodes in Mobile Apps


Barcodes are used in various industries to provide an optical, machine readable representation of data, usually related to an object they are placed on, such as a book, retail product, shipping package, or even the wrist of a patient in a hospital.

Recent developments in barcode technology include 2D codes that use shapes beyond the original bars (think of those QR codes you see on everything from magazine ads to cereal boxes). More significant, though, is the ability of smartphones and other mobile devices to scan barcodes using their built-in camera. Where in the past a specialized barcode scanner was required to read the coded information, now anyone can scan a code, greatly expanding the usefulness of barcodes for communicating data that can then be used a variety of ways.

Apps that can process barcode information are useful in a number of industries, and they can be used in apps that target workers as well as consumers. Let’s take a look at how easy it is to build an app that scans and processes barcodes in MobileTogether.

Barcodes in mobile apps

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MobileTogether Adds Barcodes, Automated Testing, and More


It’s time for the latest release of MobileTogether, Altova’s cross-platform framework for building native, data-centric apps.

Coming a short five months after MobileTogether 2.2, version 3.0 ships with an impressive array of new functionality, from developer-requested features such as barcode scanning and automated testing support, to flexibility improvements in the form of multi-level stylesheets and print-to-file functionality, all of which are sure to set your apps apart from the crowd.

Let’s take a look at the new features in detail.

 MobileTogether 3.0

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Audio and Video in Cross-Platform Mobile Apps


Altova MobileTogether combines UI design by visual drag and drop with functional programming using Actions and Action Trees to let developers quickly build mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. MobileTogether 2.2 recently added support for multimedia features that will delight end users with sound effects, video, and audio recording functionality.

Add audio and video to delight mobile app users

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Multimedia for Mobile


Thanks to invaluable feedback from developers building apps in MobileTogether, we’re constantly adding new functionality to the product. Close on the heels of MobileTogether 2.1, which added over 30 new features, is the latest release: Version 2.2.

Additions to MobileTogether 2.2 are focused on integrating multimedia assets in your mobile apps, with new tools for using audio and video functionality to enable seamless interactivity that your end users will love.

 

New in MobileTogether: Audio and Video

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Accelerate Testing in Mobile App Development


Testing by real-world users is a critical step in successful development of intuitive mobile apps for all platforms. A recent in-house experience demonstrated this axiom, and the MobileTogether Instant Deployment proved to be an effective tool to accelerate testing in mobile app development, deliver a new version of an app into the hands of Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows 10 users, and get feedback faster than ever.

FiveKeys

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Advanced Error Handling Actions for Mobile Apps


MobileTogether 2.1 includes new Try/Throw and Catch error handling actions for mobile apps, allowing developers to build sophisticated error-handling routines that improve end-user experience. For instance, if an app wants to connect to a third-party Web service but the server is not available, error-handling actions permit graceful recovery.

MobileTogether error handling actions for mobile apps work the same way for all platforms, saving developers time since there’s no need to customize error handling based on the requirements of each mobile operating system.

error_handling5

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Build your Collections with the MyCollections App


For the longest time, I’ve searched in vain for a collection app that would help me manage my favorite recipes. I have a ton on Pinterest, and an equal number in my ever-growing cookbook collection. The problem is, when it comes time to make a favorite dish, I can never remember where the recipe is and end up spending half my cooking time looking for it. Enter the new Altova MyCollections app: I’ve already started using this for my recipes and other collections, and I’ll never go back.

MyCollections lets you catalog any collection whatsoever – whether it’s comprised of actual objects like books, CDs, watches, or camping equipment – or if it’s your favorite places to visit, your great-hikes bucket list, or your birthday wish list. Oh, and it’s free.

MyCollections App
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New Features for App UI Design


As the saying goes, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” This age-old advice still rings true today in myriad contexts – even when thinking about mobile apps. A successful app is an extension of the user’s hand, and a beautiful, functional UI is what makes that connection seamless.
MobileTogether makes it easier than ever to build sophisticated UIs to front-end complex programming logic. In its latest release, we’ve added even more options for developing intuitive interfaces for native iOS, Android, and Windows apps.

Mobile app

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Scrolling Tables for Data-Driven Mobile Apps


Mobile device users always demand maximum information in the most convenient package, but small screen sizes can force a trade-off. Mobile app developers are challenged to fit data, navigation controls, and helper information all into a pleasing layout or risk frustrating end users who could be customers, colleagues, or c-level executives. MobileTogether 2.1 introduces scrolling tables and other cool new features to help developers create apps that present data elegantly and work the same way on all devices.

shutterstock_160560011

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New Features for Mobile Development


The latest version of MobileTogether is available today, adding even more functionality to this game-changing framework for building and deploying native mobile apps faster than any other solution.

To start with, we’ve completely revised the pricing for MobileTogether, with a new model that’s simple to understand and ridiculously affordable.

In addition, Version 2.1 introduces over 30 important new features added based on real-world developer feedback, from new functionality for building tables, to sophisticated error handling actions, to flexible options for beautiful UI design.

Let’s take a look at how these new features combine to let you build the most sophisticated data-centric apps for iOS, Android, and Windows devices.

MobileTogether 2.1 announcement

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Don’t Make This App Development Mistake


You’ve done everything right, making sure your app has powerful access to back end data, a beautiful and intuitive UX, and availability for iOS, Android, and even Windows phones. It’s in the app stores and ready for those five star ratings. What could you possibly have overlooked?

You’re too mobile.

 Mobile Development: Don't Forget the Desktop

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Delight Users with Mobile App Features Tailored to the Device


An incredible variety of mobile phones and tablets exist in the world today and new models are announced continuously. All these mobile devices have different specifications and capabilities, which can be a problem for developers creating mobile apps. Tablets have large screen sizes, but don’t necessarily include cellular data, default color sets vary by phone manufacturer, and built-in mobile features may behave differently in each mobile operating system. Fortunately, the MobileTogether Designer provides an integrated development environment that lets users quickly design and build cross-platform mobile app features ideally suited to each end-user’s device.

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Demand These 10 Features for Mobile App Development


“We need an app for that.”

This simple declaration carries with it underlying implications that can be anything but simple to implement: an app must be available for all devices, it must delight end users – and it must be ready yesterday.

As the need for mobility in data centric apps has increased, so has the number of products claiming to provide the best in cross-platform mobile development. But how can you cut through the flowery marketing claims? We’ve put together a list of the top 10 criteria for choosing a mobile development framework.

Data-centric mobile app

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