“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.
10 Must-Have Features for Mobile App Development
- Develop native apps for all platforms
- Provide a single integrated development environment
It goes without saying that time is not on your side when you’re building an app. Rather than waste time with writing code manually against native platform SDKs or developing separate UIs for each platform, look for a product that does that work for you – so you can focus your time on the business logic and functionally of your app.
- Design both the app front end and the backend server logic at once
Your app is more than just a beautiful UI. It’s the brains of the system – the data processing and delivery – that’re going to get you the five star rating. A complete mobile app framework includes not only the front end but powerful back end server software for comprehensive workflow execution, data integration, server-powered data calculation, and so on. Whether it lives in your network or in the cloud, you want the backend processing server for your app to be lightning fast and powerful to deliver the best user experience.
- Connect to all major back end data systems
Systems compatible with a single platform or database vendor are too rigid and won’t stand the test of time as requirements and software evolve. You need connectivity to any data source, whether that’s in one or more relational database systems, on the Web, in XML or JSON, and so on. Look for flexibility, not silos.
- Complete full-featured apps as quickly as possible
Time is a recurring theme in this list. In reality, any app that takes longer than a month or two from zero to live is going to be obsolete before it hits the app stores. Requirements change; competitors creep; windows of opportunity are missed. There’s no reason you can’t get a kick ass app out the door in days with the right tools.
- Go beyond simply mobilizing desktop productivity processes
The goal of app development should be to add value to existing processes – not simply turn on mobile access. Your app development platform should enable you to unearth entirely new ways of viewing, analyzing, reporting, and capturing data.
- Utilize in-house development or IT teams
With the right IDE, desktop developers and IT power users can develop sophisticated mobile apps. Hiring specialized mobile developers – if you can even find and recruit them – is time consuming and expensive. An app development solution should be easy enough that citizen developers can grasp it, while being powerful enough to delight experienced developers. It is possible.
- Don’t forget the desktop: apps must work on ANY screen
Through it all, remember that the key to mobile success is not the device, but the user. He or she rotates between smartphone, tablet, and laptop, and your app must work equally well on any screen. An app is an app. The user decides where to use it. Make sure your mobile development solution doesn’t neglect the desktop.
- Provide options for enterprise and consumer end-users
Enterprise mobility brings with it a unique set of challenges: security requirements, ease of deployment considerations, budgetary limits, developer resource constraints, and the list goes on. As a developer you want a product that can handle deploying apps in-house as well as via the app stores.
- Offer scalable, fully transparent pricing for organizations of any size
Know your options before you begin. Nothing’s worse than developing an app only to discover that your deployment scenario requires tens of thousands of dollars just to get your app out the door. Choose a product with a low cost of entry that scales as your app is adopted. Be suspicious when pricing is unavailable.
It’s no surprise that Altova MobileTogether was designed to meet all these requirements. Whether your app is destined for the enterprise or for consumers via the app stores, you can build it in MobileTogether quickly and easily, without sacrificing the functionality or sophistication your users expect.
MobileTogether is the result of years of work and testing, during which we listened to our customers, and we listened to our in-house developers who were building apps. The framework grew from that feedback and end user input, not from flowery promises.
The pricing structure is flexible. In fact, you can build and test a full-fledged app before ever taking out your credit card.
In a world where “We need an app for that,” is a given, mobile app development should be easy and affordable, and you should be able to check off all the requirements on your list.