This week’s post is going to dive into my roots as a techie and talk about mobile apps. They are a huge market draw in terms of getting your brand or product in front of the masses as well as for skilled software developers to make good money. Mobile apps are a great way to extend functionality of your web applications, especially if you want to run in a disconnected mode or take advantage of native features of the mobile device such as stored contacts or the built-in camera.
But what does it take to build a mobile app these days? First of all, like all great software, you need a great idea. Then you need to find someone with the skills and knowledge of developing, testing and deploying your mobile app for public consumption. Seems simple right? There are already a multitude of environments and supporting applications for mobile app development. What’s the best one? Great question. The bigger question is where is mobile app development going? There are so many platforms (I say platform instead of application for a reason) for developing mobile apps that it’s beginning to diminish the need for skills of grassroots mobile developers.
I’m an experienced programmer in more of the classic platforms (ASP.net, Windows Forms) but thought I’d take a crack at mobile development. Using a trial version of a web-based mobile development platform called Appery, I designed, built and deployed to my own Samsung device a mobile app that can read my device info and snap and store a picture. This took me about an hour to complete with relatively zero knowledge of mobile development technology. The platform allowed me to design a mobile form, construct a small database and generate RESTful web services for consumption of the app, build the app file (.apk file) and provide a QR code for easy downloading and installation on my device. While the app itself probably won’t garner a lot of interest, my point is that the tools for building mobile apps are becoming more powerful and not-so-slowly removing the need for complex coding to be done to do rather simple things with your device.
Where I’m going with this thought is that there is an industry trend that is emerging that is allowing novice mobile developers to quickly build mobile applications without the need to bring on experienced mobile developers. This places less of an emphasis on the need for highly skilled developers and more focus on ensuring that your app ideas are sound and that the apps meet the needs of your user base. The tools are out there and only getting stronger to allow novice developers to create mobile apps – something to think about when planning your mobile development strategy.
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