Businesses are moving at a greater pace than they ever were. The consumer habits are changing in accordance with the constant evolution in technology which has moved from mainframes to our pockets and wrists. To keep up with the changing consumer habits and to be at the bleeding edge, enterprises are trying hard to catch up. They are increasingly moving to a mobile first strategy and are investing more money than ever on enterprise app development.
Enterprise mobility solutions architects are researching innovative development techniques and empowering
- faster development cycles,
- minimum development cost,
- minimum coding; maximum security.
App developers are adopting newer development techniques and following modern development practices to fulfil the requirements of their enterprise clients. Some of those technologies, methods, and practices I have listed here:
1. Rapid Mobile App Development (RMAD)
Enterprise apps owing to business value they carry consumes more development cycles than consumer apps do. is based on ‘zero’ coding philosophy to shrink development time and meet mission critical business tasks. Application developed with RMAD are good-enough to distribution inside an enterprise to address an adhoc problem that can’t be addressed with the existing applications in place.
RMAD is basically Rapid Application Development (RAD) extended to a mobile environment. RMAD, with little coding or by implementing methods like early prototyping and reusing software components, can be used to develop customer facing apps in addition to internal apps.
RMAD development environment is web based and supports object oriented programming.
2. Bimodal IT
Bimodal IT is the recent trend in enterprise app delivery. As the name suggest, in Bimodal IT, there are two parallel modes involved. One mode of app development focusses on stability another on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed. This is expected to bridge the gap between demand and capacity, which is expected to be between five to one currently.
Best Enterprise app development Practices
1. Cross-platform apps are the future of enterprise mobile app development
Enterprise apps are more of a need than luxury. An employee is unlikely to complain about an app’s UI or theme color distributed by his employer the way he complains about an app developed by Facebook or Microsoft (Google apps are perfect!).
Absence of native UI/UX support remains the biggest problem with cross-platform frameworks, today. They try to generate a common UI on all platforms which alienates users, who are prone to hamburger menu on Android and bottom menu on iOS. Fortunately, enterprise apps remain immune from this problem.
There are number of cross-platform frameworks available in the market. The most popular is PhoneGap (owned by Adobe). Xamarin, owned by Microsoft is catching fast though. Objective-C (for iOS) or Java (for Android) can be done in C# with Xamarin, which already offers complete access to 100% of the native APIs for iOS, Android and Windows in C#.
Appcelerator, Apache Cordova, Ionic and QT are other viable cross-platform tools that support desktop, web development, and mobile application development.
Cross-platform = Faster development + Less Coding + Lower Cost
2. OAuth 2.0 + two-factor authentication for users’ authentication
A practical tactic is to use OAuth 2.0. Many vendors support OAuth 2.0 with two-factor authentication including Azure AD, Ping, and Okta. Two-factor authentication requests a user to enter user ID and password (something you know) and a second validation, such as an OTP generated on your mobile phone (something you have) or a fingerprint (something you are).
Android, iOS, Windows, and the latest web browsers all support OAuth 2.0 services. No developer should count on any other method of authentication.
3. Context Driven Testing (CDT)
Context driven testing is the new form of agile testing. This kind of testing is executed when the end-users have dissimilar preference and requirements. CDT works for the mobile app which serve the need of one end-user but not the other. Let us say Microsoft Paint. Paint is an ideal application for casual graphics work
But for a professional graphic designer who wants to add high-res graphics and different font size and colors may rather prefer Adobe Creative Suite. So context driven testing is built on the fact that ‘no solution is the best solution. But in this case, benefit lies with the consumers, since the final product that is approved is a user-friendly product, nonetheless several users may not agree with that as context driven testing is not a universal testing methodology and works in applications where conditions seldom change and test setups are unidentified.
Enterprises are always dynamic as they continue to succeed in a modern ecosystem dominated by mobiles and wearables. The accessibility of apps as a way of taking on business competition with agility, rapidity, as well as contemplation and proper attention is the right way ahead.