There are numerous ways to develop software in today’s age thanks to a wide array of development technologies and tools, programming languages, frameworks, and libraries. For mobile app development itself, there are methodologies and frameworks developers can choose from; each with their fair share of pros & cons.

For instance, developers can adopt an approach that either increases costs while eliminating risks or reduces costs while compromising on quality. There are practices that ensure optimal utilization of resources and more efficient project management. But development of an application is not where things end. Other aspects that are just as important as development are licensing and delivery of the application.

We will be discussing the benefits of one such licensing and delivery model in this blog – SaaS or Software as a Service.

SaaS Application

A SaaS application is a centrally hosted application that’s offered to customers as a subscription-based service i.e. the application will be running on the SaaS provider’s server and accessible to customers who’ve opted for paid subscriptions. So, users of the app are essentially ‘renting’ the app rather than owning it.

That said, let’s explore the key benefits of SaaS apps and SaaS app development.

A solution that improves efficiency

SaaS app development is to develop comprehensive, one-size-fits-all solutions so that businesses won’t have to spend money on multiple apps to serve various purposes. SaaS apps are tailored to suit various important needs of their target customers (businesses) including enhancing employee productivity and ensuring higher ROI. The solution improves the overall efficiency of a business.

Flexible pricing

For SMBs, the price tag of a SaaS application is a critical factor to consider. Many organizations have the resource to invest in in-house application development to build a personalized solution that perfectly aligns with their business goals. But this isn’t an option for many growing businesses especially SMBs.

Many great SaaS solution providers are open to negotiations when it comes to pricing. Some even offer convenient pay-as-you-go models for smaller, medium-sized businesses.

Minimum IT support

SaaS solutions don’t require a business to invest much in IT support which means they can focus their resources on core operations. The SaaS provider will handle hardware, software, OS, database requirements, maintenance, and other IT concerns associated with the SaaS application. It’s the provider’s responsibility to ensure that the business gets the best of what latest technologies have to offer.

Better accessibility & collaboration

Traditional applications will have to be accessed via the computer on which they are installed. SaaS applications are centrally hosted on the provider’s server which means that users will be able to access the application no matter where they are provided they are authorized to access it. SaaS apps also facilitate better collaboration as updates and changes are saved in real-time.

Conclusion

Though SaaS may be cost effective for SMBs, it’s not yet considered a great option for larger businesses with complex requirements. But the reasonable price tags and easy benefits have contributed to increasing the adoption of SaaS.

If you are reluctant to invest in SaaS, the next best thing would be custom application development which is our forte here at AOT. Get in touch with us to learn what your business needs to grow faster.

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An open source JavaScript runtime engine developed by Ryan Dahl, Node.js got a great start right after its debut in 2009. Its pioneer adopters included corporate giants like Microsoft, Netflix, Uber, Yahoo!, LinkedIn etc. which soon caught the attention of developers worldwide. Today, Node.js is one of the most widely preferred runtime environment backed by a growing developer community.

Node.js has a lot of capabilities but there are developers that still think the engine isn’t cut out for enterprise app development. This is probably because enterprise apps come with tougher challenges compared to standard app development. Enterprise apps serve different purposes as well, like assessing business performance, facilitating collaboration between employees, securely storing sensitive data, tracking employee performance, and even making analytics-based forecasts.

To implement all these features, enterprise app developers work with a robust language and powerful technologies. This is where the role of Node.js is often debated.

Can developers use it to build enterprise apps?

Contrary to what many developers believe, Node.js which is built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine, actually is a great option for enterprise app development. Let’s explore why.

The npm

The npm is one of the most important things that make Node.js remarkable. Node Package Manager or npm is a huge online repository for the publishing of Node.js projects. It gives developers access to a wide array of tools that can be used to develop high-end enterprise applications relatively easily.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are a few other qualities of Node.js that makes it an awesome pick for enterprise app development.

Node.js is single-threaded

There’s a misconception that Node.js being single-threaded makes it slow for the development of enterprise apps. On the contrary, being single-threaded can be considered one of its major advantages. Non event-drive frameworks require multiple parallel threads to be created to handle several requests. As the number of parallel threads is limited, the number of requests that can be handle will also be limited. Node.js doesn’t have such a limit on parallel threads. Provided there is enough memory and the kernel permits, a several number of parallel requests can be processed in Node.js without hassle.

Microservices-based architecture

Node.js has a microservices-based architecture which ensures optimal utilization of resources for both horizontal as well as vertical scaling. The architecture also enables Node.js to function with the lowest amount of resources in terms of computing power and CPU & RAM usage. Additionally, it also makes it easier to handle separate codebases and smaller teams. This way the development ecosystem can have multiple teams handling various services collaboratively thus resulting in faster development.

Asynchronous programming

Enterprise application developers often find it a challenge to deal with legacy software and monoliths where the main program flow is constantly stuffed with more features, increasing the complexity of the whole system in the process.  This won’t be an issue with Node.js thanks to its asynchronous programming feature.

With Node.js, asynchronous events are independently executed which means the main program flow isn’t affected in any way while it processes requests. This also contributes to cutting down the cost of I/O operations while speeding them up at the same time. As each single operation is independent, and each can be processed simultaneously, throughput and latency are improved considerably.  

Promises

Developers are probably familiar with the term ‘Callback Hell’. But they don’t need to be concerned if they are using Node.js. This is because Node.js gives them ‘Promises’. ‘Promises’ is a different alternative to callbacks when asynchronous code is involved. With ‘Promises’, a future value is represented which can be returned when a call is made. The callbacks are essentially replaced with this technique.

Reusability of RESTful APIs

This is one of the biggest advantages of Node.js that led to its rapid adoption over the last few years. Node.js focuses on resuable RESTful APIs. These APIs are a great way to develop complex software systems as they are capable of handling tremendous amounts of data by connecting to the backend.

Improved productivity

Node.js apps are written in JavaScript which makes it much easier to learn and adapt to though it takes some effort to master. One entire stack can be built using the same language which obviously speeds up development. Because Node.js gives them access to better tools, improves flexibility and collaboration, the developers would be more satisfied resulting in increased productivity.

Endnote

Many of these uncertainties and doubts around Node.js being a great choice for enterprise app development stem from complacence of developers who are comfortable with Java. They don’t want to change what’s already good. But the fact of the matter is that Node.js is not ‘good’; it’s better. At AOT, we have developers with proven expertise in both Java and Node.js. We choose what’s best for our clients when developing apps for them. Interested in how we do things? Drop us a message.

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Faster market penetration is often the primary objective of businesses with enterprise apps in the making. They intend to get the app ready for the target market as soon as possible so as to get a competitive edge. If you observe the app store, you will be able to spot a number of lookalike apps popping up as soon as an app idea becomes successful. App owners should always take into account the possibility that someone out there is working on the same app idea, and the one who gets their app out into the market will lead the race.

But it takes a lot of effort to reap the benefits of early market penetration. Everything from the technology of the app to the development methodology and design elements should be chosen wisely. Then the actual work begins – clean codes, iterative improvements, rigorous testing, prototyping, and everything else.

The point is that there is a systematic approach to building a great app and launching it faster than competitors. That said, here is AOT’s practices to develop great mobile apps faster without compromising app quality.

Starting with the right wireframes

A wireframe is basically an app’s skeleton, and it’s where the design and development of an app begins. Wireframes also ensure that the design, development, and testing team have a clear idea about the app, its purpose, and how it would look post development. 

We don’t recommend going for a fully detailed and sophisticated wireframe right from the start. We begin with a low-fidelity wireframe with just the basic layout of the app, and modify it later on the go.

One platform at a time

Simultaneously developing both the Android and iOS versions of an app can actually increase the production time. Even if the app must be released on both platforms, developing them both at the same time is not a great approach. It’s best to develop for one platform first, launch the app, get some attention, and then begin developing for the other platform.

MVP goes first

Choosing to launch only a fully loaded version of the app can be a costly mistake. At AOT, we recommend launching a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) first; with all the core functionality that resolves the primary problem of the target user base. Once the app starts gaining momentum, more features can be added via periodic updates. This approach lets a business launch the full version of its app faster while gaining real-time insights on app performance and user expectations. This in turn allows developers to improve the app with features they are sure would be received well by the users, thus minimizing the resources spent on A/B testing of the app.

Adopt an Agile culture

An Agile development ecosystem ensures that all the teams working on the app works synchronously, and also ensures collaboration between them. The culture allows the team to adapt to changes faster while reducing mistakes. At AOT, we go with short sprints – from two to six weeks, where we can deal with problems effectively should they pop up without compromising the integrity of the app in any way.

No compromise on the shipping date

Once we reach an agreement with the stakeholders that we will ship the app on a certain date, we never compromise on that goal. This is a proven approach to getting the best effort from designers and developers. We make sure that the team knows that the deadline is non-negotiable, and encourage them to prioritize the must-have features for the MVP. Our primary focus would be on the indispensable features that the first MVP should have. The rest are added later on.

Periodic re-evaluation

No matter how focused the developer is on getting the app ready by its shipping date, there would be problems in one form or another. To avoid bad surprises, we follow a policy of re-evaluating our estimates periodically and then make the necessary changes to our priorities. The key is to be prepared to either avoid or face a scenario that can potentially derail the project and still get the job done on time.

Our people

AOT develops apps fast without compromising on their quality because of our great team. An app can only be good as the people that worked on it is what we believe. Our people are the core ingredient of our success formula. All we do is ensure that they are effectively communicating and that they are psychologically motivated to give each project their best shot. We provide a splendid atmosphere that keeps their team spirit alive.

Hopefully these practices can help you cut down app development time significantly. If you are interested in more of AOT’s app development capabilities, get in touch with us today.

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There’s no doubt that mobile technology is the fastest growing tech in the world. This momentum is one of the reasons why the mobile world is constantly changing and evolving faster than almost every other tech sector like desktop and web technologies.

Just remind yourself how the first line of smartphones was – the features they had, the screen size, image quality etc. Now take a look at the smartphone you have with you now.

Smartphones today come packed with a plethora of features and advanced technologies; some of which many mobile users aren’t even aware of. But this isn’t going to matter as the mobile world is headed to another revolution 3-5 years from now. That is what we are going to explore in this blog.

So here are factors that are directly tied to the impending transformation of the mobile world.

Competition to stay ahead

Brands competing to stay ahead of the curve isn’t anything new. But when it comes to mobile technologies, many smartphone brands are consistently trying to appear more innovative with features that other brands can’t replicate. For instance, a few years ago, Xiaomis and Huaweis were overshadowed by Samsungs and LGs. But now, those brands that were left far behind are praised for being trendy and better equipped than their more popular rivals. Meanwhile big brands like Nokia and Sony are apparently losing the race.

As smaller brands get the limelight for innovating, we can expect smartphones and mobile devices to offer better features at lower price tags.

Foldable mobile phones

Foldable mobile phone is not just a concept anymore. It’s a reality. As smartphones and mobile devices with bigger screens start selling like hot cakes, foldable phones are going to trigger a major revolution in the mobile world. While manufacturers compete to deliver the best quality on big screens and still retain mobility, the arrival of foldable phones will force them to change their approach.

When you want to text or call a person, you can fold these phones into standard smartphone size. And when you want to watch videos or play games, the phone can be turned into a tablet instantly. It may look like you are bending the phone’s screen, but it somehow works. However, the foldable phone tech still has some defects that need fixing. So it’ll take a little longer for these category of mobile devices to hit the market. Nevertheless, foldable phones will bring in some major changes impacting even the mobile app development industry.

Fuchsia OS

Google’s Android was a phenomenal success and a revolutionary operating system that was quick to dominate the mobile technologies sector. After a plethora of upgrades, Android is now at Android Pie; almost at the end of its journey. Though the OS was great, it needed some polishing. Google seems to have realized it too. But instead of working on Android, the tech giant is seemingly working on a brand new OS named Fuchsia.

Google shared a repo of Fuchsia on GitHub so people can take a look at the code. The first glimpse of Fuchsia indicates that it’s nothing like Android, and many sources have started claiming that the OS is not just for smartphones but will work on Chromebooks and other Google-related devices.

Flutter

Flutter is touted as a convincing cross-platform solution that allows an app developer to build an app having a single codebase, and launch the app on both the App Store and the Play Store in a very small amount of time. Flutter is expected to make app development cheaper which means more businesses will be able to afford great mobile apps.

Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps or PWAs have been around for a while but surprisingly not gaining a lot of momentum despite its potential. PWAs are basically web-based mobile apps featuring the best of both worlds. Unlike websites that require a stable internet connection to process certain requests, PWAs are quite unique as they are essentially websites with the traits of mobile apps.

This means it can send push notifications just like an app, has an internal cache just like an app, and can be launched from the desktop just like an app. Slow web-browsers, cookies, and pesky popups with ads are not going to be a problem anymore with PWAs. With more businesses realizing its potential, PWAs will soon make a major comeback.

Conclusion

The mobile world is seemingly headed to an interesting evolution, and apps will certainly play bigger roles while being a fundamental part of businesses. Each evolution of the mobile world would impact mobile app development which is why it’s important to form partnerships with organizations that are up-to-date with everything surrounding mobile and mobile apps. You can rely on AOT to build a personalized, enterprise-grade mobile app and help your business leverage it effectively. Talk to us to get started.

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According to Statista, by the last quarter of 2018, Google Play Store had over 2 million apps for download. With more businesses realizing that mobile apps are the best way to connect directly with their customers, the trend of developing mobile apps is only gaining more momentum. Through mobile apps, businesses can reach customers directly on their mobile devices, entice them to make purchases, reward them for their loyalty to the brand, gather feedback etc.

So essentially a mobile app allows businesses to

  • Build their brands
  • Stay connected with and engage their existing customers and new ones
  • Easily create loyal customer bases
  • Provide better support to customers and make things more convenient for them

Android App Development

With Android being the world’s most widely used mobile operating system, it’s no surprise that Android app development is a huge industry. Android developers practice a number of approaches when it comes to developing apps, with a more straightforward way being the use of Android Studio for development.

Android Studio is an IDE with all the necessary features to help developers build great apps provided they have the programming knowledge. Java is the most widely used programming language for backend development. Developers who are proficient in C#, C++, C or BASIC can use a number of SDKs akin to Android Native Development Kit along with Android Studio.

That said, this blog focuses on Android app development frameworks, and lists our pick of the top frameworks that every Android app developer should check out.

Xamarin

Xamarin made it to our list simply because of its huge popularity. It’s used by over a million users across the globe, and is the main framework of choice for C# enthusiasts. Xamarin offers a complete set of C# code base for app developers, both iOS and Android, to develop native applications. Xamarin for Visual Studio is also used by Android app developers to build native apps using .NET code base.

Ionic

Ionic is a free, open source mobile app development framework that became a smash hit in the app development community for a number of reasons. Licensed under the MIT License, Ionic is a cross-platform framework that allows one to build both progressive web apps and native mobile apps. It also comes with useful documentation features; something that can make things easier not just for rookie developers but experienced ones as well.

Kotlin

While Java is the most preferred language when it comes to developing Android apps, it isn’t easy to master. So Kotlin was introduced as an alternative, or may be a potential replacement deeming from how it was received by the developer community. Kotlin is easier to learn, and is interoperable with Java as it uses a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) i.e. codes in Kotlin can be run as Java code.

Despite Kotlin reducing the time and effort it takes to develop an Android app, many Java enthusiasts are still reluctant to invest in learning it. However, the developer community for Kotlin seems to be growing which could be an indication that Kotlin is already on its way to replace Java for good.

React Native

A name that’s certainly very familiar to experienced mobile app developers, React Native is the open source version of Facebook’s JavaScript framework. It’s used to build native mobile apps and is the first framework of choice for Fortune 500 companies like Tesla, Walmart, Instagram etc. One of the many interesting things that make React Native unique is that one won’t be able to distinguish between mobile applications developed using Java and React Native. It’s also possible to manually optimize native apps built using the framework by adding codes written in Swift, Objective C, or even Java.

Unity

Unity is technically a game engine developed by Microsoft, and is primarily used for creating 2D/3D games. However, it can be a great asset for cross-platform development as well. As its IDE is similar to Android Studio, many developers combine it with C# for mobile app development. Apps built using Unity are on a different league when it comes to appealing features.

Cordova

The good people behind Apache realized that mobile apps are basically an extension to web apps. Based on this, they developed a mobile app development framework that leverages the combined potential of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and named it Cordova. The free, open source Cordova allows developers to build multi-platform mobile apps using a single code base. Though designed for online apps, Cordova still offers great support for offline scenarios as well making it a good choice to develop even desktop applications.

Titanium

Titanium may not be as popular as other frameworks in our list but it certainly has a dedicated following. The open source framework is all about mobile-first, and allows developers to create attractive apps that are native in look, feel, and functioning. The framework also provides free API Builder with Hyperloop.

PhoneGap

The people who made Cordova apparently didn’t stop with that. They built the easy-to-use Adobe PhoneGap. PhoneGap is basically a Cordova distribution with a lot of tools and plugins included. The framework allows experienced web developers to easily transfer their skills to mobile app development, and build cross-platform apps with a single code base. It became popular simply because it made things easier.

TheAppBuilder

TheAppBuilder is an online framework that allows anyone to build visually appealing apps without design knowledge. For an online app building framework, this one really does deliver. Apps built using this framework are appealing and interactive, and can sync instantly with almost every device on which the app user is logged on. App creators are also granted great insights on the app with the framework’s analytics features allowing them to retain features that users love and discard ones that are negatively impacting the app’s performance.

Conclusion

The selection of an Android app development framework is generally based on the preferences of developers, with the ultimate goal of creating a great app faster with the least effort. But just because a developer got the framework right doesn’t mean the app they build would be perfect in all sense. At AOT, choosing the right app development framework is just one of the first steps of crafting the perfect app. Contact us to learn in detail how our developers build apps.

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