With the advent of enterprise mobility, CIOs need to adapt their business applications to the mobile needs of their employees. This article describes what a mobile application should contain, how it differs from a typical application, and how to develop it.
The fundamental goal of IT is to support business processes. However, these processes naturally start with the user’s connection to the activities at his place of work. That’s why mobility remains one of the hottest issues in enterprise computing. In this respect, mobile bandwidth and cloud computing are likely to improve the connections which, in turn, can induce an increase in the productivity and value of IT investment.
Like a consumer with his smartphone, an employee with his mobile device is both focused … and distracted. Indeed, if mobile employees must, in any place, perform a specific task or obtain information, they are, despite everything, not able to pay too much attention for a long time to the navigation on the screen of a small device. The cloud can help unify these two seemingly divergent behaviors.
Key Features of Mobile Apps in the Cloud
Applications Designed for a Mobile Cloud Universe Must Have Two Key Features
– Mobile applications in the cloud must be designed to present either application programming interfaces (APIs) – RESTful or URLs that represent extremely specific information, rather than general interfaces containing rich data synthesis and possibilities, otherwise the mobile user will have too much trouble navigating and identifying the information.
– Application interfaces will avoid pre-supposed or device-specific features, including its provider, operating system, and browser.
To meet the first requirement – APIs and URLs – it is important to visually consider the mobile user interface as a transaction set, not as a set of screens. For example, on a desktop computer, a user can view the name of a client and display in a separate screen all the information about that customer. A mobile user, however, will never make a navigation of this magnitude on the screen of his small device.
For a mobile user, a “ValidateClient” application or any other mobile application, such as “ShowAddressInvoicing” or “ShowOrderCommands”, will be much more efficient, because it will focus on its specific needs and interests, and will avoid having to dig into a complex heap of information. In companies where software is developed internally, this functional dissection of logic is quite easy to obtain. However, in the case of third party applications, simplifying screens will necessarily involve customizing the graphical user interface, or GUI ( Graphical User Interface ). All functions will then be presented as a URL.
Rule number one in cloud mobility: never forget that applications need to adapt to both the mobile model and the cloud model.
Ideally, in terms of data exchange, each application function, represented by a URL, displays a flexible format that is independent of the device. Many companies are developing cloud-based mobile applications that rely on XML data structures that are used both as input and as output. These structures can then be passed to applications running on the mobile device, or appear in the format that is appropriate in most browsers.
iOS, Android, Windows; the development rules differ according to the mobile platform used. Also, when structuring the data is it important to understand how each supported platform accesses the data as part of its browser or its local mobile application. The most flexible and widely supported format is usually the simplest.
There are different inter-platform development structures for mobile applications. For example, Appcelerator, MoSync, PhoneGap, RhoMobile or WidgetPad. These structures facilitate the development of applications that can run on the majority of dominant mobile platforms. For companies that choose to use a browser-based application, the best approach will probably be to use HTML5. However, it will be necessary to validate the characteristics of all browsers to ensure that the screens will run well on each target device. Be sure to note any restrictions on possible devices or browsers, and incorporate them into BYOD policies ( Bring-Your-Own-Device) to ensure compatibility.
Create mobile transactional applications for the cloud
Many of today’s enterprise applications are designed to use a front-end Web element to customize the GUI and protect mobile applications from unwanted changes. This approach may also be the best option for adopting cloud mobility.
Designing new “transactional” mobile applications is especially useful when it comes to cloud support. Indeed, these are then designed to process a request or response, then return to a state of waiting. This type of application is much easier to launch in a new location in the event of a server-side failure, making it a good candidate for hybrid clouds. Combined with front-end load balancing devices installed on the network, transactional applications can also be multiplied during load peaks to improve performance.
The first rule of mobility in the cloud is to never forget that applications must adapt to both the mobile model and the cloud model. And in terms of design and deployment, this criterion will likely make them look more like higher-tier consumer applications than traditional enterprise applications. The experience of Web developers, particularly in front-end application systems based on Web servers, will prove particularly useful in developing and running a cloud-based mobility solution, and in keeping it responsive to changing circumstances. business needs.