Over the last several years a number of mobile app platforms have emerged with the promise of enabling non-programmers to visually create mobile mobile business apps. The good news is since there are so many of these companies, there are some alternatives you can choose from. Many such platforms offer templates where you can just choose one, fill in your data and a mobile app is generated. This approach is really easy but at the same time is very limiting since all the mobile business apps essentially look alike and more importantly lack the flexibility and functionality you need.The problem is companies are demanding sophisticated mobile mobile business apps that automate or mobilize existing business processes. That means any platform you evaluate must meet a very high standard.
The not so good news is that there a very few visual app development platforms available today that meet this standard and have all the necessary features required to build truly robust business grade mobile Apps.
Here is a list of 10 must have features to consider when choosing a visual app development platform for your business app.
1. The platform should give you total control over the user interface (UI) to create any desired user experience. Like an artist you should be able to select a canvas of any size and “paint your masterpiece” on it. You need to be able to create a unique app design using your own images, icons, color themes and fonts. You must be able to layout screen elements in the way it makes sense to you and your users.
2. The Platform must support equally well both tablets and smartphones. Simply scaling a smartphone display to tablet size screen is not enough. The platform should enable users to take advantage of the entire screen of a Tablet.
3. The platform must enable the creation of mobile business apps that can effectively collect data, store it in a database, and/or send it anywhere in any format. E.g. PDF and excel files saved on the device to a local database, saved on a network drive, email it to anyone, or uploaded it to corporate systems using web services. Take photos in the field and make annotations as desired to capture all necessary information.
4. The Platform must support any and all calculations to be performed on the data. Apps that automate any business process will require calculations.
5. Apps must be able to connect to and work with data anywhere, anytime. With the database on the users’ device, a cloud database, corporate backend systems and databases or cloud based web services. Apps without access to data are useless.
6. Apps must be able to share the data universally and share data among other mobile mobile business apps. They should have the ability to print forms, email forms, save to network drives or share it on social channels. Information must flow in any direction that user’s require.
7. The platform must enable creation of native mobile business apps for Android and iOS devices. Native mobile business apps offer better performance, are more robust, look native to device being used and can be more secure than web-based HTML5 mobile business apps.
8. The platform must support push notifications. Push notifications are used on mobile devices to communicate important information to a particular user or a group of users and bring users to a specific place in an App.
9. The platform should offer users a rich set of built-in functionality to avoid the need for coding. Some examples of features should include: gallery, maps, integration with social networks, list management, ready to use web services, ODBC connectors, on device and cloud-based database services and mCommerce just to name a few.
10. The platform must enable mobile business apps to take advantage of all the sensors available in mobile devices and must facilitate rich data collection. Specifically, use of camera to capture photo, scan bar codes and QR codes, scan pages of text, capture and play back video and audio, capture current location and offer directions.
The Snappii visual app development platform offers many features listed here. We invite you to try the platform yourself. Simply visit us at www.snappii.com, click the login button in the upper right hand corner and create your own account. You will have access to the platform for 45 days to see for yourself.