In my last blog I discussed how cloud services and in some cases MBaaS (Mobile Back end as a Service) will be a critical component to publishing and continually updating any number of informational, social, ecommerce and even internal applications rapidly and inexpensively. MBaaS opportunities help accelerate Enterprise app development but are only one consideration in how organizations may be currently attempting to meet the rapidly increasing mobile app development demand. Many companies are trying to address this demand with a more traditional approach to cloud based mobile app development. The issue lies in the associated challenges that hinder timely and effective delivery of the end product.
The Traditional Mobile App Development Approach – Internal Server-Side Development and Outsourcing
Traditionally, organizations can/do offer their own cloud services in a number of ways, but key among these are:
- Internal server-side development through delivery of data via internal infrastructure:
In this case, software, hardware and networking infrastructure is first allocated and only then transferred into the data center. Using Objective-C, Java, PHP and other programming languages the required services are coded on the back end. Once these services are exposed via APIs and tested they can be further managed. If a client requests it, there is an opportunity to integrate to other public cloud systems like social channels and PayPal.
- Internal server-side development by delivering data via Infrastructure-as-a-Service:
This is very similar to the first approach with the main difference being that instead of an internally managed infrastructure, a third party provider (outsourcing) is utilized. This is usually a less expensive option, but the back-end software development and management is still the customer’s duty. This means still needing to have development and support staff at the ready.
The Challenges of Traditional Approaches
Traditional server-side development is not without challenges. It is these obstacles that are causing many companies to struggle with how to address their increasing mobile app demands timely and cost effectively.
- It is a costly venture to have an app built, thoroughly tested and accepted in the app stores. From hiring developers and having your app coded for cross platform use (ie. iOS and Android), to testing, distribution and maintenance, the numbers can easily exceed six figures.
- From inception to release, it can prove extremely difficult to get an app to market in a timely manner with traditional approaches. Server-side app development can take several months from start to finish which can prove detrimental in the increasingly fast moving world of mobile mobile business apps.
- Creating cross platform mobile mobile business apps traditionally requires highly skilled and experienced programmers who can develop both in Java and Objective-C. These developers are scarce and in high demand so organizations often have to hire one or more developers in each coding language to fill this need. Even still, the demand for experienced mobile developers exceeds the supply.
- Keeping mobile business apps competitive requires constant updates or fixes which can sometimes prove as challenging as the initial build. App updates require additional coding which means additional expense. Additionally, internal or third party resources will have already moved on to other projects so stopping for updates means delaying new projects to maintain previous ones.
Faced with the challenges of timely and effective mobile app delivery with traditional app development approaches, utilizing a cloud based, online mobile app development platform is an excellent alternative to build your cross-platform, native mobile applications at a fraction of the time and cost. More on this approach in my next blog.