DevOps the most discussed set of practices that enables seamless delivery of applications from inception to production needs no introduction in modern day project execution approaches. With continuous integration becoming the new normal, Agility becomes a practical reality in project execution methodologies today with a marked shift from the traditional waterfall models.
Creating the Mobile App
Just as application development cycles for traditional software, Mobile App development have different stages of development starting with an extensive research & planning stage.
Mobile DevOps Before the Development
This stage is for understanding the target audience, the aim of the app, the platform, whether it will be free or paid, to start with. Then comes the visualization of the ideas by creating rough sketches and whiteboard templates which helps identifying any issues by taking feedback from concerned individuals. Mobile app design with contemporary trends becomes a critical factor
Next is checking for technical feasibility, how the app can integrate backend application or access the required data after which the prototype of the app is built using wireframes and the feedback from the relevant stakeholders are taken into consideration.
Then before the app development, UI is designed to get the right look and feel of the app with the UX designers creating the interaction architecture of the design elements.
The App Development & Deployment
Then starts the app development phase, agile being the most preferred strategy as it helps in rapid iteration. Post development is the testing phase testing on all the target devices with different configuration, once all the functional and non-functional testing is performed then the app can be tested for user acceptance by some target end-users or be open for Beta testing. Then final stage after testing is the launch of the app on the app store for public use.
It is important to involve both the mobile development & testing teams into DevOps for quicker & more reliable mobile application development services. App that interact with enterprise application need to have DevOps practices in place, so that any updates are smoothly integrated into the mobile app.
The process of mobile DevOps requires mature business related decision to be made to add value to the exercise and hence requires appropriate knowledge bearers to be a part of the team.
The Cycle of the App
Mobile DevOps Challenges
Though the basic principles of DevOps are the same for any application but there some challenges that are specific to Mobile apps.
Mobile apps do not have a single target environment, the various environments vary with ample of mobile devices that exist. This requires dealing with different tech specs, OS versions, design of the devices and their sizes too.
Mobile Apps as an Enterprise Front End
These mobile apps integrate business logic and offer services to extend enterprise platform to ensure the smooth executions. It becomes essential to build the DevOps practices strategically, coordinating all the concerned applications in terms of their build and release and any other updates to keep the enterprise workflows flawless.
Agility Becomes Inevitable
Mobile applications generally have aggressive delivery timelines, so agile practices with continuous integration & delivery plays a vital role in the development, reliable test cycles, PlayStore or AppStore deployment and support.
Transparent Ratings on Stores
The mobile app rating and feedback about the app is visible to all users. A bad rating can really hit hard on the branding of the app. It is then very essential that the apps are thoroughly tested for their functionality, performance and usability to make sure the app serves the target audience well.
Benefits of Mobile DevOps
The advantages that come with agility are much discussed and bring in stability and reliability besides anything else. DevOps Managed Services have a lot to offer.
A streamlined process enables organizations to share relevant information between teams and thus reduce the time from design to the actual release.
Fosters Efficient Use of resources
DevOps makes Automation a practical reality helping right from source code management to development of tools to actual monitoring of apps in production, thus making both the development and production environment stable and reliable.
Better Monitoring During Apps Creation
DevOps enables creating reports which provide feedback on the performance and the usability. This transparency is a convenient option to identify issues and fix them to create apps with better UX.
Leveraging Tools for Agility
There are numerous DevOps tools available that aid to implement Agile continuous delivery even for large releases. For example, release management tools allow organizations to plan and execute releases with a single collaboration portal for all stakeholders and can also track the build and delivery of the release and it components.
But it is important to use every tool and the information obtained from the tools efficiently to get the best performance out of it.
Eliminates Process Bottlenecks
DevOps helps making processes and communication efficient and transparent and help in building better products. In larger projects, it becomes difficult to understand responsibilities of the software or processes and the responsibilities to resolve particular issues. DevOps processes, practices and tools resolve such inefficiencies and thus eliminate bottlenecks.
Best Practices in Mobile DevOps
The rules of thumb followed for implementing these projects also become the best practices eventually.
Ensure end-to-end Traceability
A mobile app development must ensure there is end-to-end traceability with respect to the code, configurations, scripts, design documents etc. and is not just limited to mobile development assets but extends across the enterprise applications and services that interact with the mobile apps.
Continuous integration while conceptualizing DevOps Managed Services makes sure that code that is developed by one team integrates and functions smoothly with the modules that are delivered by other development teams as well as the business logic itself.
Maintain a Separate Build for each Mobile OS Version
Mobile apps are written to support multiple platforms and its variants. To ensure each of the code supports technical capabilities it is important developers maintain different stream of development specific to each platform.
Automated Build and Testing
As mobile apps can have multiple version of builds, developers can automate the build by using scripts to run builds. The build scripts just like code should be assigned version so that each build can reversed to previous version by any team member any time.
Testing the apps using automated testing tool on simulators which provide different SDKs can help reduce the testing duration and enables testing the apps thoroughly for functional and non-functional requirements.
Virtualize and Simulate Backend Services
Mobile apps follow rapid development which may have releases that is way more compared to the backend services which may cause the backend services to be unavailable. In such situations, applications or service that the app needs to interact with can be made available as a virtual instance, which simulates the actual behavior that app needs to interact with which enables rapid testing.
Monitor the Performance
Mobile apps face challenges like network issues, low memory, data loss and the like hampering the user experiences. Continuous monitoring of performances of these apps can gather information to find root cause of the problems and correct them.
Use of Virtual App Store
A mobile app can be provisioned on an app store only after the prerequisite approvals. The entire process should be simulated and tested on virtual app stores.
Apps store allows users to rate and leave a feedback about the app, the mobile development team should closely monitor this feedback and incorporate them, in their enhancement, which will help in improving the apps.
In a Nutshell
DevOps becomes a part of every possible software solution in the millennial age. DevOps as a Service emerges as an established practice making the quintessential apps more than dependable way of doing things.
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