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Can you spend a day without your smartphone? I can hardly imagine it.
Could we imagine about 10 years ago that we would use smartphones and tablets every day, everywhere for almost everything: playing games, ordering taxi, watching tv, ordering food, etc? Possibly, not.
The mobile application industry is growing increasingly fast. It`s almost beginning of 2016 and it`s time to speak about top mobile app development trends that will rock this year.

Cloud driven apps will be on top

Cloud is going to play a leading role for a number of mobile apps in 2016. The cloud gives the possibility to sync apps across multiple devices. As the number of people using multiple mobile devices ( smartphones, tablets, wearables) is on the rise, the cloud approach makes it easy for them to access any data from any channel. Also, thanks to the cloud, app developers can retain the small size of mobile apps.
Gartner.com predicts that by 2018 at least 30% of service-centric companies will move the majority of their ERP applications to the cloud.

Focus on Mobile apps security

We witnessed a great increase in information leaks and hacker attacks in 2015 that affected a lot of organizations from small companies to industry giants and government organizations. Reports just prove this fact, more than 75% of mobile applications would fail basic security tests in 2015.
This is horrible as many mobile applications store sensitive and personal information. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2016, more than 50% of global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.
So security is a key principle mobile developers should focus on in 2016.
IOS has proved itself as the most secure platform. Android has always been claimed as a non-secure platform, however developers paid more attention to security issue in the latest Android versions.

Shift towards enterprise mobile applications

This trend of the year 2015 will continue to boost in 2016.
According to a survey conducted by Vision Mobile in the beginning of 2015 43% of developers working on enterprise apps were making more than $10,000 per month. In comparison, only 19% of the app developers focusing on consumer apps were making a similar income. The percentage of successful enterprise apps developers is double the percentage of consumer apps developers.
So it`s not a secret that mobile apps developers will focus more on enterprise applications development to generate more revenues

Internet of Things / IoT and wearables

We have seen a big increase in usage of wearable devices in 2015 and this trend will continue to boost in 2016 as well. Certainly, IoT is still in its infancy and it`s mostly consumer based at the moment, but it`ll be adopted for commercial as well as industrial use.
Wearable tech devices, such as Google Glass and iWatch, have already created a huge buzz in the market and are becoming more and more popular.
Analysts predict that IoT will be the next big technological breakthrough and more and more people will be connected to “Things” in the nearest future.
It means that mobile developers and entrepreneurs should be prepared for this trend and consider IoT and wearable technology while developing new applications.

Focus on swift programming

Swift, a relatively new programming language from Apple, has already gained quite a substantial popularity. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, claimed that this set of tools was downloaded more than 11 million times in the first month alone. Now, these numbers are bigger.
Swift is designed as both an application language and a systems language and gives the possibility to develop apps for iOS, OS X, watchOS, tvOS, and so on.
I`m sure we will hear more about Swift in 2016.

Vaster adoption of location based technology/ Beacon

Another great trend for mobile developers is beacon technology.
This technology has already revolutionized the shopping experience and is expected to be adopted by other domains other than retail for its location tracking benefits.

New cross platform tools

With the rise of wearable devices, smart TVs, mobile applications need to suit the requirement of multiple platforms and devices. Cross platform tools may be a good solution. Sencha, Titanium, Unity 3D, Cocos2D, PhoneGap, are already playing a big role in the mobile app development market. In 2016 we may see the emergence of new cross platform development tools.
So, this was a short list of mobile app development trends that will be on their rise in 2016. I`ll be happy to hear you opinion on the future of mobile industry. What trends would you like to add to our list?

 

Anna Kozik

Business Development Manager

E-mail: Anna.Kozik@altabel.com
Skype: kozik_anna
LI Profile: Anna Kozik

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

There exist a lot of mobile app development frameworks. Cross-platform tools reduce barriers to entry and democratise app development, by allowing developers from any language (HTML, Java, C++), any background (hobbyist, pros, agencies, corporates) and any skill level (visual designer to hard-core developer) to build mobile apps. Just imagine that by using a cross-platform tool and covering just two platforms such as Android and iOS, you will cover 91% of the whole smartphone market. Sounds appealing:)

PhoneGap and Sencha are the most widespread: they are used by 32% and 30% of cross-platform developers, irrespective of their primary tools. I`m suggesting to have a closer look at PhoneGap which turns to be the most popular tool.

How it works

The cross-platform capabilities of PhoneGap are reached this way: a native project is generated, distinctive for each platform, which includes a browser (a native webView component) as the main component. This browser is able to display HTML/JavaScript code as a usual web page. The file system of this project acts the part of a file server, which gives access to the page. Also there is an object that allows PhoneGap to standardize the access to native features of mobile devices running the supported operating systems, such as camera, compass, accelerometer, contacts etc.

Good moments

-The most obvious one is cross-platform capabilities. Currently PhoneGap supports the following platforms: iOS, Android, webOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Symbian OS, Tizen.

-PhoneGap app is written upon HTML, JavaScript and CSS, with the opportunities of using numerous external libraries;

-Adjustments can be performed via browser; remote adjustments can be performed on a mobile device via “weinre”.

A blot on the landscape:)

-Many users complain of the irresponsiveness of PhoneGap apps. Here I`m talking about one of the specifics of the PhoneGap development: the 300 millisecond lag between touch and click event on touchscreens. The solution to this problem can be easily found around the Internet. There are several JavaScript libraries, and their work principle is the same – tracking such events as TouchStart and TouchEnd – and at the moment when the latter is done, runs a click event.

– Users feel uncomfortable when touching a button and it doesn`t work. This is one of the most widespread bugs in PhoneGap apps. This bug appears due to improperly created interface, and it raises the problem of touching. The fact is that we look at the touchscreen at an angle and the visual contact area between the finger and the screen differs from the real contact area. This can be corrected quite simply – proper layout of the app page. For example, the area of response can be made bigger than the button itself.

– On average, an app has 5 to 15 pages. But unfortunately, JavaScript apps have no mechanism to store and transmit data between the pages. One of the simplest ways to solve this problem is using one-page apps. These are apps that display the same page, which has changing content. This approach however causes lags in the app.

-Nevertheless this is a cross-platform tool, UI should be optimized for different platforms. But it’s much faster, than creating another native app from scratch;

As you can see, these drawbacks are not quite ‘drawbacks’ in their nature, but rather technical conditions of PhoneGap, which you should consider, like in a usual development process for any other platform.

Certainly, PhoneGap is not a “miracle cure” but can be a good way out if wisely used. And what are your thoughts on PhoneGap?

 

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com 
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development 

 

We said goodbye to the year 2013 and welcomed the year 2014. Businesses had time to reflect on the last year and now it is high time for business leaders to look at the projected trends of 2014 to ensure their organization is prepared for what is next.

The top ten technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2014 have been recently highlighted by analysts at Gartner, Inc. It has been also emphasized that the most important trend for all enterprises is to determine their strategic technology and to follow it over the next three years.

Let’s have a deeper look at which technological trends are expected to make up IT market in 2014:

Mobile Device Diversity and Management

 The consequences of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend is doubling or even tripling the size of the mobile workforce and it’s placing a tremendous strain on IT and finance departments. Gartner said that through 2018, the growing variety of mobile devices, computing styles and user contexts will make everything-anywhere strategies “unachievable.” Organizations need to totally review their BYOD policies and place emphasis on expectation about what employees can and cannot do and balance confidentiality and privacy requirements.

Mobile Applications

For mobile application environments, Gartner predicts the future lies in HTML5 and the browser due to continued JavaScript performance improvements. With more and more users wanting to work across multiple devices, Gartner recommended app developers work to create building blocks that can be assembled to fit the needs of different devices. Overall, it predicted that for 2014 there will be more popularity in smaller, more targeted apps than more comprehensive, one-size-fits-all apps.

The Internet of Everything

 The Internet is expanding beyond PCs and mobile devices into enterprise assets such as field equipment, and consumer items such as cars and televisions. The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready. Imagine digitizing the most important products, services and assets. The combination of data streams and services created by digitizing everything creates four basic usage models – Manage; Monetize; Operate; Extend. These four basic models can be applied to any of the four “internets” (people, things, information and places). Enterprises should not limit themselves to thinking that only the Internet of Things (i.e., assets and machines) has the potential to leverage these four models. Enterprises from all industries (heavy, mixed, and weightless) can leverage these four models.

Cloud/Client Architecture

As the power and capability of many mobile devices increases, the increased demand on networks, the cost of networks, and the need to manage bandwidth use “creates incentives, in some cases, to minimize the cloud application computing and storage footprint, and to exploit the intelligence and storage of the client device.” As mobile users continue to demand more complex uses of their mobile technologies, it will drive a need for higher levels of server-side computing and storage capacity.

The Era of the Personal Cloud

It is predicted that the push for more personal cloud technologies will lead to a shift toward services and away from devices. Previously, devices were of the highest priority. Now that will change. The type of device one has will be less important, although the devices will still be necessary. Users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but none of the devices will be the primary hub. It’s the personal cloud that will take on that role. Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared from the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than solely focusing on the device itself.

Software Defined Anything

Gartner sees an increased role for software in the datacenter. Software is now able to data center more hardware more efficiently and easily than ever imagined before.  With Software-Defined Everything, the computing infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service.  As it grows, more and more standards and regulations will pop up over 2014. Vendors are expected to be in particular reluctant to adopt standards that will affect the bottom line. However, on the bright side, it said the end consumer will benefit from simplicity, cost reduction opportunities and the possibility for consolidation.

Smart Machines

These are intelligent personal assistants, smart advisors, advanced global industrial systems, autonomous vehicles. This seems to be the next big thing as it has a huge potential for future development. Analytics from Gartner predicts that through 2020 the smart machines will become a part of everyday life as well as have widespread and deep business impact. So there is a lot of success to be found for those who jump on board the trend early.

3-D Printing

According to Gartner, 3D printing is not just for printing toys and jewelry.  It is supposed to have a high impact on many industries, including consumer products, industrial and manufacturing. The sales of 3D printers are expected to grow by 75 percent in 2014 and almost double in 2015.

Looking at all these predictions can be a bit confusing and frightning for some enterprise organizations. However, it is essential to look at these trends with a long‐term mindset. Many of these trends will be a continual evolution for organizations over the next several years. It’s time to think strategically about the state of technology and evaluate how it can shape the future of your business.

What do you think of these predictions? Is there smth missed or wrong in your opinion? Please feel free to share your thoughts 🙂

 

Yuliya Tolkach

Yuliya Tolkach
Yulia.Tolkach@altabel.com
Skype ID: yuliya_tolkach
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

iOS7 has been the greatest change to Apple`s iOS almost since its introduction. And iOS 7 differs quite a lot from its previous version. It`s easier, brighter, bolder and flows better than its predecessors. It has not only the updated user interface but also it`s packed with a great deal of new features.Let`s take a look at iOS7 and compare its major changes to iOS6.

Lock screen: One of the nicest features of iOS 7 is parallax effect: when you move the phone, wallpaper appears to move as well. iOS 7 gets rid of the black bars and becomes lighter. At first this may seem unusual but you get used to it quickly and won`t move back to the old look and feel. Also iOS 7 has four swipeable bits: unlocking, Camera, swiping down from the top of the screen to see notifications, and swiping up from the bottom to bring up Control Center.

Control Center: iOS users have been waiting for it for agesJ now there is no need to jump through endless Settings screen. Control Center is the answer: it provides quick access to the most important key features: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Rotation Lock and Do Not Disturb. It also provides media playback controls, Airdrop file sharing, and quick access to the phone’s LED light and the Clock, Calculator and Camera apps.

Notification Center:  Last year iOS 6 introduced the Notification Centre – offering little gobbets of information from your email, or stocks, or Twitter, or games. It was pretty basic. Now it’s split into three elements – Today (a calendar and weather update), All (the things you used to find in the old Notifications) and Missed (appointments, calls). The calendar element is like Windows Phone, though more useful (you get a day view). You can decide what is visible in the lock screen – it won’t show all your notifications if you don’t want.

AirDrop: Thanks to AirDrop it became easier to share files from iOS devices. Now a “sharing” icon in an app lets you send your data to those willing to receive it. You choose AirDrop and you get a list of people in the vicinity. Press their icon, and it’s done. Nice, isn`t it?

If you don’t plan to use this feature in iOS 7 then turn it off to safe battery life.

Camera and Photos : Have also experienced great changes. Camera app now four kinds of shooting: video, photo, square (for Instagram-style shots) and Pano (for panoramas) and a number of pleasant new features.. As for Photos app, it`s became easier to search for photos as they are organized into collections. Your photos can be sorted by date or by location (when using GPS)

Safari/Search: It has also been updated: interface became simpler : it disappears completely when scrolling through pages, and the interface for switching tabs became more visual.

Mail: Mail application got some great new features: mail management became easier. There appeared gesture control for messages and smart mailboxes

Multitasking:  Now you can double-click the home button in iOS to get you to a number of recently used apps. What is more iOS 7  learns when you like to use your apps and can update your content before you launch them. So if you tend to check your favorite social app at 9:00 every morning, your feed will be ready and waiting for you.

That was an overview of the main updates  that experienced iOS7. Many things have changed and many users that updated to iOS 7 say that they will never return to iOS 6 🙂

And what about you: have you already updated to iOS 7 and can share your experience?

Interesting to know your thoughts.

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com 
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Have you ever thought that mobile industry will become so popular? Never!
According to the recent research more than $10 billion were spent on downloading mobile applications in 2011, $21 billion in 2012 and according to forecast users will spend more than $30 billion in 2013. Rather impressive, isn’t it?

And all this is just for downloading paid mobile applications! And their number on the market is approximately 20 percent. The rest of mobile applications are free.

It is not surprising that mobile application testing spins up because of such boom in the industry. It is one of the most popular kinds of software testing performed by software testing company. What kinds of mobile applications do you know? Let’s try to find them out.

Types of mobile applications:

• Web applications;
• Platform applications;
• SMS;
• Mobile websites.

Let’s see what is the difference between? Should different kinds of mobile application testing be performed for them?

Web applications
Web applications are considered to be the most acceptable as mobile web browser is an application that sends content to the mobile device. It means that such application is independent of any device, platform or operating system.

Platform applications
The development of such applications is rather simple but their supporting and testing are very costly.

SMS
It is the most simply type of application. User usually send a query in form of short code to receive immediately the desired information just like train schedule, ticket’s price, etc. They are testbased and have limitations of the message content.

Mobile websites
Mobile websites are considered to be the source of simple and accurate information just like weather, news, sports, etc. Their great disadvantage is that the limited resolution screens information is hardly readable.
Different kinds of mobile application testing should be performed for them as they are very different. But there is nothing impossible for software testing company.

What Are the Typical Problems You Can Face During Mobile Testing?

• The software installed on a mobile device depends greatly on its creators and the decisions they take during the process of software development. Sometimes they create such type of software that may influence the overall behavior of your phone.
• The specific feature of mobile testing is that accurate test results may be really hard to obtain. The obtained data is usually quite conflicting. A software tester should have enough practical experience to be able to single out key challenges and the most important issues.
• Sometimes you may face the problem caused by a certain network operator. Sometimes they customize the software’s interface and functionality for their specific needs and it may cause its overall performance.
• Some models of mobile phones can also be very problematic in handling. Sometimes they may limit or even disable certain parts of tested software.
• Some application’s content may prove to be unsuitable for certain mobile devices. For example, it may contain unsuitable format.

If you consider all these issues when planning your mobile testing, you are sure to succeed.

Tips for Conducting Successful Mobile Testing:

• Sometimes the best option is unite mobile testing with another software testing type, namely automated testing. Automation will make your testing more productive and greatly economize your time.
• Take into consideration that depending on a software type, not all of the software products can be easily automated. Some applications require only manual testing if you want it successful.
• Check the software installation process (installation testing)
• Consider the used language (maybe you will need to implement the elements of localization testing).
• The preinstalled web browser is also something you should consider when planning your software testing.
• Verify that the device type doesn’t put any limitations on the software under testing.
• Check whether the software doesn’t influence the overall device performance.
• Make sure that the stated software is technically most suitable for the users’ devices.
• When choosing the most suitable devices to conduct mobile testing on, choose the most popular models with most popular environment (OS version, preinstalled software etc.).
• Test the software’s performance.
• Sometimes exploratory testing can be a good way of guiding the overall testing process.
• Combine several types of software testing in order to get the maximum profitable testing result.

Why do many software companies just ignore testing?

According to one of the latest researches, around 57 percent of application performance issues are usually found by users and 67 percent of applications are usually used without outsourcing software testing to ensure that they can scale to support desired traffic levels. I think it just proves one more time the necessity of mobile application testing and web site testing. Why not to supply the market with software equipment of high quality?

As my personal point of view mobile testing is necessary just as any other type of software testing. And it is really important because we all make mistakes. Some of those mistakes are unimportant, but some of them are expensive or dangerous. We need to check everything and anything we produce because things can always go wrong –humans make mistakes all the time.

In the conclusion I would like to ask you what are your considerations on the question if there is need and importance for mobile testing. Should we think twice before launch developed mobile product to the production without any testing performed?

Polina Mikhan

Polina Mikhan
Polina.Mikhan@altabel.com
Skype ID: poly1020
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Lots of companies think about developing mobile clients for their services for Widows Phone and Windows 8. In most cases mobile clients for iOS/Android have already been created and company’s objective is to port them to Windows mobile platforms. In this article I’d like to talk about questions/problems/peculiarities companies and developers can face porting their apps to WP and Win8.

What’s important to know about Modern UI interface?

Windows Phone and Windows 8, unlike iOS for instance, are authentically digital platforms. What it means can be easily explained on the example of a bookshelf for iOS, where human’s behavior while reading a magazine or a book is imitated from the real life – we go to the bookshelf, take a magazine, open it and flip it through. The same process for Windows Phone looks absolutely separated from the real life and is initially oriented to the digital world, where the concept of “bookshelf” is missing at all.

A second distinction from iOS/Android is an emphasis on content and action orientation. In Windows Phone and Windows 8 phone numbers and e-mail addresses are written in small fonts, while actions like “call” or” “send e-mail” in the big ones. Large fonts and shifts is another Metro feature. It should be definitely taken into account while designing interfaces.

Other peculiarities of the platforms

1) Mostly, Android is tied to Google eco-system, iOS – to Apple, Windows Phone and Windows 8 – to Microsoft eco-system accordingly. This can be both an advantage and a drawback. For example, it will be easier to work with office documents, but instead of tight integration with Dropbox you will be proposed to use SkyDrive.

2) Platform limitations. Windows Phone is a rather strict platform. There are clear limits for application start time, sizes of downloaded files depending on the kind of Internet connection, quantity of background operations etc. Due to such limitations even “native” for Windows Phone Skype doesn’t always work as it is expected from a proper messenger.

3) Specific requirements for Windows 8 scenarios. There are so called contracts in Windows 8 – Search, Share etc., with the help of which such scenarios as “search in application”, “repost smth in social networks” or “open the file in another application” are performed. It should be separately said about Settings and Share – in Windows 8 they should be only in the sidebar. Duplication of functionality inside the application is highly undesirable.

Navigation bar in Windows Phone and Windows 8 differ. Windows Phone has mostly linear navigation (non-linear navigation is allowed only in exceptional cases and thoroughly tested), while Windows 8 is more loyal to the navigation model. Moreover, you will have to think over the possibility of a quick access to the application main screens from any screen.

4) Windows Phone 7.5 vs. Widows Phone 8. You should remember that at the moment there are several main Windows Phone versions:

• Mango — Windows Phone 7.5 (512 MB of memory);
• Mango — Windows Phone 7.8 (512 MB of memory) — the update has not been released yet;
• Tango — Windows Phone 7.5 (256 MB of memory);
• Apollo — Windows Phone 8.

If you’ve decided to support 7.x platform, you need to think whether the application will support Tango devices (budget ones) that are more sensitive to the memory used by the applications. In case you need NFC or in-app purchases (IAP), you should straightway focus on Windows Phone 8.0 or support two versions of the application (7.x and 8.x).

Thanks for consideration. In case you have some thoughts to add on the topic or even have already ported some app from iOS/Android to WP or Win8, I’d be glad to see your comments here.

Thank you,

Nadya Klim

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com


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