Monday, October 12, 2015

Mobile App Development Strategies for Cross Platform Developers

Cognizant's mobile app development expert and guru Peter Rogers shares his latest insights on app development strategies.  Enjoy!
In previous Blogs I have announced the diversification of iOS 9 and Android 6 and the prediction of a move back to platform specific coding or HTML 5. The corollary to this is that you end up with two of three development teams: Objective-C (or Swift); Android; and potentially Windows 10.

The challenge therefore is how you manage to keep the applications aligned with the original use cases, functional (and non-functional) requirements and class design models within these technologically diverse areas.

I think there are a three different solutions to this problem:

  1. Apply the same rules for each development team across technologies and platforms. That is the developer does the unit testing and is accountable for the code coverage score with regular reporting.
  2. Look to a reusable component model, but carefully managed at a program management layer across different projects. I recommend some dedicated tool to help manage the components.
  3. Cross-train resources in both iOS and Android so they at least have an appreciation of each technology.
It is the last point that I have decided to test out through a very unique and experimental training program in Spain. I decided to teach both Objective-C and Android to our mobile developers who were originally iOS or Android. This way I figured that with an appreciation of both technologies, the development teams could work closer together.  It is a controversial proposal because Technical Architects are normally SME (subject matter experts) in one particular technology. This is where it all breaks down in the mobile space,  and how we end up with 5 star iOS Apps and 1 star Android Apps.

By teaching two competencies rather than one, you elevate the associates to somewhere between Technical and Solution Architect. Whilst still a hands-on technical architect in their field (iOS, Android or Windows) they still have a slightly bigger picture appreciation of the mobile world around them.

My experiment seemed to work. We were able to build iOS and Android Apps, nobody had a mental breakdown, and everybody seemed happy. I think this works because the technologies are so distinct. It will be very interesting to see how they get on in the future, and if this leads to much better App Store ratings for both sets of Apps.

If you can get the developers and the designers talking as well, then you will really have something magical...
Kevin Benedict
Mobile Technology and Business Writer, Speaker, Analyst and World Traveler
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.