Understanding DevOps for Mobile Apps

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The DevOps technology aims to build a solid, seamless working relationship between the development team and operations personnel, and streamlining the business activities at the same time. While the practices have extended well beyond their core concept and into the mobile technology as well.

Candidates pursuing relevant DevOps trainings and certifications will surely come across the mobile DevOps as important topics in their learning.

Mobile DevOps vs. Web DevOps

Developing mobile apps and web-based apps are entirely different set of jobs with differences in tools, technologies, processes, infrastructure, and skills employed. Hence, DevOps for web and mobile apps will also be different. Although the processes and techniques incorporated to manage both web and develop can be same, but the considerable differences come in tooling.

DevOps in Mobile Applications

Mobile DevOps is defined as the capability to continuously deliver mobile apps that help businesses in reducing the time-to-market and utilize new opportunities in the market. Apparently one of the primary aims of mobile DevOps is continuous delivery, in other words, deploying the app and the environment on which it operates. The deployment will be automatic and on-demand, and can occur at any stage of the app development process.

In short, DevOps employs the same concepts for app development for both web and mobile. However, the challenges involving both the platforms are different and specific.

Mobile DevOps challenges

There are a number of challenges concerning mobile DevOps, while here we discuss some major issues needed to be addressed.

Different operating system versions

Majority of the mobile applications today have various target environment and devices, hence, calling for different specifications, operating systems, and form factors to run. Moreover, not only there are a plethora of operating systems available in the market, but also different versions for different devices.

Consider the example of Android. The operating system captures a mighty 85% of the entire smartphone market. Even though the latest Android 6.0, Marshmallow, is unsupported, but it still accounts for a 21.3% of the entire Android OS share.

This suggests that very few users are tempted to update the operating system whenever there is a new version available. The reason might be the smartphone manufacturers are not supporting the newer OS updates, or simply the user doesn’t want to update.

Besides the above reason, a majority of Android smartphone manufacturers also change the newer operating systems slightly, which causes an increase in the OS fragmentation and slower-than-usual app launch time.

Hardware

There are two major issues associated with smartphone hardware. First, smartphone manufacturers provide a great range of memory, chipset, and storage options, even more importantly, varying screen sizes, therefore, it gets difficult to support each. Second, the duopoly of Apple and Samsung as the primary contenders in the smartphone business is no longer as powerful as it used to be, as more and more new challengers are entering the market meaning business. From these new rivals, many offer low-cost models too.

Agreeably, both the big shots are dominating the western market, but in China, Apple and Samsung capture only 13.7% and 20.7% respectively. In 2015, around 18 new brands entered the Asian smartphone market.

The point is such localization and fragmentation of available devices and their respective, but different operating system versions include a great deal of complications for the app development businesses.

Catering app quality with evolving user demands

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As the app economy has continued to expand since the last few years, the demand for businesses to get their app released more quickly in the market has also proportionality increased. While due to the increasing demand and expectations of the customers, the app quality and performance has become more important than ever to retain existing customers and acquire new ones.

However, it is becoming increasingly difficult as it takes no time for a user to delete an app or write negative reviews based on its low-quality performance. Consequently, businesses are stressing to uplift their digital presence and performance through powerful, seamless apps to keep their customer base satisfied.

All these factors are piling up the pressure on the development personnel, also because the waterfall model approach is no longer a reliable practice for users.

3 rules for successfully employing mobile DevOps

Incorporating DevOps in your mobile apps requires three considerations to be noted.

Continuous planning and integration

Continuous planning is about calling your entire mobile app development team, including project manager, developers, operations staff, and other personnel, on the same page. Planning is done to finalize the scope of the app to create a launch plan.

While the job in continuous integration is to ensure that the code provided by one developer works seamlessly with the code submitted by another developer. In short, CI in mobile DevOps requires frequent builds, which are needed to be integrated with the most recently developed code.

Continuous testing and monitoring

A majority of mobile app testing is done on simulators rather than the real devices, and a manual testing approach is followed. Obviously, with numerous versions of different operating systems available now, it is very difficult to conduct manual testing on each.

As we know a mobile application tends to perform well in a testing procedure. However, it is also very common to fail in a live environment due to various reasons such as memory, power, network conditions, to name a few. Therefore, it becomes imperative for businesses and development team to employ continuous monitoring through third-party SDKs to locate the root cause of the failure in logs and crash reports.

Continuous delivery and deployment

Continuous delivery makes sure that the code is deployed in the production after the submission of each alteration made to the production-based system.

After the delivery comes the continuous deployment phase, where each change that has been approved in the testing stage gets automatically deployed in the production environment.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that there are no unique DevOps processes for mobile app development, but DevOps works for all the components involved along with various kinds of app development projects. As stated above, learners pursuing DevOps certifications need to understand the essential concepts to acquire a solid grasp of mobile DevOps, furthermore, they can also consult quality, informative IT-based blogs to stay updated with the trendiest tools and features in the DevOps market.

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