Everything You Need to Know About Mobile App Architecture
Mobile app architecture is the first step in development and shapes the user interface. Read about structuring your app's architecture for success.
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Mobility is the new need of this era. We have become accustomed to the ease and on-demand utility it offers. We have reached a stage where we have "an app for everything." The evolution of mobility has adorned smartphones with powerful capabilities which are availing a fertile ground for numerous mobile apps. The growth rate is fast and full of new innovations with every passing day.
The Race Is On
Surpassing traditional methodologies, businesses are adopting mobile applications to enhance the output of their business. According to a report, this year's global mobile app revenue is expected to reach $77 billion, which is a commendable hike in comparison to $58 billion in 2016.
However, the tough competition doesn’t allow each of them to reach the set target. The primary reason behind this is the loopholes in mobile app architecture and mobile app development process.
What Is Mobile App Architecture?
In layman’s terms, mobile app architecture is a set of patterns and techniques which must be followed in order to build a fully structured mobile application. These techniques and patterns are formulated with the vendor requirements and industry standards in mind.
Normally, a mobile application can be structured in different layers including, business, user experience, and data layers.
Things to Keep in Mind
While building better app architecture is vital for any business, not many "appreneurs" succeed in doing it. Here are few considerations you need to check when building your mobile app architecture:
1. Determining the Device
Here you need to keep the device types in mind. This covers the screen size, CPU characteristics, resolution (DPI), storage space and memory, and development tool environment availability.
The features in the application might have special requirements from hardware or software; this is why at the time of building the app architecture you need to have the knowledge of devices that the app will support.
2. Considering Bandwidth
There are times when connectivity is either intermittent or not available. Your app architecture needs to be built keeping in mind the worst network scenarios. Design your caching, data access mechanism, and state management considering times of intermittent connectivity. Batch communications and choose software and hardware based on it.
3. Defining User Interface
You have the world and entire future ahead to show your creativity. Do not pour it all in at the very first stage. Keep your user interface as simple as possible. A muddled UI can become a major reason behind a mobile application’s failure.
4. Navigation Methods
This one again comes on the design front. However, it requires expertise in both front and back end. There are numerous ways to navigate through app features, and it is important for you to analyze which one is good for your mobile application. The list includes
- Single view.
- Stacked navigation bar.
- Tab controller.
- Scroll views.
- Search driven.
- Model controller.
Understand your customers and the app's requirements and accordingly choose the navigation method, as it directly impacts your user experience.
Maintaining the Flow
App architecture design is a process which has to be executed in a defined flow. The flow basically includes three different layers. Namely,
1. Presentation Layer
This layer comprises UI components and UI process components (Views and Controllers). At this layer, the team has to define the way the mobile app will present itself in front of the end users.
This layer is primarily focused on deciding the features and their location. However, simultaneously, the team also decides other aspects like the theme, font size, etc.
2. Business Layer
As the name suggests, the layer focuses on the business front. In simple language, it focuses on the way business will be presented in front of the end users. This includes workflows, business components, and entities beneath the hood of two sub-layers named service and domain model layers.
While the service layer focuses on defining a common set of application functions that will be available to client and end users, the domain model layer represents expertise and knowledge linked to the specific problem domain. The entire plan is formulated in a way to explore and enhance the future of application.
3. Data Layer
At this third stage, data-related factors are kept in mind. This includes data access components, data helpers/utilities, and service agents. Here, the one thing that you need to keep in mind is that the three components sit under the two subheads, precisely, persistence layer and network layer.
While the former provides simplified access to data, which can be stored in a persistent storage or backend, the latter is responsible for networking calls.
Once the three layers are looked after thoroughly, it’s time for the fourth participant: cross-cutting. This comprises security, configuration, and communication/connectivity. After successfully working on all these, you can expect the completion of better mobile app architecture.
Designing mobile app architecture is the first and most crucial step. It plays a very important role in the growth of an app’s market. Whether you are a developer with a firm grip on mobile app development or you are a client hiring a team of app developers, ensure that the entire flow is followed religiously. Having this done will let you cross half the boulevard towards your set target.
Published at DZone with permission of Ubaid Pisuwala, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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